Name: Charles Djou
Congress: Hawaii, District: 1, Republican
Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 67%
Status: Former Member of the House
66% (111th Congress: 2009-2010)
Motion: Table the Appeal of the Ruling of the Chair
Vote Date: September 23, 2010
Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Lame-duck Session. We are used to Congress convening "lame-duck" sessions of Congress in even-numbered years between the general elections in early November and the beginning of the new Congress on January 3 of the next year. We've had an unbroken string of lame-duck sessions every even-numbered year since 1998. Although these post-election sessions include many lawmakers who were either defeated or didn't run for reelection, what we call lame-duck sessions of Congress were actually business as usual for the first 140 years of our nation's history. However, the 20th Amendment to the Constitution in 1933 included two provisions to greatly reduce the time available to convene such sessions by moving the beginning date for new terms of Senators and Representatives from March 4 to January 3 of odd-numbered years and mandating that Congress begin meeting on January 3 each year.
Even though the time during which lame-duck sessions can be convened has been greatly shortened by the 20th Amendment, they are once again business as usual for Congress. Although lame-duck sessions are prohibited in 39 state legislatures, public sentiment so far has not been sufficiently mobilized to prohibit such sessions for Congress. The heart of the problem, of course, is that recently defeated and retired Senators and Representatives are still voting on legislation in these sessions, even though the voters have already elected their replacements. This problem is greatly heightened when a massive swing in voter sentiment leads to a change in which party controls one or both houses of Congress, which appears likely in November 2010.
The House agreed to a motion to table (kill) a draft resolution which would pledge that the House would not convene a lame-duck session between November 2, 2010 and January 3, 2011 on September 23, 2010 by a vote of 236-172 (Roll Call 534). We have assigned pluses to the nays because even though a lame-duck session is not unconstitutional, it undermines the representative government established by the Constitution.
H R 1586: To modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety, reliability, and availability of transportation by air in the United States, provide for modernization of the air traffic control system, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 10, 2010
Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Medicaid and Education Assistance. This legislation (H.R. 1586) would provide $26.1 billion in state aid for Medicaid ($16.1 billion of the total) and education ($10 billion). The latter is for the purpose of creating or retaining education-related jobs.
The House agreed to this legislation on August 10, 2010 by a vote of 247-161 (Roll Call 518). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to pay for healthcare for the poor or to fund education. Also, there is no statistical evidence showing that federal involvement in education has increased learning -- though it certainly has increased federal bureaucracy and control.
H.Amdt. 17 to H. R. 5850: On Agreeing to the Amendment 17 to H R 5850
Vote Date: July 29, 2010
Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Transportation-HUD Appropriations (Spending Cut). This bill (H.R. 5850) would appropriate $126.3 billion in fiscal 2011 for the Transportation Department, HUD, and related agencies. During consideration of the bill, Rep. Jim Jordan (Ohio) offered an amendment to cut the spending in the bill by $18.6 billion -- about 15 percent of the total.
The House rejected Rep. Jordan's amendment on July 29, 2010 by a vote of 159-265 (Roll Call 493). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because federal spending needs to be cut back, but also because of the unconstitutionality of the appropriations.
H R 5850: Making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes
Vote Date: July 29, 2010
Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Transportation-HUD Appropriations. This legislation (H.R. 5850) would appropriate a whopping $126.3 billion in fiscal 2011 for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and related agencies. The bill would provide $79.4 billion for the Transportation Department, including $11.3 billion for transit programs; and $46.6 billion for HUD, including $19.4 billion for the Section 8 rental-assistance program.
The House passed the bill on July 29, 2010 by a vote of 251-167 (Roll Call 499). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill is unaffordable and most of the spending is unconstitutional.
H R 4899: Making emergency supplemental appropriations for disaster relief and summer jobs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes
Vote Date: July 27, 2010
Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Supplemental Appropriations. The supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 4899) would provide an additional $58.8 billion in "emergency" funding for the current fiscal year (2010). The supplemental appropriations in the bill include $37.1 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and $2.9 for earthquake relief in Haiti.
The House passed the bill on July 27, 2010 by a vote of 308-114 (Roll Call 474). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the spending is over and above what the federal government already budgeted, Congress never declared war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of the spending (e.g., foreign aid) is unconstitutional.
H R 5618: Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act
Vote Date: July 1, 2010
Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Unemployment Benefits Extension. This bill (H.R. 5618) would extend unemployment insurance benefits through November 30, 2010 (retroactive to June 2, 2010) and provide 100 percent federal funding for the extended benefits. The unemployment insurance program is run by the states and overseen by the U.S. Department of Labor. The program allows for up to 26 weeks of benefits, but Congress has extended it several times as a response to the recession and high unemployment rates.
