Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
In the week of March 7, the House will take up bills addressing the U.S. housing crisis, while the Senate will resume debate on reforming U.S. procedures for awarding patents.
HIGHWAY, MASS-TRANSIT PROJECTS: Voting 421-4, the House sent the Senate a bill (HR 662) to provide billions of dollars in funding for road and bridge construction, mass transit, and highway safety from March 4 through Sept. 30. A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Judy Biggert: Yes
Randy Hultgren: Yes
“BRIDGE TO NOWHERE”: Voting 181-246, the House defeated a Democratic bid to strip HR 662 (above) of funds for building the Gravina Island Bridge linking Ketchikan, Alaska, with an airport on sparsely populated Gravina Island. This is the “bridge to nowhere” lampooned in recent years as an example of wasteful congressional earmarks. While notoriety has cost the Gravina Island project much of its anticipated federal funding since 2005, HR 662 contains $183 million in fiscal 2011 spending for it and the Knik Arm Crossing Bridge, another controversial project in Alaska. This motion sought to remove the $183 million. A yes vote was to defund the “bridge to nowhere.”
STOPGAP 2011 BUDGET: Voting 335-91, the House passed a stopgap measure (HJ Res 44) to keep the government in full operation between March 5 and March 18 while cutting spending by $4 billion over that period. The House and Senate will use the two weeks to negotiate a budget path for the last half of fiscal 2011, which ends Sept. 30. Among this bill’s cuts are $650 million in highway spending. A yes vote was to pass the bill.
OIL-INDUSTRY TAXES: Voting 176-249, the House defeated a Democratic motion to HJ Res 44 (above) to suspend the oil-depletion allowance and other oil-industry tax breaks at a time when domestic programs are being cut. A yes vote backed the motion.
STOPGAP 2011 BUDGET: Voting 91-9, the Senate joined the House in passing a temporary fiscal 2011 spending bill (HJ Res 44, above) to avert a government shutdown at week’s end. President Obama then signed what is the fifth 2011 stopgap appropriations bill passed by Congress since last fall. A yes vote was to pass the bill.
Richard Durbin: Yes
Mark Kirk: Yes