U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-Hopkinsville: (202) 225-3115; (270) 885-8079
U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis, R-Cecilia: (202) 225-3501; (270) 765-4360 U.S.
Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville: (202) 225-5401; (502) 582-5129 U.S.
Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Hebron: (202) 225-3465; (859) 426-0080 U.S.
Rep. Hal Rogers, R-Somerset: (202) 225-4601; (606) 679-8346 U.S.
Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Versailles: (202) 225-4706 (859) 219-1366
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, Republican: (202) 224-2541; (859) 224-8286
U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning, Republican: (202) 224-4343; (859) 341-2602
Here's how area members of Congress were recorded on major roll call votes last week:
HOUSING RESCUE: Voting 272 for and 152 against, the House on Wednesday sent the Senate a bill (HR 3221) that authorizes a standby taxpayer bailout of the private companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, allows up to 400,000 troubled mortgages to be reworked into government-backed loans, allows $7,500 tax credits to certain first-time home buyers, and grants $4 billion to help communities and non-profits acquire and market vacant, foreclosed properties. Additionally, the bill raises the national debt limit from $9.8 trillion to $10.6 trillion; approves $11 billion in tax-exempt bonds that communities would use to refinance troubled mortgages and provide affordable rental housing; allows taxpayers who do not itemize deductions to treat $500 or $1,000 of their 2008 property taxes as a federal tax deduction, and raises to as high as $625,000 the maximum loan that can be federally insured. The standby bailout, projected to cost taxpayers up to $25 billion if ever invoked, authorizes the Treasury to use means such as stock purchases, cash infusions and favorable lending to shore up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which own or insure more than $5 trillion in mortgages, more than 40 percent of the nation's total. A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Voting yes: Yarmuth, Chandler
Voting no: Whitfield, Lewis, Davis, Rogers
STRATEGIC PETROLEUM RESERVE: Voting 268 for and 157 against, the House on Thursday failed to reach a two-thirds majority needed to pass a bill (HR 6578) requiring President Bush to gradually diminish the Strategic Petroleum Reserve by 10 percent over the next several months, adding about 500,000 barrels of oil daily to the world market. The drawdown would reduce the quantity of taxpayer-owned oil in the SPR's Gulf Coast salt caverns from about 700 million barrels to 630 million barrels. A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Yes: Whitfield, Yarmuth, Chandler
No: Lewis, Davis, Rogers
GLOBAL AIDS FUNDING: Voting 303 for and 115 against, the House on Thursday passed a bill (HR 5501) authorizing $50 billion over five years for U.S. support of international programs to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The bill earmarks 80 percent of its AIDS funds for treatment programs such as the distribution of antiviral drugs and ends a mandate that one-third of AIDS spending be allocated to abstinence programs. A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Yes: Yarmuth, Chandler
No: Whitfield, Lewis, Davis, Rogers
BRIDGE-SAFETY INSPECTIONS: Voting 367 for and 55 against, the House on Thursday passed a bill (HR 3999) to upgrade bridge inspections in the United States at a cost of $2 billion between 2008-2012. The bill requires states to put the riskiest bridges first in line for repairs; requires more frequent bridge inspections; upgrades training and certification standards for inspectors, and directs the Department of Transportation to complete pending reports on the condition of specific bridges. The bill awaits Senate action. A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Yes: Whitfield, Lewis, Yarmuth, Davis, Rogers, Chandler
HOUSING RESCUE: Voting 80 for and 13 against, the Senate on Friday agreed to debate a House-passed bill (HR 3221) that would potentially bail out the housing-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at an estimated cost to taxpayers of up to $25 billion. The bill also would help 400,000 holders of at-risk mortgages keep their homes under reworked loans, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $2.7 billion; provide localities with grants and bonding authority for reversing foreclosure blight; grant tax breaks to homeowners who do not itemize income taxes and certain first-time home buyers; raise the national debt ceiling, and create a new agency to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Presidential candidates John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., did not vote. A yes vote was to advance the bill.
Yes: Mitch McConnell
No: Jim Bunning
OIL-MARKET SPECULATION: Voting 50 for and 43 against, the Senate on Friday failed to reach 60 votes needed to end GOP blockage of a bill (S 3268) directing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to curb ”excessive speculation“ in the oil-futures market, in part by setting higher margin requirements, requiring more public disclosure and working more closely with regulators from other countries. The agency has authority under existing law to determine whether market prices for commodities accurately reflect supply and demand. The bill was aimed at pure speculators rather than companies such as transportation firms that trade in oil futures as a business decision. Presidential candidates McCain and Obama did not vote. A yes vote was to advance the bill.
No: McConnell, Bunning