How your lawmakers voted

May 17, 2006

Issues before Congress last week

$70 billion tax cuts

Voting 54-44, senators sent President Bush the final version of a bill cutting taxes by $70 billion over five years. A yes vote was to extend the 15 percent rate for dividends and capital gains and provide temporary Alternative Minimum Tax relief.

Medical malpractice

Senators failed, 48-42, to reach 60 votes for advancing a GOP bill to restrict medical malpractice lawsuits by capping jury awards for noneconomic damages, narrowing the period for filing suits and limiting lawyers' fees. A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Health insurance

Senators failed, 55-43, to reach 60 votes needed to advance a bill enabling small businesses to cross state lines to form federally regulated health-insurance plans for employees. A yes vote backed the bill over arguments it would pre-empt state consumer and insurance laws.

$70 billion tax cuts

Members passed, 244-185, a bill cutting taxes by nearly $70 billion over five years. A yes vote was to extend the 15 percent dividends and capital gains rate through 2010 and exempt 15 million middleincome filers from the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Democrats' tax plan

Members defeated, 190-239, a Democratic proposal to strip a bill of tax cuts on dividends and capital gains but retain - and expand - Alternative Minimum Tax relief for middle-income filers for whom the AMT is not intended. A yes vote backed the Democratic plan.

Military abortions abroad

Members rejected, 191-237, a 2007 defense-bill amendment permitting U.S. servicewomen to receive privately financed abortions at American military hospitals abroad. A yes vote was to overturn Congress' 10-year-old ban on such abortions.

2007 defense budget

Members approved, 396-31, a $462.9 billion defense budget for fiscal 2007. Additionally, the measure provides $50 billion for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, raising outlays there to more than $377 billion since actions began. A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Military border control

Members authorized, 252-171, the U.S. military to help the Department of Homeland Security control U.S. borders if asked to do so. A yes vote backed the new authority over arguments a better way to control borders is to sanction U.S. employers who attract illegal immigrants.

Missile defense

Members refused, 124-301, to halve spending in a bill for the National Missile Defense, to $4.8 billion. Critics said the flawed system weakens U.S. security, while backers said it some day will counter threats from Iran and North Korea. A yes vote backed the cut.

Survivors' benefits

Voting 202-220, members defeated a Democratic bid to stop the military from cutting death benefits for surviving spouses by the sum received in veterans' dependency and indemnity payments. A yes vote was to end the policy of subtraction from death benefits.

Key votes ahead

This week, the House will debate bills on fiscal 2007 appropriations and U.S. Forest Service policies, while the Senate will resume work on an immigration bill.

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