Y: Yes N: No X: Not votingHouse: Puerto RicoVoting 209 for...

Votes in Congress

March 08, 1998|By Roll Call Report Syndicate

Y: Yes N: No X: Not voting

House: Puerto Rico

Voting 209 for and 208 against, the House passed a bill (HR 856) that could result in Puerto Rico's becoming the 51st state within 10 years. Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898. Its 3.8 million residents are U.S. citizens but do not vote in presidential elections and are represented in Congress by a nonvoting delegate. They are eligible for most federal benefits and serve in the U.S. military but do not pay federal taxes. Puerto Rico is self-governing under the U.S. Constitution. Spanish is its primary language.

The bill, which was sent to the Senate, sets three stages for determining Puerto Rico's political status. First, a plebiscite would be held by the end of the year in which voters would choose statehood, independence or to remain a U. S. commonwealth. If a majority voted for independence or statehood, Congress would pass a bill authorizing the change. Puerto Ricans would hold a second plebiscite to accept or reject the transition. Finally, Congress would enact a bill to complete the process, and Puerto Ricans would hold a third plebiscite to lock in their new status.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Y N X Member

* N * Ehrlich, Robert, R-2nd

Y * * Hoyer, Steny H. D-5th

* N * Bartlett, Roscoe G., R-6th

Y * * Wynn, Albert R., D-4th

Y * * Cardin, Benjamin L., D-3rd

Y * * Cummings, Elijah, D-7th

Y * * Gilchrest, Wayne T., R-1st

Y * * Morella, Constance A., R-8th

House: English

Voting 238 for and 182 against, the House removed the teeth from a measure setting English-language rules for Puerto Rico if it becomes a state. The vote softened an amendment to HR 856 (above) that sought to require Puerto Rico to conduct government business in English and teach English in school. It replaced that strict wording with assurances that the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island would face the same English requirements as other states and urged that Puerto Rican children learn English by age 10.

A yes vote opposed setting English language rules for Puerto Rico if it becomes a state.

Y N X Member

Y * * Ehrlich, Robert, R-2nd

Y * * Hoyer, Steny H. D-5th

* N * Bartlett, Roscoe G., R-6th

Y * * Wynn, Albert R., D-4th

Y * * Cardin, Benjamin L., D-3rd

Y * * Cummings, Elijah, D-7th

Y * * Gilchrest, Wayne T., R-1st

Y * * Morella, Constance A., R-8th

Senate: Alcohol levels

The Senate adopted, 62 for and 32 against, an amendment adopting a nationwide blood alcohol standard of 0.08 percent for measuring drunken driving. Fifteen states use that standard, and most of the other 35 states use a 0.10 percent definition of intoxication while driving. Under this amendment, states not using 0.08 percent by October 2001 would lose 5 percent or 10 percent of their highway funds annually. The vote occurred as the Senate debated a bill (S 1173) authorizing about $200 billion over six years for highway construction and other transportation projects. The bill remained in debate.

A yes vote was to set a nationwide measurement for drunken driving.

Y N X Member

Y * * Mikulski, Barbara A., D

Y * * Sarbanes, Paul S., D

Senate: Minority contracts

Voting 58 for and 37 against, the Senate preserved a program that sets aside about 10 percent of transportation construction funds for small businesses owned by minorities and women. This tabled (killed) an amendment to S 1173 (above) that sought to end the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program on the basis that a federal judge in Colorado has ruled it unconstitutional.

A yes vote was to preserve contract set-asides for highway construction.

Y N X Member

Y * * Mikulski, Barbara A., D

Y * * Sarbanes, Paul S., D

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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