Name: Thomas Coburn


Senate: Oklahoma, Republican


Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 82%


Status: Former Member of the Senate

Score Breakdown:
84% (113th Congress: 2013-2014); 81% (112th Congress: 2011-2012); 97% (111th Congress: 2009-2010); 80% (110th Congress: 2007-2008); 65% (109th Congress: 2005-2006); 84% (106th Congress: 1999-2000)

Key Votes:



On the Point of Order H.R. 83: To require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to affordable, reliable energy, including increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: December 13, 2014Vote: NONE No Vote.
Executive Action on Immigration.
During consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 83), Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) raised a constitutional point of order that the bill violates the Constitution's separation of powers, its enumerated powers, and its requirement that the president faithfully execute the laws because the bill would fund activities related to President Obama's executive action on amnesty. During debate on his point of order, Cruz said, "If you believe President Obama's amnesty is unconstitutional, vote yes. If you believe President Obama's amnesty is consistent with the Constitution, then vote no."

The Senate rejected Cruz's point of order on December 13, 2014 by a vote of 22 to 74 (Roll Call 353). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because President Obama's executive amnesty was unconstitutional for the reasons listed above.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 83): To require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to affordable, reliable energy, including increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: December 13, 2014Vote: NONE No Vote.
Omnibus Appropriations.
According to Congressional Quarterly, appropriations bill H.R. 83, dubbed the "CRomnibus bill" (combination of Continuing Resolution and Omnibus),"would provide $1.013 trillion in discretionary appropriations in fiscal 2015 for federal departments and agencies covered by the 12 unfinished fiscal 2015 spending bills."

The Senate agreed with the House version of this appropriations bill on December 13, 2014 by a vote of 56 to 40 (Roll Call 354). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this fiscal 2015 omnibus appropriations bill, Congress is failing to address its fiscally and constitutionally irresponsible budgeting and appropriating process that is currently yielding annual federal deficits measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars that contribute directly to the dramatic growth of our already $18 trillion national debt.



On Passage of the Bill S. 2280: A bill to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Vote Date: November 18, 2014Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Keystone XL Pipeline.
S. 2280 would immediately allow TransCanada to construct, connect, operate, and maintain the Keystone XL pipeline, including any revision to the pipeline route within Nebraska as required or authorized by the state. It also would consider the January 2014 environmental impact statement issued by the State Department sufficient to satisfy all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act. The bill would grant the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia exclusive jurisdiction regarding legal disputes over the pipeline or the constitutionality of the bill.

The Senate rejected S. 2280 on November 18, 2014 by a vote of 59 to 41, after having agreed by unanimous consent to raise the majority requirement for passage to 60 (Roll Call 280). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because this bill essentially gets the federal government out of the way of economic development. While one could correctly argue that the federal government should not have been involved in this issue in the first place, and that from a constitutional standpoint it should be left up to the states, private property owners, and TransCanada to work out an arrangement, this bill is definitely a step in the right direction since it would remove unconstitutional federal regulatory road blocks against the pipeline project.



On the Cloture Motion S. 2199: A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide more effective remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 15, 2014Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Equal Pay.
The "Paycheck Fairness Act" (S. 2199) was intended to ensure that men and women receive equal pay for equal work by, for example, requiring businesses to demonstrate that pay-gaps between men and women with similar jobs and qualifications are "job-related with respect to the position in question; and ... consistent with business necessity." The bill also authorizes enhanced penalties for sex discrimination.

The Senate did not vote on the underlying bill itself but on a procedural motion to invoke cloture, and thus limit debate, so that the bill could come up for a vote. The motion to invoke cloture was rejected on September 15, 2014 by a vote of 52 to 40 (60 votes, three-fifths of the full Senate, are needed to invoke cloture; Roll Call 262). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authorization to determine the value of employees' labor in the private sector, whether in the absolute sense or relative to other wages. Wages instead should be determined by the market.



On the Cloture Motion S.J.Res. 19: A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to contributions and expenditures intended to affect elections.
Vote Date: September 11, 2014Vote: NONE No Vote.
Campaign Finance Constitutional Amendment.
Senate Joint Resolution 19 would propose an amendment to the Constitution granting Congress and state lawmakers the "power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal and state elections." The resolution's proposed amendment would also prohibit "corporations or other artificial entities" created by law "from spending money to influence elections."

The Senate did not vote on S. J. Res. 19 itself but on a motion to invoke cloture, and thus limit debate, on the joint resolution so that it could come up for a vote. The Senate rejected this motion on September 11, 2014 by a vote of 54 to 42 (60 votes, three-fifths of the full Senate, are needed to invoke cloture; Roll Call 261). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this proposed constitutional amendment would effectively repeal the free speech provision of the First Amendment, since restricting the amount of money that may be spent on political speech would restrict political speech.



On the Motion (Motion to Waive All Applicable Budgetary Discipline Re: S.2648): A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 31, 2014Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Illegal Immigrant Children Supplemental Appropriations.
S. 2648 would authorize $3.6 billion in supplemental appropriations, including $2.73 billion "to cover necessary expenses to respond to the significant rise in unaccompanied children and adults with children at the southwest border," $615 million for wildfire suppression activities of the Forest Service, and $225 million that would be provided "to the Government of Israel for the procurement of the Iron Dome defense system to counter short-range rocket threats."

During the floor debate, Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) commented that this bill is "a blank check that does not solve the crisis along our southern border.... Well, today we are exercising our constitutional right in cutting off funding for the President to expand his administrative amnesties."

The Senate did not vote on the underlying bill itself but on a motion to waive all applicable budget laws with respect to a point of order against the bill so that the bill could move forward. The Senate rejected this motion on July 31, 2014 by a vote of 50 to 44 (60 votes, three-fifths of the full Senate, are needed to waive the applicable budget laws; Roll Call 252). We have assigned pluses to the nays because most of the $3.6 billion requested by President Obama would be used to expand his amnesty program of deferred action for childhood arrivals, an unconstitutional usurpation of Congress' power to "to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization."



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 3584 to H.R. 5021 (Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014): To empower States with authority for most taxing and spending for highway programs and mass transit programs.
Vote Date: July 29, 2014Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Gas Tax.
During consideration of the Highway Trust Fund re-authorization bill (H.R. 5021), Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced an amendment to transfer local transportation infrastructure projects to the states, rather than having the federal government fund and oversee the spending on such projects. Part of this would be accomplished by lowering the federal gasoline tax from the current 18.4 cents per gallon to 3.7 cents per gallon by 2019, and allowing the states to use that money for their own projects as they see fit.

Lee noted that his amendment "would empower States and communities to customize their own infrastructure according to their own needs, their own values, and their own imagination," and the amendment "would, over 5 years, gradually transfer funding and spending authority over local transportation infrastructure projects to the States."

The Senate rejected Lee's amendment on July 29, 2014 by a vote of 28 to 69 (Roll Call 246). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government has no constitutional authority to interject itself into local and state highway infrastructure projects in the first place. Constitutionally, the states should fund their own transportation projects, without the money for such projects being routed through Washington.



On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 2578: A bill to ensure that employers cannot interfere in their employees' birth control and other health care decisions.
Vote Date: July 16, 2014Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Contraception.
S. 2578 would force employers to pay for contraceptives (including abortifacients) even when they object on religious grounds. This legislation was introduced in response to the Supreme Court's June 2014 decision that Hobby Lobby could not be forced to cover employees' contraception because the owners had religious objections.

The Senate did not vote on the underlying bill itself but on a procedural motion to invoke cloture, and thus limit debate so that the bill could be advanced. The motion to invoke cloture was rejected on July 16, 2014 by a vote of 56 to 43 (60 votes, three-fifths of the full Senate, are needed to invoke cloture; Roll Call 228). We have assigned pluses to the nays not only because the federal government has no constitutional authority to determine what healthcare coverage employers provide but also because requiring anyone to pay for practices violating their religious convictions is immoral and un-American.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 803: An act to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to strengthen the United States workforce development system through innovation in, and alignment and improvement of, employment, training, and education programs in the United States, and to promote individual and national economic growth, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 25, 2014Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Workforce Training.
H.R. 803 would consolidate workforce training programs under the Workforce Investment Act of 1998, reauthorize adult-education programs, and reauthorize other workforce-related programs under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

The Senate passed H.R. 803 on June 25, 2014 by a vote of 95 to 3 (Roll Call 214). We have assigned pluses to the nays because there is no constitutional authorization for federal workforce-training programs. This is not to say that workforce training is a bad thing, but such programs are best handled by the private sector, which would surely provide more and better jobs if the federal government were to siphon less money out of the economy for programs to improve the economy.



On the Nomination PN1342: Stanley Fischer, of New York, to be Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years
Vote Date: June 12, 2014Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Fischer Nomination.
On January 10, 2014, President Obama nominated Stanley Fischer to be vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors. Before being tapped for the number two position at the Federal Reserve, Fischer had a notable career within globalist elitist ranks, previously serving as governor of the Bank of Israel from 2005 to 2013, first deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1994 to 2001, a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and a participant of the 2011 Bilderberg meeting. Fischer is also a frequent speaker at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, which is one of the premier global think tanks and which has played an especially important role in promoting the WTO, IMF, United Nations, and supposed "free trade" agreements.

The Senate confirmed the nomination on June 12, 2014 by a vote of 63 to 24 (Roll Call 191). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Fischer's record indicates that he is supportive of central bank inflationary policies that create economic havoc. Moreover, the Federal Reserve, America's central bank that creates money out of thin air, is unconstitutional.



On the Nomination of Sylvia Burwell: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, of West Virginia, to be Secretary of Health and Human Services
Vote Date: June 5, 2014Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Burwell Nomination.

On April 11, 2014, President Obama nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell to succeed Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services. One of the most remarkable things about Burwell's resume is that she has served in so many high-level positions in government and the non-profit sector. For example, while serving for eight years in the Clinton administration, she rose to become deputy chief of staff to the president. During her decade serving in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2001-2011), she was executive vice president, chief operating officer, and president of the Global Development Program. Of course, the Gates Foundation is a huge financial supporter of pro-abortion organizations, such as Planned Parenthood Federation of America and International Planned Parenthood Federation, and has funded the creation of the Common Core educational standards. She is also a member of the globalist-minded Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), serving on its Board of Directors from 2007 to 2013, and the Trilateral Commission. With this network of establishment elite connections, Burwell is especially well suited to implement the unconstitutional, socialistic ObamaCare legislation.

The Senate confirmed the nomination on June 5, 2014 by a vote of 78 to 17 (Roll Call 175). We have assigned pluses to the nays because opposing the nomination of such a high-ranking establishment operative to be point person for implementing the unconstitutional ObamaCare law should be a no-brainer for Constitution-supporting senators.



On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 2223: A bill to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage and to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend increased expensing limitations and the treatment of certain real property as section 179 property.
Vote Date: April 30, 2014Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Minimum Wage.

During consideration of the bill to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 (S. 2223), Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a motion to invoke cloture, and thus limit debate, so the bill could come up for a vote.

The Senate rejected Reid's motion to invoke cloture on April 30, 2014 by a vote of 54 to 42 (60 votes, three-fifths of the full Senate, are needed to invoke cloture; Roll Call 117). We have assigned pluses to the nays because any debate on the Senate floor that could prevent a federal minimum wage increase is a good thing. A federal minimum wage is unconstitutional, since nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government authorized to dictate how much private businesses pay their employees for services performed as part of a private, voluntary contract. Furthermore, many studies have demonstrated that minimum wage increases always lead to more unemployment among the poor and unskilled workers, the very people whom the wage increase is ostensibly intended to help.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3979: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to ensure that emergency services volunteers are not taken into account as employees under the shared responsibility requirements contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Vote Date: April 7, 2014Vote: NONE No Vote.
Unemployment Benefits Extension.

This bill (H.R. 3979) was for the extension of unemployment benefits through May 31 of 2014. These extended benefits were to be paid for by adjustments to employers' pension contributions and by extending U.S. Customs and Border Protection user fees through 2024.

The Senate passed H.R. 3979 on April 7, 2014 by a vote of 59 to 38 (Roll Call 101). We have assigned pluses to the nays because, by paying people unemployment benefits, the federal government is essentially subsidizing unemployment. That the federal government does this in the first place is bad enough, but any extension of said benefits is even worse. At a time when government debt is nearly $17 trillion, paying unemployment benefits is fiscally irresponsible. Furthermore, the U.S. Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to provide unemployment benefits to workers. This type of welfare should be handled on the state or local level, if handled by the government at all.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2867 to H.R. 4152 (Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014): In the nature of a substitute.
Vote Date: March 27, 2014Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Ukraine Aid.

The Senate version of this legislation - offered in the form of a substitute amendment to the House version, H.R. 4152 — would provide $150 million for direct aid to Ukraine. It would also provide for loan guarantees (meaning that the U.S. taxpayers would be stuck holding the bag if the loans are not paid). And it would impose sanctions on Russian and ex-Ukrainian officials deemed responsible for the crisis in the Ukraine.

The Senate adopted the substitute amendment to H.R. 4152 on March 27, 2014 by a vote of 98 to 2 (Roll Call 88). We have assigned pluses to the nays because foreign aid is unconstitutional. The rationale for providing U.S. aid to Ukraine is that the country needs our assistance to resist Russian hegemony and build "democracy." Yet the oligarchs wielding power in Ukraine are hardly "democrats," and (because money is fungible) U.S. assistance could effectively be funneled to Russia in the form of Ukrainian energy and debt payments.



On Passage of the Bill S. 1086: A bill to reauthorize and improve the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: March 13, 2014Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Child Care.

This bill (S. 1086) would reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant program through fiscal 2020 and would further institute new standards for education, health, and safety on child care providers that receive funds under this program. It would also expand the information required from states regarding how they will make use of the funds, as well as require that the states develop plans that include guidelines for training and teaching children from the time they are born until they enroll in kindergarten. The CBO has estimated that implementing this bill would cost $16.8 billion over the 2015-2020 period.

The Senate passed S. 1086 on March 13, 2014 by a vote of 96 to 2 (Roll Call 77). We have assigned pluses to the nays because childcare funding is an unconstitutional activity of the federal government. Just based on the brief description of S. 1086 in the above paragraph, it is clear that this bill would increase federal oversight of child care and impose national standards reminiscent of what the widely reviled Common Core State (read National) Standards are doing to K-12 education.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to S.540): An act to temporarily extend the public debt limit, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: February 12, 2014Vote: NONE No Vote.
Debt Limit Suspension.

This bill (S. 540), entitled the "Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act," would suspend the national debt limit on federal debt through March 15, 2015 - the temporary aspect of the legislation. But the additional debt accumulated between enactment of this bill and March 15, 2015 would not be "temporary," since on the following day the legislation would automatically re-establish the debt limit at a higher level, reflecting the additional debt.

The Senate passed S. 540 on February 12, 2014 by a vote of 55 to 43 (Roll Call 34). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should live within its means, suspending the debt limit is even worse than raising it, and most of the spending responsible for the ballooning national debt is unconstitutional. (The House passed this bill on February 11; see House vote below.)

[ This bill (S. 540), entitled the "Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act," would suspend the national debt limit on federal debt through March 15, 2015 - the temporary aspect of the legislation. But the additional debt accumulated between enactment of this bill and March 15, 2015 would not be "temporary," since on the following day the legislation would automatically re-establish the debt limit at a higher level, reflecting the additional debt. ]



On the Conference Report H.R. 2642: A bill to provide for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2018, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: February 4, 2014Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Farm and Food Programs.

This bill (H.R. 2642) would reauthorize federal farm and nutrition programs through fiscal 2018, including crop subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Though this legislation is entitled the Agriculture Act of 2014, most of the funding in the bill is not for agricultural programs but for food programs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the final version of this legislation (conference report) would cost $956 billion over 10 years, of which $756 billion would be for nutrition programs.

The Senate passed the conference report on February 4, 2014 by a vote of 68 to 32 (Roll Call 21). We have assigned pluses to the nays because both farm aid and food aid are unconstitutional. The food subsidy programs are supposed to help the poor, but in practice they have done little to lift people out of poverty, as evidenced by the growing number of recipients of these programs. (The House passed the conference report on January 29, 2014; see House vote below.)

[ This bill (H.R. 2642) would reauthorize federal farm and nutrition programs through fiscal 2018, including crop subsidies and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. Though this bill is entitled the Agriculture Act of 2014, most of the funding in the bill is not for agricultural programs but for food programs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the final version of this legislation (conference report) would cost $956 billion over 10 years, of which $756 billion would be for nutrition programs. ]



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 3547): Making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: January 16, 2014Vote: NONE No Vote.
Omnibus Appropriations.

On January 16, 2014, the Senate accepted the House concurrence in the Senate version of the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 3547), completing congressional action. H.R. 3547 provides about $1.1 trillion in discretionary appropriations in fiscal 2014 for numerous federal departments and agencies. The legislation satisfies the $1.012 trillion cap on discretionary spending established by the December budget deal, which had repealed a portion of sequestration cuts provided by the 2011 debt limit law. This amounts to a 2.6 percent increase in discretionary spending compared to the sequester-reduced level for fiscal 2013. See House vote below for more information.

[During consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 3547), Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) moved that the House concur with the Senate version of the bill that would provide about $1.1 trillion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2014 for the following federal departments and agencies: Agriculture ($20.9 billion), Commerce-Justice-Science ($51.6 billion), Defense ($572 billion), overseas contingency operations associated with the war in Afghanistan and other counterterrorism operations ($85.2 billion), Energy-Water ($34.1 billion), Financial Services ($21.9 billion), Homeland Security ($39.3 billion), Interior-Environment ($30.1 billion), Labor-HHS-Education ($156.8 billion), Legislative Branch ($4.3 billion), Military Construction-VA ($73.3 billion), State-Foreign Affairs ($49 billion), and Transportation-HUD ($50.9 billion). The legislation satisfies the $1.012 trillion cap on discretionary spending established by the December budget deal, which had repealed a portion of sequestration cuts provided by the 2011 debt limit law. This amounts to a 2.6 percent increase in discretionary spending compared to the sequester-reduced level for fiscal 2013. The bill also includes $98 billion not subject to the budget cap, including funding for war-related and anti-terrorism programs, as well as disaster relief.]

The Senate agreed to the final version of H.R. 3547 on January 16, 2014 by a vote of 72 to 26 (Roll Call 13). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this budget agreement Congress is failing to address its fiscally and constitutionally irresponsible budgeting and appropriating process that is currently yielding annual federal deficits measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars that contribute directly to the dramatic growth of our $17 trillion national debt.



On the Nomination of Janet Yellen: Janet L. Yellen, of California, to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years
Vote Date: January 6, 2014Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Yellen Nomination.

On October 9, 2013, President Obama nominated Janet Yellen to succeed Ben Bernanke as chair of the Federal Reserve. Having served as vice-chair of the Fed since October 2010, Yellen is closely associated with Bernanke's decision to proceed with "QE (Quantitative Easing) unlimited," the Fed's unlimited purchasing of bonds until the market "substantially" improves. Yellen's promotion to chair is a clear indication that the Fed will continue to recklessly pump trillions of newly created fiat (unbacked) dollars into the economy, in turn radically expanding the money supply and further diminishing the purchasing power of the dollar to buy goods and services, which is especially burdensome to the poor and elderly. Furthermore, Yellen's policy of keeping interest rates artificially low will encourage additional irresponsible and excessive borrowing, as well as malinvestments.

The Senate confirmed the nomination on January 6, 2014 by a vote of 56 to 26 (Roll Call 1). We have assigned pluses to the nays because of the economic havoc, caused by inflation, that Yellen contributed to as vice-chair and that she intends to continue as the new chair of the Fed. Furthermore, a central bank, such as the Fed, that creates money out of thin air is not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.J.Res. 59): A joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: December 18, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Budget Agreement.

On December 18, 2013, the Senate accepted the House concurrence in the Senate version of H. J. Res. 59, the budget agreement. See House vote below for more information.

[ During consideration of the Budget Agreement for fiscal 2014 (House Joint Resolution 59), Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) moved that the House concur with the Senate version of the fiscal 2014 continuing resolution (H. J. Res 59) that would increase the discretionary spending caps for fiscal 2014 and 2015 to $1.012 trillion and $1.014 trillion, respectively. This represents an increase of $26 billion for 2014 and $19 billion for 2015. Furthermore, this amounts to the elimination of $63 billion in sequester cuts for 2014 and 2015. Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) explained his no vote on this budget agreement in a Facebook post for December 24, 2013: "Instead of real compromise to reform the biggest budget items contributing to our $17 trillion debt — Social Security, military spending, and Medicare - the bill increases federal spending for special interests by tens of billions of dollars and pays for it by raising taxes on millions of Americans." ]

The Senate agreed to the final version of H. J. Res. 59 on December 18, 2013 by a vote of 64 to 36 (Roll Call 281). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this budget agreement Congress is failing to address its fiscally and constitutionally irresponsible budgeting and appropriating process that is currently yielding annual federal deficits measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars that contribute directly to the dramatic growth of our $17 trillion national debt.



On Passage of the Bill S. 815: A bill to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Vote Date: November 7, 2013Vote: NONE No Vote.
Employment Nondiscrimination.
This bill (S. 815) would prohibit employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations from discriminating against employees, applicants, or members on the basis of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity. This essentially gives homosexual and transgender persons a "protected status" where employment is concerned. Religious organizations are exempt from this bill, but organizations owned by or affiliated with religious organizations are not.

The Senate passed the bill on November 7, 2013 by a vote of 64 to 32 (Roll Call 232). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government is overstepping its constitutional boundaries by dictating the hiring practices of private employers. While the exemption for religious organizations is a good thing, the bill is still a serious infringement on private property rights as it limits what a person can and cannot do on his or her private property, in this case a business.



On the Motion to Proceed S.J.Res. 26: A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the President's exercise of authority to suspend the debt limit, as submitted under section 1002(b) of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 on October 17, 2013.
Vote Date: October 29, 2013Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Debt Limit Increase Disapproval.
The legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president to fund the federal government including ObamaCare through January 15, 2014 (see below) also provided for the suspension of the national debt ceiling through February 7, 2014. By suspending this limit on how much money the federal government may borrow, the president can run up the national debt by whatever amount he deems necessary to meet government obligations, without having to ask Congress to once again increase federal borrowing authority. However, the legislation includes a procedure for Congress to disapprove of the president raising the national debt limit.

In accordance with this procedure, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made a motion to consider a resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 26) to disapprove of President Obama suspending the national debt limit. His motion of disapproval was rejected on October 29, 2013 by a vote of 45 to 54 (Roll Call 220). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should live within its means and because most of the spending responsible for the ballooning national debt is unconstitutional.

[ GOP Cave-in. The impasse over the continuing appropriations bill came to an end when, on the 16th day of the partial government shutdown, the House concurred in a Senate amendment that rewrote the House bill H.R. 2775, which had only contained a provision to prevent ObamaCare subsidies to individuals without verifying income, etc. As amended, the bill suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continued funding government operations through January 15, 2014 at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. It did not include any provision to defund ObamaCare.]



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2775: An act making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 16, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Continuing Resolution.
This bill (H.R. 2775), as amended by the Senate (see below), was the result of a negotiated deal that ended the partial government shutdown over the Republican attempt to defund ObamaCare. It continued funding government operations, including ObamaCare, through January 15, 2014. The amount of spending in the bill was based on the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. The legislation also suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014.

The Senate passed the bill on October 16, 2013 by a vote of 81 to 18 (Roll Call 219). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the negotiated deal contained in this bill constituted a cave-in by congressional Republicans that ended the Republican attempt to defund the unconstitutional ObamaCare law.

[ GOP Cave-in. The impasse over the continuing appropriations bill came to an end when, on the 16th day of the partial government shutdown, the House concurred in a Senate amendment that rewrote the House bill H.R. 2775, which had only contained a provision to prevent ObamaCare subsidies to individuals without verifying income, etc. As amended, the bill suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continued funding government operations through January 15, 2014 at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. It did not include any provision to defund ObamaCare.]



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1974 to H.J.Res. 59 (Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014): Of a perfecting nature.
Vote Date: September 27, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Continuing Resolution/Defunding ObamaCare.
During consideration of the fiscal 2014 continuing appropriations bill (House Joint Resolution 59), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a perfecting amendment that replaces the text of the continuing resolution with language supported by Senate Democrats. The amendment would strip from the bill language supported by the House to defund ObamaCare. It would also provide continuing appropriations to fund government operations from the start of fiscal year 2014 on October 1, 2013 through November 15, 2013 that would reflect an annual "discretionary" spending level of about $986.3 billion - approximately the same amount of discretionary spending in fiscal 2013.

The Senate adopted Reid's amendment on September 27, 2013 by a vote of 54 to 44 (Roll Call 208). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Senate used this amendment to reject the House's attempt to defund the unconstitutional ObamaCare law. The impasse between the House-passed CR that would have defunded ObamaCare (see below) and the Senate language that continued funding ObamaCare along with other government operations, led to the 16-day partial government shutdown.

[ House Bill: House Joint Resolution 59 would provide continuing appropriations to fund government operations from the beginning of fiscal year 2014 on October 1, 2013 until December 15, 2013 at approximately the same amount of "discretionary" spending as fiscal 2013, and it would defund ObamaCare. This bill represents the House Republicans' implementation of the strategy for defunding ObamaCare via a continuing resolution (CR). The bill contains appropriations for huge amounts of unconstitutional spending, it would completely defund unconstitutional ObamaCare in fiscal 2014. ]



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 59: A joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 27, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Continuing Resolution.
This vote represents Senate passage of the continuing resolution (House Joint Resolution 59), as amended by the Reid perfecting amendment (described by Senate vote below) to continue funding the federal government, including ObamaCare, through November 15, 2013.

[ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a perfecting amendment that replaces the text of the continuing resolution with language supported by Senate Democrats. The amendment would strip from the bill language supported by the House to defund ObamaCare. ]

The Senate passed this version of the continuing resolution on September 27, 2013 by a vote of 54 to 44 (Roll Call 209). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this vote affirmed the Senate's rejection of the House's attempt to defund the unconstitutional ObamaCare law. At the time, however, the House was unwilling to back down, and a modified version of the continuing resolution - albeit one including the ObamaCare funding - was later passed by both the Senate and the House (see below).

[ GOP Cave-in. The impasse over the continuing appropriations bill came to an end when, on the 16th day of the partial government shutdown, the House concurred in a Senate amendment that rewrote the House bill H.R. 2775, which had only contained a provision to prevent ObamaCare subsidies to individuals without verifying income, etc. As amended, the bill suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continued funding government operations through January 15, 2014 at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. It did not include any provision to defund ObamaCare.]



