Area Votes in Congress

Posted: March 25, 2012

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

House

Medicare cost controls. Voting 223-181, the House on Thursday sent the Senate a bill (HR 5) to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board established by the 2010 health law to use expert advice from outside of government to slow the growth of Medicare costs. Starting in 2015, this panel will have power to restrain any annual spending increases for Medicare that exceed official per-capita projections tied to factors such as inflation and the gross domestic product.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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.).

Senate

Relaxing rules, raising capital. Voting 73-26, the Senate on Thursday passed a bill (HR 3606) to relax major financial-reform laws of the last 10 years in order to help small and midsize businesses rapidly enter capital markets, attract investors, and create jobs. The bill defines a new category of firms with annual revenue under $1 billion that could float initial public offerings (IPOs) without first having to meet Securities and Exchange Commission requirements in areas such as auditing and transparency. For these companies, the bill would waive several investor- protection and corporate-governance rules set by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley and 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-regulation laws.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

Voting yes: Thomas Carper (D., Del.), Bob Casey (D., Pa.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.).

Voting no: Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.).

Internet stock touts. Voting 64-35, the Senate on Thursday added requirements to HR 3606 (above) for stricter auditing and transparency on the part of start-up companies seeking to raise capital from large pools of small investors over the Internet, a practice known as crowd-funding.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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

Voting no: Toomey.

This week. The House will take up a temporary extension of surface-transportation programs, a proposed Republican budget for fiscal 2013 and later years, and several competing budget plans. The Senate will consider bills to improve the Postal Service and repeal taxpayer subsidies for oil companies. Congress will begin a two-week recess at week's end.

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