Name: Rick Berg
Congress: North Dakota, District: , Republican
Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 70%
Status: Former Member of the House
70% (112th Congress: 2011-2012)
|H.J.Res. 117: Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013|
|Vote Date: September 13, 2012||Vote: NAY||Good 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 House passed H. J. Res. 117 on September 13, 2012 by a vote of 329 to 91 (Roll Call 579). 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.
|H.R. 5949: FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012|
|Vote Date: September 12, 2012||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|FISA. The proposed FISA Amendments Act Reauthorization Act of 2012 (H.R. 5949) would reauthorize for five years, through 2017, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which governs electronic surveillance of foreign terrorism suspects. The law allows warrantless surveillance of foreign targets who may be communicating with people in the United States, provided that the secret FISA court approves surveillance procedures.|
The Senate passed H.R. 5949 on September 12, 2012 by a vote of 301 to 118 (Roll Call 569). We have assigned pluses to the nays because warrantless surveillance is unconstitutional and violates privacy and individual liberty. While ostensibly carried out only on "foreign suspects" communicating with U.S. citizens, it is difficult to imagine this surveillance not extending to U.S. citizens.
|H.R. 8: American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012|
|Vote Date: August 1, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good 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, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) offered a bill (H.R. 8) to extend all of the expiring Bush-era tax rates for one year. The bill would effectively tie alternative minimum tax exemption amounts to inflation in 2012 and 2013; extend the so-called marriage penalty-tax relief, the $1,000 child tax credit, and the 15-percent top tax rate on dividends and capital gains; and keep the estate tax at its current levels.|
The House passed the bill on August 1, 2012, by a vote of 256 to 171 (Roll Call 545). 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.
|On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass H.R. 459: Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2012|
|Vote Date: July 25, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Federal Reserve Audit. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced a bill (H.R. 459) to require a full audit of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks by the comptroller general of the United States.|
The House passed the bill on July 25, 2012 by a vote of 327 to 98 (Roll Call 513). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Federal Reserve System, essentially a cartel of private banks functioning as a central bank, is unconstitutional and is responsible for much of the nation's current financial problems via its control of money and credit. An audit of the Fed would shed light on its otherwise secretive practices and perhaps open the door for its eventual abolishment.
|H.Amdt. 1416 to H.R. 5856: An amendment to prohibit the use of funds used in contravention of section 7 of title 1, United States Code.|
|Vote Date: July 19, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Defense of Marriage Act. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced an amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act (H.R. 5856) "to prohibit the use of funds used in contravention of section 7 of title 1, United States Code." Section 7 of title 1 of the U.S. Code is better known as the Defense of Marriage Act.|
When Rep. King offered his amendment on the floor of the House on July 19, he explained: "What we've seen since the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act is an effort on the part of the executive branch to undermine, I believe, marriage between one man and one woman within our military ranks.... Congress directs and acts within the authority of article I of the Constitution, our legislative authority, and the President of the United States, or his executives who are empowered by him, seek to undermine the law of the United States, instead of coming here to this Congress and asking for the law to be changed, or simply accepting the idea that they've taken an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the rule of law, and to take care, under article II, section 3, that the laws be faithfully executed."
The House adopted King's amendment on July 19, 2012 by a vote of 247 to 166 (Roll Call 487). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution grants "all legislative powers" exclusively to Congress in Article I, Section 1 and requires the president to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed" in Article II, Section 3.
|H.Amdt. 1414 to H.R. 5856: An amendment to reduce appropriations made in Title IX of the bill by $20,843,869,000. The reduction shall not apply to the following accounts 1) Defense Health Program; 2) Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities, Defense; 3) Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Fund; and 4) Office of the Inspector General.|
|Vote Date: July 18, 2012||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|Afghanistan Withdrawal (Defense Appropriations Reduction). During consideration of the Defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2013 (H.R. 5856), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) proposed an amendment to cut overseas military spending by almost $21 billion. The intent behind the amendment was to allow enough funding for an orderly withdrawal from the unpopular war in Afghanistan but not enough to continue the conflict. According to Rep. Lee, the original bill includes over $85 billion for the war in Afghanistan.|
The House rejected Lee's amendment on July 18, 2012 by a vote of 107 to 312 (Roll Call 485). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the massive expenditure on undeclared foreign wars and nation building is unconstitutional and unaffordable.