On the Cloture Motion S. 1243: An original bill making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 1, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Transportation-HUD Appropriations.
This appropriations bill (S. 1243) would provide $54 billion in fiscal 2014 for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Total spending called for by the bill would be "about $5.6 billion more than the current level under the sequester," according to Congressional Quarterly. And much of the spending allocations — such as $19.6 billion for the Section 8 rental-assistance program — is unconstitutional.

Republicans filibustered against the bill because of the amount of spending it contained. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who favored the bill, offered a motion to invoke cloture, in order to break the filibuster and allow the bloated bill to come to a vote. But the Senate rejected Reid's motion on August 1, 2013 by a vote of 54 to 43 (60 votes - three-fifths of the full Senate - are needed to invoke cloture; Roll Call 199). We have assigned pluses to the nays not only because the bill called for more spending but also because much of the spending is unconstitutional.



On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 1739 to S. 1243 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations): To redirect certain foreign assistance to the Government of Egypt as a result of the July 3, 2013, military coup d'etat.
Vote Date: July 31, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Aid to Egypt.
During consideration of the fiscal 2014 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (S. 1243), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) offered a motion to table (kill) an amendment by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Paul's amendment would have established that the July 3, 2013 overthrow of the Mohammed Morsi government in Egypt was a military coup d'état, thus prohibiting the United States from providing military aid to Egypt until another "democratic" election occurs. As Paul noted in the text of the amendment, "The United States is legally prohibited from providing foreign assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup d'état, or removed in such a way that the military plays a decisive role.... [Military aid] shall be halted until the President certifies to Congress that democratic national elections have taken place in Egypt followed by a peaceful transfer of power."

The money that would be used for military aid to Egypt would instead, under Paul’s amendment, be redirected for the repair of U.S. bridges and other critical national highways.

The Senate agreed to the motion and killed the Paul amendment on July 31, 2013 by a vote of 86 to 13 (Roll Call 195). We have assigned pluses to the nays because a reduction in foreign aid, particularly in the form of military assistance, is a good thing. The Constitution does not authorize the government to give foreign aid and meddle in other nations’ internal affairs, so while Paul's amendment would allow for the resumption of aid to Egypt, it would still be an improvement on the status quo.



On the Cloture Motion S. 1238: A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the current reduced interest rate for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans for 1 year, to modify required distribution rules for pension plans, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 10, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Student Loans.
During consideration of the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 (S. 1238), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a motion to invoke cloture and thus end debate on the bill so it could be voted on. This act would serve to extend the 3.4-percent interest rate on undergraduate Stafford loans disbursed to students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2013 to between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2014.

The Senate rejected Reid's motion, and thus did not invoke cloture, on July 10, 2013 by a vote of 51 to 49 (Roll Call 171). We have assigned pluses to the nays because forcing a vote on an unconstitutional action of the federal government is a bad thing. The U.S. government should not be in the business of subsidizing higher education to begin with, and continuing a low interest rate on student loans would merely encourage this unconstitutional activity. Additionally, owing to the ease of obtaining government loans for education and the sheer amount of unpaid student debt, the nation is now facing a colossal "student debt bubble" that could have severe negative economic consequences.



On Passage of the Bill S. 744: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 27, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Immigration Reform.
This bill (S. 744) would provide an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy that features the granting of immediate legal status for most illegal immigrants in the United States (aka amnesty), new visa programs for a wide range of workers from low-skilled to high-skilled, and new border security measures (only reducing the illegal immigration rate by 25-50 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office). While the rate of legal immigration into the United States is currently about one million per year, this bill would raise the average legal immigration rate to several million per year.

The Senate passed the Immigration Overhaul on June 27, 2013 by a vote of 68 to 32 (Roll Call 168). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the large-scale amnesty and new visa programs coupled with a lack of effective border security would lead to both large increases in legal immigration and continuing large-scale illegal immigration, even though the U.S. government has the duty under Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution to "protect [every state] against Invasion." Furthermore, we have assigned pluses to the nays because, by granting amnesty, increasing levels of legal immigration, and permitting continued large-scale illegal immigration, this bill provides a transition to the open borders sought by the advocates of a North American Union and other regional government schemes threatening our national sovereignty.



On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 1200 to S. 744 (Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act): To provide for enhanced border security, including strong border security metrics and congressional votes on border security and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 19, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Border Security.
During consideration of the Immigration Overhaul (S. 744), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a motion to table (kill) an amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would "not allow the processing of this new category called registered provisional immigrants until Congress votes that the border is secure." Paul's amendment featured a requirement that Congress certify every year for five years that the border is secure or at least making specific progress toward border security as defined in detail by the amendment. If Congress would vote in any of these five years that the border is not becoming more secure, then the processing of people as "registered provisional immigrants" as provided for in S. 744 would stop until Congress would vote that the border is becoming more secure.

The Senate agreed to Reid's motion and killed the Paul amendment on June 19, 2013 by a vote of 61 to 37 (Roll Call 154). We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is the constitutional duty of the United States to "protect [every state] against Invasion" (Article IV, Section 4).



On Passage of the Bill S. 954: An original bill to reauthorize agricultural programs through 2018.
Vote Date: June 10, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Food and Farm Programs. The farm bill (S. 954) would authorize federal farm and food programs through fiscal 2018. It would also replace direct payments to farmers with a new "adverse market payments" program that would provide subsidies when prices fall below a historic reference. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the total cost of S. 954 would be $955 billion for the 10-year period 2014-2023. This legislation is generally referred to as the farm bill, but most of the spending is for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and other "nutrition" programs in the bill. CBO estimates that the nutrition programs would cost $760 billion over 10 years, compared to $41.4 billion for farm commodity programs.

The Senate passed the farm bill on June 10, 2013 by a vote of 66 to 27 (Roll Call 145). We have assigned pluses to the nays because both federal food and farm subsidies are unconstitutional. Though the CBO estimates that S. 954 would cost $18 billion less over 10 years than under current law, this reduction would only be 1.9 percent of projected spending.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 965 to S. 954 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013): To permit States to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product offered for sale have a label on indicating that the food, beverage, or other edible product contains a genetically engineered ingredient.
Vote Date: May 23, 2013Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Product Labeling for Genetically Modified Food. During consideration of the Farm Bill (S. 954), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered an amendment (Amendment 965) to allow states to require that any food, beverage, or other edible product have a label indicating that it contains a genetically engineered ingredient, such as pesticide-resistant plants.

Sen. Sanders remarked during consideration of his amendment: "This is a pretty simple issue, and the issue is do the American people have a right to know what they are eating, what is in the food they are ingesting and what their kids are eating.... What this amendment does is very simple. It basically says States that choose to go forward on this issue do have the right. It is not condemning GMOs or anything else. It is simply saying that States have the right to go forward."

The Senate rejected Sanders' amendment on May 23, 2013 by a vote of 27 to 71 (Roll Call 135). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to prevent states from enacting their own product-labeling requirements.



On Passage of the Bill S. 743: A bill to restore States' sovereign rights to enforce State and local sales and use tax laws, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 6, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Internet Sales Tax. This bill (S. 743) would allow states to require out-of-state retailers with annual online sales that exceed $1 million to collect sales taxes on items delivered to the state. States would have to simplify how they collect and audit their sales taxes, and provide free software to retailers to calculate the taxes owed. States would not be allowed to impose different sales tax requirements on out-of-state online sellers from those required of in-state retailers.

The Senate passed S. 743 on May 6, 2013 by a vote of 69 to 27 (Roll Call 113). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Internet sales tax would essentially be a tax on interstate commerce, which is unconstitutional according to Article I Section 9: "No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State." Furthermore, requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes from numerous states would pose onerous burdens to small businesses and hinder economic growth.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 711 to S. 649 (Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of2013): To regulate assault weapons, to ensure that the right to keep and bear arms is not unlimited, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: April 17, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
"Assault Weapons" Ban. During consideration of gun control legislation (S. 649), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered an amendment that would ban the future manufacture, import, sale, transfer, or possession of certain semi-automatic firearms considered to be "assault weapons."

According to an article by Tim Brown entitled "Dianne Feinstein's Assault Weapons Ban Defeated," posted on freedomoutpost.com on April 17, 2013, "The legislation that would have banned the sale of 157 different semi-automatic weapons, including handguns and even shotguns, along with high capacity magazines has come to its much deserved end. This bill was similar but even more expansive than her previous gun ban bill that was passed in 1994 and signed into law by Bill Clinton."

The Senate rejected Feinstein's amendment on April 17, 2013 by a vote of 40 to 60 (Roll Call 101). We have assigned pluses to the nays because banning firearms from law-abiding citizens is a clear violation of the Constitution - the Second Amendment guarantees that our "right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 714 to S. 649 (Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of2013): To regulate large capacity ammunition feeding devices.
Vote Date: April 17, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
High-capacity Clip Ban. During consideration of gun-control legislation (S. 649), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) offered an amendment on behalf of Sen. Frank Lautenberg that would ban the future manufacture, import, sale, transfer, or possession of ammunition clips holding more than 10 rounds, with exemptions for law-enforcement officials.

During the floor debate on this amendment, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) made these remarks, "Mr. President, I oppose the amendment. In 2004, we had a study by the Department of Justice, which is the last time we had the large-capacity magazine banned. It found no evidence banning such magazines has led to a reduction in gun violence. The study also concluded it is not clear how often the outcomes of the gun attack depend on the ability of offenders to fire more than 10 shots without reloading. The report found no evidence more people would be alive if a magazine over 10 rounds was banned. Secondly, there is no evidence banning these magazines has reduced the deaths from gun crimes. In fact, when the previous ban was in effect, a higher percentage of gun crime victims were killed or wounded than before it was adopted."

The Senate rejected Blumenthal's amendment on April 17, 2013 by a vote of 46 to 54 (Roll Call 103). We have assigned pluses to the nays because banning high-capacity ammunition clips for law-abiding citizens is a clear violation of the Constitution - the Second Amendment guarantees that our "right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 139 to S.Con.Res. 8: To uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.
Vote Date: March 23, 2013Vote: AYEGood Vote.
UN Arms Trade Treaty. During consideration of the budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 8), Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) offered an amendment to "uphold Second Amendment rights and prevent the United States from entering into the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty." As firearms researcher John Lott pointed out in "Buyers, beware: UN Arms Trade Treaty will regulate individual gun ownership," posted on FoxNews.com: "Unsurprisingly, the U.N. treaty provisions are the long-time favorites of American gun control advocates: registration and licensing of guns and ammunition, along with restrictions on the private gun transfers." Although Inhofe's amendment is non-binding, it provides encouragement that if and when the UN Arms Trade Treaty is brought to the Senate floor for a vote, there will not be the necessary two-thirds majority required for ratification.

The Senate adopted Inhofe's amendment on March 23, 2013 by a vote of 53 to 46 (Roll Call 91). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because a UN treaty that infringes on the Second Amendment of the Constitution should not be ratified.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 494 to S.Con.Res. 8: To establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to promote investment and job growth in United States manufacturing, oil and gas production, and refining sectors through the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline.
Vote Date: March 22, 2013Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Keystone XL Pipeline. During consideration of the budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 8), Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) offered an amendment that would "establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to promote investment and job growth in United States manufacturing, oil and gas production, and refining sectors through the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline."

According to a Reuters story posted online on March 22, 2013, "The Senate easily passed on Friday a symbolic measure approving the Canada to Texas Keystone XL oil pipeline, a move backers said showed strong support for a bill that would give Congress power to green light the project later in the year.... It was symbolic because the budget is a blueprint that will not become law."

(See House Vote below for information on similar legislation.)

[[ H.R. 3 would declare that "no Presidential permit shall be required for the pipeline described in the application filed on May 4, 2012, by TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P.," which includes the Nebraska reroute that was evaluated and approved in early 2013. This bill would also deem that the Keystone project has already satisfied all requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and of the National Historic Preservation Act.

According to a Reuters story posted online on May 22, 2013, "The project has been hailed by the energy industry as part of the U.S. push toward energy independence. It is also supported by many unions because it would provide thousands of construction jobs. Environmentalists have vociferously opposed the pipeline, saying it would raise greenhouse gas levels and lock the United States into long-term dependence on fossil fuels." ]]

The Senate adopted Hoeven's amendment on March 22, 2013 by a vote of 62 to 37 (Roll Call 61). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should allow entrepreneurs to develop energy resources, rather than deny access.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 263 to S.Con.Res. 8: In the nature of a substitute.
Vote Date: March 22, 2013Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Balanced Budget Resolution. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered a substitute amendment with a replacement budget (Amendment 263) to the budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 8). The amendment called for a balanced budget in five years with no revenue increases. As Paul said, "This budget is called the Revitalize America Budget. It reforms and saves Social Security and Medicare, making them solvent for 75 years; it creates millions of jobs by letting taxpayers keep an additional $600 billion of their income; it repeals ObamaCare; and it requires Congress to vote to approve or disapprove all major regulations. Our ever-expanding debt is costing us millions of jobs a year. It is time to stop burying our kids in debt."

Paul's proposed budget would also have eliminated the Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Energy departments. A tax code overhaul that would eliminate the estate and capital gains taxes and switch to a flat tax system was also included.

The Senate rejected Paul's substitute amendment on March 22, 2013 by a vote of 18 to 81 (Roll Call 69). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because any reduction of unconstitutional federal agencies and massive amounts of debt-laden, unconstitutional federal spending, without revenue increases, is desirable.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 325: A bill to ensure the complete and timely payment of the obligations of the United States Government until May 19, 2013, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: January 31, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Short-term Debt Limit Increase. This bill (H.R. 325), voted on in January 2013, would suspend the public debt limit through May 18, 2013 and in effect allow the Treasury Department to borrow as much as it needs in order to pay its bills over the next four months: February, March, April, and May. Another provision in the bill would withhold pay for representatives or senators if either house fails to approve a budget by April 15. The pay would be withheld for each member of Congress until his or her house agrees to a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal 2014 or until the last day of the 113th Congress.

The Senate passed H.R. 325 on January 31, 2013 by a vote of 64 to 34 (Roll Call 11). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should live within its means and because most of the spending responsible for the ballooning national debt is unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 152: A bill making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: January 28, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Disaster Supplemental (Superstorm Sandy). This bill (H.R. 152) would appropriate $50.5 billion in emergency supplemental funding for communities hit by Superstorm Sandy. According to Congressional Quarterly, "The bill would include $11.5 billion for FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund, $10.9 billion for transit systems, $16 billion for Department of Housing and Urban Development community development programs, $5.4 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, $708 million for repairs to national parks, wildlife refuges and facilities, $234 million for Veterans Affairs medical activities and construction projects, $274 million for Coast Guard projects, and $520 million for Small Business Administration disaster loans."

The Senate passed H.R. 152 on January 28, 2013 by a vote of 62 to 36 (Roll Call 4). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federally financing disaster relief is unconstitutional.



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 117: A joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 22, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Continuing Resolution. House Joint Resolution 117 would provide continuing appropriations for the federal government from October 1, 2012 through March 27, 2013. This would amount to an annualized rate of $1.047 trillion in "discretionary" spending for regular appropriations, and would include a 0.6 percent increase in funding for most federal programs and agencies. This continuing resolution would also provide nearly $100 billion in war funding and $6.4 billion in advance disaster relief funds.

To put this appropriations bill into perspective, consider what the Congressional Budget Office reported on August 22, 2012: "For fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion, CBO estimates, marking the fourth year in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion." This deficit is based on the CBO's estimates of $2.435 trillion in federal revenue and $3.563 trillion in federal outlays for fiscal 2012. Therefore, 32 percent of every federal dollar spent in 2012 had to be borrowed. For 2011, 2010, and 2009 the shortfall has been 36, 37, and 40 percent respectively.

The Senate passed H. J. Res. 117 on September 22, 2012 by a vote of 62 to 30 (Roll Call 199). We have assigned pluses to the nays because passage of this mammoth continuing resolution provided a way for Congress to perpetuate its fiscally irresponsible, unconstitutional spending habits with a minimum of accountability to its constituents.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3414: A bill to enhance the security and resiliency of the cyber and communications infrastructure of the United States.
Vote Date: August 2, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414) would create a National Cybersecurity Council under the chairmanship of the secretary of Homeland Security. The council would impose "voluntary" standards -- with incentives for compliance -- for owners of critical computer networks.

The Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture -- and thus end a filibuster so the bill could come up for a vote -- on August 2, 2012 by a vote of 52 to 46 (Roll Call 187; a three-fifths majority vote of the entire Senate -- 60 votes -- was needed to invoke cloture.) We have assigned pluses to the nays because the private owners of critical infrastructure are already heavily regulated and don't need to be further burdened with additional supposedly voluntary regulations in the name of cybersecurity.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2573 to S. 3412 (Middle Class Tax Cut Act): In the nature of a substitute.
Vote Date: July 25, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Tax Cut Extension. In view of the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts, tax increases, and automatic spending cuts set to take place January 1, 2013, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a bill (S. 3412) to extend the expiring Bush-era tax rates for one year only for individuals earning less than $200,000 or families earning less than $250,000. Prior to a vote on the bill, Sen. Orrin Hatch (RUtah) offered a substitute amendment to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels for one year. Hatch's substitute would also extend the current estate tax levels, with a 35-percent tax on estates worth more than $5 million. Without congressional action, this tax will jump next year to as high as 55 percent on estates worth more than $1 million.

The Senate rejected Hatch's substitute amendment on July 25, 2012 by a vote of 45 to 54 (Roll Call 183). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because extending the tax cuts keeps more money in the hands of citizens, where it can be invested into the economy, thus spurring economic growth. Of course, the deficits need to be eliminated, but the way to accomplish this is to cut spending, not increase taxes. (After the substitute amendment was rejected, the Senate passed Reid's bill to raise taxes for the "rich.")



On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 3369: A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs and other entities, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 17, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
DISCLOSE Act. The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act of 2012 (S. 3369) would require independent and corporate donors to disclose campaign related disbursements totaling more than $10,000 in an election cycle.

The Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture (and thus end a filibuster so the bill could be voted on) on July 17, 2012 by a vote of 53 to 45 (Roll Call 180; a three-fifths majority vote of the entire Senate -- 60 votes -- was needed to invoke cloture).

We have assigned pluses to the nays because the legislation would have a chilling effect on political free speech by exposing donors to threats and intimidation. Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which makes no exceptions for anonymous political donors, stating simply: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." In fact, some of the Founding Fathers engaged in anonymous free speech at times, such as when Madison, Jay, and Hamilton wrote The Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius."



On the Conference Report H.R. 4348: Amended during conference: "An act to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes."
Vote Date: June 29, 2012Vote: NONE No Vote.
Surface Transportation. This legislation (H.R. 4348) provides federal funds for interstate highway infrastructure, highway safety programs, and transit programs through fiscal 2014. The authorizations in the bill include $21.2 billion for the Highway Trust Fund, $80 billion for Federal Highway Administration contracts, and $21.3 billion for Federal Transit Administration programs. It also extends the 3.4 percent, federally subsidized student-loan interest rate through July 1, 2013, reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program, and distributes penalties paid by those responsible for the BP oil spill to Gulf Coast states.

The Senate adopted the final version of the bill (known as a conference report) on June 29, 2012 by a vote of 74-19 (Roll Call 172). We have assigned pluses to the nays because much of the spending is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2372 to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012): To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect agricultural operations or to record images of agricultural operations.
Vote Date: June 21, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Aerial Inspection. During consideration of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) offered an amendment to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect and/or record images of agricultural operations.

The Senate rejected Johanns' amendment on June 21, 2012 by a vote of 56 to 43 (Roll Call 159; by unanimous consent, the Senate had agreed to require 60 votes for adoption of the amendment). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the EPA is an unconstitutional agency created by executive order. It should not even exist, let alone engage in aerial surveillance for the purpose of detecting supposed violations of its regulations. Furthermore, while the surveillance is conducted from "public" airspace, so to speak, the air is not the subject of the surveillance. The use of the air is not unconstitutional, but the purpose of that use is unconstitutional, since it violates the Fourth Amendment protection against search of one's person, house, papers, and effects without probable cause and a warrant "particularly describing ... the persons or things to be seized."



On Passage of the Bill S. 3240: An original bill to reauthorize agricultural programs through 2017, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 21, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Farm Bill. The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) would authorize federal farm and food assistance programs for five years. The programs include crop subsidies, food stamps, and foreign food aid. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the programs authorized by the bill would cost $969 billion if implemented over the next 10 years.

The Senate passed S. 3240 on June 21, 2012 by a vote of 64 to 35 (Roll Call 164). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal agricultural subsidies and food aid are unconstitutional.



On the Motion to Proceed S.J.Res. 37: A joint resolution to disapprove a rule promulgated by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency relating to emission standards for certain steam generating units.
Vote Date: June 20, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
EPA Regulations. After the Environmental Protection Agency established the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards that cap toxin emissions from coal-fired power plants, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) sponsored a joint resolution (S. J. Res. 37) to nullify the regulations. Sen. Inhofe said the "EPA's Utility MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) is designed to destroy jobs by killing off the coal industry. EPA admits itself that the Utility MACT rule would cost an unprecedented $11 billion to implement. Of course these costs will come in the form of higher electricity rates for every American.... The Utility MACT would destroy over 1 million jobs and cost the American economy billions of dollars."

A motion to proceed to consideration of the measure was defeated on June 20, 2012 by a vote of 46 to 53 (Roll Call 139). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the EPA is an unconstitutional agency created by executive order, and while the Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate trade between states, federal agencies do not have constitutional authority to impose environmental regulations on industry. Moreover, the regulations will lead to the premature closure of many power plants, leading to more expensive, less reliable electricity for consumers.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2354 to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012): To prohibit assistance to North Korea under title II of the Food for Peace Act.
Vote Date: June 20, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Aid to North Korea. During consideration of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) offered an amendment to prohibit federal food assistance to North Korea.

The Senate rejected Kyl's amendment on June 20, 2012 by a vote of 43 to 56 (Roll Call 145). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because North Korea is a totalitarian regime, but also because foreign aid is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2313 to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012): To repeal the forest legacy program.
Vote Date: June 20, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Forest Legacy Program. During consideration of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered an amendment to repeal the Forest Service's Forest Legacy Program.

Regarding the need for his amendment, Sen. Lee stated: "The Federal Government owns about two-thirds of the land in my own State. It owns nearly 30 percent of the land mass within the territorial boundaries of the United States. We do a lot to conserve that land. But when we use this money -- money estimated to amount to about $200 million a year in authorization, about $1 billion over a 5-year period -- we are using that money to take land out of use. We are using that money to pay people not to use their land for anything. Whenever we look for areas in which we can save money, one area is to not pay people not to use their land."

According to the Forest Service's website: "The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), a Federal program in partnership with States, supports State efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forest lands.... To maximize the public benefits it achieves, the program focuses on the acquisition of partial interests in privately owned forest lands. FLP helps the States develop and carry out their forest conservation plans. It encourages and supports acquisition of conservation easements, legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another, without removing the property from private ownership. Most FLP conservation easements restrict development, require sustainable forestry practices, and protect other values."

The Senate rejected Senator Lee's amendment to S. 3240 on June 20, 2012 by a vote of 21 to 77 (Roll Call 147). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not grant Congress the legislative power to acquire ownership of or conservation easement rights over large tracts of land within the states.



Motion to Table S.Amdt.2143: To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act concerning claims about the effects of foods and dietary supplements on health-related conditions and disease, to prohibit employees of the Food and Drug Administration from carrying firearms and making arrests without warrants, and to adjust the mens rea of certain prohibited acts under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to knowing and willful.
Vote Date: May 24, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
FDA Regulation of Food & Dietary Supplements. During consideration of the FDA user-fee authorization bill (S. 3187), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered an amendment to prohibit FDA from regulating food or dietary supplements as drugs and censoring product health claims. Paul's amendment would also "prohibit employees of the Food and Drug Administration from carrying firearms and making arrests without warrants."

The Senate tabled (killed) Paul's amendment on May 24, 2012 by a vote of 78 to 15 (Roll Call 107). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the FDA censorship of health claims is a violation of the right to free speech protected by the First Amendment, and because the federal government is using armed agents to enforce unconstitutional regulations -- e.g., against the selling of raw milk.



H.R. 2072: Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012
Vote Date: May 15, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Export-Import Bank. This legislation (H.R. 2072) reauthorized the U.S. Export-Import Bank for two years and increased the agency's lending cap from $100 billion to $140 billion. The bank issues loans and loan guarantees to foreign governments or companies for the purchase of U.S. products.

The Senate passed H.R. 2072 on May 15, 2012 by a vote of 78 to 20 (Roll Call 96). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority risking taxpayers' money to provide loans the private sector considers too risky to provide. Indeed, U.S. government backed export financing is a form of corporate welfare, and if the Ex-Im Bank goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.



S.Amdt.1826 to S.1813: Of a perfecting nature
Vote Date: March 13, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Oil and Gas Development; Keystone XL Pipeline. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) offered an amendment to open up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and natural-gas development, expand lease sales for offshore drilling, and approve the Keystone oil pipeline.

The Senate rejected Roberts' amendment on March 13, 2012 by a vote of 41 to 57 (Roll Call 38). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should allow entrepreneurs to develop energy resource, rather than deny access to the resources.



S.Amdt.1812 to S.1813: To prevent a tax increase on American businesses and to provide certainty to job creators by extending certain expiring tax credits relating to energy.
Vote Date: March 13, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Energy Tax Extensions. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) offered an amendment to extend already-lapsed and soon-to-expire programs intended to promote renewable energy -- including a lapsed stimulus program that allowed businesses to receive grants (as opposed to tax credits) for renewable-energy projects, and a production tax credit for wind energy producers set to sunset at the end of the year.

The Senate rejected Stabenow's amendment on March 13, 2012 by a vote of 49 to 49, under an agreement requiring 60 votes for passage (Roll Call 39). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the government has no constitutional business rewarding government-favored business interests. Instead, the market should decide "winners" and "losers" in the energy sector, as in other sectors of the economy, to ensure that wasteful, harmful, or inefficient entities are kept to a minimum.



S.Amdt.1535 to S.1813: To provide for an extension of the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2010-2015.
Vote Date: March 8, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Offshore Oil and Gas Development. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) proposed an amendment that would have allowed for more leases for offshore drilling than does the current plan. As explained by Vitter on the House floor, his amendment "would allow us to go back to the previous lease plan for the Outer Continental Shelf, replacing the current Obama administration lease plan which cuts that previous plan in half and moves us in the wrong direction in terms of producing our abundance of domestic energy, including oil and natural gas."

