Roll Calls: GOP Wins Senate Votes on 2003 Spending Bill

ROLL CALL:
Senate Approves More Reasonable Clean Air Rules
On January 22 by a vote of 51 to 45, the Senate passed an amendment to the omnibus 2003 spending bill (H.J. Res 2) that allows the Bush Administration to implement new rules for applying the Clean Air Act to industrial plant renovations. The amendment, sponsored by Sen. James Inhofe (R.-Okla.), chairman of the House Environment and Public Works Committee, allows the administration to immediately loosen stringent, Clinton-era New Source Review rules that require expensive anti-pollution expenditures to accompany any plant modernization. The old rules have made it financially prohibitive for factories and power plants with a pollution problem to modernize and perform routine maintenance. This means that, ironically, that older, dirtier plants are basically prevented by EPA rules from making changes that would actually reduce their pollution. Under the new rules, companies can update their plants with more efficient pollution-control measures without crippling expenses. Sen. Kit Bond (R.-Mo.) noted that the current rules are so complicated that a plant with more than one smokestack “would have to have a permit for each one. As a facility wants to upgrade or modernize, they have go through a time-consuming process.” Sen. George Voinovich (R.-Ohio) supported the efficiency of the amendment. “This vote for the Inhofe amendment is a vote for the environment,” he said. “It will allow us to move forward quickly, to do what should have been done several years ago so these repairs and the maintenance can be done. We can reduce the emissions and we can make these facilities more efficient.” Democrats, however, wanted a delay in implementing the new rules until a study by the National Academy of Science (NAS) is complete. Inhofe objected. “If they were to try to have the NAS do a further analysis, they would have to go back and use this same data,” he said. “This job has been done. This has been delayed now for 10 years.” Pushing delay, Sen. John Edwards (D.-N.C.) called the administration’s plan a “leap-and-then-later-we-will-look” approach. “What are we going to say when the study that he is proposing is completed if, in fact, it shows. . . that this change will cause pollution?” he asked. Edwards, a personal injury lawyer, wasted no time in seizing upon the potential for liability. “It is going to put kids with asthma at risk, it is going to put senior citizens with serious respiratory problems at risk,” he said. “What are we going to say to them, those kids who have had asthma attacks, seniors who have had serious heart or respiratory problems as a result of these changes in the rules?” he asked Others were equally dramatic. “I rise today on behalf of all those who breathe,” said Sen. Joseph Biden (D.-Del.), who went on to give a detailed explanation of the origin of the name “Clean Air Act.” “I get the feeling that those who are trying to weaken our clean air laws often forget why we passed them in the first place—so we all can breathe cleaner, healthier air.” Inhofe countered by pointing out that his amendment “enjoys the embrace and the support of virtually every organization of business or labor unions in America. It was unanimously approved by the National Governors Association, the Environmental Council of the States, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, et cetera, and virtually every labor union in America.” A “yes” vote was a vote for the Inhofe amendment, calling for immediate implementation of the Bush Administration’s proposed Clean Air Act rule changes. A “no” vote was a vote against the amendment. (After the Inhofe amendment passed, Sen. Edwards tried to delay its implementation. See below.)

FOR THE AMENDMENT (51)

REPUBLICANS FOR (45): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stevens, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich and Warner. DEMOCRATS FOR (6): Breaux, Landrieu, Lincoln, Miller, Nelson (Neb.) and Pryor.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT (45)

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (6): Chafee, Collins, Gregg, McCain, Snowe and Sununu. DEMOCRATS AGAINST (38): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold, Graham (Fla.), Johnson, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow and Wyden. INDEPENDENTS AGAINST (1): Jeffords. NOT VOTING (4): Feinstein, Harkin, Hollings and Inouye. ROLL CALL:
Senate Defeats Attempt to Delay New Air Rules
After passage of the Inhofe amendment (see above) approving new, less stringent rules for applying the Clean Air Act to industrial plant renovations, Sen. John Edwards (D.-N.C.) proposed an amendment to stop the new rules from going into effect for six months until the National Academy of Sciences completes a study of their impact. The Senate rejected his amendment by a vote of 46 to 50. A “yes” vote was a vote to delay implementation of the Bush Administration’s looser Clean Air Act rules for six months. A “no” vote was a vote against the amendment.

