For the Record

Here's how some major bills fared recently in Congress, and how local congressional members voted, as provided by Thomas Voting Reports. NV means Not Voting.

House Votes

INVESTORS TAX CUT

For: 234 / Against: 197

Members voted to cut taxes by $56 billion over five years. The bill (HR 4297) would extend through 2010 the 15 percent tax rate for capital gains and dividends, at a cost of $20 billion, and provide small businesses with $7.2 billion in enhanced equipment write-offs. Among other provisions, the bill would provide incentives for economic development on Indian reservations and in the District of Columbia, along with enhanced deductions for higher education expenses, non-federal income tax payments, medical savings accounts and the hiring of former welfare recipients.

This vote brought to $95 billion over five years the total tax cuts approved recently by the House, against $51 billion in newly passed five-year spending curbs, adding a projected $44 billion to the national debt. Both the tax and spending measures are now subject to House-Senate negotiations.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

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Cardin (D)

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*

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Cummings (D)

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*

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Gilchrest (R)

*

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Hoyer (D)

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*

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Ruppersberger (D)

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*

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Van Hollen (D)

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*

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Wynn (D)

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*

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DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE

For: 192 / Against: 239

Members defeated a deficit-neutral Democratic alternative to HR 4297 (above). Democrats kept many of the GOP-sponsored cuts, but they sought to block an extension of lower taxes on capital gains and dividends and use the $20 billion gained to further cushion the impact of the Alternative Minimum Tax (next issue). The $45 billion, five-year cost of the Democratic plan was to be offset by raising taxes on individual incomes over $500,000 and joint incomes over $1 million.

A yes vote backed the Democratic plan.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

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*

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Cardin (D)

*

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Cummings (D)

*

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Gilchrest (R)

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*

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Hoyer (D)

*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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ALTERNATIVE MINIMUM TAX

For: 414 / Against: 4

Members passed a bill (HR 4096) to keep the Alternative Minimum Tax from being levied on an additional 15 million middle-income taxpayers next year. The bill would add $30 billion to the annual deficit. The AMT was enacted in 1970 to prevent wealthy filers from avoiding paying income taxes, in part by limiting personal exemptions and disallowing deductions for state and local income taxes. But because the AMT is not indexed for inflation, it has crept into middle-income brackets, prompting Congress to repeatedly pass temporary fixes.

Congress has avoided a permanent correction because to do so without offsets would add nearly $1 trillion to national debt over 10 years. Even with this bill, the AMT would apply to an estimated 3 million middle-income filers in 2006.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

*

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Cardin (D)

*

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Cummings (D)

*

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Gilchrest (R)

*

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Hoyer (D)

*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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TERRORISM INSURANCE BACKSTOP

For: 371 / Against: 49

The House voted to extend for two years a post-Sept. 11, 2001, law to help the property and casualty insurance industry cover losses from terrorist attacks. Under the bill (S 467), federal payments would be triggered when aggregate industry losses reached $50 million in 2006 and $100 million in 2007. Companies that remain solvent would be required to repay their taxpayer bailout.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

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*

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Cardin (D)

*

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Cummings (D)

*

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Gilchrest (R)

*

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Hoyer (D)

*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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KATRINA RECOVERY

For: 415 / Against: 4

Members passed a bill (HR 4440) that would provide $7.1 billion in tax incentives to spur recovery from Hurricane Katrina in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. In part, the bill would expand housing and commercial redevelopment tax credits, provide accelerated depreciation for businesses, expand state and local authority to issue tax-exempt bonds and waive penalties for early IRA withdrawals. However, the benefits would not be available for rebuilding businesses such as casinos, racetracks, liquor stores and massage parlors.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MARYLAND

Y

N

NV

Bartlett (R)

*

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Cardin (D)

*

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Cummings (D)

*

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Gilchrest (R)

*

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Hoyer (D)

*

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Ruppersberger (D)

*

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Van Hollen (D)

*

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Wynn (D)

*

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