Friday, December 21, 2007

Pete Sessions Votes for Raising CAFE Standards!

In a break with big polluting apologists Sam Johnson and Joe "Smokey Joe" Barton, Pete Sessions voted with the majority to "raise the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020."

While I'm glad pleased to see the House--and my Congressman--take a stand on fuel efficiency, I have one question for everyone who voted for this bill: Can't we do better? I mean, I'm getting 35 mpg now, in my fuel efficient economy car. By 2020, shouldn't we have flying cars? Okay, maybe that's too outrageous, but where's the ambition, people? By 2020, I hope we're free from the 100-year-old internal combustion engine technology that we're stuck with today, and running our cars on electricity, hydrogen--anything but gas. By 2020, I'd sure like to have solar panels on the roof of my house, generating free electricity for my car.

But, anyway, here's the article from
On Agreeing to Senate Adt to House Adt to Senate
House Roll Call No. 1177
110th Congress, 1st Session

Passed: 314-100 (see complete tally)

The House agreed to the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the Senate amendment to H.R. 6, to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, by a yea-and-nay vote of 314 yeas to 100 nays, Roll No. 1177.
Pete Sessions votes yes to 35 mpg by 2020! Dream big, Pete.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pete Sessions Votes Against Individual Tax Relief

From Congress.Org:

AMT Relief Act of 2007 - Vote Passed (226-193, 13 Not Voting) " amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide individuals temporary relief from the alternative minimum tax. Pete Sessions voted "no." See H.R. 4351, Roll No. 1153.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pete Sessions Votes "No" to Energy Independence

From Congress.Org:

December 06, 2007 -- The House agreed to the Senate amendments with amendments, made in order by the rule and printed in H. Rept. 110-474, to H.R. 6, to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers from price gouging, to increase the energy efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, by a yea-and-nay vote of 235 yeas to 181 nays, Roll No. 1140.
Bill Number: H.R.6

Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act - On Agreeing to the Senate Amendments, Passed (235-181, 16 Not Voting) Pete Sessions voted "no."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pete Sessions votes "no" to responsible surveillance, mortgage reform

From Congress.Org:

Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act - Vote Passed (291-127, 14 Not Voting)
"to amend the Truth in Lending Act to reform consumer mortgage practices and provide accountability for such practices, to establish licensing and registration requirements for residential mortgage originators, and to provide certain minimum standards for consumer mortgage loans." Pete Sessions voted "no." See H.R.3915, Roll No. 1118.

Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen, Reviewed, and Effective (RESTORE) Act - Vote Passed (227-189, 16 Not Voting) "To amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes." Pete Sessons voted "no." See H.R. 3773, Roll No. 1120.

Pete Sessions' missed votes on Head Start, Internet Predators, Child Pornography

Pete Sessions missed 26 votes between the days November 14-15, among them votes to reauthorize the Head Start Act, to prosecute those involved in child pornoraphy, and to protect our kids from internet predators. Below are three key votes in which Pete Sessions failed to show up on behalf of our kids; for a complete list of Pete Sessions' votes (missing and otherwise), search Pete Sessions' page on the U.S. Congress Votes Database, sponsored by Washington Post:

Effective Child Pornography Prosecution Act of 2007 This passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support, 409-0, with 23 not voting. Pete Sessions "not voting." See H.R. 4120, Roll No. 1105.

Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act of 2007 This bill also had complete bi-partisan support, and passed 417-0, with 15 not voting. Pete Sessions "not voting." See H.R. 719, Roll No. 1092.

Improving Head Start Act of 2007 This bill passed 381-36, with Pete Sessions among those "not voting." See H.R.1429, Roll No. 1090.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pete Sessions finally says "no" to Bush!

In a rare break with the Bush White House, Pete Sessions voted with the bipartisan majority in Congress to override the President's veto of the Water Resources Development Act. See HR 1495, Roll No. 1040. Pete Sessions voted "yes."