The Senate rejected Vitter's amendment on March 8, 2012 by a vote of 43 to 55 (Roll Call 28). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should allow entrepreneurs to develop energy resources, rather than deny access to the resources.



S.Amdt.1660 to S.1813: To provide additional time for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue achievable standards for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers, process heaters, and incinerators.
Vote Date: March 8, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
EPA Boiler Emission Regulations. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) offered an amendment intended to provide regulatory relief from the EPA's new emission standards for industrial boilers. Collins warned that the "rules have an estimated cost of $14 billion, and 200,000 jobs would be lost." Her amendment would require the EPA to propose revised, supposedly less-burdensome, rules 15 months after enactment of her measure. It would also allow manufacturers at least five years after the effective date of the finalized rules to bring their facilities into compliance.

The Senate rejected Collins' amendment on March 8, 2012 by a vote of 52 to 46, under an agreement requiring 60 votes for passage (Roll Call 30). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the EPA is unconstitutional and EPA regulations harm the economy. Though Collins' amendment would not have killed the boiler regulations, it would at least have delayed them.



Motion to Table Blunt S.Amdt.1520: To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.
Vote Date: March 1, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Religious Exemptions for Healthcare. During consideration of the surface transportation authorization bill (S. 1813), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) offered an amendment to "protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services." The Obama administration insists that under ObamaCare all employers must provide contraceptive coverage, even if they oppose such coverage for religious reasons. Blunt's amendment would have enabled health insurance plans to exclude coverage that the plan's sponsors or employers oppose as a matter of conscience.

The Senate tabled (killed) Blunt's amendment on March 1, 2012 by a vote of 51 to 48 (Roll Call 24). We have assigned pluses to the nays because, to quote Thomas Jefferson, "No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority."



S.Amdt.1488 to S.Amdt.1470: To express the sense of the Senate that the Senate should pass a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution that limits the number of terms a Member of Congress may serve.
Vote Date: February 2, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Congressional Term Limits. During consideration of a bill to ban congressional insider trading (S. 2038), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment "To express the sense of the Senate that the Senate should pass a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution that limits the number of terms a Member of Congress may serve." However, Roger Sherman stated at the 1787 Constitutional Convention: "Frequent elections are necessary to preserve the good behavior of rulers. They also tend to give permanency to the Government, by preserving that good behavior, because it ensures their re-election." Sherman's statement contains the essence of the argument against term limits, which is that the best incentive for an elected official to represent the interests of his constituents is the possibility of reelection.

The Senate rejected DeMint's amendment on February 2, 2012 by a vote of 24 to 75 (Roll Call 11). We have assigned pluses to the nays because congressional term limits would decrease the accountability of Congressmen to their constituents by increasing the number of lame-duck Congressmen serving in each congressional session.



Motion to Consider H.J. Res. 98: Relating to the disapproval of the President's exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as submitted under section 3101A of title 31, United States Code, on January 12, 2012.
Vote Date: January 26, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Debt Limit Disapproval. House Joint Resolution 98 would have disapproved of President Obama's request to raise the national debt limit by an additional $1.2 trillion, to $16.4 trillion. Under the debt deal of August 2011, enactment of a resolution of disapproval was needed to prevent this increase from going into effect. The House passed the resolution, but the Senate failed to do so.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to proceed to H. J. Res. 98, but his motion was rejected on January 26, 2012 by a vote of 44 to 52 (Roll Call 2). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should live within its means and because most of the spending responsible for the ballooning national debt is unconstitutional.



H.R. 2055: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012
Vote Date: December 17, 2011Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Omnibus Appropriations. This catch-all legislative package (H.R. 2055), which would provide $915 billion in discretionary appropriations for fiscal 2012, is comprised of nine appropriations bills for fiscal 2012 that Congress failed to complete separately -- Defense ($518.8 billion), Energy-Water ($32.1 billion), Financial Services ($21.5 billion), Homeland Security ($41.3 billion), Interior-Environment ($29.2 billion), Labor-HHS-Education ($156.3 billion), Legislative Branch ($4.3 billion), State-Foreign Operations ($33.5 billion), and Military Construction-VA ($73.7 billion).

The Senate adopted the final version of this legislation (known as a conference report) on December 17, 2011 by a vote of 67 to 32 (Roll Call 235). We have assigned pluses to the nays because many of the bill's spending programs -- e.g., education, housing, foreign aid, etc. -- are unconstitutional, and the country is running trillion-dollar annual deficits.



S.Amdt. 1126 to S. 1867: To limit the authority of the Armed Forces to detain citizens of the United States under section 1031.
Vote Date: December 1, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Indefinite Detention. Detaineerelated language in the Defense authorization bill (S. 1867) was written in such a sweeping way that even the United States can be considered part of the battlefield in the global war against terror -- and even American citizens accused of being terrorists can be apprehended by the U.S. military and detained indefinitely without habeas corpus and without even being tried and found guilty in a court of law. Several attempts were made to revise the language, including an amendment offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to prohibit U.S. citizens from being held indefinitely without being charged or given a trial.

The Senate rejected this amendment on December 1 by a vote of 45 to 55 (Roll Call 214). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the War on Terror must not be allowed to destroy legal protections stretching back to the Magna Carta.



Conference Report S7684 to H.R. 2112: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012
Vote Date: November 17, 2011Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Agriculture-Commerce-Justice-Science-Transportation-HUD Appropriations. This so-called "minibus" bill (H.R. 2112) combined into a single package three of the regular appropriations bills -- Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (HUD) -- for fiscal 2012. Just the "discretionary" spending in the minibus for the three-bill package totaled $128.1 billion. In addition, there is the spending that the government deems "mandatory." In the case of the Agriculture bill that was incorporated into the minibus, for instance, the appropriations include $116.8 billion in mandatory spending in addition to $19.8 billion in discretionary spending. The so-called mandatory spending in the Agriculture bill includes nearly $99 billion for food and nutrition programs.

The Senate passed the final version (conference report) of this legislation on November 17, 2011 by a vote of 70 to 30 (Roll Call 208). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress has no constitutional authority to fund many of the programs in the bill, including the farm programs, food programs, and housing (under HUD).



S.J.Res. 6: A joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices.
Vote Date: November 10, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Net Neutrality. Senate Joint Resolution 6 would have nullified the "net neutrality" rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission in December 2010 and scheduled to become effective November 20, 2011. The new rules give the federal government more control over the Internet. "The FCC reversed its successful hands-off approach ... by passing net neutrality rules where the FCC has essentially granted itself power over all forms of communication including the Internet," warned Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who spearheaded S. J. Res. 6. She added that the "regulations on broadband providers" in the net neutrality rules "establish the FCC as the Internet's gatekeeper, a role for which government is not really suited when innovation could be stifled."

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to proceed to the resolution, but the Senate rejected his resolution on November 10 by a vote of 46 to 52 -- thereby thwarting the attempt to nullify the net neutrality rules (Roll Call 200). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government has no business serving as a gatekeeper for the Internet, and such a role could eventually threaten what has become an important public square for circulating ideas and information.



S.J.Res. 27: A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the mitigation by States of cross-border air pollution under the Clean Air Act.
Vote Date: November 10, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Cross-state Pollution. Senate Joint Resolution 27 would nullify the EPA's cross-state pollution rules targeting sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide power plant emissions. The House had already passed related legislation that would delay implementation of the EPA rules but not actually eliminate them.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to proceed to the resolution, but the Senate rejected his motion November 10 by a vote of 41 to 56 -- thereby thwarting the attempt to stop the EPA cross-state pollution rules (Roll Call 201). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because these rules will further damage the economy and also because the federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate power plant emissions.



H.R. 3080: United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Vote Date: October 12, 2011Vote: NONE No Vote.
South Korea Trade Agreement. On a single day - October 12, 2011 - both the House and Senate approved three separate trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. These measures are three more in a series of "free-trade agreements" intended to transfer the power to regulate trade (and eventually other powers too) to super-national arrangements via a step-by-step process. NAFTA is a prime example of such an arrangement. So is the developing continental government now known as the European Union, which is an outgrowth of a free-trade arrangement once called the Common Market. In fact, the Common Market-EU trajectory to regional governance served as a model for the formation of NAFTA.

The South Korea agreement, to quote Congressional Quarterly, is "considered the most economically important trade deal since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement." For this reason, the "Freedom Index" editors selected this vote over the other two (Colombia and Panama) for inclusion in this index.

The Senate passed H.R. 3080 on October 12, 2011 by a vote of 83 to 15 (Roll Call 161). We have assigned pluses to the nays because agreements such as this one are intended to transfer trade (and other) powers to super-national arrangements, despite the fact that under the Constitution only Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations."



Invoke Cloture on S. 1660: American Jobs Act of 2011
Vote Date: October 11, 2011Vote: NONE No Vote.
Jobs Program. The Obama-Democrat jobs bill (S. 1660) would provide $175 billion in spending for transportation infrastructure projects, extending long-term unemployment benefits, preventing lay-offs of teachers and first responders, and upgrading public schools and community colleges. It would also extend and expand the current employee payroll tax cut. But it would offset the costs of the bill by imposing a 5.6 percent surtax on household income above $1 million.

The Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture (and thus end debate so the bill could come up for a vote) on October 11, 2011 by a vote of 50 to 49 (Roll Call 160; a three-fifths majority vote of the full Senate -- 60 votes -- was needed to invoke cloture). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the way to create jobs is not to provide them via government financing of certain sectors of the economy, but to reduce the government's burden on the economy.



S.Amdt. 626 to S.Amdt. 633 to H.R. 2832: To provide trade promotion authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and for other trade agreements.
Vote Date: September 20, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Trade Promotion Authority. During consideration of the trade-preferences bill, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to reinstitute trade promotion authority through 2013 for the purpose of expediting approval of trade bills. The authority, which was called "fast track" when initially instituted, had expired in 2007. The fast-track procedure requires that Congress must not amend or filibuster trade agreements submitted to them by the President, and must either approve or disapprove of the agreements within 90 days of submission. Renewing trade promotion authority is considered crucial for picking up the pace for approving future free-trade agreements such as the South Korea trade agreement.

The Senate rejected McConnell's amendment on September 20, 2011 by a vote of 45 to 55 (Roll Call 141). We have assigned pluses to the nays because trade promotion authority limits the ability of Congress to deliberate and legislate. Moreover, treaties should need a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate for approval.



S.J.Res. 25: A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the President\'s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as submitted under section 3101A of title 31, United States Code, on August 2, 2011.
Vote Date: September 8, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Joint Resolution 25 would disapprove of President Obama\'s intent to raise the national debt ceiling by an additional $500 billion on top of the immediate $400 billion increase under last August\'s budget deal (Senate vote #12 above). If the motion of disapproval were enacted, the additional $500 billion increase would not go into effect. S. J. Res. 25 is similar to H. J. Res. 77.

The Senate rejected a motion to proceed to the resolution of disapproval on September 8 by a vote of 45 to 52 (Roll Call 130). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because piling on more and more debt is devastating to the economy.



S. 365: Budget Control Act of 2011
Vote Date: August 2, 2011Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Debt Deal. This legislation (S. 365) provided for an immediate $400 billion increase in the national debt limit, while allowing the President to raise the ceiling an additional $500 billion unless Congress passes a resolution of disapproval on September 14, 2011 by a vote of 232 to 186 (Roll Call 706).

This legislation also established a process for reducing future cumulative deficit projections by up to $2.4 trillion for fiscal years 2012 through 2021, including the establishment of a supercommittee tasked with recommending cuts totaling up to $1.5 trillion for the 10-year period. If the supercommittee were to fail in recommending at least $1.2 trillion in cuts (and, as we know, the supercommittee failed to recommend any cuts), then the legislation would trigger automatic cuts totaling up to $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

The debt-raising/deficit-cutting package created the appearance that Congress was doing something to rein in out-of-control spending. But in reality, the total national debt would still increase even if the entire dollar amount of cuts called for in the legislation were identified and enacted, since the cuts are not cuts in the absolute sense but cuts in future budget projections. The national debt would continue to go up, but not as fast as before, for the simple reason that cutting (say) $1.2 trillion over 10 years will not offset projected annual $1 trillion-plus deficits.

The Senate agreed to the House-passed version of the bill on August 2, 2011 by a vote of 74 to 26 (Roll Call 123). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the debt deal allows both the national debt and spending to continue their upward trajectories.



S.Amdt.501 to S.679: To repeal the authority to provide certain loans to the International Monetary Fund, the increase in the United States quota to the Fund, and certain other related authorities, and to rescind related appropriated amounts.
Vote Date: June 29, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
IMF Loans. During consideration of a bill on executive branch nominations (S. 679), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced an amendment to repeal the authority to provide certain loans to the International Monetary Fund, and to rescind up to $108 billion previously appropriated for the IMF. The IMF is an adjunct of the United Nations and grants foreign aid to qualifying countries.

The Senate rejected the DeMint amendment on June 29, 2011 by a vote of 44 to 55 (Roll Call 99). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because there is no authority in the U.S. Constitution for redistributing American wealth to other countries.



S.Amdt. 476: To repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit
Vote Date: June 16, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Ethanol Subsidies Repeal. During consideration of the economic development bill (S. 782), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment that would end the 45-cents per-gallon tax credit that refiners get for blending ethanol with gasoline and the 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. These federal energy subsidies currently cost about $6 billion per year. Critics of the ethanol subsidy say ethanol production for use in fuels hurts the environment, gums up engines, and raises food prices. According to DesMoinesRegister.com, "About 40 percent of last year's U.S. corn crop went toward ethanol production."

The Senate adopted Feinstein's amendment on June 16, 2011 by a vote of 73 to 27 (Roll Call 90). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to subsidize alternative energy sources.



Motion to Table S.Amdt. 363: Motion to Table S.Amdt. 363
Vote Date: May 26, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Patriot Act (Firearms Purchase Records). During consideration of the Patriot Act extension bill (S. 990), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes the Patriot Act on constitutional grounds, offered an amendment that would have banned the use of Patriot Act searches for American citizens' firearms records without the Fourth Amendment's protections of probable cause, warrants, and particularity. Gun Owners of America, which supported this amendment, warned: "Without Paul's exemption, it is possible that the BATFE could go to a secret (FISA) court, and, in a one-party (ex parte) proceeding, obtain an order to produce every 4473 [firearms transaction record] in the country, ostensibly because a 'terrorism investigation' requires it. If such an action were taken, the government would have a list of every gun buyer in the country going back decades."

The Senate tabled (killed) Rand Paul's amendment on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 85 to 10 (Roll Call 82). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Paul's amendment would have prevented the Patriot Act from being used to violate the rights of gun owners.



S. 990: PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011
Vote Date: May 26, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Patriot Act Extension. This legislation (S. 990) extended for four years three provisions of the Patriot Act that were set to expire: the "roving wiretap" provision that allows the federal government to wiretap any number of a suspect's telephone/ Internet connections without specifying what they will find or how many connections will be tapped; the "financial records" provision that allows the feds to seize "any tangible thing" that has "relevance" to an investigation; and the "lone wolf" provision that allows spying on non-U.S. citizens without a warrant. These provisions violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that no warrants be issued "but upon probable cause" (a much higher standard than "relevance"), and that warrants must contain language "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The Patriot Act even allows the FBI to issue warrants called "National Security Letters" without going to a judge, though this provision was not set to expire and therefore was not part of this legislation.

The Senate passed S. 990 on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 72 to 23 (Roll Call 84). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the extended provisions, and the Patriot Act as a whole, violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.



H.Con.Res. 35: Directing the Clerk of the House of Representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of H.R. 1473
Vote Date: April 14, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ObamaCare Defunding. House Concurrent Resolution 35 would direct the House clerk to insert a section in the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) that would bar the use of funds made available in the bill to implement the provisions of the 2010 healthcare overhaul law. Since full repeal of the ObamaCare law had already been rejected in the Senate, this attempt to defund the implementation of ObamaCare for fiscal year 2011 was made.

The Senate rejected H. Con. Res. 35 on April 14, 2011 by a vote of 47 to 53 (Roll Call 59). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because there is no constitutional authority for the federal government to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to manage the healthcare industry.



H.Con.Res. 36: Directing the Clerk of the House of Representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of H.R. 1473
Vote Date: April 14, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Planned Parenthood Defunding. House Concurrent Resolution 36 would have directed the House clerk to insert a section in the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) that would prohibit the use of any funding in the bill for Planned Parenthood.

The House adopted H. Con. Res. 36 on April 14, 2011, but the Senate rejected it the same day by a vote of 42 to 58 (Roll Call 60). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion provider and government should not subsidize the killing of innocent human life. Moreover, under the Constitution, the federal government should not be subsidizing any private entity in the marketplace.



S.Amdt. 183: To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change
Vote Date: April 6, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Greenhouse-gas Regulation. During consideration of a small-business bill (S. 493), Sen. Mitch McConnell (RKy.) offered an amendment to prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from stationary sources for the purpose of addressing climate change.

The Senate rejected McConnell's amendment on April 6, 2011 by a vote of 50 to 50 (Roll Call 54). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because restricting greenhouse-gas emissions would be harmful to the economy, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are not pollutants, and the federal government has no constitutional authority to limit such emissions.



H.R. 4: Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011
Vote Date: April 5, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ObamaCare (1099 Reporting Requirement Repeal). This bill (H.R. 4) stripped the very unpopular 1099 reporting requirement out of ObamaCare. This was significant because it was the first component of ObamaCare to be repealed by Congress. This reporting requirement for businesses and real estate owners to file a 1099 form with the IRS for every vendor to whom they paid more than $600 a year had been added to the ObamaCare legislation as a way to raise $19 billion by reducing tax fraud; however, business organizations protested that the 1099 requirement would bury businesses in additional, costly paperwork.

The Senate passed H.R. 4 on April 5, 2011 by a vote of 87 to 12 (Roll Call 49). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the burdensome 1099 reporting requirement was added to the ObamaCare legislation as a way to help pay for this unconstitutional program.



Motion to Table S.Amdt. 276: Motion to Table Paul Motion to Commit S. 493 to Committee on Foreign Relations, with Instructions
Vote Date: April 5, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Authority for Military Action. During consideration of a small-business bill (S. 493), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) moved to send the bill to the Foreign Relations Committee with instructions to insert his amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that "the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." Paul's amendment was in response to President Obama undertaking U.S. military action in Libya without congressional authorization.

The Senate tabled (killed) Rand Paul's motion on April 5, 2011 by a vote of 90 to 10 (Roll Call 50). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the U.S. Constitution assigns to Congress the power "to declare war."



Motion to Table S.Amdt. 4: Motion to Table S.Amdt. 4
Vote Date: February 17, 2011Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Subsidized Airline Service. During consideration of the FAA reauthorization bill (S. 223), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered an amendment to end the Essential Air Service program, which provides subsidies to airlines to maintain otherwise unprofitable commercial airline service to certain small communities.

The Senate tabled (killed) the McCain amendment on February 17, 2011 by a vote of 61 to 38 (Roll Call 21). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to subsidize private airlines, and the free market should be allowed to determine which communities commercial airlines service, as well as the cost and extent of that service.



S.Amdt. 13: To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Vote Date: February 2, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ObamaCare Repeal. Since widespread opposition to ObamaCare propelled the Republicans to a substantial majority in the House in the 2010 elections, it was appropriate that the Republicans arranged for a vote on repealing ObamaCare very early in the first session of the 112th Congress. Dubbed the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," H.R. 2 would repeal both the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (PL 111-148) and the "Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010" (PL 111-152), known collectively as ObamaCare. Passage of this repeal bill would be the best solution to the ObamaCare problem because it is worded to be effective as of the original date of enactment of PL 111-148 and 152 and would repeal both laws, as well as restore and revive the provisions of law that had been amended or repealed by ObamaCare, as if ObamaCare had never been enacted.

The essential text of the House's bill (H.R. 2) "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" was brought to a vote in the Senate by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as an amendment to S. 223, the FAA reauthorization bill. The Senate rejected Senator McConnell's amendment on February 2, 2011 by a vote of 47-51 (Roll Call 9). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the 2010 healthcare overhaul law (PL 111-148 and 111-152), popularly known as ObamaCare, is unconstitutional. There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to manage the healthcare industry.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3628: A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 23, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Campaign Finance Disclosure. Back on June 24, 2010, the House passed the DISCLOSE Act ("Campaign Finance Disclosure"), H.R. 5175, which would establish new regulations for corporations, unions, and advocacy and lobbying groups for campaign-related activities.

A companion DISCLOSE bill, S. 3628, was introduced in the Senate on July 21, 2010.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture (limiting debate and allowing for a vote) on the motion to proceed to the DISCLOSE Act, S. 3628, on September 23, 2010 by a vote of 59-39 (Roll Call 240). Sixty votes are required to invoke cloture. We have assigned pluses to the nays because invoking cloture would have permitted a vote on, and certain passage of, the unconstitutional DISCLOSE Act to restrict the free speech rights of corporations, unions, and special interest groups.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3454: An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2011 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 21, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2009 would, as described by Congressional Quarterly, "provide a pathway to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military." This act would provide amnesty for up to 2.1 million children of illegal immigrants. It would also permit states to offer them in-state tuition rates.

The DREAM Act was first introduced in the Senate in 2001. Although it was voted down as a stand-alone measure in the Senate in 2007, pro-amnesty forces have continued to promote its passage. Since the DREAM Act had not been brought up for a stand-alone vote in this session, Democratic leaders attempted to add it as an amendment to the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill (S. 3454) by scheduling a pre-election cloture vote on proceeding to the defense bill with a limitation that only three amendments could be considered: (1) the DREAM Act; (2) a limitation on Senators' use of secret holds on bills or nominations; and (3) striking the defense bill's repeal of the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" law. Although the DREAM Act shared billing with two other amendments, it was clear that the DREAM Act, with its obvious implications for wooing the Hispanic vote, was the centerpiece of this pre-election cloture vote.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture (limiting debate and allowing a vote) on the motion to proceed to the defense authorization bill on September 21, 2010 by a vote of 56-43 (Roll Call 238). Sixty votes are required to invoke cloture. We have assigned pluses to the nays because invoking cloture would have permitted a vote on, and likely approval of, the DREAM Act amendment to provide amnesty to certain groups of illegal immigrants.



On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 4596 to S.Amdt. 4595 to S.Amdt. 4594 to H.R. 5297: To repeal the expansion of information reporting requirements for payments of $600 or more to corporations, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 14, 2010Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ObamaCare 1099 Requirement. One of the most unpopular provisions in the massively unconstitutional ObamaCare law is the requirement for businesses to file 1099 forms with their vendors and the IRS for any purchases totaling more than $600 per year with a vendor. This will force 40 million business entities to file untold billions of new reports with their vendors and the IRS each year.

Pressure has been building on Congress to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement. On September 14 the Senate considered an amendment by Senator Mike Johanns (Neb.) to repeal this requirement.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture (limiting debate and allowing a vote) on the Johanns amendment on September 14, 2010 by a vote of 46-52 (Roll Call 231). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because invoking cloture would have permitted a vote on an amendment to repeal the highly unpopular 1099 IRS reporting provision of the unconstitutional ObamaCare law.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1586 with Amendment No. 4575.): An act to modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety, reliability, and availability of transportation by air in the United States, provide for modernization of the air traffic control system, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 5, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Medicaid and Education Assistance. This legislation (H.R. 1586) would provide $26.1 billion in state aid for Medicaid ($16.1 billion of the total) and education ($10 billion). The latter is for the purpose of creating or retaining education-related jobs.

The Senate agreed to this legislation on August 5, 2010 by a vote of 61-39 (Roll Call 228). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to pay for healthcare for the poor or to fund education. Also, there is no statistical evidence showing that federal involvement in education has increased learning -- though it certainly has increased federal bureaucracy and control.



On the Nomination PN1768: Elena Kagan, of Massachusetts, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Vote Date: August 5, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Kagan Confirmation. The Senate confirmed President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on August 5, 2010 by a vote of 63-37 (Roll Call 229).

We have assigned pluses to the nays because Kagan is not committed to adhering to the original intent of the Constitution in her judicial decisions. Instead, her public record indicates that she is a legal positivist who will interpret law based on her own ideological bent and effectively revise and rewrite law by judicial fiat.



On the Motion (DeMint Motion to Suspend Rule 22 Re: Motion to Refer House Message on H.R. 4213 to the Committee on Finance): A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 21, 2010Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Estate Tax. During consideration of a bill to extend unemployment benefits (H.R. 4213), Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) offered a measure to submit the bill to the Finance Committee with instructions to include language to permanently repeal the estate tax. Under current law, the estate tax, which expired at the end of 2009 after being incrementally reduced, will rise to 55 percent next year with an exemption of $1 million. The estate tax often forces the sale of family farms and other businesses that owners want to bequeath to their children.

A motion to allow for a vote on DeMint's measure was rejected on July 21, 2010 by a vote of 39-59 (Roll Call 213). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the estate tax should be permanently eliminated.



On the Motion (DeMint Motion to Suspend Rule 22 Re: DeMint Amdt. No. 4464): A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 21, 2010Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Arizona Immigration Law. During consideration of the bill to extend unemployment benefits (H.R. 4213), Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) offered a measure to recommit the bill to the Judiciary Committee with instructions to include language that no funds in any provision of law may be used to participate in a lawsuit against Arizona's immigration law. The Obama administration opposes the Arizona law (S.B. 1070) despite the fact that it does not actually create new powers of government but instead makes illegal under state law the illegal immigration that is already illegal under federal law.

A motion to allow for a vote on DeMint's measure was rejected on July 21, 2010 by a vote of 43-55 (Roll Call 214). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Arizona (like any other state) has the right to stem the tide of illegal immigration into the state.



On the Conference Report H.R. 4173: A bill to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 15, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Financial Regulatory Reform. This sweeping legislation (H.R. 4173) would tighten federal control of the financial sector on the false premise that the financial crisis was driven by free-market forces, as opposed to government and Fed policies (e.g., artificially low interest rates) that encouraged excessive borrowing and risk-taking. The legislation would create a new Financial Stability Oversight Council that would monitor the financial sector for system-wide risks, and could (by a two-thirds majority vote) subject non-bank entities to Fed regulatory powers and approve Fed decisions to break up large companies. It would also create a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection run by the Federal Reserve.

According to the American Bankers Association, the legislation would subject traditional banks to 5,000 pages of new regulations.

