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WASHINGTON GOP senator from Pa. votes against Bush on key issues



Published: Thu, July 5, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Sen. Specter has voted with the president on 22 of 27 key issues.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- When President George W. Bush looks to fellow Republicans in the U.S. Senate for their support on key issues, it's doubtful he turns to U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.

Specter had the second lowest rating of the 49 Republican senators when it came to voting this year with Bush, when the president took a position on an issue, according to a survey conducted by Congressional Quarterly.

Specter voted with Bush on 22 of 27 key issues for an 81 percent rating. Only U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, a Republican moderate like Specter, ranked lower with a 78 percent rating.

Each time Specter voted against the president, he voted on the side of the majority.

Specter was the only Republican to vote in favor of a Democratic-sponsored amendment to authorize billions of dollars for the construction and renovation of school buildings. Bush opposed the amendment, which was rejected by a 50-49 vote in the Senate in May.

Education money: Specter was also one of only four Republicans to vote for a Democratic-sponsored proposal to reduce a proposed $448 billion, 10-year tax cut with the savings used to pay for education spending. Bush opposed the proposal, which passed the Senate by a 53-47 vote in April.

The Pennsylvania senator was among 11 Republicans to vote against a plan to allow students to use federal vouchers to transfer to another school. The president supported the plan, but it was rejected by a 58-41 vote in May.

Specter was among 13 Republican senators to vote not to kill a bankruptcy overhaul measure. Bush wanted the bill killed, a position rejected 60-39 by the Senate in March.

Specter voted in favor of killing a plan to require unions and corporations to obtain permission from its members or shareholders before spending money on political activities. Bush didn't want the bill killed, but the Senate voted 69-31 in March to do just that.

Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania's other U.S. senator, voted against Bush only once, giving him a 96 percent ranking. The lone vote against Bush for Santorum was not to kill the bankruptcy overhaul bill.

Other senators: U.S. Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio also received a 96 percent ranking. Voinovich's lone vote in opposition to Bush was on the president's education reform plan requiring student testing and new accountability measures. Voinovich was one of only eight senators to vote against the bill, approved in June.

U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine of Ohio received a 93 percent ranking. He voted against the president on two bills: not killing the bankruptcy overhaul measure and requiring unions and corporations to obtain permission from members or shareholders before spending money on political activities.

skolnick@vindy.com




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