The Fighting 29th - Votes Analysis or news about votes taken on the floor of the House. en Another Republican Heard From Another Republican reader writes to point out that Eric Massa just voted for pay-as-you-go financing and against increasing the national debt.

Take a good look at that PAYGO vote. Not a single member of the "party of fiscal responsibility" voted for PAYGO.

Republicans are running the House like the House of Commons. They vote as a block, and they vote against the majority party, no matter if that vote is consistent with their principles. Along will all the other problems Tom Reed has, this is a big one. Republican enforcement of party line voting means that he has to give us a really good explanation of when and how he'll choose principle over party.

(I do understand that the debt ceiling vote was split to allow members to vote for PAYGO and for raising the debt ceiling. If anyone thinks that little footnote will keep Democrats from making this a campaign issue, you must be smoking something stronger than John Boehner's Barclay's.)

]]> Analysis Votes Fri, 05 Feb 2010 17:35:17 +0000 Rottenchester 6098 at
Better is the Enemy of Good Enough True to his word, Eric Massa voted against final passage of healthcare reform in the House. Earlier, he voted against the Stupak amendment which restricted use of insurance for abortions.

In the comments and via email, some readers are wondering if this was an "insurance" vote which would help Massa's re-election among conservatives. I doubt it, for a couple of reasons.

First, Massa spent much of the last few months stating his opposition to the first House version of healthcare reform. The bill that passed last night is not fundamentally different from that first version. A last-minute reversal on Massa's part would have been surprising and difficult to defend, regardless of the politics of the final vote.

Second, the conservatives who don't agree with Massa on healthcare also don't agree with him on other issues, such as abortion. They'll have no problem finding a reason to vote against Massa, even if they appreciate his vote last night.

Finally, the election is a year away. By then, all the fussing and fighting over this bill will be over. As this McClatchy summary points out, there's nothing hugely radical in the bill. And even if the same measure passes in the Senate (a big "if"), it still won't go into effect until 2013. It's hard to see how last night's vote will be the pressing issue of the 2010 campaign.

]]> Analysis Votes Sun, 08 Nov 2009 12:26:17 +0000 Rottenchester 5982 at
The Second Most Important Vote of the Session Eric Massa, and most other Democrats, voted for the economic stimulus package. All Republicans voted against.

Since the Senate bill is different from the House version, there will be another vote on the bill after it goes through conference. Swing-district Republicans who voted against this bill will probably vote for the "compromise" bill, and they'll highlight some change or other that supposedly tipped their hand.

John Boehner has apparently convinced endangered Republicans that this is a clever strategy. Randy Kuhl, a Boehner protegee, used it a few times on tough votes in the previous session. I've always felt that it was too clever by half.

Voters aren't moved by technicalities on tough legislation, and this bill is one of the biggest gut-checks to come around in recent memory. Our country is in big trouble, and we're facing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Either you're for stimulating the economy with massive spending, or you're not. The bullshit expenditures that Republicans are bloviating about on talk radio (e.g., money for STD's !!) are nothing in comparison to the totality of this $800+ billion package. A few little additions or deletions are simply window dressing.

I think voters will see this for what it is: Republicans betting against the economic well-being of their country in hopes of a political advantage. I'm sad to see it, and I'm sad to say it, but I can come to no other conclusion.

]]> Analysis Votes Thu, 29 Jan 2009 01:25:22 +0000 Rottenchester 5331 at
The Most Important Vote of the Session Today the House blocked an extension of the implementation deadline for digital TV. The same bill passed the Senate in a unanimous vote. Here's some background. Eric Massa voted for the extension.

If this stands, the "Nays" on this list who are in any kind of a competitive district are in serious trouble.

]]> Votes Wed, 28 Jan 2009 23:06:15 +0000 Rottenchester 5330 at
Two TARP Votes Today, Eric Massa voted for a resolution which disapproves of further release of TARP funds.

Yesterday, Massa voted for a HR 384, which is a TARP reform package.

]]> Votes Thu, 22 Jan 2009 19:50:26 +0000 Rottenchester 5316 at
Two Votes: S-CHIP and Massa's First Vote Against Party As promised, Eric Massa voted in support of S-CHIP. Also, he was one of only 15 Democrats to oppose a procedural vote allowing consideration of a bill to reform the TARP program. Since Massa supports TARP reform, it's likely that the bill up for consideration didn't meet his standards for TARP reform.

Also, I took down the vote stream on the left. It had a few problems. Once it's fixed, Massa's latest actions will be displayed automatically.