The Senate adopted the final version (conference report) of H.R. 4173 on July 15, 2010 by a vote of 60-39 (Roll Call 208). We have assigned pluses to the nays because ramping up regulatory control of the financial sector by the Fed and the federal government is not only unconstitutional but will make it exceedingly more difficult for the economy to recover.



On the Motion to Proceed S.J.Res. 26: A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the endangerment finding and the cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.
Vote Date: June 10, 2010Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Greenhouse Gas Regulation. This legislative measure (Senate Joint Resolution 26) would disapprove an Environmental Protection Agency endangerment finding that greenhouse gases may be regulated as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The EPA had issued the finding in December 2009, claiming that "six greenhouse gases taken in combination endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations." The supposedly dangerous pollutants include carbon dioxide, even though this natural substance is necessary for the existence of plant life.

A motion to consider Senate Joint Resolution 26 was rejected by the Senate on June 10, 2010 by a vote of 47-53 (Roll Call 184). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because restricting greenhouse-gas emissions would be harmful to the economy, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are not pollutants, and the federal government has no constitutional authority to limit such emissions.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4899: Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 27, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Supplemental Appropriations. The supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 4899) would provide an additional $58.8 billion in "emergency" funding for the current fiscal year (2010). The supplemental appropriations in the bill include $37.1 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and $2.9 for earthquake relief in Haiti.

The Senate passed the bill on May 27, 2010 by a vote of 67-28 (Roll Call 176). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the spending is over and above what the federal government already budgeted for the current fiscal year, Congress never declared war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of the spending (e.g., foreign aid) is unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4173: A bill to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 20, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Financial Regulatory Reform. The Senate version of this legislation (which has the same bill number as the House version, H.R. 4173) would create a new consumer financial watchdog (a "Consumer Financial Protection Agency") run by the Federal Reserve and in general give the Fed more power to intervene in and regulate the financial sector.

The Senate passed H.R. 4173 on May 20, 2010 by a vote of 59-39 (Roll Call 162). We have assigned pluses to the nays because more government control of the economy will do more harm than good.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 3760 to S.Amdt. 3739 to S. 3217 (Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010): To address availability of information concerning the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 11, 2010Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Audit the Fed. During consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill (S. 3217), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) offered an amendment to audit the Federal Reserve. The Senate rejected the Vitter amendment on May 11, 2010 by a vote of 37-62 (Roll Call 138), after unanimously adopting a watered-down audit-the-Fed amendment offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sanders had much earlier introduced legislation in the Senate that mirrored the audit-the-Fed legislation in the House championed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). When Sanders caved and offered his watered-down amendment, Vitter stepped in and offered an amendment for a full Fed audit along the lines of Paul's (and Sanders' earlier) proposal. The Sanders amendment allows for a onetime audit of the Fed's emergency actions taken in response to the 2008 financial crisis. However, unlike the Vitter amendment, the Sanders amendment (in Paul's words) "exempts monetary policy decisions, discount window operations, and agreements with foreign central banks from [GAO] audit."

The vote on the Vitter amendment is used here to rate Senators on their position on auditing the Fed. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the American people need to know what the Fed is doing and because this may represent a first step in eliminating the unconstitutional Federal Reserve.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4872: An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to Title II of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2010 (S. Con. Res. 13).
Vote Date: March 25, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
ObamaCare Reconciliation. This bill (H.R. 4872), officially titled the "Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010," was passed to amend the ObamaCare bill at the insistence of disaffected House Democrats. Among other things, it increases subsidies to help uninsured individuals buy health insurance and increases some taxes and fees to help pay for the expanded coverage provided by ObamaCare. This bill also makes the federal government the sole provider of student loans after July 1, which is just one more example of a complete government takeover of a significant sector of our economy.

The Senate passed H.R. 4872 on March 25, 2010 by a vote of 56-43 (Roll Call 105). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to manage the healthcare industry



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 45: A joint resolution increasing the statutory limit on the public debt.
Vote Date: January 28, 2010Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Debt Limit Increase. This bill (House Joint Resolution 45) would raise the national debt limit from $12.4 trillion to $14.29 trillion -- a $1.9 trillion increase. This increase, reported Congressional Quarterly, "should be large enough to cover borrowing into early next year." Really? To put this astronomical $1.9 trillion increase in perspective, consider that the total national debt did not top $1 trillion until 1981.

The Senate passed H. J. Res. 45 on January 28, 2010 by a vote of 60 to 39 (Roll Call 14). We have assigned pluses to the nays because raising the national debt limit allows the federal government to borrow more money and continue its gross fiscal irresponsibility.



On the Nomination PN959: Ben S. Bernanke, of New Jersey, to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years
Vote Date: January 28, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Bernanke Confirmation. On January 28, 2010, the Senate voted 70 to 30 to confirm Ben Bernanke to a second four-year term as Federal Reserve Chairman (Roll Call 16). With Bernanke at the helm, the Fed, which can create money out of thin air, has pumped trillions of newly created fiat (unbacked) dollars into the economy, even though this reckless expansion of the money supply (inflation) will diminish the value of the dollar and further hurt the economy in the long run. Bernanke's Fed has also kept interest rates artificially low, encouraging excessive borrowing and malinvestments. And Bernanke has called for the Fed -- which already possesses the power to create booms and busts through its control of the money supply and interest rates -- to be given new powers to manage the financial sector.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because of the economic havoc Bernanke is accountable for at the Fed, a central bank that should not even exist.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3590: An act entitled The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Vote Date: December 24, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
ObamaCare. This historic bill (H.R. 3590), officially titled the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," went on to be signed into law (Public Law 111-148) by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Popularly known as "ObamaCare," this bill essentially completed the government takeover of the American healthcare system that was begun with Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The ObamaCare law creates 159 new government agencies, which will inevitably drive private healthcare insurers out of the market, just as its pilot program, RomneyCare, is already beginning to do in Massachusetts. Although its official cost estimate was $1 trillion for the first 10 years, ObamaCare will soon join Medicare and Medicaid in the list of unfunded healthcare liabilities of the federal government, which together add up to tens of trillions of dollars.

ObamaCare would create an exchange in each state for the purchase of government-approved health insurance, mandate that most individuals purchase health insurance, fine individuals who don't purchase health insurance, subsidize the purchase of health insurance for individuals earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, require employers with 50 or more employees to provide healthcare coverage or pay a fine if any employee gets a subsidized healthcare plan from the exchange, and prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

The Senate passed H.R. 3590 on December 24, 2009 by a vote of 60-39 (Roll Call 396). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to manage the healthcare industry.



On the Point of Order S.Amdt. 2786 to H.R. 3590 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act): In the nature of a substitute.
Vote Date: December 23, 2009Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Constitutional Point of Order Against the Healthcare Bill. During consideration of the healthcare bill (H.R. 3590), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) raised a point of order that the mandate that individuals purchase health insurance is unconstitutional because it falls outside the scope of the enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, and because it violates the Fifth Amendment's ban on taking private property for public use "without just compensation."

The Senate rejected Ensign's constitutional point of order against the healthcare legislation on December 23, 2009 by a vote of 39-60 (Roll Call 389). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because requiring Americans to buy a particular product -- health insurance in this instance -- is both unconstitutional and an abridgment of economic freedom. The same day, the Senate also rejected by 39-60 a point of order raised by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison that the legislation violates the 10th Amendment.



On the Conference Report H.R. 3288: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: December 13, 2009Vote: NONE No Vote.
Omnibus Appropriations. The final version (Conference Report) of this catch-all $1.1 trillion bill (H.R. 3288) -- consisting of six appropriations bills for fiscal 2010 that Congress failed to complete separately -- Commerce-Justice-Science; Financial Services; Labor-HHS-Education; Military Construction-VA; State-Foreign Operations; and Transportation-HUD. The total price tag in the final version (conference report) of H.R. 3288 is about $1.1 trillion, including $447 billion in discretionary spending.

The Senate passed the conference report on December 13, 2009 by a vote of 57-35 (Roll Call 374). We have assigned pluses to the nays because many of the bill's spending programs -- e.g., education, housing, foreign aid, etc. -- are unconstitutional. Moreover, lawmakers should have been able to vote on component parts of the total package.



On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 2962 to S.Amdt. 2786 to H.R. 3590 (Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009): To prohibit the use of Federal funds for abortions.
Vote Date: December 8, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Abortion. During consideration of healthcare "reform" legislation (H.R. 3590), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) offered an amendment to prohibit the use of any funding authorized by the bill to pay for abortions or for health plans that cover abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is endangered.

The Senate voted to table (kill) the pro-life Nelson amendment on December 8, 2009 by a vote of 54-45 (Roll Call 369). We have assigned pluses to the nays because government should not subsidize the killing of innocent human life.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2847: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: November 5, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations. This legislation (H.R. 2847) would appropriate $65.1 billion in fiscal 2010 for the Commerce and Justice Departments,
and agencies including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Census Bureau. Congressional Quarterly reported that the bill's $64.9 billion in discretionary funding is "nearly 13 percent more than was appropriated for such programs in fiscal 2009."

The Senate passed H.R. 2847 on November 5, 2009 by a vote of 71-28 (Roll Call 340). We have assigned pluses to the nays because spending needs to be cut, not increased.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2996: A bill making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 29, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Interior-Environment Appropriations. This appropriations bill (H.R. 2996) would authorize $32.3 billion in fiscal 2010 for the Interior Department, the EPA, and related agencies. The bill would provide $11 billion for the Interior Department, $10.3 billion for the EPA, $3.5 billion for the Forest Service, and $4.1 billion for the Indian Health Service. Additionally, H.R. 2996 would authorize $168 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and provide $761 million to the Smithsonian Institution.

The spending in H.R. 2996 is about $4.7 billion, or roughly 17 percent, more than what was received in fiscal 2009 for the same programs. Representative Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) argued that the increased spending is "irresponsible, especially in light of the fact Congress must soon consider legislation to increase our national debt limit."

The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on October 29, 2009 by a vote of 72-28 (Roll Call 331). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the majority of funding in the bill is unconstitutional and wasteful.



On the Conference Report H.R. 3183: A bill making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 15, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Energy-Water Appropriations. The final version (conference report) of H.R. 3183 would appropriate $34 billion in fiscal 2010 for energy and water projects. The funds would provide $27.1 billion for the Energy Department, $5.4 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, and $1.1 billion for the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation.

The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on October 15, 2009 by a vote of 80-17 (Roll Call 322). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Department of Energy is not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2997: A bill making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 8, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Agriculture Appropriations. The final version (conference report) of the Agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2997) would authorize $121.2 billion in fiscal 2010 for the Agriculture Department and related agencies. This social-welfare bill would include $21 billion for the Agriculture Department, $2.4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration, $58.3 billion to fund the food stamp program, $17 billion for the child nutrition program, $7.3 billion for the Women, Infants, and Children program, and $1.7 billion for the Food for Peace program.

Excluding emergency spending, H.R. 2997 would represent a $2.7 billion increase from the 2009 appropriations level. More than 80 percent of the funds for H.R. 2997 would be reserved for mandatory programs such as food stamps and crop support.

The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on October 8, 2009 by a vote of 76-22 (Roll Call 318). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized by the Constitution.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3288: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 17, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Transportation-HUD Appropriations. The Senate version of H.R. 3288 is similar to the House-passed version. [ House: The fiscal 2010 Transportation-HUD appropriations (H.R. 3288) would authorize a whopping $123.1 billion for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. This includes $68.8 billion for discretionary spending for the two departments and their related agencies, a 25-percent increase from fiscal 2009 levels. The bill would provide $1.5 billion in federal grants for Amtrak and $18.2 billion for the Section 8 Tenant-based Rental Assistance program. ]

The Senate version would authorize $122 billion, including $67.7 billion in discretionary spending, for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and related agencies.

The Senate passed H.R. 3288 on September 17, 2009 by a vote of 73-25 (Roll Call 287). We have assigned pluses to the nays because virtually every dollar assigned to this bill, whether it is for transportation or housing assistance, is unconstitutional and unaffordable.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2355 to H.R. 3288 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010): Prohibiting use of funds to fund the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Vote Date: September 14, 2009Vote: NONE No Vote.
ACORN Funding. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) offered an amendment to the fiscal 2010 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 3288) stating: "None of the funds made available under this Act may be directly or indirectly distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)." According to a September 15 AP story, Johanns "said that ACORN has received $53 million in taxpayer funds since 1994 and that the group was eligible for a wider set of funding in the pending legislation, which funds housing and transportation programs." ACORN has come under intense scrutiny since the release of videos on September 9 by two conservatives, who posed as a prostitute and her pimp, in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on buying a home with illicit funds and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Over the next few days, the pair released several other videos depicting similar situations in ACORN offices around the nation.

The Senate passed the ACORN Funding Ban amendment to H.R. 3288 on September 14, 2009 by a vote of 83-7 (Roll Call 275). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because federal government funding of community organizations is not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Nomination PN506: Sonia Sotomayor, of New York, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Vote Date: August 6, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Sotomayor Confirmation. Judge Sonia Sotomayor revealed her view on our God-given right to keep and bear arms while on the Second Circuit Court in the case of United States v. Sanchez-Villar (2004). In a footnote to their decision on this case, Sotomayor and two colleagues dismissed a Second Amendment claim by holding that "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right." Her widely quoted remarks that the "court of appeals is where policy is made" and "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life" provide further evidence that Sotomayor does not base her judicial decisions on the original intent of the Constitution.

The Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on August 6, 2009 by a vote of 68-31 (Roll Call 262). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Judge Sotomayor is not committed to adhering to the original intent of the Constitution in her judicial decisions.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3435: A bill making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program.
Vote Date: August 6, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Cash for Clunkers Funding. After running out of funds almost immediately, Congress quickly introduced yet another bill (H.R. 3435) that would provide an additional $2 billion for the "Cash for Clunkers" program. Under the program consumers were offered rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in their old cars for more fuel-efficient ones. The vehicles traded in were destroyed, meaning cars not ready for the junkyard would be taken off the road, reducing the stock of used vehicles and inflating the prices of used cars.

The Senate passed H.R. 3435 on August 6, 2009 by a vote of 60-37 (Roll Call 270). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should not be subsidizing the car industry and because it is unconstitutional and wasteful.



On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 1511 to S. 1390 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010): To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 16, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Hate Crimes. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) attached an amendment to the Fiscal 2010 Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1390) that would expand the federal hate-crimes law. Attaching such an amendment to a "must-pass" appropriations bill further ensured passage of the legislation by preventing nay votes from Senators who supported the annual appropriations bill. The expanded hate-crimes law would cover victims of crimes based on one's sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. (Current law covers crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin.)

The Senate agreed to invoke cloture on the Leahy amendment (thus limiting debate so that the amendment itself could be voted on) on July 16, 2009 by a vote of 63-28 (Roll Call 233). The amendment was subsequently adopted by unanimous consent. We have assigned pluses to the nays because this legislation would further federalize the criminal code, as well as punish not only criminal acts but the thoughts behind them.



On the Nomination PN225: Harold Hongju Koh, of Connecticut, to be Legal Adviser of the Department of State
Vote Date: June 25, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Koh Confirmation. On March 23, 2009, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Harold Hongju Koh to be the Legal Adviser of the U.S. State Department. During Senate floor debate on Koh's confirmation on June 23, Senator Jim DeMint provided evidence of Koh's positions regarding international law and the U.S. Constitution, and then concluded that "Mr. Koh believes that if our President and Congress, empowered by our Constitution, decide military action is needed to defend our Nation from harm, we must get United Nations approval or our actions are illegal." As further evidence of Koh's troubling beliefs regarding the Constitution and international law, Senator DeMint quoted from a 2004 law review article entitled "International Law as Part of Our Law," in which Koh states: "U.S. domestic courts must play a key role in coordinating U.S. domestic constitutional rules with rules of foreign and international law, not simply to promote American aims but to advance the broader development of a well-functioning international judicial system."

The Senate confirmed Harold Koh to be State Department Legal Adviser on June 25, 2009 by a vote of 62-35 (Roll Call 213). We have assigned pluses to the nays because subordination of U.S. sovereignty to international law and international organizations would undermine the Constitution.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2346: A bill making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 18, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Supplemental Appropriations. This final version (conference report) of the fiscal 2009 supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 2346) would provide an additional $105.9 billion in so-called emergency funds over and above the regular appropriations for 2009. This outrageous supplemental package would include $79.9 billion for defense funding (including for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), $10.4 billion for foreign aid programs, $7.7 billion to address the national flu scare, and $5 billion for International Monetary Fund activities. This supplemental bill would also include $1 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program.

A day prior to the House vote, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) urged his fellow lawmakers to reject the bill, stating, "I continue to believe that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan.... Our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan does not make us safer at home, but in fact it undermines our national security."

The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on June 18, 2009 by a vote of 91-5 (Roll Call 210). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the spending is over and above what the federal government had already budgeted, the United States never declared war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of the spending (e.g., Cash for Clunkers and foreign aid) is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1138 to H.R. 2346 (Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009): To strike the provisions relating to increased funding for the International Monetary Fund.
Vote Date: May 21, 2009Vote: AYEGood Vote.
IMF Funding. During consideration of the Fiscal 2009 Supplemental bill (H.R. 2346), Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment to delete $5 billion provided by the bill for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is an adjunct of the United Nations and grants foreign aid to qualifying countries.

The Senate rejected the DeMint amendment on May 21, 2009, by a vote of 30-64 (Roll Call 201). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because foreign aid is unconstitutional, and this is deficit spending.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2346: A bill making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 21, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Fiscal 2009 Supplemental Appropriations. The Senate version of the Fiscal 2009 Supplemental Appropriations bill (H.R. 2346) would provide an additional $91.3 billion in "emergency" funding for the current fiscal year over and above the regular appropriations. The spending would include $73 billion for the Defense Department (including the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan), $1.5 billion to address potential pandemic flu, and $5 billion for the International Monetary Fund, a UN agency that lends to qualifying countries.

The Senate passed H.R. 2346 on May 21, 2009, by a vote of 86-3 (Roll Call 202). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the spending is over and above what the federal government had already budgeted, Congress never declared war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of the spending (e.g., foreign aid) is unconstitutional.



On the Conference Report S.Con.Res. 13: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2010, revising the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal year 2009, and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2011 through 2014.
Vote Date: April 29, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Budget Resolution. The final version of the Fiscal 2010 Budget Resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 13) calls for $3.56 trillion in federal spending for the fiscal year beginning on September 1, 2009. This level of spending would be significantly less than the $4.0 trillion the Obama administration forecast in May that the federal government would spend in the current fiscal year (which includes the $700 billion TARP program), but significantly more than the $3.0 trillion the federal government spent in fiscal 2008. And the deficit for fiscal 2010 would be more than $1 trillion.

The Senate passed the final version (conference report) of the budget resolution on April 29, 2009, by a vote of 53-43 (Roll Call 173). We have assigned pluses to the nays because much of the budget is unconstitutional (e.g., foreign aid, education, healthcare, etc.), and the federal government should end deficit spending and live within its means.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 1388: A bill entitled "The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an Act to reauthorize and reform the national service laws."
Vote Date: March 26, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
National-service Programs. The Serve America Act (H.R. 1388) would reauthorize Corporation for National and Community Service programs through 2014, and expand the number of "volunteer" positions (which are actually paid positions) in national-service programs such as AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the House version of this legislation would cost $6 billion and the Senate version would cost $5 billion over five years.

The Senate passed H.R. 1388 on March 26, 2009, by a vote of 79-19 (Roll Call 115). We have assigned pluses to the nays because national-service programs are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 662 to H.R. 1105 (Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009): To prohibit the use of funds by the Federal Communications Commission to repromulgate the Fairness Doctrine.
Vote Date: March 10, 2009Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Fairness Doctrine. During consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 1105), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) offered an amendment to prohibit the use of funding in the bill to reinstitute a Federal Communications Commission rule known as the "Fairness Doctrine." Under this doctrine, which the FCC itself abolished in 1987, radio and television broadcasters were required to air opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. The rule had the effect of encouraging broadcasters to minimize controversial programming so as to avoid providing free air time for opposing viewpoints. And it inhibited free speech in the same way that an extension of the Fairness Doctrine to magazines or newspapers would have inhibited the ability of publishers to express their beliefs.

The Senate rejected Thune's amendment on March 10, 2009, by a vote of 47-50 (Roll Call 92). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine would be an unconstitutional infringement on the right to free speech.



On Passage of the Bill S. 160: A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives.
Vote Date: February 26, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
District of Columbia Voting Rights. The District of Columbia Voting Rights bill (S. 160) would add two seats to the United States House of Representatives, bringing the total number of representatives to 437. Specifically, the bill would create an additional seat in Utah beginning with the 112th Congress and a permanent seat in the District of Columbia beginning with the 113th Congress. The bill would also increase the size of the Electoral College to accommodate the changes.

The Senate passed S. 160 on February 26, 2009, by a vote of 61-37 (Roll Call 73). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Article 1 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states." The District of Columbia is not a state, and can only become a state (and be entitled to representation in Congress) via a constitutional amendment.



On the Conference Report H.R. 1: A bill making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: February 13, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Economic Stimulus. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) would provide $787 billion -- $575 billion in new spending and $212 billion in tax cuts -- to stimulate the economy. The "stimulus" spending is supposed to create jobs, yet the money that the government spends for this purpose would have to be drained from the economy in the first place, thereby destroying jobs throughout the economy in order to give the government the means to create jobs in selected sectors. Even the tax cuts, which constitute less than a third of the stimulus package, would not reduce the burden that government spending places on the economy, since there are no corresponding spending cuts. Since the federal government is already operating in the red, the entire $787-billion "stimulus" would translate into another $787 billion in federal debt, as well as inflation when the money to finance the debt is created out of thin air by the Fed and pumped into the economy. In fact, the legislation would increase the national debt ceiling by $789 billion, a little more than the bill's price tag.

The Senate adopted H.R. 1 (thus clearing it for the president to sign) on February 13, 2009, by a vote of 60-38 (Roll Call 64). We have assigned pluses to the nays because much of the spending would be unconstitutional and government cannot stimulate the economy by draining money from the private sector.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2: A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children
Vote Date: January 29, 2009Vote: NAYGood Vote.
SCHIP. H.R. 2 would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program, commonly referred to as SCHIP, for over four and a half years and increase the funding for the program by $32.8 billion. SCHIP is designed to provide health insurance to children of families whose incomes are up to four times above the poverty level (and therefore would have too much income to qualify for Medicaid), yet would have little income to buy private insurance. Often SCHIP crowds out private insurance: the Congressional Budget Office found that between 25 and 50 percent of children who enroll in SCHIP dropped their private insurance to get "free care." Because SCHIP, like Medicaid and Medicare, pays doctors and hospitals only a fraction of the actual cost of care, the unfunded costs get passed to holders of private insurance. Additionally, SCHIP would apply to 400,000 to 600,000 children of legal immigrants whose sponsors had agreed to cover the children's healthcare needs for at least five years after arriving to the United States.

The Senate passed H.R. 2 on January 29, 2009, by a vote of 66-32 (Roll Call 31). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal healthcare programs are unconstitutional and would likely lower the quality of healthcare.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 65 to H.R. 2 (Children: To restore the prohibition on funding of nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion as a method of birth control (the "Mexico City Policy").
Vote Date: January 28, 2009Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Mexico City Policy. Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) offered an amendment to the Children's Health Insurance bill to reinstate the so-called Mexico City Policy, which newly inaugurated President Barack Obama had overturned on January 23, 2009 via executive order. The overturned policy barred the distribution of U.S. foreign aid to organizations that "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning."

The Senate rejected the Martinez amendment by a vote of 37-60 on January 28, 2009 (Roll Call 19). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because foreign aid is unconstitutional, but because the amendment would have helped to protect the right to life.



On the Joint Resolution S.J.Res. 5: A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of obligations under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
Vote Date: January 15, 2009Vote: AYEGood Vote.
TARP Funding. Senate Joint Resolution 5 would have prevented the release of the remaining $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out banks and other institutions. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 had authorized a total of $700 billion, only half of which was initially released, for TARP. The act was written so that the Treasury Department, which administers the program, could start spending the second $350 billion unless both chambers of Congress disapproved.

The Senate rejected this resolution on January 15, 2009, by a vote of 42-52 (Roll Call 5). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not authorize Congress to grant financial aid or loans to private companies, i.e., banks and automakers.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 1424: A bill to provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 1, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Bailout Bill. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) passed 74-25 (Roll Call 213) on October 1, 2008. This bill authorizes the Treasury Department to use $700 billion of taxpayer money to purchase troubled mortgage-related securities from banks and other financial-related institutions, on terms set by the Treasury Secretary, who now has authority to manage and sell those assets. The bailout plan also expands FDIC protection from $100,000 to $250,000 per bank account, extends dozens of expiring tax provisions, expands incentives for renewable energy, provides a one-year adjustment to exempt millions of Americans from the alternative minimum tax, and requires health insurers who provide mental-health coverage to put mental-health benefits on par with other medical benefits.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill establishes an unconstitutional merger of government with big business -- in other words, fascism -- and greatly increases the national debt and monetary inflation by forcing taxpayers to pay the price for the failures of private financial institutions.



On the Conference Report H.R. 4137: A bill to amend and extend the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 31, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Higher Education Aid. H.R. 4137 would reauthorize the Higher Education Act through fiscal 2012. It would increase the maximum authorized level of Pell Grants for low-income students from $5,800 per year to $6,000 for the 2009-10 academic year, and to $8,000 for the 2014-15 academic year. It would also create a $10,000 student-aid forgiveness program ($2,000 per year for five years) for graduates who work in high-need fields such as nursing and early childhood education.

The Senate passed the final version of this legislation (known as the conference report) on July 31, 2008 by a vote of 83-8 (Roll Call 194). We have assigned pluses to the nays because education aid is not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to Senate Amendment to the House Amendments to the Senate Amendment to HR 3221): A bill to provide needed housing reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 26, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Mortgage Relief. This legislation (H.R. 3221) would grant authority to the Treasury Department to extend new credit and buy stock in the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). As described by Congressional Quarterly, "It also would create an independent regulator for the two mortgage giants and the Federal Home Loan Bank System. It would overhaul the Federal Housing Administration and allow it to insure up to $300 billion worth of new, refinanced loans for struggling mortgage borrowers. It also includes a $7,500 tax credit to some first-time homebuyers, higher loan limits for FHA-backed loans, a standard tax deduction for property taxes and revenue-raisers to offset part of the costs. It also would authorize $3.92 billion in grants to states and localities to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed properties, and increase the federal debt limit to $10.6 trillion."