In other votes, Pete Sessions was back in lockstep, voting against employment non-discrimination, appropriations for labor and education, and tax relief. From Congress.Org:

Employment Non-Discrimination Act - Vote Passed (235-184, 14 Not Voting)
The House passed this bill that would bar employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against potential workers based on their real or supposed sexual orientation. See H.R. 3685, Roll No. 1057. Pete Sessions voted "no."

Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations Act, FY2008- Vote Passed (274-141, 17 Not Voting)
With this vote the House sent the appropriations bill funding the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education to the President’s desk. See H.R. 3043, Roll No. 1122.

Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2007 - Vote Passed (216-193, 24 Not Voting)
The House passed this bill to provide tax relief for the 2007 filing year. See H.R. 3996, Roll No. 1081. Pete Sessions voted "no."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sessions a "no show" for small business; votes "no" on trade, environment


Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act - Vote Passed (334-80, 18 Not Voting)
This House bill is intended to update the government’s contracting programs targeting veteran and minority owned businesses. See
HR 3867, Roll No. 1017. Pete Sessions not voting.

Trade and Globalization Assistance Act - Vote Passed (264-157, 11 Not Voting)
On Wednesday the House passed this bill that reauthorizes and expands the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. See HR 3920, Roll No. 1025. Pete Sessions voted "no."

Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act - Vote Passed (244-166, 22 Not Voting)
This House bill would overhaul environmental standards applied to mining, finance abandoned mine site clean-up, and charge royalties for hardrock mines located on federal lands. See HR 2262, Roll No. 1033. Pete Sessions Voted "no."

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Middle Class Gives Pete Sessions an "F"

I added a link to the website, which rates our members of Congress and Senators according to how well they serve the middle class. Pete Sessions only voted in the interest of the middle class 11% of the time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Pete Sessions votes "no" to Native Hawaiians, Children's Health

Pete Sessions voted "no" to the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Acts, and "no" to reauthorization of SCHIP. From Congress.Org:

Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act
Vote Passed (261-153, 18 Not Voting)
The House passed H.R. 505, to express the policy of the United States regarding the United States relationship with Native Hawaiians and to provide a process for the recognition by the United States of the Native Hawaiian governing entity, by a yea-and-nay vote of 261 yeas to 153 nays, Roll No. 1000. Pete Sessions voted "no."

Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act
Vote Passed (265-142, 26 Not Voting)
A new bill to reauthorize and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program was passed by the House, a week after the chamber failed to override President Bush’s veto of the previous version of the bill. See H.R. 3963, "to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children's Health Insurance Program." See Roll No. 1009. Pete Sessions voted "no."

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pete Sessions votes "no" to Railroad Safety, Poor Kids

Once again, Pete Sessions was among a slim minority of House members who voted against the Federal Railroad Safety Improvement Act (H.R. 2095), to prevent railroad fatalities, injuries, and hazardous materials releases and to authorize the Federal Railroad Safety Administration. The bill passed 377-38, with 16 not voting (See Roll Call 980).

Pete Sessions also helped Bush sustain his veto of the S-CHIP bill, voting against expanding the program to cover more low-income kids (See H.R. 976, Roll Call 982). The House was short 13 votes necessary to override Bush's veto.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pete Sessions Votes "no" to Affordable Housing, Responsible Tax Collection

Not surprisingly, Pete Sessions voted no to H.R. 2895 "to establish the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund in the Treasury of the United States to provide for the construction, rehabilitation, and preservation of decent, safe, and affordable housing for low-income families." The bill passed 264-148 (see Roll Call 958).

In keeping with his recent votes against accountability, Pete Sessions voted against the Tax Collection Responsibility Act, H.R. 3056, which prohibits the Internal Revenue Service from using private debt collection companies. The bill passed 232-173 (see Roll Call 960).

