Contact: 202-224-3041
Website: http://www.rubio.senate.gov

Name: Marco Rubio


Senate: Florida, Republican


Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 81%


Status: Active Member of the Senate

Score Breakdown:
90% (114th Congress: 2015-2016); 80% (113th Congress: 2013-2014); 80% (112th Congress: 2011-2012)

Key Votes:



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendments to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2029): A bill making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: December 18, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Omnibus Appropriations.
The omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 2029) would provide $1.15 trillion in discretionary appropriations in fiscal 2016 for federal departments and agencies covered by the 12 unfinished fiscal 2016 spending bills. This represents an overall increase in discretionary spending of five percent over 2015 levels. See House Vote 20 for more details.

The Senate agreed to the omnibus appropriations bill on December 18, 2015 by a vote of 65 to 33 (Roll Call 339). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this omnibus bill members of Congress are failing to address their fiscally and constitutionally irresponsible budgeting and appropriating process that is currently yielding annual federal deficits measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars, as well as minimizing their accountability to the voters by combining all discretionary federal spending for fiscal 2016 into one gigantic "take it or leave it" bill.



On the Conference Report S. 1177: An original bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure that every child achieves.
Vote Date: December 9, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Education.
This bill (S. 1177), the Every Student Succeeds Act (first introduced as the Every Child Achieves Act), would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESAA) for four years, through fiscal 2020. Total authorizations would be $24.5 billion for fiscal 2017, increasing to $26.1 billion in fiscal 2020. The bill would replace the No Child Left Behind Act, and continue the requirement for regular standardized testing in core subject areas such as math, reading, and science. Scores for the standardized tests are to be separated by categories such as race and income to determine if any "subgroup" is lagging academically. The bill would also require states to develop plans to help low-performing public schools.

The Senate passed S. 1177 on December 9, 2015 by a vote of 85 to 12 (Roll Call 334). We have assigned pluses to the nays because, as explained in House vote 19, the federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved with education; nowhere in the U.S. Constitution is education listed as one of the government's enumerated powers. K-12 education, if publicly funded, should be run primarily by parents coordinating with local school districts rather than by a centralized bureaucracy out of Washington, D.C.



On the Joint Resolution S.J.Res. 24: A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units".
Vote Date: November 17, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Power Plant Emissions.
This legislation (Senate Joint Resolution 24) would disapprove and nullify the Environmental Protection Agency's rule relating to "Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units," published on October 23, 2015. According to Congressional Quarterly, the EPA rule "sets different emissions targets for 49 states based on their existing energy profile and requires each state to reduce emissions by a certain amount by 2030." Upon passage of the bill by the House of Representatives, Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the original Senate sponsor, said in a statement, "Hardworking families cannot afford these crushing regulations that threaten jobs and affordable energy while doing little to actually improve the environment."

The Senate passed S. J. Res. 24 on November 17, 2015 by a vote of 52 to 46 (Roll Call 306). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should not hinder existing power plants with regulations that stifle energy production and increase rates, there is no authorization in the Constitution for the federal government to interfere in the energy sector, and CO2 is not a pollutant.



On the Joint Resolution S.J.Res. 22: A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the definition of "waters of the United States" under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act.
Vote Date: November 4, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Waters of the United States.
This legislation (Senate Joint Resolution 22) would provide for congressional disapproval of the "waters of the United States" (WOTUS) rule submitted by the Corps of Engineers and the EPA. According to Representative Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), sponsor of a similar bill in the House in September 2014, under this proposed WOTUS rule, "Federal agencies like the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers would see their regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act drastically expanded, to the point of covering almost any body of water throughout America, from ditches to culverts to pipes to watersheds to farmland ponds."

The Senate passed S. J. Res. 22 on November 4, 2015 by a vote of 53 to 44 (Roll Call 297). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because both federal water regulations and the EPA are unconstitutional, and if the rule were to be allowed to go into effect, activities such as farming and real estate development would be greatly hampered, since farmers and developers would be subject to increased unconstitutional permit requirements and fines concerning their treatment of almost any "body of water," no matter how small.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1314): A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status of certain organizations.
Vote Date: October 30, 2015Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Raising the Spending Cap and Suspending the National Debt Limit.
This bill (H.R. 1314) would suspend the national debt limit until March 15, 2017, at which time the ceiling on how much money the federal government is allowed to borrow would be re-established at the size of the federal debt at that time. The bill would also raise caps intended to limit "discretionary" federal spending by $50 billion for fiscal 2016 and $30 billion for fiscal 2017.

The Senate agreed to this legislation on October 30, 2015 by a vote of 64 to 35 (Roll Call 294). 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.