The Senate passed H.R. 3221 on July 26, 2008 by a vote of 72-13 (Roll Call 186). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government acting as an insurer, a micromanager of markets, and a wealth redistributor is unconstitutional and will undoubtedly affect market behavior, leading to more and worse market strife.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3186: A bill to provide funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Vote Date: July 26, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Low-income Energy Assistance. Bill S. 3186 would provide emergency funds of $2.5 billion, nearly doubling the funding, for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. A motion to limit debate on the motion to proceed to the bill was rejected 50-35 (Roll Call 187) on July 26, 2008 in a vote that required the approval of three-fifths of the Senate. Proponents of the funding said it was needed to help people with low income pay for rapidly rising heating and cooling costs.

The funding would have an emergency designation, meaning it is neither paid for from existing funds nor offset by spending reductions in other programs. Thus the cost would be added to the national debt and passed on to future generations. The program still had a $100 million surplus and was expected to be refunded in a continuing resolution, therefore the bill was unnecessary. The bill ignored demands for increasing domestic energy production as a means to restrain rising energy prices.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should stop over-regulating and interfering with the energy industry and get out of the unconstitutional welfare business.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 5501: A bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 to provide assistance to foreign countries to combat HIV AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 16, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Global HIV/AIDS Program. This version of H.R. 5501, as modified by the Senate, was agreed to 303-115 (Roll Call 531) on July 24, 2008. The bill would authorize $48 billion for fiscal 2009 through 2013 to combat AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis overseas. Currently one-third of the funding for HIV prevention is required to go to abstinence education. The bill would change that allocation to balance funding between condom, fidelity, and abstinence programs. It would also authorize $2 billion to fund programs for American Indian health, clean water, and law enforcement.

The Senate passed H.R. 5501 on July 16, 2008 by a vote of 80-16 (Roll Call 182). We have assigned pluses to the nays because foreign aid is unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 6304: A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 9, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Warrantless Searches. H.R. 6304, the bill to revamp the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), would allow warrantless electronic surveillance, including monitoring telephone conversations and e-mails, of foreign targets, including those communicating with American citizens in the United States. The final version of the bill would not explicitly grant immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted President Bush's warrantless surveillance program. But it would require courts to dismiss lawsuits against such companies if there is "substantial evidence" they were insured in writing the program was legal and authorized by the president. The provision would almost certainly result in the dismissal of the lawsuits.

The Senate passed H.R. 6304 on July 9, 2008 by a vote of 69-28 (Roll Call 168). We have assigned pluses to the nays because warrantless searches are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires that any searches be conducted only upon issuance of a warrant under conditions of probable cause. Moreover, Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution forbids "ex post facto laws" -- laws having a retroactive effect.



On the Motion (Motion To Concur In House Amdts To Senate Amdt To House Amdt To Senate Amdt To H.R. 2642): A bill making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 26, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Funds for War, Welfare, Etc. The Supplemental Appropriations bill (H.R. 2642) was agreed to 92-2 (Roll Call 162) on June 26, 2008. Such bills fund unforeseen needs after an annual budget has been approved. However, regular use of emergency supplemental bills to pay for never-ending wars, domestic welfare, and infrastructure programs has made the annual budget a misleading indicator of spending intentions.

This $186.5 billion measure includes $161.8 billion of additional funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The remaining $24.7 billion is for domestic programs including tornado, flood, and hurricane relief efforts. It would also expand veterans' education benefits, expand unemployment benefits, and delay shifting some Medicaid costs to the states.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress continues to fund a war it never authorized under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. Also, the federal government is unconstitutionally involved as an individual and corporate insurer at taxpayer expense.



On Overriding the Veto H.R. 6124: A bill to provide for the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 18, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Farm Bill (Veto Override). H.R. 6124 would authorize the nation's farm programs for the next five years, including crop subsidies and nutrition programs. The final version of the legislation provides $289 billion for these programs, including a $10.4 billion boost in spending for nutrition programs such as food stamps.

After this five-year, $289 billion farm bill was vetoed by President Bush, the Senate passed the bill over the president's veto on June 18, 2008 by a vote of 80-14 (Roll Call 151). A two-thirds majority vote is required to override a presidential veto.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3044: A bill to provide energy price relief and hold oil companies and other entities accountable for their actions with regard to high energy prices, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 10, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Energy Prices. A motion to limit debate and proceed to the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008 (S. 3044) was rejected 51-43 (Roll Call 146) on June 10, 2008, in a vote that required three-fifths of the Senate to succeed. The bill would repeal $17 billion in tax breaks for oil companies over 10 years and redirect that revenue to the benefit of renewable energy. A windfall profits tax would also be imposed on the largest oil companies.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because increasing taxes on the profits of U.S. oil producers would drive gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas prices higher, as the increased tax expense would simply be passed on to consumers. Targeting the largest U.S. oil companies for making higher profits creates a disincentive to increasing exploration and production, and undermines the exceedingly large capital base required to rebuild after hurricanes devastate the oil patch. Moreover, it is unfair because other companies and sectors with even higher profit margins are ignored. Finally, the government should not be subsidizing energy development.



On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 4825 to S. 3036 (Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008): In the nature of a substitute.
Vote Date: June 6, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Global Warming. The substitute amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to S. 3036 would have created a cap-and-trade system for reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The system would have forced utilities, factories, etc., to collectively reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 71 percent by 2050, though individual companies could emit more by purchasing allowances from companies that emit less. The cost to the economy would be in the trillions.

The legislation was likely derailed for the remainder of 2008 when on June 6 proponents failed to invoke cloture on the Boxer substitute amendment. Invoking cloture would have limited debate so that the bill could come up for a vote. The cloture vote failed 48-36 (Roll Call 145), a dozen short of the 60 needed under Senate rules.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because mandates on greenhouse-gas emissions are not constitutionally authorized and would harm the economy.



On the Conference Report S.Con.Res. 70: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2009 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2008 and 2010 through 2013.
Vote Date: June 4, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Budget Resolution. The final version of the Fiscal 2009 Budget Resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 70) was adopted 214-210 on June 5, 2008 (Roll Call 382). Drafted by the Democrats, this $3.03 trillion budget sets nonbinding limits for the 12 annual appropriations bills. Last year's $2.9 trillion budget allowed $145.2 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new budget included only $70 billion for the two wars in 2009 and nothing thereafter, an unrealistic notion that understates true spending intent and necessitates more war funding in a supplemental bill. The budget would be significantly higher if war funding were not largely off-budget. The plan predicts a hypothetical budget surplus by 2012, which is meaningless.

All spending bills would be increased over 2008. The budget assumes that revenue will be stable or increase and that some tax cuts will expire. An increase was called for in the statutory debt ceiling by $800 billion to $10.6 trillion. That promptly occurred in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout.

The Senate adopted Senate Con. Res. 70 on June 4, 2008 by a vote of 48-45 (Roll Call 142). We have assigned pluses to the nays because inflation and the national debt are skyrocketing as Congress persistently disregards constitutional limits on spending.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2419: A bill to provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 15, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Farm Bill. H.R. 2419 would authorize the nation's farm programs for the next five years, including crop subsidies and nutrition programs. The final version of this legislation worked out by House and Senate conferees (known as a conference report) provides $289 billion for these programs, including a $10.4 billion boost in spending for nutrition programs such as food stamps.

The Senate passed the final version of H.R. 2419 by a vote of 81-15 (Roll Call 130) on May 15, 2008. We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 4720 to S. 2284 (Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007): Of a perfecting nature.
Vote Date: May 13, 2008Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Oil Security via Domestic Production. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) offered an amendment (No. 4720) to S. 2284 that was rejected 42-56 on May 13, 2008 (Roll Call 123). This amendment to the Flood Insurance Reform bill would increase America's supply of energy and generate jobs by ending the moratorium on offshore oil and gas leasing for the Outer Continental Shelf off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; open the oil shale reserves in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; encourage coal-to-liquid fuels; and seek to increase refinery capacity. Filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would also be suspended for 180 days in an attempt to lower gas prices short-term.

We have assigned pluses to the yeas because America is dangerously dependent on foreign oil and we should increase domestic oil production to mitigate an expected decline in foreign oil exports to America. Time is fleeting for preparing for a supply crisis.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3221: A bill to provide needed housing reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: April 10, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Mortgage Relief. H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, passed 84-12 on April 10, 2008 (Roll Call 96). It was originally introduced in the House as an energy bill under another title and was passed as such in 2007. The Senate substituted a very different text, turning the bill into a vehicle for foreclosure prevention and returned it to the House for approval as three Senate amendments.

Among the overall bill's many aspects, it reforms the Federal Housing Administration, providing it liquidity and changing its insurance program to help homeowners facing foreclosure to refinance; it includes a net operating loss proposal that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) described as a multi-billion dollar bailout of the home-builders industry; it appropriates funding to states to redevelop foreclosed properties; and it would provide renewable-energy tax breaks.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional for the federal government to be an insurer, and wealth redistributor.



On the Concurrent Resolution S.Con.Res. 70: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2009 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2008 and 2010 through 2013.
Vote Date: March 14, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
2009 Budget Resolution. Senate Concurrent Resolution 70, the Senate plan for a fiscal 2009 budget, was adopted 51-44 on March 14, 2008 (Roll Call 85). This non-binding budget recommends outlays of about $2.6 trillion for fiscal year 2009, with a deficit of $564 billion. A one year moratorium on earmarks was rejected. A $35 billion economic stimulus package would be provided for, with no fiscal offset. Tax breaks aimed at low-income households would be extended, such as the 10-percent tax bracket, marriage penalty relief, and the child tax credit. However, an extension for other tax cuts, including reduced tax rates for capital gains and dividends, was rejected.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress must discontinue unconstitutional and deficit spending. Otherwise the dollar could collapse.



On Passage of the Bill S. 2248: An original bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, to modernize and streamline the provisions of that Act, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: February 12, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Warrantless Searches. S. 2248, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed 68-29 on February 12, 2008 (Roll Call 20). The bill would amend the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to effectively give the executive branch of the federal government a blank check to eavesdrop on telephone calls and e-mail messages between people in foreign countries and those in the United States. The bill includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that have collaborated with federal agencies in the warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because warrantless wiretaps are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires that any searches be conducted only upon issuance of a warrant under conditions of probable cause. Moreover, Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution forbids "ex post facto laws" -- laws having a retroactive effect.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 5140: A bill to provide economic stimulus through recovery rebates to individuals, incentives for business investment, and an increase in conforming and FHA loan limits.
Vote Date: February 7, 2008Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Economic Stimulus. H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus package, whereby rebate checks were mailed to taxpayers, passed 81-16 on February 7, 2008 (Roll Call 10). It would provide about $150 billion in economic stimulus, including $101.1 billion in direct payments of rebate checks (typically $600) to most taxpayers in 2008 and temporary tax breaks for businesses.

After the House resolved its differences with the Senate, the bill was cleared for President Bush, who signed it into law. We have assigned pluses to the nays because creating money out of thin air (which was what was done for the rebate checks) cannot improve the economy.





*** Prior to 2008, "The Freedom Index" was known as the "The Conservative Index." ***





On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3688: A bill to implement the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.
Vote Date: December 4, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Peru Free Trade Agreement. The Peru Free Trade Agreement (H.R. 3688) is another in a series of free-trade agreements to transfer the power to regulate trade (and other powers as well) to regional arrangements. A prime example is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, as noted by the House Ways and Means Committee report on H.R. 3688, the Peru Free Trade Agreement is the first U.S. FTA to include -- in its core text fully enforceable commitments by the Parties to adopt, maintain, and enforce basic international labor standards, as stated in the 1988 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. -- The ILO, or International Labor Organization, is a UN agency.

The Senate passed the Peru Free Trade Agreement on December 4, 2007 by a vote of 77-18 (Roll Call 413). We have assigned pluses to the nays because so-called free-trade arrangements threaten our national independence and harm our economy.



On the Conference Report H.R. 1429: A bill to reauthorize the Head Start Act, to improve program quality, to expand access, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: November 14, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Head Start. The final version (conference report) of H.R. 1429, a bill to reauthorize the Head Start program through 2012, was adopted 381-36 on November 14, 2007 (Roll Call 1090). Head Start provides educational activities and social services for children up to age five from low-income families. The program received $6.9 billion in fiscal year 2007. $7 billion was authorized in the fiscal 2008 omnibus bill, but H.R. 1429 increased funding to $7.4 billion for fiscal 2008, $7.7 billion for 2009, and $8 billion for 2010. The income level at which families are eligible to participate was raised from 100 percent of the poverty level to 130 percent ($26,728 for a family of four). Some members opposed the bill because Head Start grants will not be allowed to faith-based organizations that hire employees on the basis of religious preference.

We have assigned minuses to the yeas (there were no nays) because a federalized educational system is an unconstitutional and wasteful bureaucracy.



On the Nomination PN958: Michael B. Mukasey, of New York, to be Attorney General
Vote Date: November 8, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Mukasey Confirmation. When Michael Mukasey testified at his confirmation hearings for attorney general, he repeatedly refused to say that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques reportedly practiced by the CIA constituted torture and were therefore illegal. (Waterboarding is a form of controlled drowning.) He also stated, incredibly, that the president could operate outside laws passed by Congress if "what goes outside the statute lies within the authority of the president to defend the country."

The Senate confirmed Michael Mukasey as U.S. attorney general on November 8, 2007, by a vote of 53-40 (Roll Call 407). In so doing, the U.S. Senate demonstrated its willingness to tolerate torture -- which is anathema to American values -- and its willingness to allow the president to trump laws passed by Congress in the name of national security. We have therefore assigned pluses to the nays.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3963: A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children
Vote Date: November 1, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Children's Health Insurance. H.R. 3963, the five-year, $60 billion SCHIP Extension bill, passed 64-30 on November 1, 2007 (Roll Call 403) and then went to the president, who vetoed it. This legislation is identical to that described under House vote #23, which occurred after the presidential veto.

We have assigned pluses to the nays, because the Constitution does not authorize federal involvement in healthcare, even for children.



On Passage of the Bill S. 294: A bill to reauthorize Amtrak, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 30, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Amtrak Reauthorization. This bill (S. 294) would authorize $11.4 billion for Amtrak funding over the next six years. That amount would include monies for operating subsidies ($3.3 billion) and capital grants ($4.9 billion). If passed, states would be required to provide a 20-percent match of funds.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) opposed the reauthorization of federal funds to Amtrak. According to DeMint, Amtrak routes are so unprofitable that each ticket is federally subsidized by hundreds of dollars. Amtrak was created in 1970 and has been operating under annual federal appropriation funds since 2002.

The Senate passed S. 294 on October 30, 2007, by a vote of 70-22 (Roll Call 400). We have assigned pluses to the nays because spending billions of tax dollars for federal grants and subsidies for Amtrak transportation is unconstitutional.



On the Cloture Motion S. 2205: A bill to authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain alien students who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 24, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
DREAM Act. After a number of failed attempts to pass the DREAM Act (S. 2205) as an amendment to larger bills, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced this amnesty bill as a standalone piece of legislation. The DREAM Act would allow children who illegally entered the country before the age of 16 to remain in the United States and attend a college or university, taking advantage of government benefits.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture on S. 2205 on October 24, 2007, by a vote of 52-44 (Roll Call 394). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the DREAM Act would implement an amnesty program by placing millions of illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3043: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 23, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations. This massive appropriations bill (H.R. 3043) would appropriate $605.5 billion in fiscal 2008 for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. This spending bill represents the largest domestic spending bill the Senate has passed in the 110th Congress. H.R. 3043 would provide monies for the Education Department ($63 billion), the Labor Department ($14.9 billion), the Department of Health and Human Services ($479.1 billion), and related agencies.

The Senate passed H.R. 3043 on October 23, 2007, by a vote of 75-19 (Roll Call 391). We have assigned pluses to the nays because social-welfare programs and federal involvement in education are unconstitutional.



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 43: A joint resolution increasing the statutory limit on the public debt.
Vote Date: September 27, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Debt Limit Increase. This bill (House Joint Resolution 43) would increase the national debt limit to an astronomical $9.8 trillion, an $850 billion increase. This increase would be the fifth time the national debt was raised since 2002, representing about a $3 trillion increase in just the last five years.

The Senate passed House Joint Resolution 43 on September 27, 2007, by a vote of 53-42 (Roll Call 354). We have assigned pluses to the nays because raising the public debt limit by $850 billion facilitates continued, gross fiscal irresponsibility.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2797 to H.R. 3074 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008): To prohibit the establishment of a program that allows Mexican truck drivers to operate beyond the commercial zones near the Mexican border.
Vote Date: September 11, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Mexican Trucking. During consideration of the fiscal 2008 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 3074), Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) introduced an amendment to "prohibit the establishment of a program that allows Mexican truck drivers to operate beyond the commercial zones near the Mexican border." This amendment was introduced in response to a new pilot program that was launched in September that allows Mexican truckers to operate beyond the 25-mile radius of the Mexican border as previously limited. Opponents of the Mexican trucks argue that the newly launched program sponsored by the Department of Transportation would pose a threat to U.S. security and displace American workers.

The Senate passed the Dorgan amendment to H.R. 3074 on September 11, 2007, by a vote of 75-23 (Roll Call 331). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely across U.S. highways presents a threat to our national security and displaces American truckers whose jobs would be lost to Mexican workers.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2700 to H.R. 2764 (Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008): To strike the provision in section 113 that increases the limit on the United States
Vote Date: September 6, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
UN "Peacekeeping" Increase. During consideration of the foreign-aid appropriations bill (H.R. 2764), Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.) introduced an amendment to strike a provision in H.R. 2764 that would increase the limit on the U.S. share of UN "peacekeeping" operations from 25 percent to 27.1 percent.

The Senate rejected the Ensign amendment to H.R. 2764 on September 6, 2007, by a vote of 30-63 (Roll Call 317). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the United States should not be funding UN "peacekeeping" period -- let alone increasing the amount.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2764: A bill making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 6, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Foreign-aid Contributions. The fiscal 2008 foreign-aid appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) would authorize $34.4 billion for foreign-aid operations and economic assistance programs. In part, the bill would appropriate $9.1 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development, $5.1 billion to combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and $1.2 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account.

The Senate passed H.R. 2764 on September 6, 2007, by a vote of 81-12 (Roll Call 325). We have assigned pluses to the nays because foreign aid is unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill S. 1927: A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide additional procedures for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence information and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 3, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Protect America Act. The Protect America Act (S. 1927) would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow warrantless electronic surveillance (eavesdropping) of targets outside the United States regardless of whether they are communicating with someone within the United States. This surveillance had been conducted illegally by the CIA. Under this legislation, communications companies would be required to comply with surveillance requests and would be provided lawsuit protections.

The Senate passed S. 1927 on August 3, 2007, by a vote of 60-28 (Roll Call 309). We have assigned pluses to the nays because warrantless surveillance of American citizens is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition "against unreasonable searches and seizures."



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 976: A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to reauthorize the State Children
Vote Date: August 2, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
SCHIP. H.R. 976 would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to the amount of $60.2 billion for five years. The proposed amount would expand the program by $35.2 billion and cover an addition 6.1 million children.

The Senate passed H.R. 976 on August 2, 2007, by a vote of 68-31 (Roll Call 307). We have assigned pluses to the nays because taxpayer-financed federal health insurance is unconstitutional.

After successful passage of H.R. 976 in both the House and Senate, President Bush vetoed the measure on October 3, 2007.



On the Cloture Motion S. 1639: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 28, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Immigration Reform -- Cloture. Attempting to end debate and force a final vote on so-called immigration reform, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) invoked a motion for cloture on Ted Kennedy's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1639). Kennedy's bill, also known as the "grand compromise" on immigration reform, was arrived at through negotiation between the Bush administration and Senate leaders. The Kennedy bill would, among other things, create an enhanced guest-worker program, call for the acceleration of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, and establish the Z visa, which would grant amnesty by placing illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship. The vote on cloture would reveal whether or not the Senate had enough votes to force a vote on final passage of S. 1639.

The Senate rejected the motion to invoke cloture by a vote of 46-53 (Roll Call 235) on June 28, 2007 (60 votes are required to invoke cloture). We have assigned pluses to the nays because cloture would have ended floor debate on the Kennedy bill and enabled a vote by the full Senate on this dangerous piece of legislation.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1157 to S.Amdt. 1150 to S. 1348 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007): To strike title VI (related to Nonimmigrants in the United States Previously in Unlawful Status).
Vote Date: May 24, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants. David Vitter (R-La.) offered this amendment to Ted Kennedy's substitute amendment (S. Amdt. 1150) for the immigration reform bill of 2007 (S. 1348). The Vitter amendment would drastically alter the scope of the immigration bill by striking an amnesty provision from the bill that would establish the Z visa, which would be issued to millions of illegal immigrants, placing them on a path toward citizenship.

The Senate rejected the Vitter amendment by a vote of 29-66 (Roll Call 180) on May 24, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Vitter amendment would prevent those who have entered the United States unlawfully from gaining legal status, also known as amnesty.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1153 to S.Amdt. 1150 to S. 1348 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007): To strike the Y nonimmigrant guestworker program.
Vote Date: May 22, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Guest-worker Program. Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) introduced an amendment to strike the guest-worker provision of Ted Kennedy's substitute amendment (S. Amdt. 1150) for the immigration reform bill of 2007 (S. 1348). Kennedy's so-called guest-worker provision would create a renewable two-year guest-worker program, issue a guest-worker visa, and set an adjustable annual cap on the number of guest workers permitted in this country.

The Dorgan amendment was rejected by a vote of 31-64 (Roll Call 174) on May 22, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the guest-worker program would constitute a large increase in legal immigration for our country, which would ultimately displace more American workers from their jobs and depress wages.



On the Conference Report H.R. 1591: A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: April 26, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Supplemental Spending -- Conference Report. The final version (conference report) of this supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 1591) would provide an additional $124.2 billion for the previous fiscal year (fiscal 2007), over and above previous appropriations.

Although the bill would set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq, it would also authorize an additional $95.5 billion to carry out military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, this seemingly catchall bill also would raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour and provide nearly $5 billion in small-business incentives. Even if the spending in this supplemental bill were constitutional, it should have been added to the federal budget in the annual appropriations process.

The Senate passed the final version of H.R. 1591 by a vote of 51-46 (Roll Call 147) on April 26, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays for several reasons: it contains an enormous amount of unconstitutional spending, would raise the federal minimum wage, and would authorize money for the Iraq War.



On Passage of the Bill S. 5: A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.
Vote Date: April 11, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Embryonic Stem-cell Research. The stem-cell research bill (S. 5), introduced by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), would overturn the 2001 ban on federally funding embryonic stem-cell research with federal dollars. S. 5 would fund the research, experimentation, and destruction of human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics.

The Senate passed Reid's stem-cell research bill by a vote of 63-34 (Roll Call 127) on April 11, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill violates the right to life for millions of unborn babies.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 578 to S.Con.Res. 21: To repeal the death tax.
Vote Date: March 23, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Repeal Estate Tax. During consideration of the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 21), Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment that would make the phased-out repeal of the estate tax (also known as the "death tax") permanent. Under current law, the death tax will be phased out by 2010, but because of a "sunset" provision the tax will only be eliminated for a single year before being reinstituted.

The tax has forced many asset-rich but cash-poor individuals to liquidate family farms, small businesses, and private property rather than bequeath those assets to loved ones.

The Senate rejected the DeMint amendment by a vote of 44-55 (Roll Call 109) on March 23, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because repealing the estate tax would be a constitutional tax cut that would benefit all Americans who would be subject to estate taxes again in 2011 and all subsequent years according to current tax law.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 529 to S.Con.Res. 21: To increase funding for the COPS Program to $1.15 billion for FY 2008 to provide state and local law enforcement with critical resources necessary to prevent and respond to violent crime and acts of terrorism and is offset by an unallocated reduction to non-defense discretionary spending and/or reduction to administrative expenses.
Vote Date: March 23, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
COPS Funding. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) offered an amendment to the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 21) that would authorize a $1.2 billion increase in federal funds to support the Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

The Senate passed the Biden amendment by a vote of 65-33 (Roll Call 110) on March 23, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because providing federal aid to local law enforcement programs is not only unconstitutional, but it also further federalizes the police system.



On the Resolution S.Con.Res. 21: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2008 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2007 and 2009 through 2012.
Vote Date: March 23, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Budget Resolution. The 2008 budget resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 21) would authorize nearly $2.9 trillion for fiscal 2008, a nearly $150 billion increase from fiscal 2007.

The Senate adopted the fiscal 2008 budget resolution by a vote of 52-47 (Roll Call 114) on March 23, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress must not continue to support massive amounts of irresponsible and unconstitutional spending.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2: A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.
Vote Date: February 1, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Minimum Wage. The minimum-wage bill (H.R. 2) would raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over the course of two years. The bill would also provide $8.3 billion in small-business tax incentives.

The Senate passed the minimum-wage increase by a vote of 94-3 (Roll Call 42) on February 1, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional to prohibit citizens from working for less than a government-set wage.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 20 to S.Amdt. 3 to S. 1: To strike a provision relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying.
Vote Date: January 18, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Grass-roots Lobbying. During consideration of the ethics and lobbying overhaul bill (S. 1), Senator Robert Bennett (R-Utah) offered this amendment that would strike Section 220, a provision that would subject grass-roots lobbying groups to strict disclosure requirements, from the bill. The bill caused a firestorm of controversy from grass-roots activists who saw this bill as a threat to the freedom of speech. Commenting on Section 220, LifeNews.com reported, "If this provision is enacted, many ordinary citizens will get less and less information from pro-life groups and other issue-oriented organizations about what is going on in Congress."

The Senate adopted the Bennett amendment by a vote of 55-43 (Roll Call 17) on January 18, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because it would preserve the right of free speech for grass-roots organizations to inform the public about events on Capitol Hill without subjecting them to repressive regulatory controls.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 6061: A bill to establish operational control over the international land and maritime borders of the United States.
Vote Date: September 29, 2006Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Border Fence. In the final hours because adjourning for their October recess, the Senate passed a Border Fencing bill (H.R. 6061) that would authorize the construction of nearly 700 miles of security fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border. The border fence is just the first of a series of border security initiatives that House Republicans intend to merge into the Homeland Security spending bill. If implemented, the 700 miles of fencing along the border would be a good first step toward protecting our borders from the massive influx of illegal immigration facing our country today.

