WASHINGTON — Here’s how Maine’s members of Congress were recorded on major roll call votes in the week ending Jan. 31.

HOUSE First responders

Voting 201 for and 222 against, the House on Jan. 28 rejected a Democratic bid to add $3.5 billion for first responders and $90 million for epidemiological studies associated with the nine-eleven attacks to a stopgap 2003 budget. On a non-record vote, the House then approved the temporary spending measure (HJ Res 13), which will fund most non-defense operations at 2002 levels until a permanent 2003 budget is in place. The permanent measure was headed for a House-Senate conference committee (next issue).

David Obey, D-Wis., said: “We ought to add another $3.5 billion to fund the first responders, so that our policemen and our firemen and our public health people can get about the business of protecting us at the local level. We cannot expect state governments to provide this money because they are in massive deficits all around the country.”

Bill Young, R-Fla., said: “First responders are extremely important to dealing with any kind of a terrorist attack that might occur anywhere in the United States of America. And we will be addressing (them) when we do the final (2003) appropriations bill” in the near future.

A yes vote backed the funding increase.

Rep. Tom Allen, D-Maine, voted yes. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-Maine, voted yes.

Education funding

Voting 200 for and 209 against, the House on Jan. 29 refused to endorse a higher, Senate-passed spending level in fiscal 2003 for the departments of Education, Labor and Health and Human Services. This occurred as a House-Senate conference committee prepared to negotiate a permanent budget (HJ Res 2) for non-defense functions in 2003.

The Senate has approved at least $5.7 billion more for education than House leaders allot in their version of the permanent budget. On this vote, the House rejected a non-binding Democratic recommendation that House conferees accept the Senate figure. Debate centered on adequate funding of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. The Democratic motion also urged House conferees to agree to the highest spending possible in HJ Res 2 for veterans and homeland security.

Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said: “The House bill is $5.7 billion less than the other body’s funding for the No Child Left Behind Act. If we pursue that number, we will leave millions of children behind. This is simply inadequate….to help local school districts meet the new mandates we insisted upon just last year.”

Bill Young, R-Fla., said the Democratic motion would deny House conferees the flexibility they need “to be able to negotiate, to move, to make decisions, and to bring back to this House a responsible” fiscal 2003 budget.

A yes vote backed higher education spending in 2003.

Allen and Michaud voted yes.

SENATE

Confirmation

Voting 99 for and none against, the Senate on Jan. 30 confirmed the nomination of Gordon R. England, 65, as deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. England had been secretary of the Navy, and before joining the administration in 2001, he was the executive vice president of General Dynamics Corp.

John Warner, R-Va., said England’s Pentagon experience qualifies him “to help avert…a tug of war between the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense with regard to budget matters.”

No senator spoke against the nominee.

A yes vote was to confirm England.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted yes. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, voted yes.


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