On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 1881: A bill to prohibit Federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Vote Date: August 3, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Defunding Planned Parenthood (Cloture).
This bill (S. 1881) would cut off federal funding of Planned Parenthood and its affiliates and clinics. Overall federal funding would not be reduced, since the funding "no longer available to Planned Parenthood will continue to be made available to other eligible entities to provide women's health care services."

The Senate did not vote directly on S. 1881 but instead on a motion intended to advance the bill. That motion, to invoke cloture and limit debate on a motion to proceed to the bill, was rejected on August 3, 2015 by a vote of 53 to 46 (Roll Call 262; the motion failed because a three-fifths majority of the entire Senate is required to invoke cloture). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should not, and has no constitutional authority to, subsidize the killing of innocent human life.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2327 to S.Amdt. 2266 to H.R. 22 (Hire More Heroes Act of 2015): To reauthorize and reform the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Vote Date: July 27, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Export-Import Bank.
During consideration of the surface transportation bill (H.R. 22), Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced an amendment to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank's charter, which expired July 1, 2015, through fiscal 2019. As Senator Kirk said during debate on his amendment, "Unfortunately, as of July 1, the Ex-Im Bank has been unable to process any new transactions - and this poses a real threat to our economy. Business deals that are months or years in the making are now on hold, and may fall through, unless we reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank immediately."

The Senate adopted Kirk's amendment on July 27, 2015 by a vote of 64 to 29 (Roll Call 256). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Export-Import Bank, as explained in House vote 16, is a poster boy for corporate cronyism. The government finances or insures foreign purchases from U.S. companies that commercial banks are unwilling or unable to finance owing to the political or commercial risks inherent in the deals, leaving taxpayers on the hook in the event of default.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2146): A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Federal law enforcement officers, firefighters, and air traffic controllers to make penalty-free withdrawals from governmental plans after age 50, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 24, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Trade Promotion Authority.
During consideration of an otherwise relatively innocuous bill about public safety employee withdrawals, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made a motion to concur with a House amendment to the bill that would grant Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to the executive branch.

The Senate agreed to TPA on June 24, 2015 by a vote of 60 to 38 (Roll Call 219). We have assigned pluses to the nays because TPA would facilitate the subordination of the national independence of the United States to regional blocs of nations in a process that is leading toward a world government.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1889 to S.Amdt. 1463 to H.R. 1735 (Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016): To reaffirm the prohibition on torture.
Vote Date: June 16, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Torture.
During consideration of the National Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1735), Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) introduced an amendment to ensure that the entire U.S. government complies with interrogation techniques permitted by Army Field Manual 2-22.3. Specifically, any individual in the custody of any U.S. government agent or detained at any U.S. government facility shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique, such as waterboarding, not authorized by Army Field Manual 2-22.3, entitled "Human Intelligence Collector Operations." The amendment would also require that the Red Cross be allowed access to any detained individual. McCain's amendment would require the U.S. secretary of defense to review Army Field Manual 2-22.3 every three years and revise it, if necessary, to ensure compliance with legal obligations of the United States, such as those contained within the Geneva Convention.

The Senate adopted McCain's amendment on June 16, 2015 by a vote of 78 to 21 (Roll Call 209). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because any form of torture is a violation of a person's God-given rights, regardless of whether or not the person is a U.S. citizen. In fact, the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment." The U.S. government is not above the rule of law, and any government agency or agent must be held accountable to a standard that respects human rights and dignity.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1549 to S.Amdt. 1463 to H.R. 1735 (Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016): To provide for a temporary, emergency authorization of defense articles, defense services, and related training directly to the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Vote Date: June 16, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Arming Iraqi Kurds.
During consideration of the National Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1735), Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) introduced an amendment to authorize the president to "provide for a temporary, emergency authorization of defense articles, defense services, and related training directly to the Kurdistan Regional Government," according to the text of the amendment. On June 15, 2015, speaking in support of her amendment on the Senate floor, Senator Ernst said, "This bipartisan amendment ... provides temporary authority for the president ... to provide weapons directly to Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the fight against ISIS should the administration choose to do so."

The Senate rejected Senator Ernst's amendment on June 16, 2015 by a vote of 54 to 45 (Roll Call 210; a 60-vote threshold was required for passage pursuant to a unanimous consent agreement). We have assigned pluses to the nays because arming foreign fighters would be an act of war, and under the U.S. Constitution, only Congress may declare war. Moreover, our interventionist policy in the Middle East has exacerbated terrorism. In Syria, for example, arming the so-called moderate rebels helped create the ISIS threat. And regarding Iraq, arms sent to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) could also fall into the hands of the rival Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a communist terrorist group dedicated to the creation of a Marxist-Leninist state of Kurdistan. The KRG is divided between the more conservative Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) of Iraq and the left-wing Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which is affiliated with the Socialist International.