|On Motion to Suspend the Rules and Pass H.R. 6018: Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2013|
|Vote Date: July 17, 2012||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Foreign Relations Authorization. The Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 (H.R. 6018) authorizes $9 billion for the State Department's diplomatic and consular programs, $1.6 billion for dues to international organizations (about $0.6 billion for UN regular budget dues and about $1 billion in contributions to 43 other UN-system, regional, and non-UN organizations), and $1.8 billion for contributions for UN peacekeeping activities. The United States is the largest contributor to UN dues and peacekeeping, paying 22 percent of total UN regular dues and 27 percent of UN peacekeeping operations.|
When the U.S. Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65 to 7 on December 4, 1945, it violated the Constitution by ceding our national sovereignty regarding engaging in wars to the United Nations. Whereas the Constitution grants the power "to declare war" exclusively to Congress in Article I, Section 8, the UN Charter grants this power to the UN's Security Council.
The House passed H.R. 6018 on July 17, 2012 by a vote of 333 to 61 (Roll Call 469). We have assigned pluses to the nays because U.S. participation in the United Nations involves an unconstitutional delegation of our national sovereignty to the UN.
|H.R. 6079: Repeal of Obamacare Act|
|Vote Date: July 11, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|ObamaCare Repeal. The Repeal of Obamacare Act (H.R. 6079) would repeal both the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (Public Law 111-152), known collectively as ObamaCare, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by these two acts would be restored or revived as if such acts had not been enacted.|
Despite the Supreme Court's June 28 decision upholding the constitutionality of the individual mandate of ObamaCare, a careful reading of the legislative powers granted to Congress in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution does not reveal any legislative power to fund or regulate healthcare.
The House passed H.R. 6079 on July 11, 2012 by a vote of 244 to 185 (Roll Call 460). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because ObamaCare is an unconstitutional government takeover of nearly 20 percent of our nation's economy.
|H.Res. 711: Recommending that the House of Representatives find Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice, in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with a subpoena duly issued by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.|
|Vote Date: June 28, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Eric Holder Contempt Resolution. After Attorney General Eric Holder refused to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to provide documents regarding the "Operation Fast and Furious" gun-walking scandal, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) introduced a resolution (H. Res. 711) to hold him in contempt of Congress.|
The House passed Rep. Issa's resolution on June 28, 2012 by a vote of 255 to 67 (Roll Call 441). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Holder's refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by Congress is a clear violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, and as a member of the executive branch he essentially "thumbed his nose" at the legislative branch.
|H.Amdt. 1266 to H.R. 5855: An amendment to prohibit the use of funds to be used to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the "Morton Memos". The term "Morton Memos" refers to 1) Policy Number 10072.1, published on March 2, 2011; 2) Policy Number 10075.1, published on June 17, 2011; 3) Policy Number 10076.1, published on June 17, 2011.|
|Vote Date: June 7, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Immigration Enforcement. During consideration of the fiscal 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 5855), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced an amendment "to prohibit the use of funds to be used to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce" Immigration and Customs Enforcement memos (known as the Morton memos) regarding prosecutorial discretion to prioritize the removal of certain illegal immigrants.|
A few weeks after the vote on this amendment, Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.) sent U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder a letter demanding answers regarding the administration's use of prosecutorial discretion, often referred to as "administrative amnesty," to certain illegal aliens up to the age of 30. Barletta wrote: "When similar measures that would implement these same policies were presented to Congress, Congress rejected them. The implementation of the new immigration policy that is contrary to the expressed will of the Congress violates the Constitution."
