Voterama in Congress, week ending June 22, 2012
How Illinois lawmakers voted in Congress Week ending June 22
Updated: June 29, 2012 11:44AM
Energy vs. Environment: Members voted, 248-163, to expand oil drilling offshore and on federal lands and shelve new environmental rules for refineries. A yes vote backed a bill (HR 4480) that also changes the Clean Air Act by requiring its regulations to be based primarily on economic impact, not health factors, which is the existing standard.
Oil-Industry Tax Breaks: Members defeated, 166-243, a Democratic bid to bar Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and BP from receiving oil and gas drilling leases under HR 4480 (above) unless they relinquish their federal tax breaks, which total $4 billion annually. A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.
Clean-Air Rules: Senators defeated, 46-53, a Republican bid to nullify the Environmental Protection Agency’s first national curbs on air pollution from coal- and oil-fueled power plants. A yes vote opposed a set of rules, soon to take effect, that will give plants generating electricity at least three years to add scrubbers and other technology for cleansing emissions. (SJ Res 37)
New Farm Law: Senators sent the House, 64-35, a bill shaping U.S. farm and food programs for five years at a 10-year cost of nearly $1 trillion. A yes vote was to pass S 3240, which ends direct payments to farmers, subsidizes crop insurance to protect their incomes and funds an expansion of food stamps for low-income households.
Crop-insurance Subsidies: Senators voted, 66-33, to curb taxpayer subsidies of crop insurance for farmers earning more than $750,000 annually. Expanded crop insurance is a key element of S 3240 (above). A yes vote was to trim subsidies by 15 percent for the top-earning 1 percent of U.S. farmers.
Food-Stamps Eligibility: Senators refused, 43-56, to require states to apply stricter asset tests for determining food-stamps eligibility. A yes vote backed an amendment to S 3240 (above) that sought to end policies in 40 states that allow applicants with assets above certain levels to qualify for food stamps.
Key votes ahead
In the week of June 25, the House will take up a contempt citation against Atty. Gen. Eric Holder. Both chambers will seek agreement on long-stalled bills to fund highway projects and cap interest rates on student loans. Congress begins a week-long Fourth of July recess at week’s end.