On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 1986 to H.R. 1735 (Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016): To reauthorize and reform the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Vote Date: June 10, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Export-Import Bank.
During consideration of the defense authorization bill (H.R. 1735), Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) introduced an amendment to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank through 2019. The bank issued loans and loan guarantees to foreign governments or companies for the purchase of U.S. products.

The Senate rejected a motion to table (kill) Kirk's amendment on June 10, 2015 by a vote of 31 to 65 (Roll Call 206). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government has no constitutional authority risking taxpayers' money to provide loans and terms that 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 went bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers would have been stuck holding the bag. The bank's charter was not reauthorized, and it expired on June 30, 2015.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1243 to S.Amdt. 1221 to H.R. 1314 (Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act): To strike the extension of the trade adjustment assistance program.
Vote Date: May 22, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Trade Adjustment Assistance.
During consideration of the Trade Promotion Authority bill (H.R. 1314), Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced an amendment to strike the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) provisions in the bill. Those provisions would extend the TAA program through June 30, 2021.

The TPA (see the next vote) is needed, its proponents acknowledge, to facilitate enactment of trade agreements negotiated by the Obama administration and supported by the GOP congressional leadership. Those agreements - the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) - collectively dubbed ObamaTrade, would, proponents boast, create jobs and prosperity for Americans. But the TAA, which ObamaTrade proponents also support, provides assistance to help American workers who lose their jobs because of the trade agreements.

The Senate rejected Flake's amendment on May 22, 2015 by a vote of 35 to 63 (Roll Call 190). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because federal jobs programs are unconstitutional. Moreover, it makes no sense to claim that the federal government must cough up federal funds to help workers who will lose their jobs to supposedly jobs-creating trade agreements.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 1314: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a right to an administrative appeal relating to adverse determinations of tax-exempt status of certain organizations.
Vote Date: May 22, 2015Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Trade Promotion Authority.
The Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) section of H.R. 1314 would renew the on-again-off-again "fast track authority" that Congress has often awarded to the president over the past several decades. The essential features of TPA are: (1) Congress unconstitutionally delegates authority "to regulate commerce with foreign nations" to the Executive Branch; and (2) Congress dramatically increases the probability of approval of trade agreements by restricting itself to an up-or-down vote with no amendments or filibusters allowed. See also House Vote 10.

The Senate passed H.R. 1314 on May 22, 2015 by a vote of 62 to 37 (Roll Call 193). We have assigned pluses to the nays because TPA would facilitate the subordination of the national independence of the United States to regional trading blocs, a power that is not granted to any branch of government in the Constitution.



On the Nomination PN4: Loretta E. Lynch, of New York, to be Attorney General
Vote Date: April 23, 2015Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Loretta Lynch Nomination.
The Senate confirmed the nomination of Loretta Lynch for U.S. attorney general on April 23, 2015 by a vote of 56 to 43 (Roll Call 165). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Lynch is supportive of blatantly unconstitutional actions on the part of the executive branch.

Lynch supported President Obama's use of an executive order to offer de facto amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants, and promised to implement such amnesty as attorney general. Lynch also supports civil forfeiture, which is certainly an unconstitutional violation of private property rights, and deems it an "important tool of the Department of Justice." As Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) stated in early February when explaining his opposition to Lynch's nomination, "She remains non-committal on the legality of drone strikes against American citizens, while I believe such strikes unequivocally violate rights granted to us by the Sixth Amendment.... Mrs. Lynch also supports President Obama's calls for executive amnesty, which I vehemently oppose. The Attorney General must operate independent of politics, independent of the president and under the direction of the Constitution. I cannot support a nominee, like Mrs. Lynch, who rides roughshod on our Constitutional rights."



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1114 to H.R. 2 (Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015): To repeal the individual mandate.
Vote Date: April 14, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Individual Mandate Repeal.
During consideration of a bill regarding Medicare payments to physicians (H.R. 2), Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced an amendment entitled "Restoring Individual Liberty" that would repeal the individual mandate of the ObamaCare law.

The Senate rejected Cornyn's amendment on April 14, 2015 by a vote of 54 to 45 (Roll Call 137). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because no branch of government has been empowered by the Constitution to force Americans to buy health insurance.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 432 to S.Con.Res. 11: To provide additional resources to create the opportunity for more Americans to obtain a higher education and advanced job skills by supporting two free years of community college paid for by raising revenue through requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.
Vote Date: March 26, 2015Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Free Community College.
During consideration of the budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 11), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) introduced an amendment to raise spending by $60.3 billion for social services education and jobs training in order to facilitate "two free years of community college paid for by raising revenue through requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share."