Pete Sessions says "no" to accountability

In two recent votes, Pete Sessions was part of a slim minority of who voted "no" to government accountability and "no" to holding private security firms accountable for criminal behavior, while working on Federal contracts.

Pete Sessions was one of only 30 who voted no to H.R. 2740, which brings independent contractors under the jurisdiction of U.S. law, same as the military. This was aimed directly at Blackwater, a State Department contractor, which may have been responsible for the deaths of Iraqi civilians.

The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support (see Roll Call 940).

Another bipartisan vote in favor of accountability was H.R. 928, the "Improving Government Accountability Act," which will protect the inspectors general within every government department from political interference while providing more oversight of their actions.

Pete Sessions was one of only 11 who voted against this bill (see Roll Call 937).

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pete Sessions votes "no" to SCHIP

As the Washington Post put it, Pete Sessions is following Bush over a cliff with his staunch opposition to SCHIP. Not only did he vote "no," but called the move "cynical":
Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) argued that "rather than taking the opportunity to cover the children that cannot obtain coverage through Medicaid or the private marketplace, this bill uses these children as pawns in their cynical attempt to make millions of Americans completely reliant upon the government for their health-care needs."
Coming from Pete Sessions, this is rank hypocrisy. In 2006, Pete Sessions sponsored the Family Opportunity Act, which was passed into law, and allows families with a Down's Syndrome child to buy into Medicaid if their household income is up to 300% of federal poverty level.

According to the 2007 Federal Poverty Guideline, poverty level for a family of 4 is $20,650. Three-hundred percent times $20,650 is $61,950. While Mr. Sessions would not personally benefit from the Family Opportunity Act, his own son has Down's Syndrome, so this is a special interest of his. Can he only relate to poor families if they have a child like his? What about other low income families trying to make ends meet? Doesn't he care about them?

Vote information is as follows: HR 976, "An act to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children's Health Insurance Program, and for other purposes." Passed 265-159, with 1 voting Present and 8 not voting

Friday, August 24, 2007

Sessions Tries To Shift Blame For Budget Deficit

From Daily Kos:
On his campaign web site, Sessions tries to spin his way out of having to explain why he wants the richest 1 percent keep tax cuts while leaving everyone else with a big ill to pay for years and years to come. Sessions begins his defense with an out-and-out lie-- that "tax and spend Democrats" are trying to strangle all of us with tax increases...
Of course, we all remember that it was "borrow and spend" Republicans who got us into debt, not Democrats.

Kos blogger alaprst goes on to write:
Are "tax and spend liberals" to blame for our fiscal mess? Sessions and other Republicans are not only wrong, but dead wrong. They've been wrong on fiscal responsibility throughout the Bush regime, and they're even more wrong for Texas and the rest of the nation.My state and district deserve better than Republican politicians who try to re-write history and blame everyone else for their own failures. Pete Sessions, John Cornyn, and their ilk deserve to be sent down to defeat, and it's up to Democrats not only to field a formidable candidate to face Cornyn (as they will if Rick Noriega is chosen to be the nominee) but to find just as strong opposition to Sessions and others who put the interests of Bush and their wealthy contributors above the interests of the rest of us.
C'mon, somebody, please run against Pete Sessions! Our nation can't afford any more fiscally irresponsible Republicant's (as in "can't balance the budget") like him!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Pete Sessions votes no to Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Pete Sessions scored another failing grade from MiddleClass.Org by voting against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (H.R. 2831. This bill is in response to the Supreme Court decision, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber:
In 1979 Lilly Ledbetter, the plaintiff, began work at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in its Gadsden, Alabama location. During her years at the factory, raises were given and denied based on evaluations and recommendations regarding worker performance. In March 1998, Ledbetter inquired into the possible sexual discrimination of the Goodyear Tire Company. In July she filed formal charges with the EEOC. In November 1998, after early retirement, Ledbetter sued claiming pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.
The Court ruled in favor of Goodyear, since she didn't file her complaint within a 180-day time frame.