The Senate passed H.R. 6061 by a wide margin of 80-19 on September 29, 2006 (Roll Call 262). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because such a border fence would help prevent illegal immigration and further protect our borders.



On Passage of the Bill S. 3930: A bill to authorize trial by military commission for violations of the law of war, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 28, 2006Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Military Tribunals. This bill (S. 3930) would authorize a new system of military tribunals to try persons designated "unlawful enemy combatants" by the president. The bill defines an unlawful enemy combatant to include a person who "has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents." Once designated an unlawful enemy combatant, a defendant's rights would be curtailed: he would be denied the right of habeas corpus; he could be detained indefinitely; and evidence obtained through coercion could be used against him -- so long as the coercion falls outside the administration's definition of torture.

Critics of the tribunals bill are planning to file suit in order to test the constitutionality of the legislation. This legislation was in response to the U.S. Supreme Court's June 29 ruling on the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which declared that the administration's current system for trying military detainees was unconstitutional.

The Senate passed S. 3930 by a vote of 65-34 on September 28, 2006 (Roll Call 259). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill would curtail defendant rights.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 5684: A bill to implement the United States-Oman Free Trade Agreement.
Vote Date: September 19, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Oman Trade Agreement. The Oman Free Trade Agreement (H.R. 5684) would reduce most tariffs and duties between Oman and the United States. H.R. 5684 was considered under fast-track authority, which requires Congress to expedite consideration of presidentially negotiated trade pacts without offering amendments.

The Oman agreement is just one stepping-stone in the White House's effort to form a Middle Eastern Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013. These so-called free-trade agreements have historically failed because they encourage the relocation of U.S. jobs to foreign countries so that the companies can get cheap labor. Meanwhile, they don't provide the United States with trade benefits -- largely because the people in those countries cannot afford to buy our products -- thereby harming the U.S. economy. The agreements also put our economic destiny in the hands of unelected foreign bureaucrats, such as those at the World Trade Organization.

The Senate passed H.R. 5684 on September 19, 2006 by a vote of 62-32 (Roll Call 250). We have assigned pluses to the nays because such trade agreements damage the U.S. economy and threaten U.S. sovereignty by the imposition of international regulations.



On Passage of the Bill S. 3711: A bill to enhance the energy independence and security of the United States by providing for exploration, development, and production activities for mineral resources in the Gulf of Mexico, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 1, 2006Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Offshore Drilling. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) sponsored a bill (S. 3711) that would authorize oil drilling in the 8.3 million acres of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. The Senate would allow much less offshore drilling than the House-passed legislation (see House bill below); however, it would still be a step in the right direction.

[ H.R. 4761 would end the federal moratorium on most offshore oil and gas drilling. It would continue the ban within 50 miles of shore, while allowing the states the option of extending that ban out to 100 miles. It would also allow states to share in the drilling proceeds. ]

The Senate passed S. 3711 on August 1, 2006 by a vote of 71-25. (Roll Call 219). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the United States should reduce its dependency on foreign oil and utilize it own energy resources.



On Passage of the Bill S. 403: A bill to amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit taking minors across State lines in circumvention of laws requiring the involvement of parents in abortion decisions.
Vote Date: July 25, 2006Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Parental Notification. The Child Custody Protection Act (S. 403) would make it a federal crime for a person to transport a minor across state lines for an abortion in order to bypass state laws requiring parental notification.

The Senate passed S. 403 by a vote of 65-34 on July 25, 2006 (Roll Call 216). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Congress can and should use its power to regulate interstate commerce to restrict abortion.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 810: A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.
Vote Date: July 18, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Stem-cell Research. The embryonic stem-cell research bill (H.R. 810) would allow federal funds to be used for research on embryonic stem-cell lines derived from surplus embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics. Such research would be done only by cannibalizing and destroying human embryos. Proponents contend that the research is needed to combat various diseases, but stem cells derived from sources other than embryos may be used to achieve the same results.

The Senate passed H.R. 810 by a vote of 63-37 on July 18, 2006 (Roll Call 206). It prompted President Bush to use his veto power for the first time in his presidency. We have assigned pluses to the nays because such research would violate the right to life for millions of unborn children.



On the Motion (Motion to Waive CBA Re: Dodd Amdt. No. 4641): To fund urgent priorities for our Nation's firefighters, law enforcement personnel, emergency medical personnel, and all Americans by reducing the tax breaks for individuals with annual incomes in excess of $1,000,000.
Vote Date: July 13, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
First Responder Grants. During consideration for the Homeland Security Appropriations bill (H.R. 5441) Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) proposed an amendment to increase funding for police, firefighters, and other local and state personnel by $16.5 billion.

A point of order was raised against Dodd's amendment based on the Budget Act, and the Senate effectively killed the amendment when it rejected the motion to wave the Budget Act. The vote was 38-62 on July 13, 2006 (Roll Call 197). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal funding of local law enforcement will lead to more federal control of law enforcement.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 4615 to H.R. 5441 (Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2007): To prohibit the confiscation of a firearm during an emergency or major disaster if the possession of such firearm is not prohibited under Federal or State law.
Vote Date: July 13, 2006Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Firearm Seizure. During consideration for the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 5441) Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) offered an amendment that would prohibit any funds in the bill from being used to seize lawfully owned firearms during a state of emergency. Vitter said this amendment was prompted by the confiscation of over 1,000 firearms by law enforcement officials in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Senate overwhelmingly passed the Vitter amendment by a vote of 84-16 on July 13, 2006 (Roll Call 202). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because gun confiscation violates the Second Amendment.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 4442 to S. 2766 (John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007): To require the redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq in order to further a political solution in Iraq, encourage the people of Iraq to provide for their own security, and achieve victory in the war on terror.
Vote Date: June 22, 2006Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Iraq Troop Withdrawal. Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) attached this amendment to the Defense authorization bill (S. 2766) that would require the president to have a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops by July 2007, with the exception of those needed to train Iraqi troops, target terrorists, and protect American citizens.

The Senate rejected Kerry's amendment on June 22, 2006 by a vote of 13-86 (Roll Call 181). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because our troops should only be sent to war when necessary to defend the United States and her citizens, and only when declared by Congress.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 4322 to S. 2766 (John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007): To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.
Vote Date: June 21, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Minimum Wage. Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered this amendment to the Defense authorization bill (S. 2766). If implemented, the amendment would increase the national minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25/hour within the next two years. Although a minimum wage increase sounds like an easy way to alleviate poverty in this country, it actually raises poverty. This is true because companies can not afford to hire entry-level workers and train them for careers; companies are forced to lay off workers they presently have on staff; and additional people are added to the welfare roles.

The Senate rejected Kennedy's amendment on June 21, 2006 by a vote of 52-46 (Roll Call 179). We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional for the government to prohibit citizens from working for less than a government-set price.



On the Nomination PN1552: General Michael V. Hayden, United States Air Force, to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Vote Date: May 26, 2006Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Hayden Nomination. This measure would confirm Gen. Michael V. Hayden as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, making him the first member of the military to hold the position. There are many concerns about Hayden leading the CIA, including Hayden's involvement in secret programs targeting unknowing U.S. citizens while principal deputy director of National Intelligence. The general was also the chief architect and defender of the controversial domestic surveillance program that President Bush has so adamantly supported.

The Senate confirmed General Hayden on May 26, 2006 by a vote of 78-15 (Roll Call 160). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Hayden has been in the forefront of governmental programs threatening the privacy of American citizens and should not be trusted to lead an organization such as the CIA.



On Passage of the Bill S. 2611: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 25, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Guest-worker/Amnesty Immigration "Reform." The Senate version of immigration "reform" (S. 2611) would effectively grant amnesty to the 12 million illegal immigrants who already reside in the United States and create a guest-worker program for up to 200,000 immigrants a year. Although S. 2611 may provide additional security at the border, it would also reward those who have broken the law by granting them legal status and establish an immigrant verification system managed by the Department of Homeland Security.

The Senate passed S. 2611 on May 25, 2006 by a vote of 62-36 (Roll Call 157). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill would reward those who have unlawfully entered the country with legal status and greatly increase the level of legal immigration through guest-worker programs.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 3961 to S. 2611 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006): To prohibit the granting of legal status, or adjustment of current status, to any individual who enters or entered the United States in violation of Federal law unless the border security measures authorized under Title I and section 233 are fully completed and fully operational.
Vote Date: May 16, 2006Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Secure Borders Certification. During consideration of the immigration "reform" legislation (S. 2611), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) introduced this amendment that would require the Department of Homeland Security to certify that the U.S. borders are secure and additional detention facilities for illegal aliens are functional before any guest-worker and legalization programs can take effect.

The Senate rejected Isakson's amendment on May 16, 2006 by a vote of 40-55 (Roll Call 121). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because this amendment would make border security a higher priority than amnesty, but would make it more difficult for the administration to implement amnesty.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4939: A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 4, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Supplemental Appropriations. The Senate version of H.R. 4939 would appropriate $108.9 billion in emergency supplemental funding in fiscal 2006, about $17 billion more than the House-passed version (see House bill below). Most of this funding difference is due to the additional Katrina aid the Senate version would provide, $28.9 billion as opposed to $19.2 billion.

[ The House Version of H.R. 4939 would appropriate a whopping $91.9 billion for emergency supplemental funding in fiscal 2006, including $67.6 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, $4.3 billion for foreign aid, and $19.2 billion for Hurricane Katrina relief. Congressional Quarterly noted that the funding in the bill "for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would push to more than $390 billion the war-related supplemental funds appropriated since Sept. 11. It would be the sixth major emergency spending measure for the Bush administration." ]

The Senate passed its version of H.R. 4939 by a vote of 77-21 on May 4, 2006 (Roll Call 112). We have assigned pluses to the nays because -- even if the spending were constitutional -- the funding should be attached to the regular appropriations process and not introduced after the fact as "emergency" spending, ignoring fiscal responsibility.



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 47: A joint resolution increasing the statutory limit on the public debt.
Vote Date: March 16, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
National Debt Limit. This legislation (House Joint Resolution 47) would increase the national debt limit, also known as the federal debt limit, to $8.97 trillion, a $781 billion increase in what the federal government is allowed to borrow.

The Senate adopted the measure to increase the national debt limit on March 16, 2006 by a vote of 52-48 (Roll Call 54). We have assigned pluses to the nays because raising the public debt limit by $781 billion facilitates a steady increase of gross fiscal irresponsibility.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 3048 to S.Con.Res. 83: To increase the advance appropriations allowance in order to fund health, education and training, and low-income programs.
Vote Date: March 16, 2006Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Health and Education Programs. During consideration of the Fiscal 2007 Budget Resolution, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced this amendment that would provide for a $7 billion increase in funding for health, education and training, and poverty programs.

The Senate passed Specter's amendment on March 16, 2006 by a vote 73-27 (Roll Call 58). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal social-welfare programs are unconstitutional.



On the Conference Report H.R. 3199: A bill to extend and modify authorities needed to combat terrorism, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: March 2, 2006Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Patriot Act Reauthorization. This is the final version (conference report) of the Patriot Act reauthorization (H.R. 3199). In the weeks following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Congress quickly passed the so-called Patriot Act, which gave law enforcement and intelligence agencies vast new powers to combat terrorism. The act increased the ability of law enforcement to secretly search home and business records, expanded the FBI's wiretapping and surveillance authority, and expanded the list of crimes deemed terrorist acts. When passed in 2001 the bill included a "sunset" provision under which the new surveillance powers "shall cease to have effect on December 21, 2005." The Patriot Act reauthorization bill (H.R. 3199) considered by Congress last year would make permanent 14 of the 16 provisions included in the bill, and extend for four years the two remaining provisions.

The Senate adopted the conference report for H.R. 3199 on March 2, 2006 by a vote of 89-10 (Roll Call 29). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Patriot Act tramples on the constitutionally protected rights of U.S. citizens.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2519 to S. 1042 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006): To clarify and recommend changes to the policy of the United States on Iraq and to require reports on certain matters relating to Iraq.
Vote Date: November 15, 2005Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Iraq Withdrawal. During consideration of the defense authorization bill (S. 1042), Rep. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) introduced this amendment requiring the president to provide Congress with a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq within 30 days of the bill's implementation.

The Senate rejected the Levin amendment on November 15, 2005 by a vote of 40-58 (Roll Call 322). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because our troops should be sent to war only when necessary to defend the United States and her citizens, and when Congress declares war.



On the Conference Report H.R. 3057: An act making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: November 10, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Foreign Aid. The final version (conference report) of this appropriations bill (H.R. 3057) would provide $21 billion for U.S. foreign aid programs in fiscal 2006.

The Senate passed this appropriations bill on November 10, 2005 by a unanimous vote of 91-0 (Roll Call 320). We have assigned minuses to the yeas because foreign aid programs are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2744: A bill making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: November 3, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Agriculture Appropriations. The final version (conference report) of this bill (H.R. 2744) would provide $101 billion in fiscal 2006 for the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies. The funding includes $40.7 billion for the food-stamp program and $25.7 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation, a federally funded program that aids farmers.

The Senate passed the final version of H.R. 2744 on November 3, 2005 by a vote of 81-18 (Roll Call 282). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2358 to S. 1932 (Deficit Reduction Act of 2005): To strike the title relating to the establishment of an oil and gas leasing program in the Coastal Plain.
Vote Date: November 3, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
ANWR Oil and Gas Leasing. During consideration of the budget reconciliation bill (S. 1932), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) offered an amendment that would delete from the underlying bill language allowing for "the establishment of an oil and gas leasing program in the Coastal Plain" of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Cantwell's intent was to keep in place the present ban against drilling for oil and natural gas in the energy-rich ANWR.

The Senate rejected the Cantwell amendment on November 3, 2005 by a vote of 48-51 (Roll Call 288). We have assigned pluses for the nays because the United States should reduce its dependence on foreign oil and develop its own energy resources.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3010: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 27, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Labor-HHS-Education. The Senate version of this mammoth social-welfare appropriations bill (H.R. 3010) would provide a total of $604.4 billion in fiscal 2006 for the Labor Department ($15 billion), the Education Department ($63.7 billion), the Health and Human Services Department ($476.2 billion), and related agencies.

The Senate passed this massive social-welfare bill on October 27, 2005 by a vote of 94-3 (Roll Call 281). We have assigned pluses to the nays because social-welfare programs are unconstitutional.



On the Motion (Motion to Waive CBA Kenedy Amdt. No. 2063 As Modified Further): To provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.
Vote Date: October 19, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Minimum Wage Increase. During consideration of the Transportation-Treasury-Housing appropriations bill (H.R. 3058), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered an amendment to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $5.70 an hour six months after the bill's enactment, and then to $6.25 an hour one year after the bill's enactment. While raising the minimum wage may sound appealing to some unskilled workers, it would actually make many of them too expensive to hire, and it would also make starting up new companies more expensive.

The Senate rejected Kennedy's amendment on October 19, 2005 by a vote of 47-51 (Roll Call 257). We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional for the government to prohibit American citizens from working for less than a federally mandated minimum wage.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2744: A bill making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 22, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Agriculture Appropriations. This bill (H.R. 2744) would provide $100.7 billion in fiscal 2006 for the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies. The funding includes $40.7 billion for the food stamp program, $12.4 billion for school meal programs, and $25.7 billion for the Commodity Credit Corporation, which aids farmers.

The Senate passed the Agriculture appropriations bill on September 22, 2005 by a vote of 97-2 (Roll Call 241). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized in the Constitution.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1661 to H.R. 2862 (Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006): To provide emergency funding for victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Vote Date: September 13, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Funding Law Enforcement. During consideration of the Fiscal 2006 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (H.R. 2862), Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) offered this amendment to increase funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services program by $1 billion, to increase funding for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children by $10 million, to increase funding for the Office of Violence Against Women by $9 million, and to designate these increases as emergency spending.

A point of order was made against the emergency designation based on the Budget Act, and the Senate effectively killed the Biden amendment when it rejected a motion to waive the Budget Act. The vote was 41-56 on September 13, 2005 (Roll Call 226). We have assigned pluses to the nays because providing federal aid to law enforcement programs is not only unconstitutional, but it also further federalizes the police system.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3673: A bill making further emergency supplemental appropriations to meet immediate needs arising from the consequences of Hurricane Katrina, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2005, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 8, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Katrina Hurricane-relief Appropriations. In the wake of the devastating hurricane disaster in the Gulf Coast, Congress quickly passed legislation that would appropriate $51.8 billion in emergency supplemental funding for fiscal 2005 (H.R. 3673) to be used for relief in the areas affected by Hurricane Katrina. Commenting on how the tragic images of Katrina were used to justify more federal welfare and interventionism, as opposed to private charity and initiatives, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) noted on September 15, after the House and Senate votes: "These scenes prompted two emotional reactions. One side claims Katrina proved there was not enough government welfare.... The other side claims we need to pump billions of new dollars into the very federal agency that failed (FEMA).... Both sides support more authoritarianism, more centralization, and even the imposition of martial law in times of natural disasters."

The Senate passed this supplemental appropriations bill on September 8, 2005 by a vote of 97-0 (Roll Call 223). We have assigned minuses to the yeas because federally financing disaster relief is unconstitutional.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2361: A bill making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 29, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Interior-Environment Appropriations. The final version (conference report) of this appropriations bill (H.R. 2361) would provide $26.2 billion in fiscal 2006 for the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies, including $7.7 billion for the EPA. All but roughly $50 million provided in H.R. 2361 is deemed "discretionary" funds.

The Senate passed this appropriations bill on July 29, 2005 by a vote of 99-1 (Roll Call 210). We have assigned a plus to the lone nay because the bill's provisions include both unnecessary and unconstitutional spending.



On the Conference Report H.R. 3: A bill to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 29, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Surface Transportation. The final version (conference report) of this bill (H.R. 3) would authorize $286.5 billion for federal highway, mass transit, and safety and research programs through fiscal 2009. The bill is laden with thousands of "pork barrel" transportation projects requested by individual lawmakers.

The Senate adopted the conference report on July 29, 2005 by a vote of 91-4 (Roll Call 220). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill increases transportation spending and is fiscally irresponsible.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3057: An act making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2006, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 20, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Foreign Aid. The Senate version of the foreign aid appropriations bill (H.R. 3057) would provide $31.8 billion in fiscal 2006 for U.S. foreign aid programs.

The Senate passed this appropriations bill on July 20, 2005 by a vote of 98-1 (Roll Call 197). We have assigned a plus to the lone nay because foreign aid is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1242 to H.R. 3057 (Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2006): To prohibit any funds from being used by the Export-Import Bank of the United States to approve a loan or a loan guarantee related to a nuclear project in China.
Vote Date: July 19, 2005Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Nuclear Power Plants in China. During consideration of the foreign aid appropriations bill, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) introduced this amendment to prohibit the Export-Import Bank, a U.S. government agency, from providing federal loans or loan guarantees for the construction of nuclear power plants in China. The amendment would block federal assistance to the British-owned nuclear division of Westinghouse to build such plants.

The Senate rejected Coburn's amendment on July 19, 2005 by a vote of 37-62 (Roll Call 192). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because foreign aid programs are unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill S. 1307: A bill to implement the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement.
Vote Date: June 30, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
CAFTA. This bill (S. 1307) would implement the proposed Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), thereby expanding both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the job losses wrought by NAFTA. CAFTA is intended by the Power Elite to be a steppingstone from NAFTA to the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), which would include all of the countries of the Western Hemisphere except (for now) Cuba. Like NAFTA, which has already begun imposing its trade rulings on America, CAFTA and the FTAA would not be genuine free trade arrangements; they would instead manage trade and would gradually exercise more powers on the road to a supranational government modeled after the EU.

The Senate passed the CAFTA bill on June 30, 2005 by a vote of 54-45 (Roll Call 170). We have assigned pluses to the nays because CAFTA would further damage the U.S. economy and threaten U.S. sovereignty.



On the Conference Report H.R. 1268: An act making Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2005, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 10, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Supplemental Appropriations. The final version (conference report) of this supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 1268) would add another $82 billion to the federal budget for fiscal 2005. The supplemental spending, even if needed and constitutional, should not have been added on to the annual federal budget after the fact, but should have been included as part of the regular appropriations process. The supplemental spending in this bill includes $75.9 billion for defense-related purposes, most of it for the military occupation of Iraq, and $907 million for tsunami victims, the latter clearly unconstitutional.

One particularly objectionable element of this legislation is the REAL ID Act, which was added to the supplemental appropriations bill by the conference committee. The REAL ID Act would authorize the federal government to impose national standards for driver's licenses and thereby develop a national ID system.

The Senate adopted the conference report on May 10, 2005 by a vote of 100-0 (Roll Call 117). We assigned minuses to the yeas because the bill contains both unconstitutional spending and the REAL ID Act.



On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 375 to H.R. 1268 (Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005): To provide for the adjustment of status of certain foreign agricultural workers, to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to reform the H-2A worker program under that Act, to provide a stable, legal agricultural workforce, to extend basic legal protections and better working conditions to more workers, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: April 19, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
AgJOBS (Amnesty). Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) tried to get the so-called AgJOBS bill through the Senate by attaching it as an amendment to the supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 1268). The AgJOBS measure would grant agricultural workers who are in this country illegally temporary residence status, thereby granting them amnesty and putting them on a path toward U.S. citizenship. If adopted, AgJOBS would be an open invitation for other non-citizens to cross our borders illegally with the expectation that they too would receive amnesty.

AgJOBS supporters attempted to push their measure forward by invoking "cloture," thereby limiting the debate that has stalled the measure, bringing it up for a vote. A three-fifths majority vote of the entire Senate (60 votes) is needed to invoke cloture. The Senate rejected the motion to invoke cloture on April 19, 2005 by a vote of 53-45 (Roll Call 98). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the AgJOBS measure would provide amnesty to many illegal aliens.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 464 to H.R. 1268 (Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005): To express the sense of the Senate on future requests for funding for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Vote Date: April 18, 2005Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Budgeting for Overseas Military Operations. During consideration of the supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 1268), Senator Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) proposed a nonbinding amendment stating that "any request for funds ... for an ongoing military operation overseas, including operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, should be included in the annual budget of the President." Arguing for his amendment on the Senate floor, Byrd expressed frustration that funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been provided by "stopgap spending" and "emergency supplemental spending bills," when this funding should instead be accounted for in the annual budget.

The Senate adopted this amendment on April 18, 2005 by a vote of 61-31 (Roll Call 96). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the amendment would encourage fiscal responsibility.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 278 to S. 600 (Foreign Affairs Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2006 and 2007): To prohibit the application of certain restrictive eligibility requirements to foreign nongovernmental organizations with respect to the provision of assistance under part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961.
Vote Date: April 5, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Abortion. During consideration of the State Department authorization bill (S. 600), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to repeal the rule prohibiting U.S. foreign aid from going to organizations that provide or promote abortions. Known as the "Mexico City" policy, this rule was imposed by President Reagan, lifted by President Clinton, and then reinstated by the second President Bush.

The Senate adopted Boxer's amendment on April 5, 2005 by a vote of 52-46 (Roll Call 83). We have assigned pluses to the nays because any federal aid to provide or promote abortions violates the right to life.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 239 to S.Con.Res. 18: Relative to funding to the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
Vote Date: March 17, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Funding Local Law Enforcement. During consideration of the budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 18), Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) offered an amendment to increase funding for the COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services) program by $1 billion. (As described in the amendment's "Purpose," this additional funding will be "fully off-set by closing corporate loopholes and will generate $2 billion in revenue" -- that is, additional taxes.)

The Senate rejected Biden's amendment on March 17, 2005 by a vote of 45-55 (Roll Call 70). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to local police forces is unconstitutional and invites federal control.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 202 to S.Con.Res. 18: No Statement of Purpose on File.
Vote Date: March 17, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Funding Special Education. During consideration of the budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 18), Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.) offered an amendment to provide a fund of $71.3 billion for special education programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

The Senate rejected this amendment on March 17, 2005 by a vote of 37-63 (Roll Call 79). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal funding of education is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 168 to S.Con.Res. 18: To strike section 201(a)(4) relative to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Vote Date: March 16, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Alaskan Drilling. During consideration of the budget resolution (S. Con. Res. 18), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) offered an amendment to delete language in the resolution that would allow leases for oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Like a similar House amendment (see House bill below), the intent behind this amendment is to continue the ban against drilling for oil and gas in the ANWR.

[ Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) offered an amendment to delete language in the energy policy bill (H.R. 6) that would allow leases for oil and gas exploration and development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska. Drilling in ANWR is now banned, and Markey wants to keep it that way despite the fact that ANWR likely contains billions of barrels of oil and could be on a par with Prudhoe Bay, North America's largest oil field. ]

The Senate rejected Cantwell's amendment on March 16, 2005 by a vote of 49-51 (Roll Call 52). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the United States should develop its own energy resources and reduce its dependence on foreign oil.



On Passage of the Bill S. 250: A bill to amend the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act of 1998 to improve the Act.
Vote Date: March 10, 2005Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Vocational/Technical Training. This legislation, like the House version (see House bill below), would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act. The Senate version (S. 250) would authorize $1.3 billion for vocational and job training programs.

[ H.R. 366 would reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which funds vocational and technical education programs. The bill would authorize $1.3 billion in fiscal 2006 and "such funds as necessary" in fiscal 2007-11. It would also merge Perkins funding with "Tech-Prep," a program that provides certain math and science courses to high school students to "ease the transition" from high school to a vocational or community college. ]

The Senate passed S. 250 on March 10, 2005 by a vote of 99-0 (Roll Call 43). We have assigned minuses to the yeas because federal aid to education and job-training programs is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 44 to S. 256 (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005): To amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.
Vote Date: March 7, 2005Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Minimum Wage. During consideration of the bankruptcy overhaul bill (S. 256), Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered an amendment to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 an hour. The minimum wage was last raised in 1996 by 90 cents, a far less ambitious amount than Kennedy's $2.10 proposed increase. While this proposal may look tempting to many unskilled workers, it would actually make many of them too expensive to hire.

The Senate rejected Kennedy's amendment on March 7, 2005 by a vote of 46-49 (Roll Call 26). We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional for the government to prohibit citizens from working for less than a government-set minimum wage.



H R 4810: Marriage Tax Penalty Relief Reconciliation Act
Vote Date: September 13, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Marriage Penalty Repeal -- Veto Override. This tax-cut measure is identical to that described in House vote (below), except that it is the vote to override President Clinton's veto of the bill.

