The House of Representatives continued the budget process by passing a budget reconciliation bill (H.R. 2) that contains President Bushs proposed $550 billion tax cut. The bill now goes to the Senate, which will probably vote on it next week. On the Senate side, Republicans failed to break a filibuster against Bushs judicial nominee Priscilla Owen. However, another conservative judge, Jeffrey Sutton of Ohio, was confirmed to the federal circuit court.
Senate Cant Get Cloture on Owen Appeals Nomination
On May 8, by a vote of 52 to 45, the Senate failed to invoke cloture so that it could vote on President Bushs nomination of Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Sixty votes were required to invoke cloture-meaning that if the motion had succeeded, the Senate would end debate on the nomination and decide whether to put Owen on the federal bench.
Owens nomination has now languished for more than two years without a confirmation vote from the Senate. Owen, whom extreme liberal Democrats such as Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Pat Leahy (Vt.) have called "too extreme" to serve on the bench, was rejected on a party-line Judiciary Committee vote when Democrats still enjoyed their short-lived majority in the Senate last year.
Owen, along with District of Columbia circuit nominee Miguel Estrada, has been the target of a smear campaign by left-wing extremists, zealous to establish the precedent that anyone to the political right of Karl Marx is "too extreme" to be a federal circuit judge.
After Republicans took over the Senate, they passed Owens nomination to the full Senate on another party-line vote. However, Democrats have chosen to obstruct her nomination because they worry she might be at least partly pro-life., and these liberals depend on unelected, activist judges to implement their policies.
A "yes" vote was a vote to invoke cloture and allow senators to vote on Owens nomination. A "no" vote was a vote to continue the filibuster against Owen.
REPUBLICANS FOR (50): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, 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, Nickles, Roberts, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich, and Warner.
DEMOCRATS FOR (2): Miller and Nelson (Neb.).
REPUBLICANS AGAINST (0):
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (44): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold, Feinstein, Graham (Fla.), Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kerry, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Lincoln, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Sarbanes, Schumer, Stabenow, and Wyden.
INDEPENDENT AGAINST (1): Jeffords.
NOT VOTING (3): Kennedy, Lieberman, and Murkowski.
Senate Votes on Another Conservative Judicial Nominee
Although Senate Republicans have remarkably failed to confirm theappeals court nominations of Priscilla Owen and Miguel Estrada, there has been some progress in putting some sane, sober judges. in the federal judiciary.
On April 29, the Senate narrowly confirmed nominee Jeffrey Sutton, by a vote of 52-41 to the U.S.Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee.
Sutton, a law professor at Ohio State University who is known for his belief in the strictly limited enumerated powers of the federal government, had waited 719 days since President Bush nominated him in May 2001.
Liberals were positively hysterical at the prospect that Suttons nomination would pass.
"If the U.S. Senate allows President Bush to fill the appeals courts with people like Jeffrey Sutton, Americans will not be able to count on the courts to protect their rights," charged Ralph Neas of People for the American Way.
Suttons nomination was bitterly opposed by ultra-liberal Sen. Tom Harkin (D.-Iowa), who declared that "a vote for Jeffrey Sutton is a vote to weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act. You cant have it both ways." Harkin pointed to Suttons successful argument before the U.S. Supreme Court in Alabama v. Garrett, which limited the ability of the handicapped to sue businesses under that act.
A "yes" vote was a vote to confirm President Bushs nomination of Jeffrey Sutton to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. A "no" vote was a vote against the nomination.
REPUBLICANS FOR (51): Alexander, Allard, Allen, Bennett, Bond, Brownback, Bunning, Burns, Campbell, Chafee, Chambliss, Cochran, Coleman, Collins, Cornyn, Craig, Crapo, DeWine, Dole, Domenici, Ensign, Enzi, Feinstein, Fitzgerald, Frist, Graham (S.C.), Grassley, Gregg, Hagel, Hatch, Hutchison, Inhofe, Kyl, Lott, Lugar, McCain, McConnell, Murkowski, Nickles, Santorum, Sessions, Shelby, Smith, Snowe, Specter, Stevens, Sununu, Talent, Thomas, Voinovich, and Warner.
DEMOCRATS FOR (1): Nelson (Neb.).
REPUBLICANS AGAINST (0):
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (40): Akaka, Baucus, Bayh, Biden, Bingaman, Boxer, Breaux, Byrd, Cantwell, Carper, Clinton, Conrad, Corzine, Daschle, Dayton, Dodd, Dorgan, Durbin, Edwards, Feingold, Harkin, Hollings, Inouye, Johnson, Kennedy, Kohl, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Leahy, Levin, Mikulski, Murray, Nelson (Fla.), Pryor, Reed (R.I.), Reid (Nev.), Rockefeller, Schumer, Stabenow, and Wyden.