Regular people like us are wondering how you can find out you're being discriminated against in 180 days, when most companies don't allow employees to discuss salary! H.R. 2831 answers that "The Ledbetter decision undermines those statutory protections by unduly restricting the time period in which victims of discrimination can challenge and recover for discriminatory compensation decisions or other practices, contrary to the intent of Congress."

The bill passed on pretty much of a straight party-line vote (225-199), with Pete Sessions joining Republicans in voting against the bill. (See Roll No. 768).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Pete Sessions votes "no" to low income housing

In a vote of 333-83, the House passed a bill to overhaul the low income housing program; Pete Sessions was one of the few to vote against the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2007, which will add 20,000 vouchers over a 5-year period. From Globe Street:
WASHINGTON, DC-In what could be the federal government’s biggest push in recent times to address low-income housing needs, the US House of Representatives passed a bill last night that could overhaul the housing voucher program.
Called the Section 8 Voucher Reform Act of 2007, the legislation, which passed 333-83, would amend the United States Housing Act of 1937 to change certain aspects of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's rental assistance programs.

Among other changes, the bill alters calculations of income, tenant rent, and public housing authority funding, change requirements for the inspection of housing units, and adjust requirements for the targeting of housing assistance.

The bill would add 20,000 vouchers a year over five years to the program. CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would have a net cost of $2.4 billion.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Pete Sessions Votes against College Cost Reduction Act of 2007

Yesterday afternoon, the House voted 273-149 to pass the College Cost Reduction Act of 2007. Pete Sessions voted No. From New York Times:
WASHINGTON, July 11 — The House on Wednesday approved far-reaching changes in student aid programs, voting to cut $19 billion in federal subsidies to student lenders over five years, while increasing grants for needy students and halving interest rates on federally backed loans with the savings.
Back in January, Pete Sessions was one of only 71 Members of Congress to vote against cutting student loan interest rates, so it's no big surprise that he voted against college students.

Here's another excerpt from the New York Times article:
The bill marks a stark reversal of fortune for the student loan industry, which for over 10 years had largely enjoyed unflagging support under the Republican majority. Investigations by Congress, the news media and the New York attorney general bruised the standing of lenders, exposing systems of paying colleges commissions to win business, offering college officials free trips and other perks...

...Pointing to increases in college costs that have outpaced inflation by nearly 40 percent over the last five years, Representative George Miller, Democrat of California and chairman of the Education Committee, likened the legislation to the G.I. Bill, which began government financing of higher education in exchange for military service in 1944.

“That took us to the first place in the world, and we’ve been there for 50 years,” Mr. Miller said. “This is about a new investment for the next generation.”

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Guess who didn't show up for work this week?

It's Saturday, and I'm catching up on some SessionsWatching, looking through the Washington Post's congressional vote database, and guess what I found out? Pete Sessions didn't show up for work this week! For the week of June 25-29, Pete Sessions was among those "not voting." He didn't cast any votes for the week of June 11-15, either.

Meanwhile, Congress just voted itself a pay raise, and Pete didn't even have to show up to get it. Must be nice. Where else can you get a $4,400 raise, even if you don't show up for work?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pete Sessions votes to destroy embryos rather than use them for research

Once again, Pete Sessions voted against embryonic stem cell research. Pete Sessions would rather see fertility clinics destroy embryos as biological waste than use them for research to help people with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, juvenile diabetes, and many other diseases for which embryonic stem cells potentially hold the key to a cure.

The House voted 247-146 to allow funding for embryonic stem cell research (see Roll Call 443), and it passed the Senate 63-34, with 3 not voting (see Bill S5). Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison voted yes, but John Cornyn voted with Pete Sessions and our idiot pResident, once again proving they're out of step with mainstream Americans--including the 60% of in vitro patients who would like to donate their frozen embryos to stem cell research.

