Voting yes: John Kerry, D
Voting no: Scott Brown, R
Not voting: None
GOP PAYROLL RATES: Voting 20 for and 78 against, the Senate on Dec. 1 defeated a Republican bill (S 1931) to renew for one year the existing law under which employees contribute 4.2 percent of their pay up to $106,800 to the Social Security Trust Fund. The plan also would raise Medicare premiums for millionaires and billionaires. Republicans would offset lost revenue and generate $111 billion in deficit reduction mainly by gradually cutting the federal workforce by 10 percent and freezing federal workers pay through 2015.
Dean Heller, R-Nev., said; “By asking millionaires and billionaires to pay higher premiums for government health care, my proposal asks the richest Americans to do more, just like my colleagues on the other side of the aisle ask that they should.”
Robert Casey, D-Pa., said the GOP bill “does not help small business. What we should be doing is cutting the payroll tax in half for employees and cutting it in half for employers so we can help small businesses. ... All (this bill) does is take the existing cut in the payroll tax and keep that in place.”
A yes vote was to pass the Republican bill.
Voting yes: Brown
Voting no: None
Not voting: Kerry
2012 MILITARY BUDGET: Voting 93 for and seven against, the Senate on Dec. 1 sent to conference with the House a $662 billion military budget for fiscal 2012, including $117.2 billion for war in Afghanistan and Iraq, $52.5 billion for the military’s health care system and $10.3 billion for missile-defense programs. The bill (S 1867) raises military pay by 1.6 percent, imposes tougher economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program and expands U.S. support of anti-narcotics efforts in South and Central America, Central Asia and West Africa. The bill authorizes $12.8 billion for training and equipping Afghan security forces, $400 million for infrastructure projects in Afghanistan and $508 million for the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program that destroys nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union. Additionally, the bill caps personnel levels at 562,000 for the Army, 332,800 for the Air Force, 325,700 for the Navy and 202,100 for the Marine Corps.
The bill drew a presidential veto threat because it sets a presumption of indefinite military detention rather than civilian criminal prosecution of terrorist suspects (next issue).
Carl Levin, D-Mich., said America has “over 96,000 U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines on the ground in Afghanistan, with 23,000 more remaining in Iraq. While there are issues on which we may disagree, we all know we must provide our troops with the support they need as long as they remain in harm’s way.”
Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said America’s military presence in Afghanistan should be ended sooner than the 2014 deadline set by President Obama. “Our citizens remind us that the United States has been at war in Afghanistan for over 10 years, the longest war in American history ... at a terrible price.”
A yes vote was to pass the bill.