]]> Votes Thu, 15 Jan 2009 01:48:40 +0000 Rottenchester 5309 at
Massa's Labor Votes The Buffalo News reports on Massa's votes for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

]]> News Votes Sat, 10 Jan 2009 14:03:44 +0000 Rottenchester 5281 at
Massa's First Votes Eric Massa's first major vote of the 111th Congress occurred this afternoon, when he voted to support his party's rules package. The major change in this session's rules was a significant limitation in the use of the motion to recommit.

The motion to recommit requires that an amendment be added to a bill and the bill be reported back to the House. The sticking point is how quickly the bill will come back. In House jargon, "promptly" means that the bill will go back to committee and perhaps never be seen again. The alternative, "forthwith", means that the bill must come back to the floor in a few minutes for a vote on the amendment.

In the 110th Congress, Republicans would offer desirable amendments in their motions to recommit, but they would require that the motion contain the language "promptly", which killed a number of bills. The new rule, which Massa supported, requires that motions to recommit use the "forthwith" language.

]]> Votes Wed, 07 Jan 2009 01:51:10 +0000 Rottenchester 5256 at
Kuhl MIA Randy Kuhl, who missed only 23 votes for the entire session, didn't vote in any of the 7 House roll calls yesterday.

]]> Votes Thu, 11 Dec 2008 12:09:58 +0000 Rottenchester 5229 at
Election Result Links Here are all the county sites, some of which have election results tonight:

]]> Votes Tue, 04 Nov 2008 22:28:32 +0000 Rottenchester 5166 at
Bailout Bill Passes with Kuhl's Vote The bailout bill passed the House by a wide margin, 263-171, with Randy Kuhl's vote.

Update: Here are the details. All the Western New York delegation voted for the bill. Kirsten Gillibrand [D-NY-20] remained opposed.

]]> Votes Fri, 03 Oct 2008 17:34:27 +0000 Rottenchester 5034 at
Bailout Fails I'm watching C-SPAN and it's over: the bailout lost by 19 23 votes.

Randy Kuhl joined 132 133 of his Republican colleagues and voted against the bailout. He's issued this statement explaining his vote.

Update: Here's the roll. It's an interesting mix. Other area representatives (Reynolds, Walsh, and Slaughter) all voted for the bill.

]]> Votes Mon, 29 Sep 2008 17:58:20 +0000 Rottenchester 5021 at
Two Important Votes Eric Massa is quoted in today's Messenger-Post, calling the Iraq war operations vote "disappointing". Randy Kuhl supported the bill, and his press release is here.

Massa also explains, in detail, why he'd have voted against the FISA bill that recently passed the House, with Randy Kuhl's vote. Massa's reasoning has to do with the Fourth Amendment, which is only taken seriously by 128 Democrats and one Republican in the House. Randy Kuhl's excuse for his vote is posted here.

]]> Analysis Votes WNYCongress Mon, 23 Jun 2008 18:21:54 +0000 Rottenchester 4827 at
Two Important Votes Eric Massa is quoted in today's Messenger-Post, calling the Iraq war operations vote "disappointing". Randy Kuhl supported the bill, and his press release is here.

Massa also explains, in detail, why he'd have voted against the FISA bill that recently passed the House, with Randy Kuhl's vote. Massa's reasoning has to do with the Fourth Amendment, which is only taken seriously by 128 Democrats and one Republican in the House. Randy Kuhl's excuse for his vote is posted here.

]]> Analysis Votes WNYCongress Mon, 23 Jun 2008 18:21:54 +0000 4833 at
Two Blog Posts Dr. Denny at Scholars and Rogues has an extended take-down of Randy Kuhl's latest mailer. I haven't seen the mailer, but it's apparently an attempt to publicize Kuhl's "Fix Washington" program. Money quote:

Representatives in Congress are paid $169,300 annually. Their retirement and pension benefits are substantial. They receive a Member’s Representational Allowance for office expenses that reached between $1.2 and $1.4 million in 2005. They may buy or lease virtually any vehicle (and the gasoline’s included) at taxpayer expense. They receive significant health benefits. They get to be addressed as “Congressman” or “Congresswoman” for the rest of their lives.

And people give them money. In his federal fundraising career, Rep. Kuhl has pocketed $3,082,985 (nearly 60 percent from PACs). If he leaves office with money in the fundraising bank, so to speak, he retains control over the balance, as did retiring Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds.

Despite all these privileges — and responsibilities — as a congressman, Rep. Kuhl has reduced the American system of government to a reality game show. And surely it’s possible that he has plenty of inept company among his remaining 434 peers.

Speaking of Randy Kuhl and blog posts, his new blog post tries to blame the lack of progress on the Iraq supplemental on "Democratic Infighting". Those of us with memories longer than a goldfish, or perhaps a Congressman, might remember that Kuhl voted present on that bill as part of a Republican protest last month.

