The Senator that voted "present"

One politician apparently was on the fence for 3% withholding measure

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Bill Wilson is the editorial director of ROADS & BRIDGES magazine and has been covering the industry since 1999. He has won seven Robert F. Boger Awards for editorial excellence, including three in 2011. He also was the creator of the Top 10, Contractor's Choice Awards and Recycling Awards platforms, as well as ROADS & BRIDGES Live.

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Congratulations, Senators! Now, was that so hard? It appears Congress is in the process of doing the right thing following the Senate's passage of a bill that would not require federal, state and local governments to withhold 3% of payments to contractors in 2013. The Senate did tinker with it a bit, adding tax credits for companies that hire veterans and calling for a study on how to prevent tax evasion by government contractors. The House will look at the revisions and debate them, but this is all a formality and the move should become official soon.

The measure passed by a 95-0 count, with one Senator voting "present." Really? Who in his or her wrong mind would vote "present"? That would be Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican for the state of Maine. I really cannot understand why a lawmaker would essentially go against every one of her constituents; that just really baffles me. I mean, we are still in a recession, right? This 3% withholding would only starve contractors even more, right? And, wouldn't that make it more difficult to pull out of a depressed economy? Maybe I have it all wrong, or maybe Snowe is not running for re-election and just does not give a damn. Yeah, the latter must be it. Right?

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