WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week:
U.S. debt priorities. Voting 221-207, the House on Thursday sent the Senate a Republican bill (HR 807) giving payment priority to bondholders, such as domestic pension funds and foreign governments, if the Treasury were unable to meet all of its debt obligations. Social Security trust funds would be next in line, followed in no special order by the thousands of fiscal obligations - everything from military salaries to education grants to veterans benefits - routinely funded by the Treasury.
A yes vote backed the Republican bill.
Voting yes: Michael Fitzpatrick (R., Pa.), Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.), 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.), Matt Cartwright (D., Pa.), Charles W. Dent (R., Pa.), Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.), Frank A. LoBiondo (R., N.J.), and Allyson Y. Schwartz (D., Pa.).
"Comp time" for overtime. Voting 223-204, the House on Wednesday sent the Senate a bill (HR 1406) authorizing employers in the private sector to offer "compensatory time off" in place of extra cash for working overtime. Under the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to pay "time and a half" for each hour worked over 40 hours per week. Under this bill, they could instead provide 11/2 hours off for each hour over 40 if that is agreeable to the employee.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Voting yes: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, and Pitts.
Voting no: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Cartwright, Fattah, LoBiondo, Meehan, Runyan, Schwartz, and Smith.
Online sales taxes. Voting 69-27, the Senate on April 25 sent the House a bill (S 743) requiring online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes and send the revenue to the taxing jurisdiction where the customer lives. At present, firms selling over the Internet are obligated to collect sales taxes only if they have a physical presence in the particular state or locality, giving them a cost advantage over brick-and-mortar stores, which by law must add sales taxes to purchases. The bill exempts Internet retailers with less than $1 million annually in out-of-state sales. It does not raise taxes, but facilitates the collection of an estimated $23 billion in sales taxes that now goes unpaid.
A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.).
Voting no: Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).
Not voting: Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.).
Guns at water projects. Voting 56-43, the Senate on Wednesday failed to advance a gun-rights amendment offered to a water-resources bill (S 608) still in debate. The measure sought to make it legal for visitors to Army Corps of Engineers projects to carry concealed handguns. Concealed-carry is legal on National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service lands but outlawed on many other federal properties.
A yes vote backed the amendment.
Voting yes: Toomey.
Voting no: Carper, Casey, Coons, and Menendez.
Not voting: Lautenberg.
This week. The House will take up higher hurdles for financial regulations and a repeal of the 2010 health law, while the Senate will resume work on a water-projects bill.