The House passed the bill on July 1, 2010 by a vote of 270-153 (Roll Call 423). We have assigned pluses to the nays because extending unemployment benefits provides a disincentive for finding work while adding to the cost of government and doing nothing to create jobs. Indeed, if unemployment benefits were a good solution to the unemployment problem, then why not make unemployment benefits permanent? The solution, instead, is to end government and Fed intervention in the market so the market can create more and better jobs.
H R 4173: Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009
Vote Date: June 30, 2010
Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Financial Regulatory Reform. This sweeping legislation (H.R. 4173) would tighten federal control of the financial sector on the false premise that the financial crisis was driven by free-market forces, as opposed to government and Fed policies (e.g., artificially low interest rates) that encouraged excessive borrowing and risk-taking. The legislation would create a new Financial Stability Oversight Council that would monitor the financial sector for system-wide risks, and could (by a two-thirds majority vote) subject non-bank entities to Fed regulatory powers and approve Fed decisions to break up large companies. It would also create a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection run by the Federal Reserve.
According to the American Bankers Association, the legislation would subject traditional banks to 5,000 pages of new regulations.
The House adopted the final version (conference report) of H.R. 4173 on June 30, 2010 by a vote of 237-192 (Roll Call 413). We have assigned pluses to the nays because ramping up regulatory control of the financial sector by the Fed and the federal government is not only unconstitutional but will make it exceedingly more difficult for the economy to recover.
H R 5175: Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act or the DISCLOSE Act
Vote Date: June 24, 2010
Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Campaign Finance Disclosure. The DISCLOSE Act ("Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections"), H.R. 5175, was introduced in response to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (January 21, 2010) that unexpectedly upheld the Constitution and free speech. The court ruled that corporations have the same free-speech rights as individuals in regard to spending their funds to broadcast "electioneering communications"; however, the case did not affect the federal prohibition on direct contributions from corporations or unions to candidate campaigns or political parties.
President Obama and certain special interest groups along with liberals in general wanted to curb the effects of that Supreme Court decision, so Rep. Christopher Van Hollen (D-Md.), who called the Supreme Court's ruling "radical," and 114 cosponsors acquiesced by introducing H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act. This act would establish new regulations for corporations, unions, and advocacy and lobbying groups for campaign-related activities. Conservative advocacy groups, as well as the liberal ACLU, are opposed to this bill on the basis that it infringes on their freedom of speech.
The House passed H.R. 5175 on June 24, 2010 by a vote of 219-206 (Roll Call 391). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should not infringe on the right to free speech of corporations, unions, and other interest groups.
H R 5486: Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010
Vote Date: June 15, 2010
Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ObamaCare (Repealing the Individual Mandate to Purchase Health Insurance). On June 15 the Republicans lost the first vote in their efforts to repeal either the entire healthcare bill or at least important parts of the overhaul bill commonly known as ObamaCare. They were trying to repeal the ObamaCare individual mandate that will require virtually all Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014 or else pay a penalty. This individual mandate is so widely considered to be unconstitutional that 20 states and the National Federation of Independent Businesses have filed a lawsuit based on the unconstitutionality of this provision and over 30 states have introduced legislation to nullify the individual mandate.
Although the best solution would be for Congress to repeal the entire ObamaCare law (Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152) on the basis of its unconstitutionality, repeal of the individual mandate would be a good first step toward full repeal later. On June 15 Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) took this first step by making a motion to recommit the Small Business Jobs Tax Relief Act of 2010, H.R. 5486, to the Ways and Means Committee with instructions that it be immediately reported back with language that would repeal the individual mandate to purchase health insurance in the 2010 healthcare overhaul law.
The House rejected the Camp motion on June 15, 2010 by a vote of 187-230 (Roll Call 362). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because of the unconstitutionality and wrongness of requiring anyone to purchase a product or service -- in this case health insurance.
H R 5116: America COMPETES Reauthorization Act
Vote Date: May 28, 2010
No Vote.Science and Technology Programs. This legislation (H.R. 5116) would authorize $85.6 billion over five years for science and technology research and education programs. The funding includes $44 billion for the National Science Foundation and $30.2 billion for the Energy Department's Office of Science. The bill would also create a new loan-guarantee program to help manufacturers invest in innovative technologies.
The House passed the bill on May 28, 2010 by a vote of 262-150 (Roll Call 332). We have assigned pluses to the nays because entrepreneurs and not government should decide which technologies to invest in and to what extent.