Pete Sessions should just go all the way and call a press conference denouncing fertility clinics as evil, 'cause that's where it all starts, with infertile couples "playing God," creating the embryos in the first place. C'mon, Pete, show the nation what you really are, and take a stand against infertile couples who use fertility clinics (and when you do, be sure to contact SessionsWatch, so we can post your rant on YouTube).

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pete Sessions favors dangerous "egg harvesting"

We all know that Pete Sessions is against embryonic stem cell research. He wants fertility clinics to throw away unused embryos instead of reclaiming them for use in the cure of diseases like Parkinson's or diabetes.

Now, he's come out in favor of stem cell research, provided it comes from egg harvesting, a dangerous, potentially life-threatening procedure.

Pete Sessions calls egg harvesting a "minimally invasive procedure." There's a great article by Jennifer Lahl in today's Dallas Morning News, in which she asks if men would think the same thing if such a procedure was done to them:
One wonders, however, if these Southern gentlemen would still believe egg extraction was "minimally invasive" if it were done to men?

Here's what that would require: Donors would inject themselves daily with a hormone to first, shut down their testicular function. Then we'd shift to daily injections of another hormone that would cause their testicular function to go into warp speed and their testes to swell to abnormal size.

These daily injections would prepare the men to undergo a surgical procedure with anesthesia whereby a catheter with a needle at the end would be inserted into the testes to remove large quantities of sperm. After extraction, about 5 percent of the men would suffer side effects ranging from infection, damage to their future fertility and, in a few cases, even death.
Women see these ads in the paper all the time, asking for egg donors. College students looking to make good money in a hurry might be tempted by the prospect of making $15,000 for their eggs. But the procedure is hardly "minimally invasive," as Ms. Lahl reminds us:
Simple and minimally invasive? Risks associated with ovarian stimulation such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome – which can cause stroke, organ failure, even death. Risks associated with anesthesia. Risks associated with the needle aspiration of the eggs from the ovaries which can cause internal hemorrhage.
Read more about the dangers of egg donation at The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network and at Jennifer Lahl's blog The Human Future.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Pete Sessions votes against honoring "Silent Spring" author Rachel Carson

Only within this moment of time represented by the present century has one species--man--acquired significant power to alter the nature of this world. --Rachel Carson
We all know Pete Sessions is a "clear skies" kind of guy, hoping to clear the skies of noisy things like birds by giving tax breaks to big polluting industries, and weakening EPA rules so industries can keep pumping toxins into our air. So it's no surprise that Pete Sessions voted with a slim minority of Republicans (joining his buddy in pollution, Joe "Smokey Joe" Barton) against naming a post office in honor of Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Pete was one of only 53 Republicans who voted no (See H.R. 1434, roll call 246).

When in Pennsylvania, visit the Rachel Carson Post Office, at 896 Pittsburgh Street in Springdale, Pennsylvania, and pay homage to a great American scientist, who dedicated her life to making sure our springtimes were noisy with birdsong.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The story of "Teflon Pete"

Sessions watchers will want to check out this article from Texas Observer about the rise and decline of our inept congressman. The article begins with a summary of the divorce case he was involved with:
On the first day of September last year, Congressman Pete Sessions was in a place no congressman would want to be: sitting in a conference room with a pack of divorce lawyers, describing how a longtime friend and campaign contributor shuffled assets while trying to avoid a $1.4 million judgment in a stock fraud case...

