How your lawmakers voted

July 05, 2006

Issues before Congress last week

Flag Amendment

Senators failed, 66-34, to get the 67votes needed to approve a Housepassed constitutional amendment allowing Congress to outlaw the desecration of the American flag. A yes vote backed the measure over arguments it tramples on freedom of speech.

Flag Law

Senators defeated, 36-64, a substitute for the Flag Amendment measure that sought to punish desecration of the American flag by statute instead of by amending the Constitution. A yes vote backed a measure to criminalize acts such as burning the American flag at a veteran's funeral.

Oman Trade Accord

Senators voted, 60- 34, to implement a free-trade accord with Oman. The pact would remove or lower duties and tariffs now impeding U.S. trade with the Arab Gulf state. A yes vote backed S 3569 over complaints it has weak labor and environmental standards.

Voting Rights

Members refused, 167-254, to strip the 1965 Voting Rights Act of a requirement that voting officials provide ballot information in multiple languages. This occurred during debate on the Justice Department's 2007 budget (HR 5672). A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Medical Records

Members defeated, 189-230, a bid to deny funding in HR 5672 for the FBI's issuance of National Security Letters to obtain medical records in terrorism probes. A yes vote was to subject these warrantless subpoenas to secret court review under the USA Patriot Act.

1 Percent Cut

Members defeated, 94-316, a bid to cut 1 percent, or $498 million, from the fiscal 2007 budget for the departments of State, Justice and Commerce. The sponsor urged a cut in "earmarked" funds for members' pet projects. A yes vote backed the budget cut.

Medical Marijuana

Members defeated, 163-259, an amendment to HR 5672 to bar federal legal action against medical-marijuana patients in the 11 states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes such as pain control. A yes vote supported the amendment

Offshore Drilling

Members voted, 232-187, to end apolicy that for a quarter century has banned oil and gas drilling in U.S. coastal nwaters except the western Gulf of Mexico. A yes vote as to permit drilling to within 50 miles of shore unless a state extends the line to 100 miles.

125-Mile Limit

Members defeated, 63-253, an amendment to the Offshore Drilling bill prohibiting leases for oil or natural gas extraction within 125 miles of a state's coastline unless the state opts to allow closer drilling. A yes vote backed an amendment sponsored by Florida lawmakers.

Government vs. Press

Members voted, 227-183, to condemn newspapers for publishing stories on a classified antiterrorism program that tracks global banking transactions. A yes vote was to pass a non-binding measure directed at papers such as The NewYork Times.

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