FOR THE AMENDMENT (46)

REPUBLICANS FOR (6): Chafee, Collins, Gregg, McCain, Snowe, and Sununu. DEMOCRATS FOR (39): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold, Graham (Fla.), Johnson Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lieberman, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, and Wyden. INDEPENDENTS FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE AMENDMENT (50)

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (45): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Specter, Stevens, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich, and Warner. DEMOCRATS AGAINST (5): Breaux, Landrieu, Lincoln, Miller, and Pryor. NOT VOTING (4): Feinstein, Harkin, Hollings, and Inouye. ROLL CALL:
Senate Turns Back Another 13 Weeks Of Jobless Benefits
On January 22 by a vote of 45 to 49, the Senate effectively rejected a Democrat-sponsored amendment to the fiscal 2003 omnibus spending bill (H J Res 2) that would have provided an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits on top of a 13-week extension passed earlier this month. The extension would include those who had already exhausted their state and federal benefits yet remained unemployed. The proposal was attacked by Republicans for being expensive and poorly drafted. “It is about the fifth iteration we have seen, and it is still not done very well,” said Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.). Nickles put in the Congressional Record a Congressional Budget Office letter stating that the cost of the program would be $6.3 billion. Speaking in favor of the amendment, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D.-Mass.) said it was a chance to reimburse the millions of people supposedly impoverished by President Bush’s administration. “Since President Bush assumed office in January 2001, the economic well-being of America’s families has significantly deteriorated,” he said. “They deserve this lifeline during this difficult time, before they are able to get back on their feet. This issue is fundamental fairness.” Sen. Chuck Grassley (R.-Iowa) disputed this, pointing out unemployment was historically below recession level. He also noted this amendment would represent the greatest expansion of federal unemployment compensation in history. “It violates the insurance principles inherent in the unemployment program by breaking the link between the time someone has worked to the time that person can collect unemployment benefits,” he said. “This amendment would allow someone who worked as few as 20 weeks to collect as much as 33 weeks of federally funded benefits.” From a parliamentary point of view, the vote was complex. A “yes” vote was a vote to waive a budget point of order against the amendment proposed by Sen. Jack Reed (D.-R.I.) that would have extended the unemployment benefits. Sixty votes were necessary for the unemployment extension to survive the point of order, which was raised by Sen. Don Nickles (R.-Okla.). A “yes” vote was, in effect, a vote to extend unemployment benefits by an additional 13 weeks, on top of the 13-week extension passed earlier this month. A “no” vote was, in effect, a vote against such an extension.

FOR THE MOTION (45)

REPUBLICANS FOR (3): Chafee, Snowe and Specter. DEMOCRATS FOR (41): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold, Graham (Fla.), Johnson, Kennedy, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, and Wyden. INDEPENDENTS FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE MOTION (49)

REPUBLICANS AGAINST (48): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich and Warner DEMOCRATS AGAINST (1): Miller NOT VOTING (6): Feinstein, Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Kerry and Lieberman. ROLL CALL:
Senate Defeats Hillary’s $4.1-Billion Medicare Proposal
On January 22 by a vote of 41 to 56 the Senate rejected a motion to waive the Budget Act with respect to an amendment to the 2003 omnibus spending bill (H.J. Res. 2) that would have provided an estimated $4.1 billion to cover cuts in Medicare funding that are due to take effect April 1. Sixty votes are required to waive the budget act and allow overspending beyond the set spending caps. President Bush wants to cap 2003 spending at approximately $750 billion, but the Democrats kept trying to push more spending into the omnibus bill. Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.) calculated if all the Democratic amendments had passed, the budget would have gone up $40 billion. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), who proposed the amendment, argued that nothing could save the program if her amendment did not pass. “Continued inaction will leave Medicare so irreversibly damaged that even the best healers among us will be unable to revitalize it,” she argued with medical imagery that she apparently found amusing. “I look forward to stabilizing our patients and getting on to debating the right cure.” Sen. Don Nickles (R.-Okla.) took issue with the fact that the amendment was actually a substantive change in policy disguised as a spending measure and indicated that Medicare funding will be considered by the Senate in due time. “I warn my colleague,” he said, “she cannot be throwing up a modification and saying we want you to accept this when the amendment deals with substantive issues. The amendment deals with entitlements, with issues that are under the Finance Committee jurisdiction. . . . [W]e should not be doing authorizing work on an appropriations bill without the appropriate committees having significant time to review the bill,” he said. Clinton responded that the cost of her bill would be fully offset by shifting fees levied by the U.S. Customs Service—an agency already strained by its role in providing homeland security. “At a time when we are asking the Customs Department to aid us in the war on terror at our borders and they are stretched as thin as they can possibly be stretched, it would be the absolute wrong thing to do,” said Sen. Jon Kyl (R.-Ariz.). Just two days later, speaking in New York City, Clinton criticized President Bush for not doing enough to secure the homeland. A “yes” vote was to waive the Budget Act and immediately spend $4.1 billion to extend Medicare funding for six months. A “no” vote was, in effect, a vote against the extension of Medicare funding.

FOR THE MOTION (41)

REPUBLICANS FOR (1): Chafee DEMOCRATS FOR (39): Akaka, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Bryd, Cantwell, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feinstein, Hollings, Johnson, Kennedy, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Nelson (Neb.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow and Wyden. INDEPENDENTS FOR (1): Jeffords.

AGAINST THE MOTION (56)

REPUBLICANS AGAINST(50): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich, and Warner. DEMOCRATS AGAINST (6): Baucus, Breaux, Carper, Feingold, Graham (Fla.), and Miller. NOT VOTING (3): Harkin, Inouye and Lieberman.


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