...“It wasn’t the kind of thing you’d expect a congressman to get involved with,” said one of Ahron Katz’s many lawyers. “It was a fraud within a fraud within a fraud.”
The article continues with an overview of Sessions' less than stellar career in Congress:
Sessions is 52, and after 11 years in Congress, his career arc should be ascending. He won his last election by 56 percent at a time when Republicans in Dallas were being overrun by an astonishing wave of Democrats. In 2004, after the bitter Republican redistricting engineered by former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Sessions all but vaulted over other potential candidates to take on—and defeat—the formidable, longtime incumbent Democrat Martin Frost. But Sessions’ fortunes have been stalled for some time. He is still the fourth-ranking member of the House Rules Committee, where he’s been since beginning his career in Congress. He’s developed a reputation for political mediocrity, questionable decision-making, and the occasional bonehead move. He failed in a bid to become chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Lobbyists from both parties say he falls into what may be the most perplexing of political categories: irrelevant.
And then, there are the scandals:
In late 2001 and early 2002, he signed letters to Bush administration officials on behalf of tribal casino interests represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Sessions also traveled to Malaysia on a trip funded by a sham think tank created by Michael Scanlon, Abramoff’s partner in crime. As a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Sessions has been accused of promoting the interests of a California software firm that employed his former communications director. The company received at least one Navy Department contract for $800,000, and its officers, in turn, contributed at least $55,000 to Sessions’ political action committee, known as PETE PAC.
Of course, like most Republican scandals, Sessions' scandals involve higher math and geography, which is boring to most people. In the U.S., the scandal has to involve sex to get people outraged. So we're kind of out of luck there, unless there's a really desperate Washington intern with bad taste in men who'd like to do our Congressman. Anyone?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Pete Sessions says no to Iraq War resolution

Democrats were expecting about 11 Republicans to vote with the majority of Americans and send a message of disapproval for Bush's troop surge. In the final vote, 17 Republicans put politics aside to vote for the resolution. Pete Sessions, of course, voted to contine marching in lockstep with the President.

H CON RES 63 YEA-AND-NAY 16-Feb-2007 3:22 PM
QUESTION: On Agreeing to the Resolution
TITLE: Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq
246 Yea, 182 Nay, 6 not voting.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pete Sessions' plan for Iraq War--support Bush & keep saying "Democrat Party"

This week, Congress has been debating the Iraq War non-binding resolution, giving the President a vote of no confidence, but continuing to support the troops he already sent into harm's way. Several Republicans used their time to speak out against the war, including Texan Ron Paul, who said the resolution doesn't go far enough, and continued his ongoing campaign to stop the war altogether.

And how did Pete Sessions use his time? Lorelei Kelly of Democracy Arsenal watched 6 hours of the debate, and offers this summary of Pete Sessions' statement:
Pete Sessions kept saying "the Democrat" party (um, Pete, everybody is onto that one)

Time Magazine pulled this quote:
Countered Pete Sessions, a Republican from Texas: "What this resolution is all about is to politically neuter the President of the United States. It is about trying to do something that is politics, not policy."

I guess that's one area where our Pete is an expert, resorting to politics when you can't think of a good policy. His plan? Stick with the President, even when he's wrong, (as long as it's a Republican president, of course), and keep using that poll-tested, gramatically incorrect phrase "Democrat Party."

The final vote is scheduled for Friday.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Pete Sessions votes NO to justice in Northern Ireland

Occasionally, Congress will vote on a resolution urging another country to take action on a particular matter--in this case, asking the U.K. for an independent inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, a human rights lawyer who was killed in his home by pro-British loyalists in 1989.

Collusion between British security forces and loyalist terrorists during Northern Ireland's "troubles" has been proved in one investigation after another, most recently in a report by Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, the result of a three-year inquiry proving collusion between the Special Branch and the UVF. (For more information, see this article from The Guardian, Northern Ireland Police Shielded Loyalist Killers).

On the heels of this recent report, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced a resolution into the murder of Pat Finucane. It received overwhelming bi-partisan support, as do most resolutions supporting the ongoing peace process in Northern Ireland. His co-sponsors are one of the most diverse groups you'll ever find supporting a bill, including Black Congressional Caucus members Sheila Jackson (D-TX) and Donald Payne (D-NJ), who always support civil rights in Northern Ireland (Congressman Payne served as an International Observer the same year I was over, although I did not get to meet him).

