Here are the most asked-about votes of 2010 with links to how your lawmakers voted:
1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Reconciliation
Passed (56-43, 1 Not Voting)
The Senate passed the final version of a bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system in March using a procedure known as reconciliation, which allows the Senate to bypass a filibuster with a simple majority.
The bill mandates that individuals buy health insurance with exceptions for certain religious groups and those who cannot afford coverage. Those who do not buy insurance will be subject to a tax.
Under the bill, beginning in 2014 insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, and cannot drop coverage of people who become ill. In addition, a section of the bill makes the federal government the sole originator of student loans.
2. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Agreed to (60-39)
The Senate passed the final version of the financial regulation reform legislation in July. The bill creates new regulatory procedures to assess risks posed by large financial institutions and facilitate the orderly dissolution of failing firms that pose a threat to the economy.
It will also create a new federal agency to oversee consumer financial products, bring the derivatives market under significant federal regulation and give shareholders and regulators greater say on executive pay.
3. Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act
Agreed to (61-39)
The Senate passed this bill in August to provide $16.1 billion to extend increased Medicaid assistance to states and $10 billion in funding for states to create or retain teachers’ jobs. The cost of the programs will be offset by changing foreign tax provisions, ending increased food stamp benefits beginning in April 2014 and rescinding previously enacted spending.
4. Nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court
The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in August. The former dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan had served as Obama’s solicitor general since March of 2009 and was the first woman to hold the position. She replaced Justice John Paul Stevens, who had been appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975.
5. 2011 Defense Authorization, Cloture
Rejected (56-43, 1 Not Voting)
The Senate rejected this attempt to start debate on the 2011 Defense spending bill, which would authorize $725.7 billion in discretionary funding for defense programs. The bill would have also repealed a 1993 law that codified the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning military service by openly gay men and women.
- Honoring Elena Kagan (whitehouse.gov)
- Majority Of Senators Backing Elena Kagan On Eve Of Final Supreme Court Confirmation Vote (huffingtonpost.com)
Commenting on Newt Gingrich’s recent suggestion that Obama was displaying anti-colonial Kenyan behavior, Powell, on Meet The Press yesterday, warned Americans to “think carefully” about Gingrich’s accusations and went on to debunk some of the right-wing’s conspiracy theories:
I would just tell my fellow Americans, think carefully about what was just said. Think carefully about some of the stuff that is coming across the blogs and airwaves. Let’s make a couple of points. One, the President was born in the United States of America. Let’s get rid of that one, let’s get rid of the birther thing. Let’s attack him on policy, not nonsense. Next, he is a Christian, he is not a Muslim…And I think we have to be careful when we take things like Dinesh D’Souza’s book, which is the source of all of this, and suggest that somehow the President of the United States is channeling his dead father through some Kenyan spirits. This doesn’t make any sense. Mr. Gingrich does these things from time to time with a big, bold statement. He did it with Sotomayor, she is a “reverse racist.” He did it with Elena Kagan, she ought to be taken off the nomination for Supreme Court justice. And he does it occasionally to make news and also to stir up dust.
It’s good to have a Republican comment on other Republicans when they are such schmucks.
Here’s the video:
- Colin Powell Knocks Down Gingrich and Birthers (themoderatevoice.com)
- Colin Powell decries attacks on Obama (msnbc.msn.com)
- Gingrich Draws Fire For Remarks About Obama’s “Kenyan Worldview” (outsidethebeltway.com)
Despite the stalling and extremely negative activities of all but five Republicans, Kagan was approved by a vote of 63 to 47. Ben Nelson was the only Democrat to vote against her… and both Independents voted for her.
After three days of “debate” in the Senate (including some really upsetting presentations by Senator McCain, who made me glad he wasn’t President, and others), the vote was predictable and fell right in line with the things we knew would happen.
Will Kagan change the overall point of view of the Supreme Court. It is doubtful. But she got in and I congratulate her.
With a vote of 13 to 6 the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to submit Elena Kagan to the full Congress, where it is expected she will pass her final nomination procedure before taking the Supreme Court seat of the retiring Justice John Paul Stevens.
Lindsey Graham was the only Republican on the Committee to vote in favor of the nomination. Democrats have more than enough votes to confirm Kagan in the full Senate, but it is expected that one or two more Republicans may come in on the vote…but don’t hold your breath.