WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week. The Senate was not in session.
All this became moot three days later when House Republicans reversed course and accepted the Senate bill without changes. The acceptance was by "unanimous consent" with no recorded vote.
Begun this year, the tax cut is a stimulus under which 160 million U.S. workers contribute 4.2 percent of their pay to Social Security, down from the standard 6.2 percent. The House and Senate will seek agreement in early 2012 on extending the Social Security, unemployment compensation, and Medicare initiatives through December.
A yes vote was to shelve the Senate-passed version of HR 3630.
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.).
Republicans and Democrats differ mainly over how to offset the tens of billons it would cost to extend the tax cut, extended jobless benefits, and Medicare "doc fix" from March through December. House Republicans voted Dec. 13 to pay for the extensions by steps such as raising Medicare premiums on seniors earning more than $80,000, freezing federal workers' pay, cutting the federal workforce, and barring millionaires from receiving unemployment benefits or food stamps. The only "pay for" so far approved by the Senate is an increase in fees that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac charge the home-mortgage industry. Both the House and Senate versions of HR 3630 include language to advance the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline between Canada and Texas.
A yes vote backed the Democratic motion.
Voting yes: Andrews, Brady, Carney, Fattah, Holden and Schwartz.
Voting no: Dent, Fitzpatrick, Gerlach, LoBiondo, Meehan, Pitts, Runyan and Smith.
This week. Congress has adjourned for the year. The 2012 session is scheduled to begin Jan. 17 in the House and Jan. 23 in the Senate.