Mike Thompson Watch


Trade, Mining, Defense and other November Votes

(November 18, 2007)

Mike Thompson voted Yes on the Trade and Globalization Assistance Act (H.R. 3920) , which passed 264 to 157 with 11 not voting. This bill reauthorizes and expands the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, which provides a tiny bandaid to the big wound of job losses from globalization legislation and treaties. It updates an earlier act that provides some training for U.S. workers who lose their jobs when industries move overseas, mainly by including service industry workers in addition to manufacturing workers. [See current status and full text ]

Mike voted Yes on the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act (H.R. 2262), which passed the House 244 to 166 with 22 not voting. This bill would introduce the novel idea of changing royalties (8%) to miners (usually large corporations) that extract minerals from Federal Lands. Bet you did not know they get a free ride! It also includes some new environmental protection standards for the mines and establishes a reclaimation fund for abandonned mines. [See current status and full text ]

Mike joined just about everyone voting 361 for to 54 against to override the President's veto of the Water Resources Development Act (H.R. 1495). The veto was overridden in the Senate, too, so it has become law. I believe this act passed because it has money for water projects in just about every congressional district in the nation. Some are probably boondoggles, some are for flood control (which is usually anti-environmental), and some is for environmental protection projects.

Mike voted for the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement, another popular bill (H.R. 3688) that passed 285 to 132 with 16 not voting. This is a typical free trade agreement that will help large corporations and hurt subsistence farmers in Peru and possibly American workers. [See Wiki article] [See current status]

The Defense Appropriations Act, FY2008, (H.R. 3222) was passed 400 to 15, with 17 not voting. The $471 billion of your taxpayer dollars will go to fund the usual generals and defense contractors; usually a few billion just seems to evaporate into the air. It has already been signed into law by the President. Mike Thompson, of course, voted Yes. Here are the Representatives who voted no: Tammy Baldwin, Earl Blumenauer, Vernon Ehlers (the only Republican to vote No), Keith Ellison, Bob Filner, Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, John Lewis, James McDermott, Donald Payne, Nydia Valazquez, and our fine neighbor Lynn Woolsey.

The Temporary Tax Relief Act of 2007 (H.R. 3996) passed the House of Representatives on a narrower vote, 216 for, 193 against, and 24 not voting. Mike voted Yes; it has not yet passed the Senate [See current status and full text]. This is a grab bag; the most notable provision is that (if it becomes law) it increases the threshold where the Alternative Minimum Tax kicks in. Which means upper-middle class professionals with really big houses and mortgages will continue to pay less taxes than ordinary, lower-wage workers. It extends a bunch of old tax deductions like the ones for sales taxes paid, tuition, special deals for teachers, and various tax-free IRA distribution schemes. It also extends many special tax credits and deductions for businesses. My favorite is the accelerated depreciation allowance for motorsport entertainment complexes. Bet you wish you could just write Mike a letter and have his staff figure out a clause or two so that you would join that special elite that pays little or no income tax. One good thing: it repeals the authority of the IRS to pay private debt collection agencies to collect back taxes.

-- William P. Meyers

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Mike Thomspon is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District.