American Sauce: Votes today that others will miss
March 29th, 2011
03:39 PM ET
7 years ago

American Sauce: Votes today that others will miss

Capitol Hill (CNN) - Top Republicans and Democrats are spending most of the day criticizing or supporting the President, questioning or applauding the Libya mission and attacking or undermining each other when it comes to a possible government shutdown.

Don't let the heated air distract you from the actual work, the real votes happening in Congress today.

Here are two votes that will hit the House floor Tuesday that many others will miss:

1. To Kill the President's Home Loan Program

The Bill: H.R. 839, The HAMP Termination Act of 2011

Read it: Here.

What it Does: This would end the Obama administration's home loan modification program, aimed at preventing foreclosures. The program is known by its acronym, HAMP. (The government would continue help for those already in HAMP, but no new homeowners could get assistance.)

Length: 8 pages

Sponsor: Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-North Carolina and 8 cosponsors.

Why You Should Care:
This bill and the program it would end focus on one of the central problems in the economy now, and one of the main causes for the Great Recession to begin with: housing. With this vote, Congress is addressing how to deal/how not to deal with the continued housing crisis.

The Politics Here:
Conservatives (and some on the left, like Ezra Klein) charge that HAMP has been, at best, a wasted effort. They say it has helped relatively few homeowners stay out of foreclosure and may have hurt thousands of others with temporary modifications that did not last. Its most sharp critics contend HAMP is a scheme to pay off banks to modify loans and massage foreclosure statistics. Supporters of HAMP say it may not have reached as many homeowners as expected but has made a difference for hundreds of thousands of struggling families.

2. To Extend Taxes on Air Travel and Fund Airport Improvements

The Bill: H.R. 1079, Airport and Airway Extension Act

Read it: Here.

What it Does: This bill extends taxes on air travel through May 31st. (The taxes that go into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.) It also authorizes airports to spend some $2.5 bllion on improvements, with the assumption that Congress will appropriate the money later.

Length: 5 pages.

Sponsor: Rep. John Mica, R-Florida, and four cosponsors, two Republicans and two Democrats.

Why You Should Care: A few reasons. The Airport and Airway Trust Fund, or AATF, includes a 7.5 percent tax on commercial passenger tickets (according to the Air Transport Association, which represents the airlines). It also taxes jet fuel and other aspects of flight. At the same time, it funds airport and FAA infrastructure throughout the country. One more reason? This is the latest punt by Congress. Another short-term extension of what seems to be a very long-term infrastructure plan and tax.

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Filed under: American Sauce • Capitol Hill
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are good at throwing stones and then hiding their hand and then saying "Obama did it". John Boehner and the GOP aren't doing squat about jobs or the economy, they believe in "go it alone in war" and they leave our President to go it alone when it comes to helping the American people. Republicans aren't holding up the Constitution or their so-called "Pledge to America" they're holding office and getting paid for doing nothing.

    March 29, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Candy Taylor

    What about the freak'n jobs! Vote the republicans and teapartyers OUT!

    March 29, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. sammieb51

    Instead of pontificating over what Obama or NATO or the UN did or didn't do when they did it and why they didn't tell them what they did and when they did it and why they were doing it, probably why Bosnia's "no fly zone" took a year to get in play (remember "wag the dog" – OMG), maybe these guys need to put away their good "news' show" suits, roll up their sleeves, and get to work to get a budget signed and keep our govt's doors open for business. It is no mystery to me why Obama cut the "kids" out of the decision making process (which he had no obligation to engage them in anyhow), they would argue about it while thousands of innocent folks got slaughtered and buried in mass graves. Seriously folks, don't care if you're white, black, pink, green, brown, yellow and you kneel and pray or rock and pray or fold your hands and pray, or don't pray at all - our common goal is our country and keeping that together and that means we are approaching a "yield" sign and rather than everyone stopping or going at once, we gotta give a little.

    March 29, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Rickster

    "Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a member of the Democratic Senate leadership, got on a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning without realizing the reporters were already listening in. Schumer thought he was on a private line with four Democratic senators who were to talk with reporters about the current budget stalemate.

    Schumer instructed the group, made up of Sens. Barbara Boxer of California, Tom Carper of Delaware, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, to tell reporters that the GOP is refusing to negotiate. He told the group to make sure they label the GOP spending cuts as "extreme."
    "I always use extreme, Schumer said. "That is what the caucus instructed me to use."
    Typical lying democrats.....and every empty-headed democrat(redundant) from henceforth will parrot back the same words ad nauseam.

    March 29, 2011 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Freedom

    Go GOP! Cut our debt! GOP 2012!

    March 29, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. Former Republican in NC

    Rep. Patrick McHenry shoild worry about the poor people in his district that have lost jobs. Where are the jobs Republicans.

    March 29, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |