Voterama in Congress for the week ending April 27, 2012
How Illinois lawmakers voted in Congress Week ending April 27
Updated: April 30, 2012 11:18AM
Financial Deregulation: Members voted, 312-111, to exempt derivatives transactions by credit unions, small banks and rural lenders from transparency and collateral rules set by the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law. A yes vote was to waive the regulations on grounds that they raise the cost of credit for small businesses. (HR 3336)
Student-Loan Interest Rates: Members voted, 215-195, to prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling on July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The GOP bill would offset the $6 billion cost with cuts in the 2010 health law’s preventive-care section. A yes vote was to pass HR 4628.
Women’s, Children’s Care: Members defeated, 178-231, a Democratic bid to prevent cuts in health-care spending in the GOP student-loan bill (HR 4628, above) from reducing benefits in or raising the cost of private health insurance for women and children. A yes vote backed the motion.
Cybersecurity, Liberty: Members expanded, 248-168, data-sharing between businesses and federal security agencies to bolster U.S. defenses against Internet attacks by terrorists, foreign government and others. A yes vote backed HR 3523 over arguments it violates civil liberties.
Postal Service Overhaul: Senators voted, 62-37, to make the U.S. Postal Service profitable within a few years by steps such as reducing its workforce by 18 percent through buyouts and early retirements and cutting contributions to employee healthcare. A yes vote was to pass a bill (S 1789) that keeps post offices open and preserves Saturday deliveries, at least for the next year or two.
Collective-Bargaining Rights: Senators refused, 23-76, to strip U.S. Postal Service employees of collective-bargaining rights. Backers said this would trim the agency’s high labor costs while foes called it wrong to tamper with such a fundamental workplace right. A yes vote backed the amendment to S 1789 (above).
Local Postal Autonomy: Senators defeated, 35-64, an amendment to S 1789 (above) to start testing a plan in which local post offices would have autonomy to cut costs, define service levels and try innovative programs without waiting for approval from U.S. Postal Service headquarters. A yes vote backed the amendment.
Union Dues, Political Donations: Senators defeated, 46-53, a Republican bid to add the so-called “Paycheck Protection Act” to S 1789 (above). A yes vote backed a proposed law under which U.S. Postal Service workers would have to grant permission before their union dues could be spent for political purposes.
Violence Against Women: Senators renewed, 68-31, the Violence Against Women Act and expanded it to cover gay men and battered undocumented immigrants and Native Americans on reservations, A yes vote was to pass a bill (S 1925) also protecting children and the elderly from abuse.
Republican Substitute: Senators defeated, 37-62, a GOP substitute for S 1925 (above) that also extended coverage to gay men but which was less comprehensive and costly than the underlying bipartisan bill. A yes vote backed a plan that dealt harshly with pornographers and child-abusers.
Votes on Unions: Senators failed, 45-54, to kill a National Labor Relations Board rule that speeds the pace for holding workers’ votes on whether to unionize. A yes vote opposed the new rule on grounds it denies employers time they need to campaign against a union shop. (SJ Res 36)
Key votes ahead
Congress is in recess in the week of April 30. In the week of May 7, the Senate will take up on student-loan interest rates, while the House schedule is to be announced.