[ Marriage Penalty Repeal. This measure would phase out over five years the marriage penalty in the income tax code. The marriage penalty taxes dual-income married families at a higher rate than couples who live together but are not married. Representative Jerry Weller (R-IL) explained that this vote was about "a very basic, fundamental question," namely: "Is it right that 25 million married working couples, 50 million taxpayers, pay on average $1,400 more in higher taxes just because they are married?" ]

The House failed to override the president's veto of H.R. 4810 on September 13, 2000 by a vote of 270-158 (Roll Call 466). A two-thirds majority of representatives (286 in this case) and senators present and voting is required to override a presidential veto. We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4865: Social Security Benefits Tax Relief Act
Vote Date: July 27, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Social Security Earnings Tax Hike Repeal. This bill, H.R. 4865, would repeal the 1993 Clinton-Gore tax increase on Social Security benefits. Under the provisions of the 1993 law, seniors still in the work force making more than $34,000 per year had income taxes assessed against 85 percent of their Social Security checks, up from 50 percent in years prior. This bill would bring the proportion of benefits taxed back down to 50 percent.

The House passed H.R. 4865 on July 27, 2000 by a vote of 265-159 (Roll Call 450). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H J RES 99: Disapproving the extension of the waiver authority contained in section 402(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 with respect to Vietnam
Vote Date: July 26, 2000Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Disapproval of Normal Trade Relations for Vietnam. This resolution would formally disapprove of the president's decision to grant Communist Vietnam "Normal Trade Relations" (NTR) status and revoke NTR. It is wrong to grant NTR status to Communist Vietnam for the same reasons that it is wrong to grant NTR status to Communist China. "[W]e should put our foot down here today and say dictatorships should not receive this kind of subsidy, especially the dictatorship in Vietnam that has not cooperated in finding our missing in action and POWs," Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) argued from the House floor.

The House rejected the NTR disapproval measure, House Joint Resolution 99, on July 26, 2000 by a vote of 91-332 (Roll Call 441). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4810: Marriage Tax Penalty Relief Reconciliation Act
Vote Date: July 20, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Marriage Penalty Repeal. This measure would phase out over five years the marriage penalty in the income tax code. The marriage penalty taxes dual-income married families at a higher rate than couples who live together but are not married. Representative Jerry Weller (R-IL) explained that this vote was about "a very basic, fundamental question," namely: "Is it right that 25 million married working couples, 50 million taxpayers, pay on average $1,400 more in higher taxes just because they are married?"

The House adopted the final version of this legislation (the conference report on H.R. 4810) on July 20, 2000 by a vote of 271-156 (Roll Call 418). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4871: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 1032 to H R 4871
Vote Date: July 20, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Prohibit BATF from Implementing the Smith & Wesson Gun Sellout. Representative John Hostettler (R-IN) introduced this amendment to "prohibit the Department of Treasury and specifically the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or BATF, from using tax-payer dollars to enforce the provisions of a settlement agreement between Smith & Wesson, the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development." Hostettler explained that his amendment to the fiscal 2001 Treasury and Postal appropriations bill was needed because "the BATF will no longer just enforce Federal laws; they will now enforce a private civil agreement. This greatly expands the BATF's scope of power without Congress's approval. Failure to pass this amendment will allow the executive branch to continue to coerce legal industries, in this particular case the gun industry, to enter into these agreements whenever they feel they cannot get their agenda through Congress."

The House rejected the Hostettler amendment to H.R. 4871 on July 20, 2000 by a vote of 204-214 (Roll Call 427). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H J RES 103: Disapproving the Extension of the Waiver Authority Contained in Section 402(c) of the Trade Act of 1974 with Respect to the People's Republic of China
Vote Date: July 18, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
China NTR Disapproval. This resolution would formally disapprove of the president's decision to grant Communist China "Normal Trade Relations" (NTR) status and revoke NTR. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) explained that "the reason why the American corporate community is insisting on normal trade relations status, which is a specific status, is so that those corporations can receive taxpayer subsidies and loan guarantees so they can close up their factories in the United States and open up factories in China to exploit a near slave labor, where people are not permitted to join unions, and do so at the taxpayers' risk, U.S. taxpayers' risk."

The House rejected this measure, House Joint Resolution 103, on July 18, 2000 by a vote of 147-281 (Roll Call 405). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4811: Foreign Operations Appropriations for FY 2001
Vote Date: July 13, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Fiscal 2001 Foreign Aid Giveaways. This bill would waste $13.3 billion for international giveaways and export subsidies. Although the bill represents a $451 million cut from fiscal 2000, one dime in foreign aid is one dime too much.

The House passed the foreign aid appropriations bill, H.R. 4811, on July 13, 2000 by a vote of 239-185 (Roll Call 400). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 4461: Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations for FY 2001
Vote Date: July 11, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Fiscal 2001 Agricultural Appropriations. This massive $75.4 billion bill would fund federal agricultural subsidy programs -- as well as the federal Food Stamp program, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and several other programs -- throughout fiscal 2001. Although this bill represents about a 10 percent cut from fiscal 2000, none of the programs funded by this bill are authorized by the U.S. Constitution.

The House passed this bill, H.R. 4461, on July 11, 2000 by a vote of 339-82 (Roll Call 385). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 4461: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 962 to H R 4461
Vote Date: July 10, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Ban on FDA Approval of Abortion Pill. "What this amendment would do," explained Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK), the amendment's author, "is it would limit the expenditure of Federal funds by the Food and Drug Administration in their efforts to approve drugs whose sole purpose is to terminate life, to take the life of an unborn child." More specifically, the amendment would prohibit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from using funds in the underlying fiscal 2001 agricultural appropriations bill to test or approve for use the abortion pill RU-486, also known as mifepristone.

The House rejected the Coburn amendment to H.R. 4461 on July 10, 2000 by a vote of 182-187 (Roll Call 373). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 1304: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 954 to H R 1304
Vote Date: June 30, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Unionizing Doctors Into a Closed Shop. Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA) introduced this amendment to prohibit doctors from being required to become members of unions as a condition of employment with Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). Without this amendment, the underlying bill would establish federal "collective bargaining rights" for doctors with HMOs, and allow doctors to organize unions for collective bargaining purposes. Cox explained that his amendment was necessary to "protect doctors from ... compulsory unionism...."

The Cox amendment to H.R. 1304 was rejected by the House on June 30, 2000 by a vote of 201-214 (Roll Call 369). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4690: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 911 to H R 4690
Vote Date: June 26, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Prohibit Chinese Propaganda Ministry Land Purchase Overlooking Pentagon. Representative David Vitter (R-LA) offered this amendment to prohibit State Department funds in the fiscal 2001 Commerce, Justice, and State appropriations bill from being used to approve the purchase of land overlooking the Pentagon by the Chinese government's Xinhua News Agency. Vitter explained that in "a number of publicized spy scandals intelligence officers used Xinhua to provide operations cover...." According to Vitter, allowing the Chinese government through its Xinhua propaganda agency to occupy the "Pentagon Ridge Apartments will allow Chinese intelligence operatives to gather information using a variety of means. These include direct observation via telescope of documents being viewed in outside offices, the collection of electronic impulses emanated by computer screens in the building and the use of laser microphones to eavesdrop on conversations."

The House adopted the Vitter amendment to H.R. 4690 on June 26, 2000 by a vote of 367-34 (Roll Call 325). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4635: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 863 to H R 4635
Vote Date: June 21, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Prohibit HUD from Implementing the Smith & Wesson Gun Sellout. Representative John Hostettler (R-IN) offered this amendment to block the unconstitutional assault by the Clinton administration's Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on the right to keep and bear arms. HUD's March 2000 agreement with firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson would give federal preferences to firearms manufacturers who back Clinton administration gun control measures, and infringes upon the Second Amendment as well as upon Congress' exclusive authority to pass legislation under the U.S. Constitution. Representative Hostettler argued for the adoption of his amendment because "we should not allow HUD to legislate through litigation."

The Hostettler amendment was rejected by the House on June 21, 2000 by a vote of 206-219 (Roll Call 308). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H J RES 90: Withdrawing the Approval of the United States from the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization
Vote Date: June 21, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
WTO Withdrawal. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) offered this resolution to withdraw the United States from the World Trade Organization. Paul explained that U.S. membership in the WTO "is an unconstitutional approach to managing trade. We cannot transfer the power to manage trade from the Congress to anyone. The Constitution is explicit. 'Congress shall have the power to regulate foreign commerce.' We cannot transfer that authority. Transferring that authority to the WTO is like the President transferring his authority as Commander in Chief to the Speaker of the House."

The House rejected Paul's House Joint Resolution 90 on June 21, 2000 by a vote of 56-363 (Roll Call 310). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4578: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 814 to H R 4578
Vote Date: June 15, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Ban New National Monuments. This amendment by Representative James Hansen (R-UT) would ban the use of funds for the implementation of "National Monuments" designated by the president since 1999. President Clinton has used a loophole in the 1906 Antiquities Act to lock up millions of acres of land from human usage. Representative Don Young (R-AK) explained that "this President is using this act ... to designate and to dictate the use of lands. Under the Constitution, it says only the Congress shall have that responsibility.... I swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. Yet, we sit in this body and allow this act to be misused by this administration and say, oh, it is to protect those lands.... This is against the Constitution. He is not protecting what should be protected. He, in fact, is running this as a fiefdom and a kingdom."

The House rejected the Hansen amendment to H.R. 4578 on June 15, 2000 by a vote of 187-234 (Roll Call 280). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4577: Making Appropriations for Labor, Health and Human Services for Fiscal Year 2001
Vote Date: June 14, 2000Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Welfare State Mother Lode. This colossal $351.8 billion fiscal 2001 Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill represents a spending increase of more than seven percent over fiscal 2000. Representative David Obey (D-WI) crowed that Republicans and Democrats were in a bidding war for welfare state spending: "This is ironic given the fact that all day long we were told by the majority that we could not get a vote on the amendments that we were offering on our side of the aisle because they exceeded the numbers in the budget resolution?"

The House passed H.R. 4577 on June 14, 2000 by a vote of 217-214 (Roll Call 273). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 4577: On Agreeing to H.Amdt. 79 to H R 4577
Vote Date: June 13, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Decrease Growth in Welfare Spending. This amendment by Representative C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) would cut discretionary spending in the mammoth $351.8 billion fiscal 2001 Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill by $500 million. With such a cut, total spending in this bill would still rise by over $23 billion as compared to fiscal 2000.

The House rejected the Young amendment on June 13, 2000 by a vote of 186-236 (Roll Call 269). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 8: Death Tax Elimination Act
Vote Date: June 9, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Estate Tax Repeal. The "Death Tax Elimination Act" would phase out over 10 years the Marxist inheritance tax that is decimating family farms across the United States. While the federal inheritance tax does not go as far as the third plank in Marx's Communist Manifesto, which called for "abolition of all rights of inheritance," it does tax up to 60 percent of the value of inheritances.

The House passed the bill on June 9, 2000 by a vote of 279-136 (Roll Call 254). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4577: On Agreeing to H.Amdt. 760 to H R 4577
Vote Date: June 8, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Federal Regulations on Ergonomics. This amendment by Representative James Traficant (D-OH) would strike language in the labor appropriations measure that would ban funding for the promulgation of federal ergonomic regulations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA has pushed for intrusive and vague federal regulations on ergonomics in recent years, using as a pretext the charge that many workers suffer injuries as a result of repetitive motion and other uncomfortable work conditions. Representative Henry Bonilla (R-TX) explained that the drive for ergonomics regulations was not driven by workers themselves, but by "OSHA bureaucrats and power-hungry union leaders who are trying desperately to implement an ergonomics rule that would put a noose around the neck of many employers in this country."

The Traficant amendment to H.R. 4577 was rejected by the House on June 8, 2000 by a vote of 203-220 (Roll Call 250). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 4444: To Authorize Extension of Nondiscriminatory Treatment (Normal Trade Relations Treatment) to the People's Republic of China
Vote Date: May 24, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China. This bill would confer Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status on China and end the annual review process that kept attention on Red China's espionage and human rights abuses. Although China has yet to comply completely with any trade agreement, granting PNTR would clear the way for China's entry into the WTO. Although this bill contains some provisions to protect U.S. businesses from import surges, establishes a commission to monitor human rights, and requires the administration to report annually on China's compliance with trade agreements, none of these measures has the teeth that annual review of Normal Trade Relations has had.

Representative James Traficant (D-OH) was correct when he said on the House floor during debate, "I say a Congress that today will prop up Communism is a Congress that today endangers every worker, every one of our kids, and every one of our grandkids by giving a country $80 billion a year whose missiles are pointed at every major American city, and Taiwan, who we have turned our backs on."

Permanent Normal Trade Relations for China, H.R. 4444, passed the House on May 24, 2000 by a vote of 237-197 (Roll Call 228). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 4392: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 738 to H R 4392
Vote Date: May 23, 2000Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Disclose Intelligence Spending to Congress. Representative Tim Roemer (D-IN) offered this amendment to require the CIA director to submit an unclassified report every year to Congress on total spending on intelligence operations. Roemer explained that his amendment was moderate in that it did not require "individual reports, not individual line items, like we do in the Defense Department budget.... We are not calling for any of that in this budget; simply for an aggregate level." In recent years, CIA directors have revealed the figure to be $27 to $28 billion.

The House rejected the Roemer amendment to H.R. 4392 on May 23, 2000 by a vote of 175-225 (Roll Call 214). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4205: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 725 to H R 4205
Vote Date: May 18, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Vieques Island Transfer. Ike Skelton (D-MO) offered this amendment supporting the agreement negotiated with Puerto Rico by President Clinton regarding ownership of Vieques Island. The Skelton amendment would allow the Navy to transfer land on the western end of the island of Vieques to Puerto Rico and would provide $40 million in assistance to the Puerto Rican government. The residents of Vieques would hold a referendum within the next two years to determine if the Navy may remain on the eastern end of the island, where the Navy conducts live ammunition training. If the people of Vieques vote the Navy out, the Navy would be required to vacate by May 2003. If permitted to stay, the federal government would provide an additional $50 million in assistance.

Originally, the push to get the U.S. Navy off of Vieques came from Puerto Rican FALN terrorists, their Cuban sponsors, and other radicals of the extreme left who seek to subvert America. If the Navy can no longer conduct live fire exercises on Vieques, there are no other alternatives on the East Coast for amphibious live fire exercises. Also troubling would be the dangerous precedent of allowing people near the 33 major U.S. live-fire sites to determine by referendum how the military trains.

The Skelton amendment to H.R. 4205 allowing this transfer and future referendum was passed by the House on May 18, 2000 by a vote of 218-201 (Roll Call 202). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 4205: On Agreeing to H. Amdt.722 to H R 4205
Vote Date: May 18, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Abortions on Military Bases. This amendment to the fiscal 2001 Defense authorization bill offered by Representative Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) would permit abortions on military bases for service members and their dependents stationed abroad. Under the amendment, those seeking abortions on bases would have to use -private funds to pay for the procedure. Yet, as Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL) pointed out in floor debate, "Taxpayers' funds are expended when military facilities are used and there is no constitutional right to that...."

The Sanchez amendment to H.R. 4205 was rejected by the House on May 18, 2000 by a vote of 195-221 (Roll Call 203). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 853: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 709 to H R 853
Vote Date: May 16, 2000Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Automatic Funding of the Welfare State. Representative George Gekas (R-PA) offered this dangerous amendment to automatically renew funding for any of the regular 13 appropriations bills at the previous year's spending level if they are not en-acted into law by the new fiscal year. According to Representative Jim Walsh (R-NY), under the amendment, Congress would "yield more power to the President by putting the government out on automatic pilot."

Amendment supporter Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) candidly admitted that the amendment signified that "it is time for us to give up" in the battle with the president over government shutdowns. Rohrabacher said that the president's use of government shutdowns amounted to a budgetary "doom's day strategy." Ignoring the fact that it is the constitutional duty of Congress to control federal purse strings, Rohrabacher urged passage of the measure as a way to fight that strategy. "It is time to repeal for all time the threat of a government shutdown," quipped Rohrabacher.

The Gekas amendment to H.R. 853 was rejected by the House on May 16, 2000 by a vote of 173-236 (Roll Call 187). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 701: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 69 to H R 701
Vote Date: May 11, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Landgrabs Prevention. This amendment by Representative Michael Simpson (R-ID) to the land conservation bill would prevent funds from the bill from being used to acquire more federal land in states where 50 percent or more of the land is already owned by the federal government, unless the state approves of the acquisition. The states that presently would be affected by this amendment are Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Nevada.

The Simpson amendment to H.R. 701 was rejected on May 11, 2000 by a vote of 157-266 (Roll Call 171). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 701: Conservation and Reinvestment Act
Vote Date: May 11, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Money for Landgrabs. This bill, the Conservation and Restoration Act (CARA), is, in the words of one of its chief sponsors, Representative George Miller (D-CA), "the largest environmental bill for the conservation of American resources in the past 36 years." The bill would require the Treasury Department to set aside up to $2.8 billion per year in royalties from oil and gas drilling on federal lands in a conservation fund to be used to purchase lands deemed environmentally sensitive and for other conservation purposes. Additionally, the use of the money in the fund would not be subject to annual appropriation votes by Congress.

The CARA, H.R. 701, passed the House on May 11, 2000 by a vote of 315-102 (Roll Call 179). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 701: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 688 to H R 701
Vote Date: May 10, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Defunding Landgrabs. Representative Helen Chenoweth-Hage (R-ID) offered this amendment to the land conservation bill to prohibit funds in the bill from being used to establish or maintain any of President Clinton's national monument designations made after 1995. Mr. Clinton has established a series of these monuments through executive orders, thereby placing, without congressional -approval, huge tracts of land off-limits to development. Chenoweth-Hage called such federal landgrabs "America's new Trail of Tears," a reference to the federal government driving the Cherokee Indians off their land in the early 1800s.

The Chenoweth-Hage amendment to H.R. 701 was rejected on May 10, 2000 by a vote of 160-265 (Roll Call 164). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 4055: IDEA Full Funding Act
Vote Date: May 3, 2000Vote: NONE No Vote.
Funding for Disabilities Education. Passage of this bill would provide increased funding for education of children with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The bill would increase funding to 40 percent of the cost of educating such children and authorize an additional $2 billion a year for 10 years.

The bill, H.R. 4055, passed the House on May 3, 2000 by a vote of 421-3 (Roll Call 140). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 4199: Date Certain Tax Code Replacement Act
Vote Date: April 13, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Tax Code Abolishment. This bill would abolish the tax code, excepting Social Security and Medicare provisions, by December 31, 2004. The bill recommends that Congress provide a replacement tax code by July 4, 2004. Representative John Linder (R-GA), who argued for the abolition of the tax code on the House floor, pointed out: "if we had sat down at the beginning ... and asked ourselves how could we build a tax system that would punish people for earning and working hard, a system that would be obstructive of capital formation, we could not have done a better job."

The bill to abolish the tax code, H.R. 4199, passed on April 13, 2000 by a vote of 229-187 (Roll Call 127). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 3615: Rural Local Broadcast Signal Act
Vote Date: April 13, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Television for "Underserved" Areas. As a way of providing local television to 30 million households in areas of the country that cannot receive over-the-air signals or do not have local television through a satellite provider, this bill would create a new program that would provide $1.25 billion in loan guarantees to telecommunication providers. The loans would offer a competitive edge to satellite providers since cable companies cannot apply for the loans to expand their service. The loans would be administered by the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service. Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA) in floor debate asserted that the Rural Utilities Service is "writing off billions of dollars in their existing loan portfolio left and right, at taxpayer expense, and … about 30 to 40 percent of the loans that are going to get made under this program are likely to be written off. So one can look at the cost of this program [and see that] right up front [it] is about $400 million."

The bill to fund rural television, H.R. 3615, passed the House on April 13, 2000 by a vote of 375-37 (Roll Call 128). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 1776: American Homeownership and Economic Opportunity Act
Vote Date: April 6, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
HUD Expansion. In an effort to increase the reach of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, this bill would authorize $1.65 billion for the agency's HOME program and $4.9 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program. Both programs make money available to local governments for subsidized housing projects. Additionally, teachers, police officers, fire fighters, and other municipal workers would be given extra help and incentives for home ownership. Disabled recipients of rent-subsidies could receive grants instead of monthly allotments for down-payments. Also included in the bill is an amendment that allows religious organizations to compete for Community Development Block Grants, as long as the religious organizations comply with the mandate that they do not discriminate against participants based on religious affiliation or lack thereof.

The bill, H.R. 1776, passed the House on April 6, 2000 by a vote of 417-8 (Roll Call 110). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 3660: Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2000
Vote Date: April 5, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Partial Birth Abortion Ban. This bill would prohibit the "partial-birth" abortion procedure in which a baby is pulled through the birth canal in the breech position, forceps are inserted in the base of his skull, and the brain is extracted before completion of the delivery. In 1997, Ron Fitzsimmons, then executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, admitted that the procedure is performed 3,000 to 5,000 times a year, not the 500 to 600 times a year as claimed by some pro-abortion groups. Under this bill, doctors performing such abortions would be subject to a fine and up to two years in prison. The baby's father (if he is married to the mother) or a minor girl's parents also could file a civil lawsuit against the doctor for monetary damages. The procedure would be legal if the abortion were necessary to save the woman's life.

The Abortion Procedure Ban, H.R. 3660, passed the House on April 5, 2000 by a vote of 287-141 (Roll Call 104). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 2418: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 648 to H R 2418
Vote Date: April 4, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Organ Transplant Federalism. This amendment, according to its sponsor, Representative Bill Luther (D-MN), would prohibit "State and local laws from interfering with the allocation policies of the National Organ Transplant Network." The National Organ Transplant Network was created in 1984 by Congress as a national system for organ allocation. The amendment is an attempt to counteract laws enacted by states that have worked especially hard to encourage organ donation. These states want to make sure that their citizens benefit from that hard work instead of losing organs to states with less successful programs.

Luther's Organ Procurement Amendment to H.R. 2418 was rejected by the House on April 4, 2000 by a vote of 137-284 (Roll Call 100). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 3908: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 642 to H R 3908
Vote Date: March 30, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
DEA Funding Cuts. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) offered this amendment to the fiscal 2000 supplemental appropriations bill. It called for a $293 million cut in Drug Enforcement Administration funding, a $186 million cut in funding for drug-fighting by the Defense Department, and another $1.1 billion cut in economic aid to Colombia. The amendment also would halt funding for military construction outside the U.S. and would end funding for military operations in Kosovo and East Timor, unless the funds were used to bring the troops home. In floor debate, Paul described his amendment as dealing with a "monster" of "careless foreign military interventionism."

The Paul amendment to H.R. 3908 was rejected by the House on March 30, 2000 by a vote of 45-367 (Roll Call 92). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 3908: Making Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for F.Y. 2000
Vote Date: March 30, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Money for Foreign Intervention. The fiscal 2000 supplemental appropriations bill provides $13.2 billion for a number of measures, including funding for operations in Kosovo and East Timor ($5 billion), aid to combat drugs in Colombia ($1.7 billion), and Defense Department funding ($4 billion).

The fiscal 2000 supplemental appropriations measure, H.R. 3908, passed the House on March 30, 2000 by a vote of 263-146 (Roll Call 95). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H CON RES 290: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 610 to H CON RES 290
Vote Date: March 23, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
2001 Budget by Congressional Progressive Caucus. A substitute budget amendment proposed by Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) on behalf of the socialist coalition called the Congressional Progressive Caucus (see "Totally Radical!" in our March 29, 1999 issue for a review of this coalition) would have cut defense spending while increasing spending for education, health care, and veterans.

The DeFazio substitute to House Concurrent Resolution 290 was rejected by the House on March 23, 2000 by a vote of 61-351 (Roll Call 71). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H CON RES 290: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 612 to H CON RES 290
Vote Date: March 23, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
2001 Budget by Conservative -Action Team. Representative John Sununu (R-NH) proposed this substitute budget amendment on behalf of the Conservative Action Team. This amendment would freeze non-defense discretionary spending, increase defense spending, and provide for $270 billion in tax cuts.

The Sununu substitute to House Concurrent Resolution 290 was rejected by the House on March 23, 2000 by a vote of 78-339 (Roll Call 73). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 3843: Small Business Authorization Act
Vote Date: March 15, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Small Business Administration Reauthorization. This legislation would reauthorize programs and funding levels for the Small Business Administration through fiscal year 2003. This corporate welfare program would be authorized to guarantee $77.3 billion in business loans (and to make direct loans) over a three-year period. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that enacting this legislation would result in $3.5 billion in new discretionary spending by 2005.

The Small Business Administration reauthorization, H.R. 3843, passed the House on March 15, 2000 by a vote of 410-11 (Roll Call 49). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 3081: Wage and Employment Growth Act
Vote Date: March 9, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Tax Cuts. This tax revision bill provides for nearly $123 billion in tax cuts, including reductions in estate and gift taxes and deductions for health insurance for self-employed individuals. Also included in the bill is authorization for the Housing and Urban Development secretary to designate 15 renewal communities where investors and residents could receive certain tax breaks, including relief from capital gains taxes on property held for at least five years.

The tax revision bill, H.R. 3081, passed the House on March 9, 2000 by a vote of 257-169 (Roll Call 41). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 3846: To Amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to Increase the Minimum Wage, and for other purposes
Vote Date: March 9, 2000Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Minimum Wage Increase. This bill raises the minimum wage by one dollar to $6.15 per hour over a period of two years. Exceptions are made for computer professionals, certain sales people, and funeral directors. Representative Tom Tancredo (R-CO) warned that, through this legislation, "we are trying to be the unseen hand in the market. We have made this assumption about the fact that we know exactly how to adjust the marketplace between the employer and employee."

The minimum wage increase, H.R. 3846, passed the House on March 9, 2000 by a vote of 282-143 (Roll Call 45). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 6: Marriage Tax Penalty Relief Act of 2000
Vote Date: February 10, 2000Vote: AYEGood Vote.
"Marriage Penalty" Tax Reform. This Republican tax cut plan would alleviate the so-called "Marriage Penalty" tax that assesses taxes at a higher rate against married couples who both work than for two single people with comparable incomes. Although opponents of the bill argued that this tax cut, amounting to $182 billion over 10 years, was too big, Representative Roy Blunt (R-MO) countered: "Should we first go to American families and say, we need to continue this unfair system because we do not have as much extra money as we thought we were going to have in - Washington?"
The bill to alleviate the "Marriage Penalty" tax, H.R. 6, passed the House on February 10, 2000 by a vote of 268-158 (Roll Call 15). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 3194: District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2000
Vote Date: November 18, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Welfare State Expansion. This $385 billion monstrosity constitutes a complete sellout of conservative principles to the demands of the welfare-staters at the White House. This measure would fund five regular annual appropriations bills (District of Columbia, Labor/HHS/Education, Foreign Operations, Commerce/Justice/State/Judiciary, and Interior), often at higher levels than were originally requested by the Clinton administration.

