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How Martin Meehan voted on key votes

Member Most DEMS
Most REPS
Passed VOTE 425

H R 2206

This bill would provide funding in Iraq without setting withdrawal deadlines for troops, which anti-war Democrats sought in an earlier bill. Instead, it would set “benchmarks for progress that the Iraqi government must meet to continue receiving reconstruction aid,” the Washington Post reported. The bill would provide $100 billion in funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This includes emergency supplemental appropriations for the Department of Defense, specifically for operation and maintenance, military personnel, the security forces of both countries and the Defense Health Program. The Washington Post reported that President Bush, “who had vowed to veto any legislation with restrictions on troop deployment,” said he would sign the bill. He must make his first report to Congress on progress in Iraq by July 15. The bill, which was passed 280-142 on May 24, 2007, did not receive support from the majority of House Democrats, with 140 opposing the bill. Out of 196 voting Republicans, two rejected the funding bill. Congress needed to act on this bill because war funding would have ended on May 28. In addition to war funding, the bill would designate another $17 billion to unrelated domestic spending, including $6.4 billion for Gulf Coast hurricane recovery, along with $3 billion for emergency draught and natural disaster relief for farmers. It would set aside $1 billion for improving port and mass-transit security. It would also provide a $650 million increase in children’s health care funding. An additional $3 billion would go toward converting U.S. military bases that plan to close. “Other domestic beneficiaries include state HIV grant programs, mine safety research, youth violence prevention activities and pandemic flu protection.”

Passed VOTE 265

H R 1591

<p>House and Senate conferees approved this legislation providing $124.2 billion primarily for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and setting benchmarks and a timetable for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, but President Bush vetoed the bill on May 1. </p> <p>The measure, which also addresses a wide variety of unrelated issues, makes emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.</p> <p>The conference agreement on H.R. 1591 also aims to improve health care for returning soldiers and veterans. It addresses needs related to hurricane recovery for the Gulf Coast, bolsters homeland security programs and provides emergency drought relief for farmers.</p> <p>The legislation says that troops in Iraq would not have their service extended beyond a year for any tour of duty. It also mandates that the president must certify that the Iraqi government is meeting certain diplomatic and security benchmarks. If that certification is made, deployment would begin no later than Oct. 1, 2007, with a goal of completing the redeployment by within 180 days. Some U.S. forces could remain in Iraq for special counterterrorism efforts along with protection, training and equipping Iraqi troops.</p> <p>According to a bill summary provided by the House Appropriations Committee, the legislation seeks to make it possible for the U.S. military to focus resources on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and to destroy his base of operations in Afghanistan. </p> <p>The conference report also provides $3 billion for special vehicles designed to withstand roadside bombs, and it increases from 20 to 270 the number of heavy and light armored vehicles authorized to be purchased for force protection purposes in Iraq and Afghanistan. It prohibits government funds from being used to establish any military installation or base for a permanent stationing of U.S. armed forces in Iraq and does not allow funds to be used to exercise U.S. control over any Iraqi oil resource.</p> <p>It does not fund two Joint Strike fighters and five of six electronic attack airplanes because lawmakers say they are not urgent.</p> <p>The conference agreement provides $268 million for the FBI, that’s about $150 million above the president’s request. The agency’s budget includes $10 million for the FBI to implement the Office of Inspector General’s recommendations about the use of special secret subpoenas called national security letters.</p> <p>On the homeland security front, it provides funding for port and mass transit security as well as other similar investments for a total of $2.25 billion.</p> <p>Meanwhile, farmers and ranchers would get $3.5 billion to help ameliorate agricultural disasters. The agreement also includes emergency funding for forest firefighting, low-income home energy assistance and pandemic flu preparations.</p> <p>The legislation includes $5 billion for health care for returning troops and veterans, $8.9 billion for victims of hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It also offers approximately $650 million for a children’s state health insurance program.</p> <p>It phases in a federal minimum wage increase to $7.25 an hour and applies the increase to the Northern Mariana Islands. It also amends tax law to allow certain benefits for small businesses that were not included in the House or Senate bills.</p> <p>It provides an additional $17 million for domestic violence programs.</p> <p>Among many other things, it makes additional fiscal 2008 appropriations for the U.S. Agency for International Development along with funding for a program aiding Africa, and monies for international narcotics control and enforcement, refugee assistance and international broadcasting operations.</p>

