WASHINGTON – Here’s how Maine’s members of Congress were recorded on major roll call votes taken late Friday, Dec. 8, and early Saturday, Dec. 9, the final day of the 109th Congress. The 110th Congress will convene Jan. 3.

HOUSE India nuclear deal

Voting 330 for and 59 against, the House on Dec. 8 approved the conference report on an administration plan to sell U.S. nuclear technology, fuel and reactors to India for civilian purposes, even though India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The bill (HR 5682) requires India to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, open its civilian program to international inspection and restrict nuclear exports. On a non-record vote, the Senate sent the bill to President Bush for his signature.

Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, said the agreement has “checks and balances that would support the idea we are not promoting the proliferation of nuclear use (but) helping to provide for the safeuse of nuclear devices, particularly in the civilian area.”

Edward Markey, D-Mass., said: “India has refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Iran is a signatory.We are asking the U.N. to isolate Iran to force it to comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” while telling India it can disregard the treaty.

A yes vote was to approve the conference report.

U.S. Rep. Tom Allen, D-1, voted yes. U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud, D-2, voted yes.

Taxes, Medicare, drilling

Voting 367 for and 45 against, the House on Dec. 8 sent the Senate a bill (HR 6111) to renew an array of targeted tax breaks for businesses and individuals at a projected cost of $40 billion over five years. The bill would open 8.3 million acres in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas extraction, with Gulf Coast states getting a share of the new royalties, and would cancel a five percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors set for Jan. 1

Among the bill’s tax breaks are a research and development credit for businesses; income tax deductions for college tuition; deductions for state and local sales taxes paid in states without state income taxes; a provision allowing teachers to deduct up to $250 for the purchase of classroom supplies, and employer credits for the hiring of persons leaving welfare.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Allen and Michaud voted yes.

Congress pay, budget

Voting 370 for and 20 against, the House on Dec. 8 sent the Senate a measure (HJ Res 102) to fund most agencies on a stopgap basis until Feb. 15 and delay until then a 2 percent congressional pay raise set for Jan. 1. The Senate later passed this measure on a non-record vote.

The stopgap budget became necessary when Congress adjourned for the year without passing nine of the 11 appropriations bills for fiscal 2007. Regular 2007 budgets were enacted for the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. Under this bill, rank-and-file congressional salaries will remain at $165,200 until at least Feb. 15.

A yes vote approved the measure.

Allen and Michaud voted yes.

Vietnam trade

Voting 212 for and 184 against, the House on Dec. 8 sent the Senate a bill (HR 6406) establishing permanent, normal U.S. trade with Vietnam. The bill would repeal “Jackson-Vanik” trade sanctions now imposed on the Communist state over its human rights practices, and thus would qualify it for the World Trade Organization. The bill also granted increased access to U.S. markets to Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Allen and Michaud voted no.

SENATE

Trade, taxes, drilling

Voting 79 for and nine against, the Senate on Dec. 9 sent President Bush a bill (HR 6111, above) to renew nearly two dozen business and personal tax breaks, avert a planned five percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors and open 8.3 million acres in the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas extraction. The bill establishes buffer zones of at least 125 miles between the Florida coast and the new drilling area. The bill includes a House-passed measure (HR 6406, above) establishing permanent, normal U.S. trade with Vietnam and liberalizing U.S. trade with Haiti, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and nations in sub-Saharan Africa.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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


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