Thursday, August 21, 2008

Roll Call Again

Another edition of Roll Call.

NOTE: All information below was taken from the senators' websites.

Susan Collins (R) Maine

Maine voters elected Susan M. Collins to represent them in the United States Senate in 1996 and again in 2002.

Senator Collins has served on the following committees: She is Ranking Member and former Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security and is the Senate’s chief oversight committee. She also serves on the Armed Services Committee and is a member of the Special Committee on Aging. Previously, she served for six years on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Senator Collins was also the first freshman Senator ever to lead the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

National Defense - Senator Collins has promoted a strong national defense. She has consistently supported legislation to provide a continued and steady workload at Bath Iron Works, and restore the nation’s shrinking U.S. Navy fleet. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Collins successfully advocated for dual-lead ship DDG-1000 acquisition strategy and has consistently opposed a “one-shipyard” proposal for construction of our next generation of surface combatants.

Education - As one of the architects of landmark education reform legislation, Senator Collins led the successful charge to triple funding for early reading initiatives. She also authored the law providing a $250 tax deduction for teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies and recently successfully sought an extension of this law. Her goal of expanding access to higher education for all students led her to co-author the 1998 Higher Education Act and to support increases in Pell Grants and other student financial aid. Fiscal Assistance and Jobs - In 2003, Senator Collins worked to secure $20 billion, including $116 million for the State of Maine, to help states deal with the budget shortfalls that were plaguing every state. This funding helped states avert major cuts in Medicaid and other vital state programs. Senator Collins is a long-time supporter of measures to encourage and assist small businesses to grow and create more jobs. She has earned a 100 percent rating from the nation’s largest small business organization, National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). Health Care - Senator Collins coauthored the Access to Affordable Health Care Act which takes significant strides toward the goal of universal health coverage by bringing millions more Americans into the insurance system. The bill also strengthens the health care safety net and addresses inequities in the Medicare system. In addition, Senator Collins led the fight to restore critical funding to Medicare for home health care so that elderly citizens and disabled can receive needed care in their own homes. Senator Collins also founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus, and led the effort to more than triple federal funding for diabetes research. As co-chairman of the Senate Alzheimer’s Caucus, Senator Collins has worked to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research and to strengthen support for family caregivers. (Blogger Comment: Senator Collins is a centrist Republican; often her voting is left to the rest of the party and she is accused of being a Republican in Name Only. For further information on her voting record, please check this link: We do not agree with many of the votes she has cast, nor do we support many of her platform issues -- especially the ones that require increased government spending.)

Thad Cochran (R) Mississippi

In 1978, Thad Cochran was elected to the United States Senate becoming the first Republican in over 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi. He was re-elected in 1984 in a race with Governor William Winter with over 60 percent of the votes. In 1990 he was unopposed, and in 1996 he was re-elected to a fourth term in the Senate with over 70 percent of the votes. His margin of victory in the 2002 election was 85 percent.

Senator Cochran has served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. He currently serves as Ranking Member of the full Appropriations Committee and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. He also serves as a member of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the Rules Committee. His legislative record includes the sponsorship of the National Missile Defense Act of 1999, the Campaign Finance Reform Act, as well as, key provisions of several farm bills.

Senator Cochran has also written legislation supporting education programs such as teacher training, vocational education, libraries, and educational television. He served as a member of the National Education Goals Panel. Numerous university based research projects have been funded with Senator Cochran's assistance including energy, agriculture, and forestry facilities at Mississippi State University, the Polymer Science Center at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Natural Products Center, Water and Wetlands Center, and Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, the National Warmwater Aquaculture Research Center at Stoneville, and the Jackson Heart Study by Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

He authored the Mississippi Wilderness Act which is the first federal legislation ever passed for the perpetual protection of lands in the State of Mississippi. He has also helped establish national wildlife refuges as a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, and he authored the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. In 1994, he was named by Ducks Unlimited as Conservationist of the Year in Mississippi. He was named Conservationist of the Year in 1996 by the North American Waterfowl Federation and received the Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation. He has received the lifetime achievement award of The Nature Conservancy.

As a member of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, he has worked successfully to support the Navy's shipbuilding programs and the various military bases and installations in Mississippi. Senator Cochran has served on the Board of Visitors of the Air Force Academy and as Chairman of the Board at the Military Academy at West Point. He is now a member of the Board of the U.S. Naval Academy.

After his home state of Mississippi was hit by the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States, Senator Cochran used his role as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to advance legislation providing over $87 billion in supplemental federal assistance to the states affected by the storm.

During previous Congresses, Cochran served on the Senate Ethics Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Labor and Human Resources Committee and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Service on these committees has enabled him to be actively involved in the writing of laws affecting a wide range of issues including rural development, health care, and criminal law. (Blogger Comment: Cochran's voting record is generally regarded as moderate by Southern Republican standards. As with Senator Collins, we do not agree with increased government spending, nor do we think that Senator Cochran should be continually voted into office after thirty years of service. We stated in a previous blog that career politicians are never a good idea, regardless of the political party, and that the people need to impose term limits by voting career politicians out of office.)

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