The House adopted King's amendment on June 7, 2012 by a vote of 238 to 175 (Roll Call 363). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Obama administration's use of prosecutorial discretion to provide amnesty to illegal immigrants violates the constitutional principle of separation of powers. According to Article I, Section 1, "all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States." In particular, Congress is granted the power "to establish a uniform rule of naturalization" in Article I, Section 8. In contrast, Article II, Section 3 states that the president "shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed."
|H.Amdt.1127 to H.R.4310: An amendment numbered 46 printed in House Report 112-485 to strike section 1022 of the FY2012 NDAA and amend Section 1021 of same Act to eliminate indefinite military detention of any person detained under AUMF authority in U.S., territories or possessions by providing immediate transfer to trial and proceedings by a court established under Article III of the Constitution of the United states or by an appropriate State court.|
|Vote Date: May 18, 2012||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|Indefinite Detention. Detainee-related language in the National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4310) is so sweeping that American citizens accused of being terrorists can be detained by the U.S. military and held indefinitely without habeas corpus and without even being tried and found guilty in a court of law.|
Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) offered an amendment to strike this language from the bill, but the House rejected Smith's amendment on May 18, 2012 by a vote of 182 to 238 (Roll Call 270). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the War on Terror must not be allowed to destroy constitutional legal protections, including the issuance of a warrant based on probable cause (Fourth Amendment) and the right to a trial (Sixth Amendment).
|H.R. 2072: Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012|
|Vote Date: May 9, 2012||Vote: AYE||Bad 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 House passed H.R. 2072 on May 9, 2012 by a vote of 330 to 93 (Roll Call 224). We have assigned pluses to the nays 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 goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.
|H.Amdt.1078 to H.R.5326: An amendment to prohibit the use of funds to be used to enforce section 526 of the Energy Independence Security Act.|
|Vote Date: May 9, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|National Ocean Policy. During consideration of the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (H.R. 5326), Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) offered an amendment that would bar the use of funds in the bill to implement an executive order signed by President Obama in July 2010 calling for a national ocean policy. According to a press release on May 9 by the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Flores stated: "The National Ocean Policy was formed without congressional authority and would be run by unaccountable and unelected Washington bureaucrats. These proposed policy guidelines and processes have the potential to change the permitting criteria and requirements for a large number of economic sectors." Moreover, Obama's National Ocean Policy explicitly calls for "pursuing the United States' accession to the Law of the Sea Convention," also known as the Law of the Sea Treaty (LOST).|
The House adopted Flores' amendment on May 9, 2012 by a vote of 246 to 174 (Roll Call 234). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not empower the federal government to regulate the permitting criteria and other requirements of our nation's various economic sectors. Furthermore, ratifying the Law of the Sea Treaty would legitimize the UN's power grab over 70 percent of the Earth's surface and constitute a huge loss of our national sovereignty.
|H.R. 3523: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA)|
|Vote Date: April 26, 2012||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This bill (H.R. 3523) would foster information sharing about cyber threats between the federal government and private businesses. Businesses that would participate in this sharing would be protected from lawsuits regarding this sharing of their customers' private information with the government. According to Violet Blue in an article posted on ZDNet.com on June 8, "Most people familiar with CISPA believe it will wipe out decades of consumer privacy protections and is primarily to give the US government unprecedented access to individuals' online data and communications."|
The House passed H.R. 3523 on April 26, 2012 by a vote of 248 to 168 (Roll Call 192). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the CISPA bill would permit government access to the private information of citizens, in violation of the Fourth Amendment "right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."
|H.R. 5: Protecting Access to Healthcare Act|
|Vote Date: March 22, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|IPAB (Death Panel) Repeal. This legislation (H.R. 5) would repeal the provisions of the 2010 ObamaCare healthcare overhaul laws that established the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) responsible for curbing Medicare costs. It would restore previous law provisions to maintain the current Medicare spending review process. This bill is important because it would repeal the high-profile IPAB "death panel" provision of the unconstitutional ObamaCare law.|
The IPAB Board would be made up of 15 unelected members chosen by the President. According to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, the IPAB "could deny payment for certain care or medications, change the service options doctors have, and drive expensive, life-saving treatments out. Instead of discussing the options with your doctor, IPAB will be sitting at the controls in Washington making health decisions for you."
