29 May 2005 at 7:22:04 AM
• 1. John Bolton nomination: Failed, 56-42, to reach a 60-vote majority needed to end a Democratic filibuster against the nomination of John R. Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Most Democrats charge that Bolton, a State Department official, has a record of distorting intelligence for political and ideological purposes. Most Republicans regard him as an effective public servant who is well-qualified to spearhead President Bush's reform agenda at the United Nations. A yes vote was to advance the nomination. Both Cornyn and Hutchison voted yes
• 2. Judge Priscilla R. Owen: Confirmed, 55-43, Priscilla R. Owen, 50, as a judge on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Owen had been a Texas Supreme Court justice. Owen gained approval after moderate senators of both parties agreed to curtail judicial filibusters and allow direct votes on some previously blocked nominations. A yes vote was to confirm Judge Owen.Both Cornyn and Hutchison voted yes
• 1. 2006 Defense Budget: Approved, 390-39, a $442 billion military budget for fiscal 2006, up $20 billion or 4.7 percent from the comparable 2005 bill. The bill (HR 1815) also authorizes $49 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan, which would raise total outlays for both theaters to more than $327 billion since actions began. The bill provides a 3.1 percent military pay raise; adds 10,000 active duty troops to the Army and 1,000 to the Air Force; enhances recruitment bonuses and benefits; and increases the military death benefit to $100,000. The bill provides $7.9 billion for the National Missile Defense; continues the Pentagon's authority to assign women soldiers to support roles in ground combat units; accelerates spending to complete the armoring of Humvees in Iraq; streamlines procurement to more quickly accommodate battlefield requests; and prohibits privately financed abortions at U.S. military hospitals and clinics abroad. A yes vote was to pass the bill. Chet Edwards voted yes
• 2. Guard, Reserve Health Insurance: Defeated, 211-218, a motion to qualify National Guard and Reserve personnel for TRICARE, the main military health plan, to the extent that active duty troops are covered. The motion was offered to HR 1815 (above). Present law includes Guard and Reserve personnel in TRICARE for 90 days before and 180 days after mobilization. Full coverage would cost at least $5.8 billion over five years. At $50 billion annually, TRICARE accounts for one-tenth of the defense budget. Backers noted that the Guard and Reserves are supplying 40 percent of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Critics said that to include them fully in TRICARE would prompt private employers to cancel medical coverage. A yes vote backed the motion.Chet Edwards voted yes
• 3. Pullout From Iraq: Rejected, 300-128, a call for President Bush to provide Congress a plan for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq. The nonbinding amendment was offered to HR 1815 (above). A yes vote backed the amendment.Chet Edwards voted no
• 4. Veterans' Medical Care: Refused, 214-213, to increase spending by $53 million for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, including $8 million for treating combat trauma; $9 million for prosthetic research; and $6 million for telemedicine to remotely serve National Guard and Reserve veterans. The vote occurred during debate on a bill (HR 2528; later passed) appropriating $85.2 billion for veterans' care, military construction and other programs in fiscal 2006. The additional funds were to have been taken from the budget for closing military bases. A yes vote was to add $53 billion for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. Chet Edwards voted yes
• 5. Stem-Cell research: Passed, 238-194, a bill (HR 810) to extend federal financing of embryonic stem-cell research beyond limits set by President Bush. The expanded research would utilize frozen embryos that otherwise would be discarded. Federally backed research now is limited to fewer than two dozen embryonic stem-cell colonies that were produced before August 2001. Stem cells potentially can develop into any human cell or tissue. Supporters say the research can lead to cures for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, while opponents regard it as the taking of human life. The president said he will veto the bill if it reaches his desk. A yes vote was to pass the bill. Chet Edwards voted yes
• 6. Umbilical-Cord Research: Passed, 431-1, a bill (HR 2520) to establish a registry of the blood of discarded umbilical cords, making stem cells from the blood available for medical treatments and research. Studies show that infusions of cord cells have helped to cure blood diseases. There is disagreement over whether such infusions some day will prove effective in treating other diseases. A yes vote was to establish a cord-cell registry.Chet Edwards voted yes
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