Issues before Congress last week
IN THE SEANTE
Senators voted, 98-0, to require the administration to begin funding its twofront war through normal budget rules rather than emergency. A yes vote was to subject Iraq-Afghanistan outlays to the same fiscal restraints faced by other initiatives.
Senators killed, 93-6, a Republican call for the administration to begin major troop withdrawals from Iraq. The amendment to the 2007 defense budget was a Republican effort to put Democrats on record on the political issue of U.S. longevity in Iraq. A yes vote was to kill the amendment.
War, Katrina spending
Senators voted, 98-1, to send President Bush the final version of a spending bill that includes $65.8 billion for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, raising outlays for the two theaters to $409 billion since 9/11. A yes vote was to approve the conference report.
IN THE HOUSE
Congressional pay raise
Members voted, 249-167, to affirm a pay increase for senators and House members set for January 2007. This set the stage for a 2 percent raise that will hike rank-and-file lawmakers' pay to $168,500. A yes vote backed a congressional pay raise.
U.S. airlines ownership
Members voted, 291-137, to block a Department of Transportation rule that would enable European airlines to buy into and help manage U.S. airlines. A yes vote was to block the proposal over arguments U.S. interests still would control American carriers.
Members voted, 266-158, to increase Amtrak's fiscal 2007 budget in HR 5576 from $900 million to $1.14 billion. But the rail agency will need at least $1.3 billion to remain solvent, according to debate. A yes vote was to raise Amtrak funding in the bill by $214 million.
Members refused, 183-245, to lift the 45-year U.S. economic embargo on Cuba. Under the sanctions, only American medical supplies and food can be sent to Cuba, but not with U.S. public or private financing. A yes vote backed free trade with Cuba.
Vehicle fuel standards
Members approved, 234-190, a sixfold increase in funds in HR 5576 for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration office in charge of vehicle fuel efficiency. A yes vote was to raise the bill's funding for the office from $1.3 million to $8 million
Members passed, 256-153, a Republican measure ruling out any deadline for removing U.S. troops from Iraq and promising U.S. staying power to help Iraq stabilize itself. Republican leaders denied Democrats a chance to offer a rival declaration. A yes vote was to approve the resolution.
War, Katrina spending
Members approved, 351-67, the conference report on an emergency spending bill that appropriates $65.8 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and $19.8 billion for Gulf Coast hurricane recovery, among other outlays. A yes vote was to approve the report.