The House passed H.R. 5 on March 22, 2012 by a vote of 223 to 181 (Roll Call 126). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the IPAB provision of the ObamaCare law is clearly unconstitutional.
|H.R. 3408: Alaskan Energy for American Jobs Act|
|Vote Date: February 16, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Oil and Gas Development; Keystone XL Pipeline. This bill (H.R. 3408) would open up part of Alaska's resource-rich Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas development. It would also expand lease sales for drilling to include areas off the Southern California and mid-Atlantic coasts and in the Gulf of Mexico. And it would provide for approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, assigning the permitting authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and deeming the project approved if the FERC fails to act.|
The House passed H.R. 3408 on February 16, 2012 by a vote of 237 to 187 (Roll Call 71). 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.
|H.R. 3521: Expedited Legislative Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2012|
|Vote Date: February 8, 2012||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Line-item Veto. This bill (H.R. 3521) would allow the President to rescind all or part of any dollar amount of funding for discretionary spending items in enacted appropriations bills. Although both houses of Congress would have to approve any such rescissions, they would be forced to do so very quickly by the bill's expedited procedures, including a prohibition on amendments in both Houses and filibusters in the Senate.|
This bill dramatically and unilaterally enhances the power of the executive branch. Note that Article I, Section 1 and Article I, Section 7, Clauses 2 and 3, of the U.S. Constitution vest Congress with all legislative powers. Any bill that shifts legislative power away from Congress and to the President is violating the constitutionally defined separation of powers for the legislative and executive branches. A similar line-item veto law was passed when Clinton was President. That one was found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The House passed H.R. 3521 on February 8, 2012 by a vote of 254 to 173 (Roll Call 46). We have assigned pluses to the nays because providing any form of line-item veto power to the President violates the Constitution's separation of powers.
|H.J.Res. 98: Relating to the disapproval of the President|
|Vote Date: January 18, 2012||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Debt Limit Disapproval. The debt deal passed by Congress in August 2011 immediately raised the national debt limit by $400 billion, while also allowing the President to raise the ceiling by an additional $500 billion unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted. Should these increases in borrowing authority prove insufficient, the debt deal even allowed the President to raise the debt ceiling by another $1.2 to $1.5 trillion subject to a resolution of disapproval.|
Last year, President Obama requested the additional $500 billion debt-limit increase, and Congress failed to block the request. Though the resolution of disapproval was passed by the House, it was rejected by the Senate.
This year, Obama requested raising the debt ceiling an additional $1.2 trillion, and the House tried to block the increase via a resolution of disapproval (House Joint Resolution 98). The House passed H. J. Res. 98 on January 18, 2012 by a vote of 239 to 176 (Roll Call 4). 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 16, 2011||Vote: NAY||Good 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 House adopted the final version of this legislation (known as a conference report) on December 16, 2011 by a vote of 296 to 121 (Roll Call 941). We have assigned pluses to the nays because many of the bill's spending programs -- e.g., education, housing, foreign aid, etc. -- are unconstitutional. Moreover, passing this mammoth appropriations bill in light of the ongoing trillion-dollar annual deficits is grossly fiscally irresponsible. Furthermore, packaging the appropriations bills for so many large federal agencies into one mega-bill greatly reduces the accountability of the Congressmen to their constituents.
