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Roll call for May 18

Here’s how New Hampshire’s senators voted on major issues in the week ending Friday. The House was in recess.

ENERGY BILL FILIBUSTER: Voting 55 for and 36 against, the Senate on Monday failed to reach 60 votes needed to end a Republican filibuster against a bill (S 2262) that would promote energy efficiency in buildings throughout the U.S. economy without federal mandates or deficit spending. Republicans objected to the Democratic majority’s refusal to entertain amendments to build the Keystone XL Pipeline and protect emissions from coal-fired power plants against executive orders by President Obama. Democrats said they had already agreed to 10 bipartisan amendments on other topics as well as a follow-up vote on a self-standing bill on whether to proceed with the pipeline.

Sponsored by GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio and Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, the energy bill over time would create 200,000 jobs, cut most residential, commercial and governmental utility bills and greatly reduce carbon emissions. The bill would use model building codes, technological advances such as smart meters and more efficient HVAC systems, policy incentives, educational campaigns and other steps to bring about voluntary compliance with its efficiency standards.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, said: “This argument that the reason we can’t have a vote on the Keystone pipeline is because Democrats will not allow amendments is completely bogus – completely bogus – and anyone following this debate knows that.”

Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican, said: “Let the amendments be offered. That is what the Senate is all about. This is a place of unlimited debate and usually unlimited amendments. . . . If the amendments are wild-eyed and out there, they will surely be defeated. But let’s debate the bill.”

A yes vote was to end the GOP filibuster.

Voting yes: Shaheen and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican.

EXTENSION OF TAX BREAKS: Voting 96 for and three against, the Senate on Tuesday agreed to start debate on a bill (HR 3474) that would renew through 2015 several dozen special-interest tax breaks for businesses, individuals and other beneficiaries that expired at the end of 2013. Known as “extenders,” these targeted tax-relief measures are projected by the Congressional Budget Office to total $81.3 billion over 10 years while adding $84.1 billion to the national debt over that time. They consist, in part, of the research and development tax credit for businesses; deductions for college tuition; tax credits to encourage the hiring of veterans; bonus depreciation to spur equipment purchases by businesses; an exemption of forgiven mortgage debt from taxation; deductions for K-12 teachers’ out-of-pocket purchases of classroom supplies; production tax credits for renewable energy and deductions to spur construction of energy-efficient buildings.

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, said failure to pass the bill “would cause further unnecessary, really gratuitous harm to American workers, to our small businesses, to our ability to compete in tough global markets. The (bill) is all about preventing a tax increase.”

No senator spoke against the bill.

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

Voting yes: Shaheen, Ayotte.

FEDERAL JUDGE DIANE HUMETEWA: Voting 96 for and none against, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Diane Humetewa as a federal judge for the District of Arizona, making her the first Native American to serve on the federal bench. A member of the Hopi Tribe, she was U.S. attorney for the Arizona district between 2007-09.

A yes vote was to confirm Judge Humetewa.

Voting yes: Shaheen, Ayotte.

Key votes ahead

This week, the Senate will resume debate on a bill to extend special-interest tax breaks for individuals and businesses. The House schedule was to be announced.

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