How your lawmakers voted

March 15, 2006

The Sun brings you a weekly report of key votes in Congress.

Ethics, lobbying

On a party-line vote of 44-55, Republicans defeated a Democratic bid to tighten Senate ethics rules and curb lobbying. This left intact a bipartisan bill also policing ethics and lobbying. A yes vote was to end senators' privately financed travel and other questionable practices.

Food labels, safety

The House passed, 283-139, a bill to federalize and make uniform the food safety and labeling laws of the 50 states. The U.S. standards would pre-empt any tougher state and local laws. The legislation awaits Senate action. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Bioterror exemption

Members refused, 164-255, to exempt from the food safety bill any measures that states have in place to protect food supplies from bioterrorism attacks. A yes vote backed the exemption over arguments the bill would not interfere with bioterror countermeasures.


Members defeated, 161-259, a bid to keep the food safety bill from pre-empting state-required warnings of unhealthy agents such as carcinogens in food products. A yes vote backed the bid over arguments the bill allows states to petition to retain existing label laws.

"Gag orders"

Members passed, 280-138, a bill enabling organizations receiving secret USA Patriot Act subpoenas to use secret court hearings to contest "gag orders" that keep them from discussing the probes. A yes vote backed a bill clearing the way for Patriot Act renewal.

Anti-drug agency Members passed, 399-5, a bill to renew through 2011 the Office of National Drug Control, which coordinates executive branch programs to combat illegal drugs. A yes vote backed a bill stepping up federal efforts against the methamphetamine scourge.

Key votes ahead

This week, the House will take up an Iraq-Afghanistan spending bill. The Senate will debate an increase in the national debt ceiling as well as new ethics and lobbying rules. The Senate may consider the fiscal 2007 budget resolution.


[ To contact your lawmakers and find out the district in which you live, go to: representatives


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