How Your Lawmakers Voted

August 09, 2006

The Sun brings you a weekly report of key votes in the Congress.Here's how Maryland senators voted on major roll call votes last week.The House was in recess. The full Congress is in recess until Sept. 5.

Issues before the Senate last week

Gulf of Mexico Drilling: Senators passed, 71-25, a bill to open about 8.34 million acres in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas extraction while setting a 125-mile buffer zone between Florida and the drilling area. A yes vote was to send the bill to a House-Senate conference. - No No

Minimum Wage-Estate Tax: Senators failed, 56-42, to get 60 votes needed to advance a Republican bill raising the hourly minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over three years, exempting all but the wealthiest estates from taxation and providing targeted tax cuts. A yes vote backed HR 5970. -- No No

Pension Plans: Senators sent President Bush, 93-5, a bill requiring about 30,000 companies to fully fund traditional defined-benefit pension plans over seven years. A yes vote backed a bill (HR 4) that also changes the rules for 401(k)-style defined-contribution plans. -- Yes Yes

Mexican Border Fence: Senators voted, 94-3, to spend $1.8 billion in the 2007 defense budget on building 370 miles of triple-layered fencing on the U.S.-Mexico border and scattered vehicle barriers along a 460-mile stretch. A yes vote was to fund the border fence. -- Yes Yes

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