|H.R. 1633: Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act of 2011|
|Vote Date: December 8, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act. This legislation (H.R. 1633) would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from "revising any national ambient air quality standard applicable to coarse particulate matter" for one year. The intent behind the legislation is to temporarily block the EPA from imposing tougher coarse-particulates regulations that could restrict farm dust from agricultural and livestock operations.|
The House passed H.R. 1633 on December 8, 2011 by a vote of 268 to 150 (Roll Call 912). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because of the harm regulation of farm dust would do to the agricultural sector, but also because the federal government has no constitutional authority to impose such regulations.
|H.R. 10: Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2011|
|Vote Date: December 7, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Congressional Approval of Major Regulations. This legislation (H.R. 10) is entitled the "Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act" and is also known as the REINS Act. It would prohibit the executive branch from putting into effect major rules -- rules having an economic impact of at least $100 million per year - until those rules are approved by Congress. The intent of the bill is to rein in the executive from usurping legislative powers via executive fiat.|
The House passed the REINS Act on December 7, 2011 by a vote of 241 to 184 (Roll Call 901). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because all legislative powers in the Constitution are vested in Congress, not the executive branch. Mandatory rules issued by the executive branch may not be called laws, but they have the same effect as laws, and what they are called does not change the reality.
|H.R. 2112: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012|
|Vote Date: November 17, 2011||Vote: AYE||Bad 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 House passed the final version of this bill (known as a conference report) on November 17, 2011 by a vote of 298 to 121 (Roll Call 857). 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).
|H.R. 358: Protect Life Act|
|Vote Date: October 13, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Abortion Funding. H.R. 358 would prohibit any federal funding to be used to purchase health insurance plans covering abortion. It would also require that any insurance companies offering plans via the ObamaCare-created state exchanges that include abortion coverage offer identical plans minus the abortion coverage.|
The House passed H.R. 358 on October 13, 2011 by a vote of 251 to 172 (Roll Call 789). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because the government should not be subsidizing the killing of innocent human life, but also because there is no constitutional authority for the government to manage or finance the healthcare sector.
|H.R. 3080: United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act|
|Vote Date: October 12, 2011||Vote: AYE||Bad 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 House passed H.R. 3080, the measure to implement the South Korea trade agreement, on October 12, 2011 by a vote of 278 to 151 (Roll Call 783). 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 binding the United States, despite the fact that under the Constitution only Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations."
|H.R. 2401: Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011|
|Vote Date: September 23, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Cross-state Air-pollution Rules. During consideration of legislation (H.R. 2401) regarding the regulatory impact of EPA regulations, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) proposed an amendment that would delay cross-state air-pollution rules until at least 2015. The amendment would delay by at least two years sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions standards for power plants and allow the companies at least five years to comply after the rules are issued.|
The House passed Whitfield's amendment on September 23, 2011 by a vote of 234 to 188 (Roll Call 737). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the new EPA cross-state pollution rules will further damage the economy and also because the federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate power plant emissions.
|H.R. 2587: Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act|
|Vote Date: September 15, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|National Labor Relations Board. Earlier this year Boeing, a longtime airplane manufacturer in the state of Washington, opened a production facility in South Carolina for its new 787 Dreamliner airplane. Although this development had been publicly announced in 2009, early this year the machinists union charged that Boeing's decision was unfair and asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to take action against Boeing. The NLRB complied by issuing a formal complaint as described in its press release of April 20, 2011: "National Labor Relations Board issues complaint against Boeing Company for unlawfully transferring work to a non-union facility."|
Representative Tim Scott (R-S.C.) responded to the NLRB complaint by introducing H.R. 2587, the Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act, "To prohibit the National Labor Relations Board from ordering any employer to close, relocate, or transfer employment under any circumstance."