The Health and Human Services Department -- the key welfare agency of the federal government -- received an 11.4 percent increase in funding, more than Mr. Clinton originally requested. The Department of Education received a 6.8 percent increase in funding, also more than Mr. Clinton originally sought. Foreign aid spending was also funded at a higher level than originally sought by the President. President Clinton’s federal teacher hiring initiative was granted $1.325 billion, the COPS program of federally paid law enforcement officers was awarded $595 million, and alleged "arrears" payments to the United Nations were authorized to the tune of $926 million.

Some Republicans falsely sold the bill to conservatives on the grounds that it contained a strong pro-life provision in the foreign aid section. But the bill allows President Clinton to waive the provision, a prohibition against funding international family-planning organizations, if he is willing to subtract a mere $12.5 million penalty from the $385 million population control budget. (Subsequently, this is exactly what Mr. Clinton did.)

The measure, H.R. 3194, was adopted by the House on November 18, 1999 by a vote of 296-135 (Roll Call 610). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 3064: District of Columbia Appropriations Act, 2000
Vote Date: October 28, 1999Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Labor/HHS/Education Spending. This $317 billion appropriations bill is the main funding measure for the federal welfare state during fiscal 2000. This bill would amount to an increase over the bloated fiscal 1999 appropriation of nearly nine percent. This increase still wasn't enough for President Clinton; some of his Democratic supporters joined stalwart opponents of the welfare state in voting against the bill.

This legislation, H.R. 3064, passed the House on October 28, 1999 by a vote of 218-211 (Roll Call 549). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 2: On Agreeing to the Amendment 3 to H R 2
Vote Date: October 21, 1999Vote: AYEBad Vote.
New Federal Education Subsidy. Republican Majority Leader Richard Armey, the author of this proposal, had to ignore one of his own "axioms" in order to introduce this measure: "No one spends someone else's money as wisely as he spends his own."

Armey's proposal would establish a new $100 million per year federally funded grant program administered by the states for educational choice scholarships. The program would last five years and give parents of primary grade school children $3,500 toward placing their children in the public or private school of their choice -- but only if the governor of the state declared their public school an "academic emergency" through a series of criteria laid out in Armey's amendment. The states would also have to report to the Secretary of Education on the progress of the federal scholarships that they distribute under their political control.

The measure, an amendment to H.R. 2, was rejected by the House on October 21, 1999 by a vote of 166-257 (Roll Call 521). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 2: Student Results Act
Vote Date: October 21, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Federal Education Grants. This legislation would fund Title I spending -- which dispenses grants to primary and secondary schools -- to the tune of $9.9 billion. This represents a 28 percent increase over fiscal 1999! Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) explained that, "like most federal programs, Title I was launched with the best of intentions, however, good intentions are no excuse for Congress to exceed its constitutional limitations by depriving parents, local communities and states of their rightful authority over education. The Tenth Amendment does not contain an exception for 'good intentions'!"

The bill, H.R. 2, passed the House on October 21, 1999 by a vote of 358-67 (Roll Call 526). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 2723: Bipartisan Consensus Managed Care Improvement Act
Vote Date: October 7, 1999Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Managed Health Care Regulations. This legislation would get the federal government even more deeply involved in regulating the medical coverage of individuals and HMOs. The bill would require HMOs to pay for certain emergency care even if it was not part of the original insurance agreement, dictate an internal and external appeal process for health coverage payments, require HMOs and insurance companies to pay for women's visits to gynecological and obstetric specialists without first seeing a primary care physician, and even unconstitutionally give policyholders standing in state courts to sue for damages.

While a few of these ideas are good ones that many HMOs have already implemented through the free market, none of them are federal functions. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) explained: "Because HMOs make mistakes and their budgets are limited, however, doesn't justify introducing the notion that politicians are better able to make these decisions than the HMOs. Forcing HMOs and insurance companies to do as the politicians say regardless of the insurance policy agreed upon will lead to higher costs, less availability of services and calls for another round of government intervention."

The bill, H.R. 2723, was adopted by the House on October 7, 1999 by a vote of 275-151 (Roll Call 490). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 1906: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations, FY 2000
Vote Date: October 1, 1999Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Agricultural Appropriations. This measure would appropriate $69 billion for agricultural programs, food stamps, and foreign aid programs for fiscal year 2000. The legislation represents an irresponsible 11 percent increase in spending over fiscal 1999.

The final version of the agricultural appropriations bill, H.R. 1906, passed the House on October 1, 1999 by a vote of 240-175 (Roll Call 469). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 417: On Agreeing to the Amendment 11 to H R 417
Vote Date: September 14, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Doolittle Campaign Finance. Representative John Doolittle (R-CA) took aim at campaign finance reform with a proposal to repeal all federal campaign contribution limits and require immediate public disclosure of all federal campaign contributions. "I support the Doolittle reforms," explained Representative John Peterson (R-PA), "because they are in the American tradition. They truly 'do little' when it comes to restricting First Amendment rights. They remove restrictions on most campaign giving and spending, and thus remove the restrictions to free speech. At the same time, they require immediate and full reporting of all contributions."

Rep. Doolittle's proposal, a substitute amendment to the Shays-Meehan "reform" bill (see text below), was rejected by the House on September 14, 1999 by a vote of 117-306 (Roll Call 419). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.


[ Shays-Meehan "Reform." This legislation makes war upon the First Amendment's free speech protections by proposing regulation of non-political, issue advocacy speech. In particular, provisions which greatly expand the definitions of "expressed advocacy" and "coordinated activity" would take in just about every citizen group attempting to educate the electorate on the voting record of their government officials. Representative John Peterson (R-PA) explained that Shays-Meehan represents the "liberal's idea of reform [which] rests primarily on restricting the free flow of moneys and ideas to the public through any channels except those they control and they regulate.... It will be an incumbent protection bill." ]



H R 417: Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act
Vote Date: September 14, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Shays-Meehan "Reform." This legislation makes war upon the First Amendment's free speech protections by proposing regulation of non-political, issue advocacy speech. In particular, provisions which greatly expand the definitions of "expressed advocacy" and "coordinated activity" would take in just about every citizen group attempting to educate the electorate on the voting record of their government officials. Representative John Peterson (R-PA) explained that Shays-Meehan represents the "liberal's idea of reform [which] rests primarily on restricting the free flow of moneys and ideas to the public through any channels except those they control and they regulate.... It will be an incumbent protection bill."

The Shays-Meehan campaign reform bill, H.R. 417, was adopted by the House on September 14, 1999 by a vote of 252-177 (Roll Call 422). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H CON RES 180: Expressing the sense of Congress that the President should not have granted clemency to terrorists
Vote Date: September 9, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Clemency for the FALN. Following the President's grant of clemency to convicted terrorists of the Puerto Rican FALN, Congress considered a concurrent resolution which would express its disapproval with the Clinton administration's decision.

The 16 terrorists offered clemency had been convicted of "seditious conspiracy," robbery, and weapons charges related to their masterminding a series of terrorist bombings in the 1970s and 1980s. President Clinton offered clemency to the convicted terrorists at a time when his wife Hillary was actively considering a Senate race in New York State. Many political observers guessed that the move was made in part to sway New York's large Puerto Rican ethnic voting block to support his wife's impending campaign.

The concurrent resolution, H. Con. Res. 180, was adopted by the House on September 9, 1999 by a vote of 311-41 (Roll Call 398). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 2488: Financial Freedom Act of 1999
Vote Date: August 5, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Republican Tax Cut Package. The Republican tax plan would implement several tax cuts over a 10-year period. The legislation would cut the income tax rate by one percent beginning in 2005, but the tax cut would sunset by 2009. The measure would also cut the capital gains rate immediately by two percentage points, eliminate the marriage penalty under income taxes (starting in 2001), and phase out estate taxes until 2009 (after which the tax would be higher than current law).

The Republican Party trumpeted this bill as being a $792 billion tax cut, and the White House lobbied furiously against it claiming that the cuts were irresponsible. But the $792 billion figure is mere political posturing, since it is not only the projected total for a 10-year period but is based on projected costs in future years. Nevertheless, the bill was better than no tax cut at all and was deserving of support.

The Republican Tax Cut, H.R. 2488, passed the House on August 5, 1999 by a vote of 221-206 (Roll Call 379). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 2606: On Agreeing to the Amendment 21 to H R 2606
Vote Date: August 3, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
International Population Control. Contained within this year's foreign aid appropriations bill are some $385 million intended to fund international population control programs. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) proposed to eliminate this spending, explaining that "the question really is this: Should the American taxpayer be required to pay for birth control pills, IUDs, Depo-Provera, Norplant, condom distribution, as well as abortion in foreign countries?"

Rep. Paul's proposal, an amendment to H.R. 2606, was rejected by the House on August 3, 1999 by a vote of 145-272 (Roll Call 360). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 2606: On Agreeing to the Amendment 23 to H R 2606
Vote Date: August 3, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Corporate Welfare. A measure proposed by Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) would prohibit federal funding of three corporate export subsidy programs: The Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Trade and Development Agency.

The Export-Import Bank alone has approximately $6 billion in outstanding subsidies sunk into Communist China, and Rep. Paul noted that "67 percent of all the funding of the Export-Import Bank goes to, not a large number of companies, [but] to five companies.... We give them the money. But where do the goods go? Do the goods go to the American taxpayers? No. They get all of the liabilities. The subsidies help the Chinese."

Hypocritically, several representatives who had supported Normal Trade Relations (MFN) for China (Vote #26) on the basis of "free trade" opposed the Paul amendment. To that opposition, Paul exclaimed, "please do not call it free trade anymore. Call it managed trade. Call it subsidized trade. Call it special interest trade."

Rep. Paul's proposal, an amendment to H.R. 2606, was rejected by the House on August 3, 1999 by a vote of 58-360 (Roll Call 361). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 2606: Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, FY 2000
Vote Date: August 3, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Foreign Aid Appropriations. This legislation would appropriate $12.7 billion during fiscal 2000 for wasteful and unconstitutional foreign aid programs abroad.

The foreign aid appropriations bill, H.R. 2606, passed the House on August 3, 1999 by a vote of 385-35 (Roll Call 362). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 2606: On Agreeing to the Amendment 6 to H R 2606
Vote Date: July 29, 1999Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Slight Foreign Aid Cut. Proposed by Representative Tom Campbell (R-CA), this measure would cut a paltry $50 million from the foreign aid budget reserved for Israel (a $30 million cut) and Egypt (a $20 million cut). The cut would be a total reduction of about 1 percent in the funds allotted to both nations under the foreign aid bill. Any real end to wasteful foreign aid giveaways must begin with cuts in aid to the largest recipients, and Egypt and Israel's combined $4.7 billion in economic and military assistance account for 37 percent of all U.S. foreign aid spending.

Rep. Campbell's proposal, an amendment to the foreign aid bill (H.R. 2606), was rejected by the House on July 29, 1999 by a vote of 13-414 (Roll Call 351). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H J RES 57: Disapprove Normal Trade Relations with China
Vote Date: July 27, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
MFN/NTR Trade with Red China. Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) proposed that Congress express its disapproval of President Clinton's waiver granting Communist China U.S. taxpayer subsidized trade under "Normal Trade Relations" (formerly "Most Favored Nation") status. Revocation of NTR status would impose tariffs on Chinese imports at a slightly higher duty than are levied upon U.S. exports to China, and prevent the U.S. Export-Import Bank and similar agencies from giving lucrative subsidies to China. China is currently the Ex-Im Bank's largest customer, with $6 billion in outstanding loans and guarantees. Rep. Rohrabacher observed that the reason Capitol Hill had just been besieged by big business lobbyists is because they are squealing to keep their taxpayer subsidies. "This debate is not about free trade," Rohrabacher explained. "Obviously, it is about subsidy, as I just said."

Rep. Rohrabacher's proposal, a resolution (H. J. Res. 57) expressing the disapproval of Congress of the President's waiver granting NTR/MFN to China, was rejected by the House on July 27, 1999 by a vote of 170-260 (Roll Call 338). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 2415: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 306 to H R 2415
Vote Date: July 20, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
De-funding the United Nations. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), proposed a measure that would eliminate all funding for the United Nations from the State Department Reauthorization bill, H.R. 2415. Rep. Paul explained that "this does not get us out of the United Nations. It is a step in that direction, obviously." A necessary step because this year alone the the United Nations has called for confiscation of nearly all civilian-owned firearms, global taxation without representation, a world central bank, world financial controls with a redistributive mechanism, an unlimited ability to intervene in a nation's internal affairs, and a global criminal court without the habeas corpus guarantee and other rights Americans are accustomed to in our courts.

Rep. Paul's proposal, an amendment to H.R. 2415, was rejected by the House on July 20, 1999 by a vote of 74-342 (Roll Call 314). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 1995: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 321 to H R 1995
Vote Date: July 20, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Federal Funding for Teachers. In deliberations on this year's $2 billion per year federal teacher hiring grants program, Representative Matthew Martinez (D-CA) proposed to increase funding for President Clinton's initiative to hire 100,000 new teachers using federal dollars. The Martinez measure would increase spending under the pending bill in fiscal 2000 to $3 billion, and continue increasing spending until it reaches $6 billion annually in 2005.

Rep. Martinez's proposal, a substitute for H.R. 1995, was rejected by the House on July 20, 1999 by a vote of 207-217 (Roll Call 319). We have assigned pluses to the nays.



H R 2490: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 286 to H R 2490
Vote Date: July 15, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Subsidizing Abortions. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) proposed a measure that would allow abortions to be included as medical expenses in the health care coverage the federal government subsidizes for its employees. Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), opposing DeLauro's proposal, explained that "the unborn baby in the womb is not a potential life. It meets all of the criteria of a life, the criteria that I used to use as a practicing physician to determine whether somebody is alive or dead: a beating heart, active brain waves."

Rep. DeLauro's proposal, an amendment to H.R. 2490, was rejected by the House on July 15, 1999 by a vote of 188-230 (Roll Call 301). We have assigned pluses to nays.



H R 2466: On Agreeing to H. Amdt. 273 to H R 2466
Vote Date: July 14, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
National Endowment for the Arts. The National Endowment for the Arts currently consumes some 98 million taxpayer dollars annually. A measure proposed by Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) would take a small, 2.5 percent bite totaling $2.1 million out of that budget. Rep. Stearns noted that the Founding Fathers did not give the federal government the power under the U.S. Constitution to fund arts programs. "During the Constitutional Convention, Charles Pinckney of South Carolina offered a motion to authorize and 'establish seminaries for the promotion of literature and the arts and sciences.' The motion was overwhelmingly defeated because the framers of our Constitution did not want the federal government to promote the arts with federal funds."

Rep. Stearns measure, an amendment to H.R. 2466, was rejected by the House on July 14, 1999 by a vote of 124-300 (Roll Call 287). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H R 1658: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act
Vote Date: June 24, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Civil Forfeiture Reform. Under "civil forfeiture," the government seizes property which officials believe is used in the commission of a crime, oftentimes without the property owner being charged with a crime. Existing federal civil forfeiture law makes clear that property owners must bear the burden of proof that their property was not used in the commission of a crime. A measure, introduced by Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL), would curb excesses in federal civil forfeiture takings of property. The Hyde legislation would reverse the burden of proof and require of the government "clear and convincing evidence" that the property was used in the commission of a crime. It also contains an "innocent owner defense" for property owners who were unaware that their property was being used in the commission of crimes.

Rep. Hyde's measure, H.R. 1658, passed the House on June 24, 1999 by a vote of 375-48 (Roll Call 255). We have assigned pluses to the yeas.



H J RES 33: Constitutional Amendment to Prohibit the Physical Desecration of the United States Flag
Vote Date: June 24, 1999Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Flag Burning Amendment, House Joint Resolution 33. This measure proposes an amendment to the Constitution stating that "the Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." Representative Charles Canady (R-FL) argued that such an amendment is needed "because the Supreme Court, in its mistaken interpretation of the First Amendment, stripped our flag of the protection to which it is entitled." He is mistaken, however. If Congress truly wishes to rein in the Supreme Court with regard to flag burning and myriad other issues, it can simply exercise its constitutional power to limit the Court's appellate jurisdiction (Article III, Section 2). The House adopted this measure on June 24, 1999 by a vote of 305 to 124 (Congressional Record, pages H4843-44, roll call 252; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 2122: Mandatory Gun Show Background Check Act
Vote Date: June 18, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Gun Control, H.R. 2122. This legislation would clamp down on gun sales at gun shows, which for the purposes of this bill are defined as any event "at which 50 or more firearms are offered or exhibited for sale, transfer, or exchange" or at which there are ten or more vendors. Under this bill, a person offering a firearm for sale who is not himself licensed is prevented from selling that firearm directly to the buyer. The licensed vendor must complete a background check before the transfer of the weapon. The House rejected the measure on June 18, 1999 by a vote of 147 to 280 (Congressional Record, pages H4656-57, roll call 244; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 1501: On Agreeing to the Amendment 26 to H R 1501
Vote Date: June 17, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Freedom of Religion, Amendment to H.R. 1501. The ACLU and similar groups have long crusaded to force the removal of all aspects of religious expression from public grounds under the pretense that such expression violates the First Amendment. This amendment to H.R. 1501, offered by Representative Robert Aderholt (R-AL), takes issue with that notion. The amendment states that "the power to display the Ten Commandments" on public property is "declared to be among the powers reserved to the states...." It also declares that individual religious expression on public grounds is "among the rights secured against laws respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise of religion" and "among the liberties which no state shall deprive any person without due process of law...." Moreover: "The courts constituted, ordained, and established by the Congress shall exercise the judicial power in a manner consistent with the foregoing declarations." The House adopted the amendment on June 17, 1999 by a vote of 248 to 180 (Congressional Record, pages H4486-87, roll call 221; we have assigned pluses to the yeas).



H R 1401: On Agreeing to the Amendment 9 to H R 1401
Vote Date: June 9, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
No Military Exchanges or Joint Training With the Red Chinese Army, Amendment to H.R. 1401. Representative Tom DeLay (R-TX) offered this amendment to the Defense authorization bill to "bar the United States from training the Communist Chinese military." Stressing the need for such a measure, DeLay noted that "President Clinton jump-started American cooperation with the PLA [People's Liberation Army] soon after taking office in 1993. The imbalance in these so-called exchanges is extreme and predictably benefits the PRC [People's Republic of China]." These exchanges have not tapered off since the Chinese nuclear espionage revelations. "Just this year," continued DeLay, "more than 80 cooperative military contacts were planned between the U.S. and Red China." The House adopted the amendment on June 9, 1999 by a vote of 284 to 143 (Congressional Record, page H3995, roll call 182; we have assigned pluses to the yeas).



H R 1401: On Agreeing to the Amendment 11 to H R 1401
Vote Date: June 9, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Permitting Abortions in Military Hospitals Overseas, Amendment to H.R. 1401. Representative Carrie Meek (D-FL) offered this amendment to repeal "the statutory prohibition on privately funded abortions in overseas military facilities...." However, those overseas facilities are taxpayer funded. If abortions are allowed there, those facilities would become, noted Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL), "not a place for healing, but an abortion mill, an abortion clinic." The House rejected the amendment on June 9, 1999 by a vote of 203 to 225 (Congressional Record, page H3996, roll call 184; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 1906: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations, FY 2000
Vote Date: June 8, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Preventing Funding for Development of Any Abortion Inducing Drug, Amendment to H.R. 1906. Representative Tom Coburn (R-OK) offered this amendment to prohibit any funds in the fiscal 2000 Department of Agriculture appropriations bill from being used "by the Food and Drug Administration for the testing, development, or approval ... of any drug for the chemical inducement of abortion." The House adopted the amendment on June 8, 1999 by a vote of 217 to 214 (Congressional Record, pages H3811-12, roll call 173; we have assigned pluses to the yeas).



H R 1906: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations, FY 2000
Vote Date: June 8, 1999Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Agricultural Appropriations, H.R. 1906. This legislation provides $60.7 billion for "Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies" for fiscal year 2000, a $3.4 billion increase over fiscal 1999. The measure includes $21.6 billion for the food stamp program, $20.1 billion for agricultural programs, $4 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), $165.4 million for the "Food for Peace" foreign aid program, and $583.4 million for rental assistance. The House adopted the measure on June 8, 1999 by a vote of 246 to 183 (Congressional Record, page H3823, roll call 177; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 1664: On Agreeing to the Amendment 10 to H R 1664
Vote Date: May 6, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Preventing U.S. Invasion of Yugoslavia, Amendment to H.R. 1664. Representative Ernest Istook (R-OK) offered this amendment to the Defense supplemental appropriations bill to prohibit the use of any funds authorized therein for "any plan to invade the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with ground forces of the United States, except in time of war." Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL) objected to the amendment on the grounds that it was similar to H.R. 1569, and therefore unnecessary. "They are very, very similar," said Stearns. "Do members think they have to make another stand...?" Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) argued otherwise: "It was said that this is the same vote that we had last week, but last week's vote is sitting on the table and it is going to sit there. This one may well go someplace and have an effect." The House rejected the amendment on May 6, 1999 by a vote of 117 to 301 (Congressional Record, pages H2891-92, roll call 119; we have assigned pluses to the yeas).



H R 1569: Military Operations in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Limitation Act
Vote Date: April 28, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Prohibit Funding of Ground Troops In Kosovo, H.R. 1569. This legislation would prohibit funding of U.S. ground forces in Yugoslavia without prior congressional authorization. At the time of this vote, U.S. forces were already engaged in the air war against Yugoslavia -- without prior congressional authorization. The House adopted the measure on April 28, 1999 by a vote of 249 to 180 (Congressional Record, pages H2413-14, roll call 100; we have assigned pluses to the yeas).



H CON RES 82: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove U.S. Armed Forces from their positions in connection with the present operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Vote Date: April 28, 1999Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Removal of U.S. Troops From the Kosovo Conflict, House Concurrent Resolution 82. This measure would direct the removal of the U.S. military from the conflict in Yugoslavia, ending our offensive operations against that nation. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) noted: "The Serbs have done nothing to us, and we should not be over there perpetuating a war." The House rejected the measure (thereby acquiescing to President Clinton's offensive against Yugoslavia while later hypocritically voting against a declaration of war) on April 28, 1999 by a vote of 139 to 290 (Congressional Record, page H2427, roll call 101; we have assigned pluses to the yeas).



S CON RES 21: Authorizing the President of the United States to Conduct Military Air Operations and Missile Strikes Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)
Vote Date: April 28, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Authorizing Air Operations for the Kosovo Conflict, Senate Concurrent Resolution 21. This legislation would authorize continuing offensive air operations and missile attacks against Yugoslavia. Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said that "it should be obvious that the President does not need this resolution to use air power because he is already using it" -- an observation that speaks volumes about the failure of Congress to assert its authority by insisting on the removal of U.S. forces. The House rejected the resolution on April 28, 1999 by a vote of 213 to 213 (Congressional Record, pages H2451-52, roll call 103; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 1141: Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for FY 1999
Vote Date: March 24, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Increasing Foreign Aid Expenditures, Amendment to H.R. 1141.

Representative David Obey (D-WI) offered this amendment to the fiscal 1999 supplemental appropriations bill to reinstate a smorgasbord of foreign aid appropriations that the bill would rescind in order to offset new spending. The Obey amendment would restore $853 million in spending, including: $648 million for multilateral development banks (like the World Bank); $150 million to purchase fissile materials (plutonium) from Russia to keep the Russians from building nuclear weapons; $30 million for the "Food for Peace" program; and $25 million for the Export-Import Bank. The House rejected the amendment on March 24, 1999 by a vote of 201 to 228 (Congressional Record, pages H1644-45, roll call 68; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 4: National Missile Defense System
Vote Date: March 18, 1999Vote: NONE No Vote.
Deployment of a National Missile Defense, H.R. 4.

This bill would make it "the policy of the United States to deploy a national missile defense." Representative John Lewis (D-GA) objected to the measure, declaring: "Make no mistake, a dollar more for missile defense is a dollar less for health care, for education, and for food.... I urge my colleagues, do not choose bullets over babies, bombs over books, missiles over medicine." But there was support from the minority party for the measure. Democratic Representative James Traficant (OH) said, "National defense and security is our number-one priority.... I am changing my vote. I am voting for the missile defense system for the United States of America." The House adopted the measure on March 18, 1999 by a vote of 317 to 105 (Congressional Record, pages H1447-48, roll call 59; we have assigned pluses to the yeas).



H CON RES 42: Peacekeeping Operations in Kosovo
Vote Date: March 11, 1999Vote: NONE No Vote.
Authorizing U.S. Peacekeeping in Kosovo, House Concurrent Resolution 42.
This bill would authorize the President to "deploy United States Armed Forces personnel to Kosovo as part of a NATO peacekeeping operation implementing a Kosovo peace agreement." Representative Tom Campbell (R-CA), who opposed the measure, noted: "the United States has not been attacked. Serbia, in whose sovereign territory we recognize Kosovo to be, has not invited us to enter. The United States would thus be exercising force against the sovereign territory of a country that has not attacked us...." The House adopted the measure on March 11, 1999 by a vote of 219 to 191 (Congressional Record, pages H1249-50, roll call 49; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 669: Peace Corps Authorizations FY2000-FY2003
Vote Date: March 3, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Peace Corps Authorization and Expansion, H.R. 669. This bill would authorize $1.3 billion for the Peace Corps through fiscal 2003 -- including $270 million in fiscal 2000, an increase of $29 million over the current level. The new funding would allow for an expansion in the number of Peace Corps volunteers from the current level of 6,700 to 10,000 by 2003. The House passed the bill on March 3, 1999 by a vote of 326 to 90 (Congressional Record, page H913, roll call 31; we have assigned pluses to the nays).



H R 193: Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Wild and Scenic River Act
Vote Date: February 23, 1999Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Designating the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord as Wild and Scenic Rivers, H.R. 193.
This bill would designate a combined total of 29 miles of three rivers in Massachusetts as Wild and Scenic under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Although the bill would prevent the federal government from actually acquiring title or easements for any of the land adjacent to the sections of river in question, through a loophole the government could still acquire such land or easements "under other laws for other purposes." The House passed the bill on February 23, 1999 by a vote of 395 to 22 (Congressional Record, page H679, roll call 23; we have assigned pluses to the nays).