Name: Mo Cowan


Senate: Massachusetts, Democrat


Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 0%


Status: Former Member of the Senate

Score Breakdown:
0% (113th Congress: 2013-2014)

Key Votes:



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: AYEBad 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: AYEBad 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: AYEBad 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: AYEBad 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: AYEBad 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: AYEBad 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: AYEBad 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: NAYBad 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: NAYBad 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: NAYBad 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.