Who would vote no to a resolution calling on the British government to live up to its commitment -- as part of the Northern Ireland peace process -- to implement a public, independent, judicial inquiry into the murder of courageous human rights attorney and activist, Patrick Finucane? I'm sure Congressman Smith described for his colleagues in the House how Pat Finucane was shot dead in his home, in front of his wife and children, as they sat together at the dinner table on a Sunday evening. Who could vote no to finding out who shot this man?

Twenty-five members of Congress--who perhaps didn't feel knowledgable enough about the case to cast a vote--abstained from voting by saying "present" when their names were called. It takes a really hard-hearted person to say no to finding out the truth about a man shot to death in front of his family.

Pete Sessions voted no. That pretty much sums up everything you need to know about Pete Sessions. If anyone asks you, "What kind of person is Pete Sessions," you can honestly say that he's the kind of person who doesn't care if defense lawyers get murdered in front of their families, and will even go against members of his own party to vote "no" to finding the killers and putting them to justice.

(Roll call information: H CON RES 20, Roll Call 63, 30-Jan-2007 4:17 PM. BILL TITLE: Calling on the United Kingdom to establish a full, independent , and public judicial inquiry into the murder of Northern Ireland defense attorney Patrick Finucane).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Vote recap, from Congress.Org

Pete Sessions voted NO to the College Student Relief Act - Vote Passed (356-71, 8 Not Voting)

This House bill is intended to make college education more affordable by gradually reducing the interest rate on need-based student loans issued after July 2007 from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent.

Pete Sessions voted NO to the Creating Long-Term Energy Alternatives for the Nation Act - Vote Passed (264-163, 8 Not Voting)

This House bill is intended to encourage development of alternate sources of energy.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Pete Sessions votes against renewable energy

Today, the House passed the final bill of the Democratic Party's 100-hour agenda, voting to end subsidies for oil companies and invest the money in alternative energy. Of course, Pete Sessions voted against the bill. Shows you where his priorites are--Pete Sessions thinks Exxon needs a handout from the government, but college students don't. The final vote tally is here.

Commentary from Dallas Morning News:

The legislation would impose a "conservation fee" on oil and gas taken from deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico; scrap nearly $6 billion worth of oil industry tax breaks enacted by Congress in recent years; and seek to recoup royalties lost to the government because of an Interior Department error in leases issued in the late 1990s.

Democrats said the legislation could produce as much as $15 billion in revenue. Most of that money would pay to promote renewable fuels such as solar and wind power, alternative fuels including ethanol and biodiesel and incentives for conservation...

...Austin Democrat Lloyd Doggett praised the conservation provisions of the
legislation, calling them a "breath of fresh air."

"What we do in this particular bill is not just end an unreasonable tax break — tax breaks that I think even most of my Republican colleagues would have to admit were unjustified — but we use the proceeds of those tax breaks to focus on renewable energy, on energy independence," he said.

Sessions votes against student loan interest rate cuts

Pete Sessions was one of only 71 Members of Congress to vote against cutting student loan interest rates. Why does that not surprise me?

I found out about the vote last night on DailyKos, from this enthusiastic post by The Hunter Gracchus GU Dems, who wrote Congress finally doing something for ME ME ME!:
Today the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to cut the interest rate on student loans by half. I witnessed this event personally, along with 20 of my fellow Georgetown University students and democrats. We were graciously
given guest passes by Representative George Miller of California...

...While the outcome of the vote was well known to all of us in attendance well before the vote actually took place, none of us really expected it to pass so overwhelmingly, a little over 350 to a little over 70. Don't let this deceive you, however. Republicans vehemently opposed the bill...
The final vote tally is here. The bill will reduce student loan rates from 6.78% to 3.4, phased in over 5 years, a scaled back plan from what the Democrats had originally wanted. Students say it does not go far enough. As one student poster on Daily Kos put it, "woohoo massive law school debt possibly becoming marginally less massive!" But George Miller, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee promises "This is only the beginning. This is a down payment."

