WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week:
Two-year budget deal. Voting 332-94, the House on Thursday approved a two-year budget deal that would enable Congress to operate through September 2015 without real or threatened government shutdowns or lurches from one stopgap budget to the next. The measure (HJ Res 59) would soften the impact of sequestration on defense readiness and critical domestic programs; raise a variety of taxes and fees by $7 billion over 10 years; reduce deficit spending by $23 billion over 10 years; slightly raise discretionary spending to an average of $1.013 trillion per year in fiscal 2014-2015, and avert cuts in Medicare payments to doctors.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where speedy approval is expected.
Voting yes: Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), John Carney (D., Del.), Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., 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.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).
Extended jobless benefits. On a procedural vote of 227-195, the House on Thursday blocked a bid by Democrats for a direct vote on their amendment to provide three more months of unemployment checks for 1.3 million of the long-term jobless whose current allotment of extended benefits will expire Dec. 28. Democrats forced this vote after the Republican leadership refused to include the extension in a two-year budget agreement (HJ Res 59, above). The $6 billion cost of the extended benefits was to have been offset by cuts in farm subsidies.
A yes vote opposed the bid for extended jobless benefits.
Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, and Smith.
Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Cartwright, Fattah, and Schwartz.
2014 military budget. Voting 350-69, the House on Thursday approved a bill (HR 3304) to authorize a $625.1 billion military budget for fiscal 2014, including $80.7 billion for actions in Afghanistan, Iraq and other war zones; up to $60 billion for active-duty and retirement health care; $17.8 billion for nuclear-weapons programs run by the Department of Energy; $10 billion for the U.S. Special Operations Command, and $9.3 billion for space- and land-based missile defenses.
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where quick passage was expected.
Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Cartwright, Dent, Fattah, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.
Melvin Watt confirmation. Voting 57-41, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed the nomination of Melvin L. Watt, 68, a Democratic congressman from North Carolina, to a five-year term as director the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The agency is the lead regulator of housing markets, overseeing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks and other players in America's secondary mortgage market.
A yes vote was to confirm Watt.
Voting yes: Cory Booker (D., N.J.), Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).
Voting no: Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
Patricia Millett confirmation. Voting 56-38, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed Patricia Ann Millett as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Millett, 50, worked most recently in private practice, and before that she was an assistant solicitor general in Democratic and Republican administrations. She became the first judge confirmed under new Senate rules that set a simple-majority vote as the standard for advancing presidential nominees other than Supreme Court selections.
A yes vote was to confirm Millett.
Voting yes: Booker, Carper, Casey, and Menendez.
Voting no: Toomey.
Not voting: Coons.
Cornelia Pillard confirmation. Voting 51-44, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Cornelia T.L. Pillard, 52, to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A Georgetown University law professor, Pillard held high Justice Department positions in the administrations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
A yes vote was to confirm Pillard.
Voting yes: Booker, Casey, Coons, and Menendez.
Voting no: Toomey.
Not voting: Carper.