INDEPENDENT AGAINST (1): Jeffords.
NOT VOTING (7): Graham (Fla.), Kerry, Lieberman, Lincoln, Miller, Roberts, and Sarbanes.
House Passes Bush’s $550-Billion Tax Cut
On May 9, by a vote of 222 to 203, the House passed President Bushs 10-year $550 billion tax relief plan.
The tax cut passed as part of this years budget reconciliation bill (H.R. 2), and so the tax cut, if passed, by the Senate, which was debating the matter at weeks end, will expire after ten years, after which time taxes will go back up.
The tax-cut detractors were especially fierce in their rhetoric, apparently fearing that their control over trillions of dollars in taxpayers money was in jeopardy.
"Unemployment is at 6% and millions of Americans are unable to find work," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D.-Mass.). "The deficit is exploding, leading to a crushing debt for our children and our grandchildren." However, McGovern opposed letting them keep their money to pay for that debt. "Instead of addressing these issues with sensible, thoughtful, and fair fiscal policy," he said, "The Republican majority offers up their usual menu of tax breaks for the wealthy."
He added an anti-GOP charge that indicated to many that he has been in Washington too long to understand how ordinary Americans think. "The Republican majority is so out of touch with the plight of American workers," he said, "they cannot even decide what [House] committee has authority over the issue."
Another Democrat, Rep. Sam Farr (Calif.), voiced his displeasure with the bill because it does not allow for enough money in federal handouts to the state of California. Farr was very upset that Congress was not helping to dig Gov. Gray Davis (D.) out of the fiscal mess he created there. "This bill cuts $850 million out of the [California] state budget, a budget that is already bankrupt," said Farr. "This tax cut is the worse thing that could happen to the State of California, and it is shameful that a Republican from California is offering it," he added, referring to House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R.-Calif.).
Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D.-Tex.) also revealed his own humorous failure to understand what a tax cut is, perhaps mistaking it for a tax refund. "Tax cuts should mean the government already has the money to return to taxpayers, he said. "In 21st Century politics, tax cuts are made without having the money to do it."
Republicans showed support for the new Bush tax cut, which will create incentives for businesses to invest and expand.
"Todays bill provides consistent tax relief and growth policies that will generate, on average, 575,000 jobs a year for the next five years," said Rep. Tom Reynolds (R.-N.Y.). He added that the bill will help not only workers, but also retirees watching their savings. "This legislation drastically reduces the dividend tax burden, making stocks more valuable and increasing expected rates of return," he said. "Stockholders in my district and all across America will have more control over their own money, while at the same time watching it grow at a faster rate."
A "yes" vote was a vote for the tax cut. A "no" vote was a vote against tax relief for working Americans.
