WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week:

House

Tax cuts, jobless insurance. Voting 277-148, the House sent the White House a package of tax cuts and economic-stimulus measures negotiated by President Obama and congressional Republicans. The bill (HR 4853) would add $858 billion to the national debt over the next two years.

The bill would extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy and middle class through 2012, fund jobless checks for seven million long-term unemployed through 2011, and let the estate tax rise next year to a top rate of 35 percent rather than the scheduled 45 percent. The bill also would reduce the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax to 4.2 percent for one year, saving those with incomes of $40,000, for example, nearly $1,700.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: John Adler (D., N.J.), Robert E. Andrews (D., N.J.), Robert A. Brady (D., Pa.), Michael N. Castle (R., Del.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), Tim Holden (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), Patrick Murphy (D., Pa.), Joseph R. Pitts (R., Pa.), Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.), Joe Sestak (D., Pa.), and Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.).

Stricter estate tax. Voting 194-233, the House on Dec. 16 defeated an amendment to strip HR 4853 (above) of its language that would set a top estate-tax rate of 35 percent and exempt inheritances of up to $5 million for individuals and $10 million for couples from taxation. In place of those levels, the amendment sought to impose a top rate of 45 percent and exemptions of $3.5 million for singles and $7 million for couples, leaving 97 percent of U.S. estates free of federal taxation.

A yes vote backed a stricter estate tax.

Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Fattah, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Adler, Castle, Dent, Holden, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.

Not voting: Gerlach.

"Don't ask, don't tell." Voting 250-175, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 2965) to repeal the 17-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" law that bars gays from serving openly in the U.S. military.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Adler, Andrews, Brady, Castle, Dent, Fattah, Holden, Murphy, Schwartz, and Sestak.

Voting no: Gerlach, LoBiondo, Pitts, and Smith.

Senate

"Don't ask, don't tell" repeal. Voting 65-31, the Senate gave final congressional approval to a bill (HR 2965) repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" law that bars gays from serving openly in the military. This occurred hours after the Senate mustered 63 votes for ending long-running Republican blockage of the bill.

A yes vote was to send the bill to Obama for his signature.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Arlen Specter (D., Pa.).

Dream Act. Voting 55-41, the Senate failed to reach 60 votes needed to advance a bill (HR 5281) that would enable sons and daughters of illegal immigrants who have been in the United States since 2005 or earlier to gain a path to citizenship by first serving in the military or completing two years of college. This killed the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act this year and perhaps for years to come.

A yes vote was to advance the Dream Act.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.

Tax cuts, jobless insurance. Voting 81-19, the Senate sent the House an $858 billion deficit-spending bill (HR 4853, above) to extend Bush-era tax cuts, provide jobless checks for the long-term unemployed, and fund economic-stimulus measures. In addition to provisions noted above, the bill would continue through 2012 the 15 percent top rate for capital gains and dividends; enable businesses to write off 100 percent of capital purchases next year and 50 percent in 2012; ease the impact of the alternative minimum tax on middle-class filers for one year; and extend for two years the $1,000 child tax credit, the earned-income tax credit for the working poor, and the American opportunity tax credit for reducing college costs.

Menendez said the bill "will ensure that middle-class taxes don't go up Jan. 1, that laid-off workers can provide for their families while they continue to look for work, that an average household in my home state will receive $1,400 in payroll tax relief - and it will protect 1.6 million middle-class New Jerseyans from a surprise Alternative minimum tax hike."

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Carper, Casey, Coons, Menendez, and Specter.

Voting no: Lautenberg.

Tax-bill amendment. Voting 43-57, the Senate refused to take up a substitute measure that would strip HR 4853 (above) of its tax-cut extension for incomes over $200,000 while devoting half the savings to deficit reduction and half to infrastructure projects. The amendment also proposed a one-time $250 payment to Social Security beneficiaries and disabled veterans and added stricter estate-tax rules.

A yes vote was to advance the amendment.

Voting yes: Carper, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez, and Specter.

Voting no: Casey.

Permanent tax cuts. Voting 37-63, the Senate refused to take up a deficit-spending amendment to HR 4853 (above) that sought to permanently extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts, permanently repeal the estate tax, and permanently fix the alternative minimum tax to stop it from creeping into middle-class brackets.

A yes vote was to advance the amendment.

Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, Lautenberg, Menendez and Specter.

This week. Both chambers will vote on a bill to fund government operations until early next year, while the Senate will continue to debate the New START arms-reduction treaty with Russia.