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CAPITOL REPORT: LAME DUCK CONGRESS ENDS WITH VOTES ON KEY BILLS




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By: Jeremy Los

 

December 23, 2010 – So much for the “lame duck session” on Capitol Hill. The last winter session after an election, before the new Congress is sworn in, is often an uneventful time of farewells. The 111th Congress, though, seemed determined to end the year with a bang, bringing meaningful legislation to the forefront as exiting members of Congress strived to put their stamp on the future of our nation in a big way.

 

Major bills passed include repeal of the military’s `don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban and a bill to improve food safety. Bills that fell short, without enough votes, include the Dream Act, which would have allowed children of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and a bill that would have paid for healthcare costs of 911 first responders.

Do you know how your representatives voted? Find out here.


Federal Bills and Votes (Congress)


HR-2965 – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010

 

Status: Passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. Will be signed into law by President Obama on Wednesday December 22, 2010

 

Description: This bill would repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” legislation brought about during the Clinton Administration. A repeal of that legislation would allow for individuals who are homosexual to serve openly in our military. The repeal would take affect 60 days after the bill is signed into law. As one of the key election stances during President Obama’s election run, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” will be seen as a big political win for the current administration.

 

Voting Record:
Dec. 15, 2010 – House – Concurrence Vote Passed – 250-175
Dec. 18, 2010 – Senate – Concurrence Vote Passed – 65-31

 

How Our Elected Officials Voted:
House:
Rep. Darrel Issa – 49th Dis. – Rep. – NAY
Rep. Brian Bilbray – 50th Dis. - Rep.- NAY
Rep. Bob Filner – 51st Dis. – Dem. – AYE
Rep. Duncan D. Hunter – 52nd Dis. – Rep. – NAY
Rep. Susan Davis – 53rd Dis. – Dem. – AYE
Senate:
Sen. Barbara Boxer – Dem. – AYE
Sen. Diane Feinstein – Dem. - AYE

 

HR- 5281 – DREAM Act of 2010

 

Status: Passed by the House of Representatives. Cloture not invoked in the Senate, which means the bill is not able to move forward. Bill not passed.

 

Description: Championed by Rep. Henry Johnson (Dem.) of Georgia, the DREAM act would establish a path to citizenship to illegal immigrants under the age of 29, who were brought to the U.S. by their parents before the age of 16. In order to be considered for citizenship, one must have completed at least two years of college or military service. Those looking to gain citizenship must also clear a criminal background check.

 

Voting Record:
December 8, 2010 – House – Concurrence vote passed – 216-198
December 18, 2010 – Senate – Cloture Not Invoked – 55-41

 

How our elected officials voted:
House:
Rep. Issa – 49th Dis. - Rep. – NAY
Rep. Bilbray – 50th Dis. – Rep. – Did Not Vote
Rep. Filner – 51st Dis. – Dem. – AYE
Rep. Hunter – 52nd Dis. – Rep. – NAY
Rep. Davis – 53rd Dis. – Dem. – AYE
 

Senate:
Sen. Barbara Boxer – Dem. – AYE
Sen. Diane Feinstein – Dem. - AYE

HR 847 –9/11 Health and Compensation Act

 

Status: Cloture not invoked in Senate, meaning the bill cannot move forward to a vote. Bill not passed.

 

Description: First brought forth in July, this bill has hit many speed bumps throughout its run on Capital hill. This bill would amend the Public Health Service Act, extending protections to those directly effected by the terrorist acts on 9/11. At a cost of $7.4 billion, the act would provide medical care to the first responders on Sep. 11, 2001. It will also provide medical care to those who have become ill due to exposure to toxic debris and fumes while working in the debris of the World Trade Centers. According to the New York Times, the bill would set aside $3.2 billion for monitoring and treating injuries suffered while working in the debris, with New York City footing 10 percent of the medical expenses. The remaining $4.2 billion will be used to reopen the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which provides payments for job and economic losses.


Voting Record:
December 9, 2010 – Senate – Cloture Not Invoked – 57-42

 

How our elected officials voted:
Senate:
Sen. Barbara Boxer – Dem. – AYE
Sen. Diane Feinstein – Dem. - AYE

 

S. 510 – FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

 

Status: Passed by the Senate

 

Description: Seen as the biggest involvement of the Federal government into the quality of our food, this bill would Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This bill would increase the FDA’s regulatory authority over food production in order to help prevent food contamination and outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. The FDA would receive mandatory recall authority and require food producers to meet new safety requirements. Small farmers, who sell the majority of their food locally and do less than $500,000 in sales annually, are exempt from most of the regulations in the bill.

 

Voting Record:
November 30, 2010- Senate – Passed – 73 -25

 

How our elected officials voted:
Senate:
Sen. Barbara Boxer – Dem. – AYE
Sen. Diane Feinstein – Dem. – AYE