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.