WASHINGTON – Here’s how Maine’s members of Congress were recorded on major roll call votes in the week ending April 4.

HOUSE Deposit insurance

Voting 411 for and 11 against, the House on April 2 passed a bill (HR 522) raising government insurance for deposits in banks, savings-and-loans and federally chartered credit unions from $100,000 to $130,000 per account. The bill increases protection for retirement accounts from $100,000 to $260,000. Both ceilings would be periodically adjusted for inflation. The bill merges the Bank Insurance Fund (BIF) and the Savings Association Insurance Fund (SAIF) into a single taxpayer-backed fund for insuring deposits.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

Social Security

Voting 396 for and 28 against, the House on April 2 passed a bill (HR 743) requiring state and local government employees to pay into Social Security for at least five years to qualify both for Social Security benefits and a full government pension. Also, the bill tightens controls on third parties appointed to handle checks for minors and the physically and mentally impaired.

Kevin Brady, R-Tex., said: “If we insist on keeping this (government pension) loophole open, Congress, I think, has forfeited any future credibility to claiming to protect Social Security for our seniors. We will rightly be labeled hypocrites.”

Ruben Hinojosa, D-Tex., said the bill would force public servants “to quit their jobs prematurely and work in the private sector for five years before they retire,” worsening the nationwide shortage of teachers and public safety employees.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Allen voted yes. Michaud voted no.

Vaccination

Voting 184 for and 206 against, the House on March 31 rejected a bill (HR 1463) to provide compensation when health workers are disabled or killed by smallpox vaccinations. The bill sought to spur vaccination of the professionals who, in turn, would inoculate the public in the event of smallpox terrorism. In part, the bill provided death and total-disability benefits up to $262,000. But critics called it inadequate to encourage large numbers of health workers to join the voluntary federal program.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Allen and Michaud voted no.

SENATE

Seaport security

Voting 52 for and 47 against, the Senate on April 2 tabled (killed) an amendment to add $1 billion for securing U.S. seaports to a bill (S 762) appropriating $78.7 billion mainly for war in Iraq, homeland security and airline bailouts.

Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said “the major factors in this bill are defense, homeland defense and aviation industry relief. I urge the Senate to…confine it to that.”

A yes vote opposed a $1 billion add-on for port security.

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

Attacks on airliners

The Senate on April 3 voted, 50 for and 47 against, to table (kill) a bid to earmark $30 million in S 762 (above) for equipping commercial airliners with technology to repel rockets from shoulder-mounted launchers. Military planes, Air Force One and Israels El Al airliners all possess similar countermeasures, according to debate.

Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said it “defies belief” that the government is not pursuing such protective measures for commercial aviation. “We are saying we should fiddle while terrorism burns.”

John McCain, R-Ariz., called the amendment “premature” and urged a Transportation Security Administration study of the matter. He said it is “not that easy” to transfer technology from military to civilian aircraft.

A yes vote opposed the spending requirement.

Snowe and Collins voted yes.

Judge Tymkovich

Voting 58 for and 41 against, the Senate on April 1 confirmed Timothy M. Tymkovich, 46, a former solicitor general of Colorado, as a judge for the Tenth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which encompasses Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and Wyoming. Democrats challenged his views on the environment and gay rights while Republicans praised his public record.

Wayne Allard, R-Colo., said the nominee served in Colorado “with distinction,” demonstrating “a capacity to work closely with…Democrats as well as Republicans as solicitor general.

A yes vote supported the nominee.

Snowe and Collins voted yes.


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