The House passed H.R. 2587 on September 15, 2011 by a vote of 238 to 186 (Roll Call 711). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government has no constitutional authority to order a company to reinstate production or make certain investments at a given location, or to block a company's decision to relocate production.
|H.J.RES 77: Relating to the disapproval of the President|
|Vote Date: September 14, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Debt Limit Disapproval. Under the debt deal passed by Congress in August, the debt ceiling was raised by $400 billion, and the President can raise the ceiling by an additional $500 billion unless a resolution of disapproval is enacted. President Obama decided to raise the national debt the full $900 billion, and legislation was introduced (House Joint Resolution 77) to block the $500 billion increase.|
The House passed the resolution of disapproval on September 14, 2011 by a vote of 232 to 186 (Roll Call 706). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because piling on more and more debt is devastating to the economy, and the bulk of the federal government's spending spree is for unconstitutional programs.
|H.AMDT. 579: An amendment to prohibit the use of funds for military operations in or against Libya except under a declaration of war against Libya pursuant to clause 11 in section 8 of article I of the Constitution.|
|Vote Date: August 7, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Libya. During consideration of the Defense appropriations bill, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced an amendment to prohibit the use of funds in the bill to carry out military actions against Libya unless Congress declares war against Libya.|
The Founding Fathers assigned this power to Congress because they did not want a single man deciding when to go to war. Yet President Obama usurped this congressional war-making authority by initiating offensive military actions against Libya without even asking advice from Congress, much less requesting the required declaration of war.
The House rejected the Kucinich amendment on July 8, 2011 by a vote of 169 to 251 (Roll Call 530). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution only Congress has the power "to declare war."
|S. 365: Budget Control Act of 2011|
|Vote Date: August 1, 2011||Vote: AYE||Bad 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.|
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 House passed S. 365 on August 1, 2011 by a vote of 269 to 161 (Roll Call 690). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the debt deal allows both the national debt and spending to continue their upward trajectories. Moreover, the budget process established by the legislation is clearly unconstitutional since no Congress can bind the actions of future Congresses via the so-called automatic cuts.
|H.R. 2417: Better Use of Light Bulbs Act|
|Vote Date: July 12, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Incandescent Light Bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs ranging from 40 to 100 watts will be phased out during 2012-2014 in accordance with the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-140). The first size to be phased out in 2012 will be the 100-watt incandescent light bulb. The energy efficiency standards in PL 110-140 that will effectively ban the ubiquitous incandescent light bulb will leave the environmentally questionable (due to mercury content) compact fluorescent light bulbs as the only economical light bulb in the marketplace. However, this ban on incandescent light bulbs led to the introduction of H.R. 2417, a bill that would repeal the relevant sections of PL 110-140 so that the familiar incandescent light bulbs would continue to be available for purchase in the United States.|
The House rejected H.R. 2417 on July 12, 2011 by a vote of 233 to 193 (Roll Call 563). The bill was brought to a vote under suspension of the rules, which required a two-thirds majority of those present and voting (284 in this case) for passage. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government has no constitutional authority to establish energy efficiency standards that would prevent the production, distribution, and consumer purchase of a previously perfectly acceptable and universally used product, such as the incandescent light bulb.
|H.Con.Res. 51: Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya|
|Vote Date: June 3, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Libya Troop Withdrawal. House Concurrent Resolution 51 would have directed President Obama, "pursuant to ... the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Libya." The War Powers Resolution bars the President from militarily engaging the armed forces for more than 60 days without congressional approval. Obama had not sought congressional approval for undertaking military action in Libya. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who sponsored H. Con. Res. 51, noted: "In the weeks leading up to the war, the administration had time to consult with the Arab League, the United Nations, the African Union, but apparently had no time to come to this Congress for approval."|
The House rejected Kucinich's resolution on June 3, 2011 by a vote of 148 to 265 (Roll Call 412). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not merely because Obama's Libya deployment is now in violation of the War Powers Act's 60-day requirement for congressional authorization, but also because it violates the Constitution, which clearly assigns to Congress the power "to declare war."
