SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

September 29, 2011

Congressional roll call for weeks of Sept. 19 and 26, 2011

(Continued)

WASHINGTON — Voting yes: Scott Brown, R; John Kerry, D  

Voting no:   None

Not voting:   None

REPUBLICANS’ BUDGET DEFEAT: Voting 59 for and 36 against, the Senate on Sept. 23 tabled (killed) a House-passed GOP budget (HR 2608) to fund the government through Nov. 18 while providing $3.65 billion to help communities recover from natural disasters. Democratic opposition centered on the bill’s using $1 billion of cuts in a popular Department of Energy loan program for the U.S. auto industry to help offset the cost of the disaster aid. The vote left House Republicans in search of a replacement bill that could win passage before the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

A yes vote was to kill the House Republicans’ stopgap budget.

Voting yes: Kerry  

Voting no:   Brown  

Not voting:   None

TRADE ADJUSTMENT ASSISTANCE: Voting 69 for and 28 against the Senate on Sept. 22 renewed Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for workers displaced by foreign trade at a cost of $900 million over three years. The renewal was added to a broader trade bill (HR 2832) and sent to the House for pairing with U.S. free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

Begun in 1962, TAA provides job retraining and temporary financial support to workers whose jobs have been lost or curtailed as a result of an increase in imports or their company shifting work overseas. The program mainly benefits displaced workers in the manufacturing, service, government and farm sectors, but also funds professional assistance for companies injured by foreign trade (next issue).

Bob Casey, D-Pa., said: “This program for decades now has helped people get through crises and ... has allowed them to be trained and retrained for the jobs of the future. We need this program, our workers need it, and our economy needs it.”

Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, called TAA “a caustic program of dubious value. ...There is no evidence that TAA works. ...TAA continues to grow and TAA is on top of unemployment insurance that we are paying anyway, and it isn’t justified.”

A yes vote was to renew Trade Adjustment Assistance.

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