The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, March 21, 2005  

Among Other Nicknames for Our Greatest Embarrassments

Herewith continues a recent Rittenhouse Review series about the most recent votes of Pennsylvania’s twin -- and I mean that -- embarrassments in the upper chamber of the U.S. Capitol, collecting data from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sunday issue, “Area Votes in Congress,” from which these votes, by Sen. Gets It Wrong Every Time (R-Pa.) and Sen. Gets It Wrong Almost Every Time (R-Pa.), were culled:

Arctic drilling. Senators rejected, 51-49, a plan by Democrats requiring a higher hurdle for the Senate to approve drilling for oil and natural gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. This vote, which took place during debate on the federal budget (S. Con. Res. 18), will allow drilling approval on a simple majority vote; in previous years, supporters needed 60 votes to authorize drilling. A yes vote was to make it more difficult to approve drilling in the Arctic wildlife refuge.

Voting no: Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) and Arlen Specter (R., Pa.).

Federal budget. The Senate adopted, 51-49, a budget (S. Con. Res. 18) that sets spending and tax policies through fiscal 2010. For 2006, the plan projects $2.6 trillion in spending and $362 billion in red ink. The issue is now in a House-Senate conference. A yes vote was to adopt the budget.

Voting yes: Santorum and Specter.

Medicaid. Senators blocked, 52-48, a proposal in SCR 18 (above) to slow Medicaid spending growth by $15 billion over five years. The vote instead set up a commission to study Medicaid costs. A yes vote opposed cuts in Medicaid.

Voting yes: Specter.

Voting no: Santorum.

Amtrak. Senators refused, 52-46, to preserve Amtrak in its present form in the federal budget (SCR 18, above). The vote left intact a plan by President Bush to scale Amtrak back to its few profitable routes and allow the rest of the system to wither. A yes vote was to preserve Amtrak in its present form.

Voting yes: Specter.

Voting no: Santorum.

This is sad. So very, very sad.

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