REPUBLICANS FOR (218): Aderholt, Akin, Bachus, Baker, Ballenger, Barrett (SC), Bartlett (MD), Barton (TX), Bass, Beauprez, Bereuter, Biggert, Bilirakis, Bishop (UT), Blackburn, Blunt, Boehlert, Boehner, Bonilla, Bonner, Bono, Boozman, Bradley (NH), Brady (TX), Brown (SC), Brown-Waite, V., Burgess, Burns, Burr, Burton (IN), Buyer, Calvert, Camp, Cannon, Cantor, Capito, Carter, Chabot, Chocola, Coble, Collins, Cox, Crane, Crenshaw, Cubin, Culberson, Cunningham, Davis, Jo Ann, Davis, Tom, Deal (GA), DeLay, DeMint, Diaz-Balart, L., Diaz-Balart, M., Doolittle, Dreier, Duncan, Dunn, Ehlers, Emerson, English, Everett, Ferguson, Flake, Fletcher, Foley, Forbes, Fossella, Franks (AZ), Frelinghuysen, Gallegly, Garrett (NJ), Gerlach, Gibbons, Gilchrest, Gillmor, Gingrey, Goode, Goodlatte, Goss, Granger, Graves, Green (WI), Greenwood, Gutknecht, Harris, Hart, Hastert, Hastings (WA), Hayes, Hayworth, Hefley, Hensarling, Herger, Hobson, Hoekstra, Hostettler, Hulshof, Hunter, Hyde, Isakson, Issa, Istook, Janklow, Jenkins, Johnson, Sam, Johnson (CT), Johnson (IL), Jones (NC), Keller, Kelly, Kennedy (MN), King (NY), Kingston, Kirk, Kline, Knollenberg, Kolbe, Latham, LaTourette, Lewis (CA), Lewis (KY), Linder, LoBiondo, Lucas (OK), Manzullo, McCotter, McCrery, McHugh, McInnis, McKeon, Mica, Miller (FL), Miller (MI), Moran (KS), Murphy, Musgrave, Myrick, Nethercutt, Ney, Norwood, Nunes, Nussle, Osborne, Ose, Otter, Oxley, Paul, Pearce, Pence, Peterson (PA), Petri, Pickering, Pitts, Platts, Pombo, Porter, Portman, Pryce (OH), Putnam, Quinn, Radanovich, Ramstad, Regula, Rehberg, Renzi, Reynolds, Rogers (AL), Rogers (KY), Rogers (MI), Rohrabacher, Ros-Lehtinen, Royce, Ryan (WI), Ryun (KS), Saxton, Sensenbrenner, Sessions, Shadegg, Shaw, Shays, Sherwood, Shimkus, Shuster, Simmons, Simpson, Smith (MI), Smith (NJ), Smith (TX), Souder, Stearns, Sullivan, Sweeney, Tancredo, Tauzin, Taylor (NC), Terry, Thomas, Thornberry, Tiahrt, Tiberi, Toomey, Turner (OH), Upton, Vitter, Walden (OR), Walsh, Wamp, Weldon (FL), Weldon (PA), Weller, Whitfield, Wicker, Wilson (NM), Wilson (SC), Wolf, Young (AK), Young (FL)
DEMOCRATS FOR (4): Alexander, Cramer, Hall, Lucas (KY)
REPUBLICANS AGAINST (3): Castle, Houghton, Leach
DEMOCRATS AGAINST (199): Abercrombie, Ackerman, Allen, Andrews, Baca, Baird, Baldwin, Balance, Becerra, Bell, Berkley, Berman, Berry, Bishop (GA), Bishop (NY), Blumenauer, Boswell, Boucher, Brady (PA), Brown, Corrine, Brown (OH), Capps, Capuano, Cardin, Cardoza, Carson (IN), Carson (OK), Case, Clay, Conyers, Cooper, Costello, Crowley, Cummings, Davis (AL), Davis (CA), Davis (FL), Davis (IL), Davis (TN), DeFazio, DeGette, Delahunt, DeLauro, Deutsch, Dicks, Dingell, Doggett, Dooley (CA), Doyle, Edwards, Emanuel, Engel, Eshoo, Etheridge, Evans, Farr, Fattah, Filner, Ford, Frank (MA), Frost, Gephardt, Gonzalez, Gordon, Green (TX), Grijalva, Gutierrez, Harman, Hastings (FL), Hill, Hinchey, Hinojosa, Hoeffel, Holden, Holt, Honda, Hooley (OR), Hoyer, Inslee, Israel, Jackson (IL), Jackson-Lee (TX), Jefferson, John, Johnson, E. B., Jones (OH), Kanjorski, Kaptur, Kennedy (RI), Kildee, Kilpatrick, Kind, Kleczka, Kucinich, Lampson, Langevin, Lantos, Larsen (WA), Larson (CT), Lee, Levin, Lewis (GA), Lipinski, Lofgren, Lowey, Lynch, Majette, Maloney, Markey, Marshall, Matheson, Matsui, McCarthy (MO), McCarthy (NY), McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, McIntyre, McNulty, Meehan, Meek (FL), Meeks (NY), Menendez, Michaud, Millender-McDonald, Miller, George, Miller (NC), Mollohan, Moore, Moran (VA), Murtha, Nadler, Napolitano, Neal (MA), Oberstar, Obey, Olver, Ortiz, Owens, Pallone, Pascrell, Pastor, Payne, Pelosi, Peterson (MN), Pomeroy, Price (NC), Rahall, Rangel, Reyes, Rodriguez, Ross, Rothman, Roybal-Allard, Ruppersberger, Rush, Ryan (OH), Sabo, Sanchez, Linda, Sanchez, Loretta, Sandlin, Schakowsky, Schiff, Scott (GA), Scott (VA), Serrano, Sherman, Skelton, Slaughter, Smith (WA), Snyder, Solis, Spratt, Stark, Stenholm, Strickland, Stupak, Tanner, Tauscher, Taylor (MS), Thompson (CA), Thompson (MS), Tierney, Towns, Turner (TX), Udall (CO), Udall (NM), Van Hollen, Velazquez, Visclosky, Waters, Watson, Watt, Waxman, Weiner, Wexler, Woolsey, Wu, Wynn
INDEPENDENT AGAINST (1): Sanders
REPUBLICANS (8): Cole, Combest, Feeney, King (IA), LaHood, Miller, Gary, Northup, Schrock
DEMOCRATS (2): Boyd, Clyburn