|S. 990: PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011|
|Vote Date: May 26, 2011||Vote: AYE||Bad 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 House passed the Patriot Act extension on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 250 to 153 (Roll Call 376). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the provisions that were extended, as well as the Patriot Act as a whole, violate the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
|H.R. 1229: Putting the Gulf of Mexico Back to Work Act|
|Vote Date: May 11, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Offshore Drilling Leases. This bill (H.R. 1229) would modify the process for leasing permits for exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico so as to remove bureaucratic foot-dragging impeding more offshore drilling. As summarized by Congressional Quarterly, H.R. 1229 "would require the Interior Department to decide on approval of an exploratory drilling permit application within 30 days, with the option of extending the review period up to 60 days. If the department fails to issue a ruling within 60 days, the application would be deemed approved."|
The House passed H.R. 1229 on May 11, 2011 by a vote of 263 to 163 (Roll Call 309). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should not be impeding the exploration for and development of natural resources by entrepreneurs.
|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, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good 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 House adopted H. Con. Res. 35 on April 14, 2011 by a vote of 240 to 185 (Roll Call 270). 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, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Planned Parenthood Defunding. House Concurrent Resolution 36 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 prohibit the use of any funding in the bill for Planned Parenthood.|
The House adopted H. Con. Res. 36 on April 14, 2011 by a vote of 241 to 185 (Roll Call 271). 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.
|H.R. 910: Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011|
|Vote Date: April 7, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Greenhouse-gas Regulation. This bill (H.R. 910) would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from stationary sources for the purpose of addressing climate change. The EPA claims that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are pollutants, and that these gases can therefore be regulated under the Clean Air Act -- even without the enactment of any legislation restricting greenhouse-gas emissions. Global-warming alarmists have tried to push such legislation though Congress, but have thus far been unsuccessful. Carbon dioxide, one of the EPA-defined greenhouse-gas pollutants, not only occurs naturally but is necessary for the existence of plant life.|
The House passed H.R. 910 on April 7, 2011 by a vote of 255 to 172 (Roll Call 249). 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. 1076: To prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of Federal funds to acquire radio content|
|Vote Date: March 17, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|NPR Funding Ban. This bill (H.R. 1076) would prohibit federal funding of National Public Radio (NPR). Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), the bill's sponsor, said that "NPR can survive on its own" without federal funding. NPR funding has become a contentious issue because of its left-wing bias. However, NPR funding should also be debated because there is no constitutional authorization for the federal government to create or fund "public broadcasting," any more than there is authorization for the feds to bankroll a "public newspaper" in competition with a free press.|
The House passed this bill on March 17, 2011 by a vote of 228 to 192 (Roll Call 192). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because federal funding of public broadcasting is unconstitutional.
|H.R. 4: Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011|
|Vote Date: March 3, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good 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 House passed H.R. 4 on March 3, 2011 by a vote of 314-112 (Roll Call 162). 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.
|H.Amdt. 117: Prohibit funds to pay dues to the United Nations|
|Vote Date: February 18, 2011||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|UN Dues. During consideration of a continuing appropriations bill (H.R. 1) to fund government operations through the rest of the fiscal year ending on September 2011, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.) offered an amendment to prohibit any funding in the bill from being used to pay for any dues to the United Nations.|
The House rejected Broun's amendment on February 18, 2011 by a vote of 177 to 243 (Roll Call 107). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because stopping U.S. dues payments to the United Nations is a step toward getting the United States out of the UN. Our membership in the UN undermines U.S. sovereignty -- e.g., when the Security Council passes various resolutions, including resolutions calling for military intervention, that the United States is expected to enforce, irrespective of the U.S. Constitution or congressional powers.
|H.R. 2: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act|
|Vote Date: January 19, 2011||Vote: AYE||Good 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 House passed H.R. 2 on January 19, 2011 by a vote of 245-189 (Roll Call 14). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the 2010 healthcare overhaul law known as ObamaCare is thoroughly unconstitutional. There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to manage the healthcare industry.