We want to increase the Pell grant," said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., chairman of the Education and Labor Committee. We hope to be able to enlarge the tax deductions for parents paying for tuition and the cost of college beyond that.

And what did Pete Sessions have to say? According to this article from Consumer Affairs, he berated Nancy Pelosi for being "ethically challenged" and went on to extoll the virtues of his friend, Tom DeLay!

Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) called Speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), "ethically challenged" for refusing to allow amendments to the Democrats' first six bills, which are being rushed.

The Democratic majority demanded he rescind his comments. Sessions ignored them and instead heralded the efforts of ex-Majority Leader, Tom Delay, who was indicted last year. After minutes of bickering, Sessions finally agreed to have his comments struck from the official record.
Yikes! On behalf of the rational people of TX-32, I apologize for Pete Sessions. I feel sorry for everybody on Capitol Hill who has to put up with him every day. Hopefully, we can vote him out in '08.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Pete Sessions votes NO to security, fair wages and your health

Pete Sessions was busy this week, voting against the interests of most Americans, who favor raising the minimum wage, implementing the 911 Commission reforms, keeping drug prices low, and using unwanted frozen embryos to cure disease, instead of just throwing them away. Yep, our Pete would rather destroy embryos than use the stem cells as a possible cure for such conditions as juvenile diabetes.

From Congress.Org:

Pete Sessions voted NO to the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act Vote Passed (255-170, 10 Not Voting) This House bill would require the government to negotiate Medicare prescription drug prices with pharmaceutical companies.

Pete Sessions voted NO to the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act Vote Passed (253-174, 8 Not Voting)This House bill would expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. - Vote Passed (253-174, 8 Not Voting) This House bill would expand federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

Pete Sessions voted NOto the Fair Minimum Wage Act Vote Passed (315-116, 4 Not Voting)This House bill would raise the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 over the next two years.

Pete Sessions voted NO to
Implementing the 9/11Commission Recommendations Act Vote Passed (299-128, 8 Not Voting)This House bill is intended to implement the remaining 9/11 Commission homeland security recommendations.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Pete Sessions votes against earmark reform

Pete Sessions votes "no" to reforming the earmark process and reducing deficit spending.


On adoption of Title 4 of the Resolution 01/05/2007 House Roll Call No. 9 110th Congress, 1st Session Passed: 280-152 (see complete tally)

On adoption of Title IV, the House agreed by a yea-and-nay vote of 280 yeas and 152 nays, Roll No. 9.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Welcome to Sessions Watch

Welcome to Sessions Watch, a blog dedicated to keeping an eye on our Congressman, Pete Sessions, in Texas' 32nd Congressional district.

For the next two years, I will be tracking Pete Sessions' votes, so we can be better equipped to challenge him in 2008. My theory is that he keeps winning elections because people don't really know who he is, they just know his name. So I'm going to do my part this time to show people in TX-32 just who it is they're voting for--a right-wing, Bush-lovin' extremist, who doesn't represent the mainstream voter in our district.
During the 2006 election, I helped with the Will Pryor campaign, and posted the following diaries on Daily Kos:

1). Pete Sessions thinks I'm "unhinged", about how he used his congressional website to make fun of Democratic party ideas. The site is now down--but, of course, I saved a screenshot:

2). Pete Sessions weasles out of debate about how he agreed to "debate" Will Pryor, then changed his mind and made it a panel discussion instead of a debate, then chickened out and left the panel discussion after he finished speaking instead of staying around to answer questions from the audience.

3). Pete Sessions sneaks into Dem territory, the story of Pete Sessions' stealth visit to the Democratic portion of his district, on a night he knew Democrats would be busy with other events, to talk to a hand-picked group of supporters.

If you're in TX-32 and you have a Pete sighting or have something to add, please post a comment and I'll mention it in my next diary.