Passed VOTE 186

H R 1591

<p>The bill offers supplemental appropriations to help the United States fight the global war on terror, among other things. However, President Bush has vowed to veto the bill because it includes a timeline for withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. The measure prohibits the use of funds offered under the act to deploy any troops to Iraq unless the military has certified to congressional appropriators in advance that the military unit is fully mission-capable. The measure authorizes the president to waive the prohibition and deployment limits on a unit-by-unit basis for reasons of national security. </p> <p>It also sets requirements for Department of Homeland Security contracts, subcontracts and task orders. And it requires that each federal agency that has awarded at least $1 billion in the preceding fiscal year to develop and implement a plan to minimize the use of no-bid and cost-reimbursement contracts.</p> <p>The bill also offers funds for disaster relief and recovery related to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, funds influenza pandemic response programs, offers livestock disaster assistance, and makes appropriations to bolster Medicare and Medicaid.</p> <p>It amends fair labor laws to phase-in an increase to the federal minimum wage to $7.25 per hour. It applies these wage requirements to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and to American Samoa.</p> <p>It addresses several tax issues by including tax breaks for small businesses, makes certain dependents ineligible for the lowest capital gains rate and lengthens the period of failure to notify a taxpayer of liability before interest and certain penalties must be suspended. The measure increases the amount of any required installment of estimated tax otherwise due in 2012 from a corporation with assets of $1 billion or more.</p>

Passed VOTE 99

Iraq Resolution

This measure expresses the House's disagreement with President Bush's planned troop buildup in Iraq. The nonbinding resolution pledges support for U.S. personnel serving "bravely and honorably in Iraq" but says Congress "disapproves" of the president’s plan to add more than 20,000 combat troops. The resolution was approved 246 to 182. Seventeen Republicans joined 229 Democrats in support of the resolution. Two Democrats opposed the measure. While the 95-word resolution has no legal weight to force the president to change his course in Iraq, it marks a first key showdown between the White House and the new Congress controlled by Democrats.

Passed VOTE 40

Vote on Alternative Energy Bill

This bill would repeal tax cuts to oil companies and mandate that they pay a fee to remove oil from the Gulf of Mexico. It would also fund renewable energy programs. The act would repeal a tax break that oil and gas firms received in 2004. That break effectively lowered their corporate tax rates. It would also bar oil companies from bidding on new federal leases unless they pay a fee or renegotiate improperly drafted leases from the late ‘90s. Those leases did not require royalty payments on Gulf of Mexico oil production. Oil firms would pay a “conservation fee” for oil taken from the gulf. <br> <br> Additionally, the bill would set aside an estimated $13 billion to $15 billion in revenues over a five-year period for tax breaks relating to renewable energy sources, according to The Washington Post. <br> <br> The bill was designed to reduce the United States’ dependency on foreign oil by investing in alternative energy sources. However, critics say it actually would decrease domestic oil production so the country would rely more heavily on imported oil. <br> <br> The House passed the bill on Jan. 18, 2007, with a vote of 264-163. All House Democrats except one favored the bill. They were joined by 36 Republicans. The Senate must debate the bill. <br> <br> The Washington Post reported that the Bush Administration opposed repealing the tax break for oil companies when other manufacturing industries benefited from the 2004 reductions. It also frowned on forcing companies to renegotiate their Gulf of Mexico leases.

