How They Voted
House Senate Voterama in Congress
Here's how area members of Congress voted on major issues last week.
Six months' stopgap spending: Voting 267 for and 151 against, the House sent the Senate a bill (HB 933) to fund the government between March 27 and Sept. 30 at an annual rate of $982 billion. The bill covers the nearly 30 percent of the $3.5 trillion federal budget that is discretionary (nonentitlement) spending. It would lock in the across-the-board cuts known as sequestration for the remaining six months of fiscal 2013 but would soften their impact on military and veterans' budgets.
Joseph Pitts, R-16th District, and Pat Meehan, R-7th District, yes.
Democrats' sequester repeal: Voting 188 for and 231 against, the House defeated a Democratic motion to exempt a fiscal 2013 stopgap spending bill (HB 933, above) from the indiscriminate cuts known as sequestration. This was a bid to add $85 billion for defense, domestic and foreign affairs programs between March 27 and Sept. 30. As designed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, sequestration is scheduled to exact $1.2 trillion in blind cuts in discretionary spending accounts over 10 years, split evenly between defense and nondefense programs. The $85 billion addressed by this motion is the first installment of those cuts.
Democrats offered the motion after GOP leaders refused to allow an up-or-down vote on a bill to repeal sequestration and find other ways to save $1.2 trillion over 10 years. That bill would replace blind cuts with targeted ones and add revenue measures such as closing tax loopholes, ending subsidies of oil companies and setting a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on incomes over $2 million. House Republicans have offered no bills in the 113th Congress to change sequestration.
Pitts and Meehan, no.
CIA Director Brennan: Voting 63 for and 34 against, the Senate confirmed John O. Brennan, 57, as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Brennan had been President Obama's top aide in fighting terrorism and served for 25 years in the CIA, including a stint as station chief in Saudi Arabia. His nomination drew criticism, in part, over the administration's aggressive use of drones to kill enemies overseas without an accounting to Congress or the public.
Democrat Robert Casey Jr., yes; Republican Pat Toomey. no.
Caitlin Halligan nomination: Voting 51 for and 41 against, the Senate failed to reach 60 votes for ending a Republican filibuster against the nomination of Caitlin J. Halligan, 45, for a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Halligan is general counsel for the New York County District Attorney's Office in Manhattan. She received the American Bar Association's highest rating but is opposed by the National Rifle Association.
Critics point to a brief she filed in 2003 as solicitor general of New York State that argued gun manufacturers can be held liable for the criminal acts of third parties using their products.
Supporters noted her vow during her confirmation hearing to uphold the Supreme Court's position on Second Amendment rights. This vote marked the second time in the past 16 months Senate Republicans have blocked her nomination.
Casey, yes; Toomey, no.n