]]> Analysis News Votes Thu, 05 Jun 2008 01:31:00 +0000 Rottenchester 4800 at
Three Sticky Iraq Votes Randy Kuhl voted on three Iraq funding amendments yesterday. All of those votes will probably come back to haunt him this fall.

First, Kuhl voted present on the main funding amendment as part of a Republican protest against the way Iraq funding was brought to the floor. The Republicans were trying to show that a majority of Democrats opposed war funding. That amendment failed, which means that the whole bill must go back to the Senate for a re-tool.

Second, Kuhl voted against an amendment that would ensure, among other things, that all units were mission capable, that the US would not fund permanent bases in Iraq, and that all interrogations follow the Army Field Manual (i.e., no torture). This amendment passed.

Finally, Kuhl voted against a third amendment, which contained a hodge-podge of appropriations, including a provision that would fund the GI Bill via a 1/2% tax increase on those making over $1 million in income. This amendment garnered 32 Republican votes.

More information on all these votes is available from the House Rules Committee site.

]]> Analysis Votes WNYCongress Fri, 16 May 2008 11:10:35 +0000 Rottenchester 4779 at
House Passes Veto-Proof Farm Bill Randy Kuhl was one of 100 Republicans who voted for the Farm Bill yesterday. Though the bill is under veto threat from the White House, strong bi-partisan support means that any veto will be overridden by the House and Senate.

Randy Kuhl expressed his support of the bill in a floor speech lauding a bill that "aptly includes the interests of all agricultural regions in the country." Here's an example:

Traditional commodity subsidies for crops like cotton, rice, wheat and corn remain largely untouched in the new bill. The bill includes a new $3.8 billion permanent disaster payment program, deemed particularly generous for weather-stricken growers in states like Montana and the Dakotas.

Rice, Wheat and Corn prices are at all-time highs. The subsidy income limit remains at $1.5 million for married couples. The subsidy component of this bill is nothing more than a handout to a group that is currently prospering.

Though farm bill subsidies get most of the attention, two-thirds of the cost of the bill is for Food Stamps, or as they will now be called, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

]]> Analysis Votes Thu, 15 May 2008 12:28:55 +0000 Rottenchester 4775 at
Kuhl's Safe Housing Vote (In Pictures) Randy Kuhl's vote against the Housing Bill yesterday will not become a campaign issue in the 29th. The main provision of the bill would let the FHA re-insure underwater mortgages if the mortgage holder (bank) agrees to reduce the principal to 85% of the current home value.

In other words, in return for taking a loss, the bank gets the mortgage off their books. Since the homeowner must re-qualify for the loan, this program also weeds out borrowers who can't pay the new mortgage.

The reason this bill won't be an issue in the 29th is that we don't have many underwater borrowers. Take a look at this graph:


As you can see, the 29th had a small increase in house pricing. The sunbelt states and urban growth areas, where speculation was widespread, are where the prices are falling. The 29th is also doing fairly well in mortgage delinquency:


We seem to be able to pay our mortgages in the 29th, at least when compared to boom areas.

Whether Kuhl's vote was the right thing to do is worth debating, but, politically, I don't see a downside in his decision to stick with the rest of his party and vote against the bill.

(Graphs from the Federal Reserve via the excellent Calculated Risk blog.)

]]> Analysis Votes WNYCongress Fri, 09 May 2008 11:59:36 +0000 Rottenchester 4768 at
Public Service Announcement If you're reading this article about Bush's threatened veto of the Housing Bill, and then you see this press release from Randy Kuhl, don't be confused. Kuhl is co-sponsoring a housing bill, but it isn't the housing bill that Bush wants to veto.

That latter bill's author, Barney Frank, believes that he'll get significant Republican support. My guess is that support won't include Rep. Kuhl, because co-sponsoring an alternative bill that has no chance of passage is usually an attempt at inoculation. Kuhl can say that he supported a better alternative, even if that alternative was introduced a short time ago and has no chance of passage.

Update: Kuhl voted against the bill in three key votes today (here, here and here).

]]> Analysis Votes Thu, 08 May 2008 17:59:45 +0000 Rottenchester 4767 at
Possible Medicaid Veto Override Randy Kuhl was part of a unanimous New York delegation vote for the Medicaid Safety Net Act eariler this week. This bill extends a number of deadlines for program cuts in Medicaid. Since it passed by a veto-proof majority, and because it is under veto threat from the White House, this sets up a possible veto override vote, assuming the bill passes the Senate intact.

]]> Votes Sat, 26 Apr 2008 13:41:40 +0000 Rottenchester 4756 at