Mike Thompson Watch


Unemployment Compensation, Tax Breaks, Seniors, and War

(August 24, 2010)

Resuming after a long gap, I note that you can now share this page with friends in a variaety of ways (email, Digg, or Facebook) by clicking on icons at the bottom.

Lately Mike Thompson has been voting the Democratic Party line (he is a Democrat, but back when the Republicans held power, he often broke party ranks to vote with them). I've picked out a few July votes to highlight; today Congress is on vacation.

On July 22, 2010 the House of Representatives passed a motion to concur with the Senate amendment to H.R. 4213, the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2010. The motion passed 272 to 152 with 9 members not voting. Thompson voted Yea. President Obama signed the bill into law the same day. While this bill did extend unemployment payments to the long term unemployed, mainly it was a bunch of tax breaks for corporations and groups of individuals with powerful lobbies. It extends the periods for infrastructure bond issuance. Extends tax credits for hybrid motor vehicles, expenses of teachers, paying local taxes, capital gains contributed to conservation, business research and development, etc. Of particular bonus to Thompson's wine vineyard crowd is a "tax credit for farming businens machinery and equipment ... [and] qualified retail improvements." There's even "special expensing rules for certain films and television production." To see if you get a tax break, ask your accountant or read the text of the bill.

On July 27, 2010, Mike Thompson voted against H. Con. Resolution 301, Directing the President to remove United States Armed Forces from Pakistan. This bill was sponsored by Dennis Kucinich and only 38 Ayes could be found, 32 Democrats and 6 Republicans, against 372 Nays. I note that Lynn Woolsey, from CA-6, voted for the bill. Way to go, Lynn.

On July 28, 2010 Mike voted for H.R. 4692, the National Manufacturing Strategy Act of 2010. This passed with 379 Yeas, to only 38 Nays, all Republican. To some it might sound Socialist, but maybe we could use a strategy. All the bill would do is "require the President to prepare a quadrennial National Manufacturing Strategy." In other words, a new Four Year Plan. The last Four Year Plan did not work out so well. As of today, however, this bill has not been passed by the Senate.

Mike voted Yea on H.R. 3040, the Senior Financial Empowerment Act of 2009 on July 29, 2010. It passed 335 to 81, with only 2 Dems opposed and the Republicans about evenly split. Of course it does not actually empower seniors' finances. It is supposed to "prevent mail, telemarketing, and Internet fraud." Of course it won't apply to banks, mortgage companies, and "legitimate" parasites on the senior crowd. In fact, all it will do is "increase public awareness." Way to go Congress.

Also smelling sweet, by its title, is H.R. 5901: Real Estate Jobs and Investment Act of 2010. Mike voted for it (only 1 Democrat voted against it) and the bill passed 402 to 11, with 19 not voting. But what does it do? It amends the tax code "to exempt certain stock of real estate investment trusts (REITs) from the tax on foreign investment in the United States." Tax breaks for wealthy foreigners. Brilliant.

Mike Thompson is the current elected member of the United States House of Representatives for California's 1st Congressional District. But that could change if the district's voters ever became less apathetic.