The Senate rejected Baldwin's amendment on March 26, 2015 by a vote of 45 to 55 (Roll Call 100). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this resolution would steal wealth from some to give to others, cause an overabundance of workers in certain job fields (meaning grossly wasted funds), and expand unconstitutional federal involvement in education.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 515 to S.Con.Res. 11: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to requiring the Federal Government to allow states to opt out of Common Core without penalty.
Vote Date: March 26, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Common Core.
During consideration of the budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 11), Senator David Vitter (R-La.) introduced an amendment to create a spending-neutral reserve fund to prohibit the federal government from mandating, incentivizing, or coercing states to adopt Common Core standards or any other similar standards. This amendment would also allow states that have already adopted Common Core to opt out without penalty.

The Senate adopted Vitter's amendment on March 26, 2015 by a vote of 54 to 46 (Roll Call 105). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government has no constitutional authority to interject itself in the education sector, and Common Core is intended to create a national curriculum leading to nationalizing education.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 649 to S.Con.Res. 11: To establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to prohibiting funding of international organizations during the implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty prior to Senate ratification and adoption of implementing legislation.
Vote Date: March 26, 2015Vote: AYEGood Vote.
UN Arms Treaty.
During consideration of the budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 11), Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) introduced an amendment "to establish a spending-neutral reserve fund relating to prohibiting funding of international organizations during the implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty prior to Senate ratification and adoption of implementing legislation." The amendment essentially allows the chairman of the Committee on the Budget of the Senate to reallocate spending to prevent implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty, provided such action does not raise new revenue or increase the deficit.

During debate on the amendment, Senator Inhofe remarked, "President Obama has signed the treaty but has not submitted it for ratification; for one reason, he knows the votes are not there. Two years ago, at 5 a.m. in the morning, 53 Senators, from both parties, voted for my amendment very similar to this. My amendment would prevent funds from going to the treaty Secretariat or any other organization that is working to implement this treaty."

The Senate adopted Inhofe's amendment on March 26, 2015 by a vote of 59 to 41 (Roll Call 108). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the UN Arms Trade Treaty is an attempt by a global governance body, the United Nations, to regulate weapons. Such regulation is at odds with the American ideals of national sovereignty and freedom to bear arms without infringement by government. While the UN likely wouldn't march into American neighborhoods to confiscate guns the moment the treaty was ratified, ratification of the treaty would be a step in the wrong direction. Any opposition to the UN Arms Trade Treaty is to be commended.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 255 to H.R. 240 (Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2015): Of a perfecting nature.
Vote Date: February 27, 2015Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Executive Action on Immigration.
Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) introduced a new version of the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 240), in the form of a substitute amendment, that would eliminate the bill's provisions prohibiting the use of funds for carrying out President Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions on illegal immigration. The provisions targeted for elimination would defund the Obama administration’s executive actions announced on November 20, 2014 to grant deferred action for an estimated four million illegal immigrants in the United States.

The Senate adopted Cochran's substitute amendment on February 27, 2015 by a vote of 66 to 33 (Roll Call 61). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the president is not a "king" or "dictator" who may make his own law. Under the U.S. Constitution, "all legislative powers herein granted" are delegated to Congress, and it is the responsibility of the president to faithfully execute the law.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 48 to S.Amdt. 2 to S. 1 (Keystone XL Pipeline Act): To modify the definition of underground injection.
Vote Date: January 28, 2015Vote: NONE No Vote.
Fracking.
During consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline bill (S. 1), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced an amendment to remove exemptions of fracking and natural gas storage from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) offered the amendment on Senator Gillibrand's behalf, noting: "This amendment amends the Safe Drinking Water Act to protect clean drinking water sources from hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and from underground storage of natural gas. The Safe Drinking Water Act currently exempts underground injection of fracking fluids and underground storage of natural gas from regulation under the act. The Gillibrand amendment repeals those exemptions and makes underground injection of fracking fluids and underground storage of natural gas subject to those regulations."

The Senate rejected Gillibrand’s amendment on January 28, 2015 by a vote of 35 to 63 (Roll Call 41). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate industry practices or set drinking water standards. These standards are monitored and enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is itself an unconstitutional agency created by executive order. The Obama administration, particularly the EPA, is known to be an opponent of fracking, so this is likely a backdoor attack on the industry. State and local governments should be setting drinking water standards and monitoring for pollutants, not unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.



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: AYEGood 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: NAYGood 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: NAYGood 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: AYEBad 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: NAYGood 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: NAYGood 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: NAYGood 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: AYEBad 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: NAYGood 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: NAYGood 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: NAYGood 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: NAYGood 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: AYEBad 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: 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: 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: 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.



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: NONE No 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: NAYGood 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: AYEBad 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: NAYGood 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: NAYBad 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: AYEBad 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: NAYGood 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: NONE No 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: NONE No 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: NONE No 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.