February 2, 2012

House Repeals CLASS Program

The House passed a bill to repeal the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS program), a portion of Obamacare. The program was touted as a voluntary, pay as you go program, to be financed wholly from premiums people would pay into the government-run long-term care insurance program. However, the major flaw in the proposed program (it hasn’t gone into effect as yet) was that a large number of people were expected to enter into the program shortly before they needed long-term care, ending up with the government (taxpayers) bearing the bulk of the payouts to the tune of $81 billion over the next 10 years.

All Republicans and 28 Democrats voted for passage of  HR 1173.

January 26, 2012

Senate Rejects Debt Disapproval Resolution

The Senate rejected a motion to proceed on considering House Joint Resolution 98, which registers the disapproval of Congress to the President raising the debt ceiling by $900 billion to $16.4 trillion.

The vote was 44 – 52, with all Republicans except Scott Brown (MA) voting for the measure, joined by Democrat Senators Bill Nelson (NE) and Joe Manchin (WV).

January 19, 2012

House Passes Disapproval of President’s Debt Limit Raise

On January 18, 2012, the House passed House Joint Resolution 98, which simply says that Congress disapproves of the President exercising the authority to raise the Federal debt limit from $15.5 trillion to $16.4 trillion. The House had previously, in Senate Bill 365, approved raising the limit by $900 billion, on August 1, 2011, giving the President the authority to do so if needed. At that time, 66 Republican Representatives had voted against the measure.

The vote tally for this Resolution in the House was 239 – 176, with one Republican, David Dreier (CA-26) voting against it, and two voting “present”: Landry (LA-3), and Walsh (IL-8).  The latter two had voted against S. 365, while Rep. Dreier voted for S. 365.

January 19, 2012

House Passes Payroll Tax Cut Extension

The House Passed HR 3630, the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 on December 17, 2011. The measure provides for the continuation of the 2% payroll tax cut for both self-employed and employees, extends the funding for Unemployment Compensation until March 1, 2012, extends Medicare payments to doctors until March 1, 2012, imposes increased fees for home buyers under Fannie Mae, and gives the President 60 days to make a determination of the permit for the XL Keystone Pipeline from Canada. The CBO estimates the total bill will add $166.8 billion to the national debt for the 2012 fiscal year.

Ten Democrats supported 224 Republicans for the measure, while 14 Republicans opposed the bill on grounds of excessive spending. The final tally was 234 – 193.


January 19, 2012

Senate Passes Disaster Relief Bill

The Senate, on December 17, 2011, passed HR 3672, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2012 by a vote of 72 – 27.

The measure allows for spending up to $8.073 billion by the Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and the Social Security Administration. All 27 nay votes were Republicans who objected to the amount budgeted.

January 19, 2012

House Passes Regulatory Scrutiny Act

On December 7, 2011, the House passed HR 10, the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011. The bill requires the Executive Department to submit major regulatory changes in writing to Congress, and allows Congress to give and up or down vote on the regulation in question.

Four Democrats, Barrow (GA-12), Boren (OK-2), McIntyre (NC-7), and Peterson (MN-7) joined all Republicans in the passage of the bill.

January 19, 2012

Balnced Budget Amendment Fails in House Vote

House Joint Resolution 2, Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, failed to meet a 2/3 majority for passage by 23 votes. The vote tally of 261 – 165 was supported by Democrats, but opposed by four Republicans: Amash (MI-3), Dreier (CA-26), Gohmert (TX-1), and Ryan (WI-1).

January 19, 2012

House Passes Concealed Carry Law Across State Lines

HR 822, the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, provides for the recognition of concealed carry permits by states other than the issuing state.

The bill, passed on November 16, 2011, had the support of 43 Democrats who joined all but seven Republicans in the 272 – 154 vote. The seven Republicans voting against it were: Amash (MI-3), Dold (IL-10), Grimm (NY-13), King (NY-3), Lungren (CA-3), Turner (OH-3), and Woodall (GA-7).

January 19, 2012

Senate Passes Consolidated Appropriations Bill

The Senate passed HR 2112, making consolidated appropriations for the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2012.

The bill was passed by the House June 6, 2011, and finally was put through the Senate on Nov. 1, 2011. Thirty Republicans voted against the measure on grounds of excessive spending.

January 19, 2012

Senate Rejects Amendment to Limit Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae

The Senate rejected an amendment (SA 917) to HR 2112, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, by Sen. Vitter (LA). The amendment proposed to limit the amount the Federal Government may allow Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae to $200 billion in the fiscal year.

Four Republicans, Blunt (MO), Brown (MA), Heller (NV), and Isakson (GA) joined all Democrats in opposition to the amendment.

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