Passed VOTE 32

Tuition Relief Bill

This bill would lower the interest rate on student loans. <br> <br> The legislation would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and decrease the interest rate on federally subsidized student loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent in stages over five years. It would impact undergraduate student borrowers in the Federal Family Education Loan and Direct Loan programs. <br> <br> Interest rates would decrease to 6.12 percent in 2007, 5.44 percent in 2006 and continue to drop until they reach 3.4 percent in 2011. The first reduced interest rate would apply on loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2007. <br> <br> The Washington Post reported that the bill's projected $6 billion cost would be offset by trimming federal interest rate subsidies and raising fees on loan providers. Bill authors said a borrower with $13,800 in student loan debt would save $4,400 over the life of the loan according to The Post. <br> <br> Other provisions of the bill include lender insurance changes and increased loan fees for borrowers. <br> <br> The House passed the bill on Jan. 17, 2007, with a vote of 356-71. All House Democrats voted for the bill, joined by 124 Republicans.

Passed VOTE 23

Medicare Prescription Drug Bill

This bill would allow the government to negotiate directly with drugmakers for lower prescription drug prices for individuals using Medicare. The bill, which amends the Social Security Act, permits the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate with drug companies on behalf of private insurers that run the drug benefit program for Medicare. This overturns a 2003 law which made private insurers responsible for these negotiations. The bill would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to lead negotiations and report back to Congress in six months. Even with this new legislation in place, pharmaceutical companies are not mandated to lower their prices. The House swiftly passed the bill on Jan. 12, 2007, by a vote of 255-170, with 24 Republicans joining House Democrats. A companion bill has not been offered in the Senate. A similar Senate bill allows the government to negotiate with drugmakers in some instances.

Passed VOTE 18

Fair Minimum Wage Act

This bill would increase the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour over two years. It would increase the minimum wage in three increments. Sixty days after enactment, the minimum wage is to be raised to $5.85. A year after that it will be $6.55, and a year after that it will be $7.25. This is the first change to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 since 1997 when the federal minimum wage was increased from $4.75 to $5.15 an hour. The bill also applies the federal minimum wage to the North Mariana Islands, a territory of the United States. The legislation passed in the House on Jan. 10, 2007, with a vote of 315-116. Every House Democrat voted in favor of the proposal along with 82 Republicans. The Senate version has been stalled because President Bush recommended that tax cuts for small businesses be added to the bill. Senate Democrats lost a 54-43 cloture vote on Jan. 24, 2007 to pass the legislation without tax cuts. The Senate bill now includes $8.3 million in tax breaks even though House Democrats argue constitutional precedents require that tax legislation originate in the House, according to The Washington Post. If the Senate passes its version of the bill, both the chambers will have to reconcile their differences between the two versions.

Passed VOTE 15

Implementing 9/11 Commission Recommendations

This bill would implement many of the remaining recommendations proposed by the 9/11 Commission in 2004. The almost 300-page bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to give faster and more efficient funding to first responders. It also boosts federal aid to regions at greatest risk of a terrorist attack. It aims to improve the flow of intelligence between local law enforcement and first responders. It amends existing statutes on weapons of mass destruction to provide greater assistance to countries willing to help the United States fight nuclear proliferation overseas. It also creates an independent civil liberties watchdog group within the executive branch, according to The Washington Post. The bill bolsters cargo security on passenger planes and ships traveling to the United States. Critics say this aspect of the legislation goes too far. The bill requires airlines to physically inspect 100 percent of cargo on passenger planes within three years of the bill’s passage. It also says shippers must inspect all U.S.-bound cargo in overseas ports for radiation within five years. Using existing technology, this change potentially could slow the flow of goods into the United States, skeptics argue. The House left this component intact and passed the measure on Jan. 9, 2007, with a vote of 299-128. However, this portion of the bill could lead to its demise in the Senate. The Bush Administration has said it will not support the current House version of the bill, according to The Washington Post.

Passed VOTE 508

Military Commissions Act

Military Commissions Act

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