Saturday, December 11, 2010

Anthony Weiner has a good day in Congress & Every Republican voted AGAINST funding the Military and Food Safety

H.R. 5987, the Seniors Protection Act of 2010, failed to get a ⅔ majority vote on roll call 611. The supermajority was required because the bill was brought up under a suspension of the rules. A similar bill was defeated in the Senate, S. 3985, when the upper chamber failed to invoke cloture on Record Vote 267.

These measures were designed to provide a modest measure of relief to senior citizens receiving Social Security. There will be no cost of living [COLA] although expenses for seniors continue to rise. H.R. 5987, introduced by North Dakota Democratic Representative Earl Pomeroy, and S. 3985, introduced by Vermont's Independent Senator Bernie Sanders, provide for a onetime payment of $250.00 to seniors.

The vote margin for H.R. 5987 was 254 in favor and 153 against with 27 Members not voting. Twenty-six Republicans voted for this bill while twelve Democrats voted against passage. Had the Democrats held together this bill would have easily passed, 272 votes were needed to satisfy the supermajority requirement.

We may see H.R. 5987 again but I wonder why the Majority's Leadership didn't wait until later in the day to present the measure. The House took up H. Res. 1752 which waives the ⅔ majority requisite; a requirement of clause 6(a) of rule XIII with respect to consideration of certain resolutions reported from the Committee on Rules, and providing for consideration of motions to suspend the rules.

H. Res 1752 passed on roll call 615 by a margin of 215 to 194 with 24 Members not voting. Twenty-seven Democrats opposed this rules change. It will be interesting to see which resolutions are forthcoming under the provisions of H. Res. 1752.

H.R. 6495, the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act of 2010, still required the ⅔ supermajority on roll call 616. It didn't get it. This measure failed by a vote of 214 to 193 with 26 Members not voting. Twenty-seven Democrats voted against the bill which needed 272 votes to satisfy the supermajority requirement.

H.R. 6495 would require operators of underground coal mines, underground metal mines, or other underground mines containing specified concentrations of flammable gasses to improve employee safety measures and comply with new standards regarding employee rights. The CBO reported that the budgetary effect of H.R. 6495 would be a reduction in the deficit of $115 million from fiscal year 2011 through 2020.

New York's fiery Democratic Representative Anthony Weiner's H.R. 4501, the Guarantee of a Legitimate Deal Act, passed the House on roll call vote 620. This bill also required a ⅔ supermajority, and it got it. The margin of victory was 324 in favor to 81 against with 28 Members not voting, 270 was needed for passage. No Democrats voted against H.R. 4501 while 85 Republicans voted for the bill.

I am astonished that Weiner didn't call this the "Glenn Beck Deceptive Gold Advertising Act." Glenn Beck has notoriously served as the huckster in chief for one of the worst gold rip off businesses. This bill defines an "online purchaser of precious metals" as a person who is in the business of purchasing jewelry or other precious metals directly from consumers and maintains a website through which such person solicits such transactions.

The legislation, if passed in the Senate, will make it unlawful for any online purchaser of precious metals to: (1) refine or otherwise permanently destroy an item of jewelry or precious metal before receiving an affirmative acceptance of such purchaser's offer from the consumer to whom the offer was made; (2) fail to promptly return to the consumer any jewelry or other precious metal if the consumer declines the purchase offer; or (3) fail to insure any shipment in an amount equal to either 60% of the melt value or the amount the consumer insured the shipment for.

Violations under this bill will be treated as unfair and deceptive acts or practices under the Federal Trade Commission Act. The Federal Trade Commission [FTC] will be required to enforce this Act as though all applicable terms and provisions of that Act were incorporated into and made a part of this Act.

Each and every House Republican voting in roll call 622 said no to America's troops. H.R. 3082, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011, was back before the House after passing the Senate with an Amendment. This bill funds America's military. This bill is also the vehicle for passing the Food Safety legislation. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, S. 510, is incorporated as Division "D" of H.R. 3082.

H.R. 5281, the Removal Clarification Act of 2010, was back from the Senate with Amendments. This bill clarifies the judicial code about when and how to remove cases from state court to federal court when suit is filed against the United States, a federal agency or officer, or specified others; or a criminal prosecution is commenced in a state court against any of them.

This bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent. It is not controversial, it's just housekeeping. That didn't stop the House from being deeply divided. The bill passed on roll call 625 with 216 in favor and 198 against.

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