WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week:
Business tax cuts. Voting 235-173, the House on Thursday sent the Senate a bill (HR 9) providing a 20 percent income-tax cut to virtually all U.S. partnerships and corporations with fewer than 500 workers as a spur for economic growth. The break would be available to firms having from one to 499 employees, many of which meet the federal definition of "small business." Because the deduction would be capped at 50 percent of wages paid, companies would have an incentive to hire new workers or give pay raises to existing ones. But the bill does not require firms to use the benefit to expand payrolls, and they could receive it even if they were laying off workers or sending jobs abroad.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Voting yes: Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Pat Meehan (R., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Jon Runyan (R., N.J.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
Voting no: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), and Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.).
"Buffett Rule" on taxes. Voting 51-45, the Senate on Monday failed to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a bill (S 2230) to add the "Buffett Rule" to the U.S. Tax Code. The rule is named after investor Warren Buffett, who says it is wrong for wealthy people such as himself to pay taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries pay. The bill would impose a minimum tax of 30 percent on households with at least $1 million in income from salaries and/or investments.
A yes vote was to advance the bill.
Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).
Voting no: Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
Postal Service overhaul. Voting 74-22, the Senate on Tuesday started debate on a bill (S 1789) aimed at putting the money-losing U.S. Postal Service on a profitable basis by Sept. 30, 2015, mainly through a restructuring that would sharply cut payroll, retirement, and health-care costs. The House has not yet taken up the issue.
A yes vote was to begin debating the bill.
Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, and Menendez.
Voting no: Toomey.