Name: Kerry Bentivolio
Congress: Michigan, District: 11, Republican
Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 80%
Status: Former Member of the House
80% (113th Congress: 2013-2014)
|H R 83: An Act to require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and Freely Associated States through the development of energy action plans aimed at promoting access to energy|
|Vote Date: December 11, 2014||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
According to Congressional Quarterly, 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. Included in that total is: $20.6 billion for Agriculture; $61.1 billion for Commerce-Justice-Science; $554.2 billion for Defense, including $64 billion for overseas contingency operations associated with the war in Afghanistan, the fight against ISIS and other counterterrorism operations; $34.2 billion for Energy-Water; $43.2 billion for Financial Services; $30 billion for Interior-Environment; $158.2 billion for Labor-HHS-Education; $4.3 billion for the Legislative Branch; $71.8 billion for Military Construction-VA; $52 billion for State-Foreign Operations; and $53.5 billion for Transportation-HUD. The measure contains full fiscal year funding for all departments except for Homeland Security, which would be funded at current levels until Feb. 27, 2015."
The House concurred with the Senate version of the bill on December 11, 2014 by a vote of 219 to 206 (Roll Call 563). 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.
|H R 5759: To establish a rule of construction clarifying the limitations on executive authority to provide certain forms of immigration relief|
|Vote Date: December 4, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Executive Action on Immigration.|
H.R. 5759 would prohibit the executive branch of the federal government from: (1) exempting or deferring, by executive order, regulation, or any other means, categories of aliens considered under the existing immigration laws to be unlawfully present in the United States from removal under such laws; (2) treating such aliens as if they were lawfully present or had a lawful immigration status; or (3) treating such aliens other than as unauthorized aliens as defined in current immigration laws.
The House passed H.R. 5759 on December 4, 2014 by a vote of 219 to 197 (Roll Call 550). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because "President Obama's grant of deferred action to more than four million unlawfully present aliens, as directed in a November 20, 2014, memorandum issued by Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Charles Johnson, is without any constitutional or statutory basis," as correctly stated in the bill.
|H R 5682: To approve the Keystone XL Pipeline|
|Vote Date: November 14, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Keystone XL Pipeline.|
H.R. 5682 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 House passed H.R. 5682 on November 14, 2014 by a vote of 252 to 161 (Roll Call 519). 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 roadblocks against the pipeline project.
|H R 24: 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, and for other purposes|
|Vote Date: September 17, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Federal Reserve Audit.|
Representative Paul Broun (R-Ga.) introduced a bill (H.R. 24) to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a full audit of both the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks' activities within one year of enactment and report its findings to Congress within 90 days of having the audit completed.
The House passed H.R. 24 on September 17, 2014 by a vote of 333 to 92 (Roll Call 504). 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 lead to its eventual abolishment.
|H R 5078: Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act|
|Vote Date: September 9, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
H.R. 5078 would block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers from finalizing a proposed rule, supported by the Obama administration to expand the scope of the federal government's authority over "waters of the United States." During debate on the bill, Representative Steve Southerland (R-Fla.), sponsor of the bill, explained: "Under its proposed rules, 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 House passed H.R. 5078 on September 9, 2014 by a vote of 262 to 152 (Roll Call 489). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because both federal water regulations and the EPA are unconstitutional, and if the rule were to pass, activities such as farming would become nearly unfeasible, since farmers would have to get federal permits to do many farm activities, such as cleaning out ditches.
|H R 4899: Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act|
|Vote Date: June 26, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Oil and Gas Exploration.|
H.R. 4899, the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014, would establish a five-year program for oil and gas leasing. Title I, Subtitle A of the bill would require at least 25 percent of eligible federal land be made available each year to lease for oil and gas exploration. Furthermore, the Interior Department would be required to make available for oil and gas exploration and development at least 50 percent of the unleased coastal areas that have the most potential for energy production.
The House passed H.R. 4899 on June 26, 2014 by a vote of 229 to 185 (Roll Call 368). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should not hinder the development and utilization of the nation's natural resources, including oil and gas. Encouraging and allowing such development is in line with the Constitution and should therefore be supported. Additionally, such a move would place America further along the road to energy self-sufficiency, which is important for national security and insulation from various global political crises.
|H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 69 to H R 4870|
|Vote Date: June 19, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to prevent defense funds from being used to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to sift through electronic metadata that contains the personal information of U.S. citizens or legal residents. Massie's amendment would also prohibit funds from being used by the NSA for "backdoor" surveillance - requiring or requesting the redesign of a product to facilitate the electronic surveillance of a person who uses it.
As Massie said during debate on his amendment, "The American people are sick of being spied on. Our Founding Fathers wrote an important provision into the Bill of Rights - the Fourth Amendment - and that requires probable cause and a warrant before the government and government agents can snoop on any American."
The House adopted Massie's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 293-123 (Roll Call 327). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Massie's amendment seeks to uphold the Constitution and its protection of privacy rights. Any attempt to curtail the surveillance state and restore constitutional protections to Americans is good.
|H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 51 to H R 4870|
|Vote Date: June 19, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Weapons to Syrian Rebels.|
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) introduced an amendment that would have prohibited any funding in the bill from being used to provide weapons to Syrian rebels. Fortenberry noted on the House floor that "the rebel movement is a battleground of shifting alliances and bloody conflicts between groups that now include multinational terrorist organizations," that "sending our weapons into this chaotic war zone could inadvertently help these extremists," and that "it has already happened." He added: "The naive notion that we can deliver weapons to vetted, moderate opposition groups at war with other rebel militias gives no guarantee that our weaponry won't be seized or diverted."
The House rejected Fortenberry's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 167 to 244 (Roll Call 328). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because arming "moderate" rebels in a foreign country is tantamount to going to war, which would require a declaration of war by Congress. Also, the United States should follow the Founders' advice not to become involved in foreign quarrels.
|H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 52 to H R 4870|
|Vote Date: June 19, 2014||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|Militarizing Local Police.|
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) introduced an amendment that would have prohibited any funding in the bill from being used to transfer excess military equipment, such as aircraft (including drones), armored vehicles, grenade launchers, and bombs, to local police departments. "Those weapons have no place in our streets, regardless of who may be deploying them," Grayson said in remarks supporting his amendment.
The House rejected Grayson's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 62 to 355 (Roll Call 329). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the proper role of local police is undermined by converting them into militarized units more suitable for occupying hostile territory than for protecting their local communities from the criminal element. Providing local police with "free" U.S. military equipment also greases the skids for more federal control, leading ultimately to nationalized police beholden to Washington as opposed to independent police departments beholden to local citizens acting through their elected officials.
|H R 4870: On Agreeing to the Amendment 56 to H R 4870|
|Vote Date: June 19, 2014||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|Military Operations in Afghanistan.|
During consideration of the Defense Appropriations bill, Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment that would have barred any funding in the bill from being used "pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force [AUMF] ... after December 31, 2014," the date that was set as the official end of U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan. Enacted in 2001 in the wake of 9/11, the AUMF has been invoked numerous times by the executive branch for U.S. military intervention not only in Afghanistan but elsewhere.
The House rejected Lee's amendment on June 19, 2014 by a vote of 157 to 260 (Roll Call 330). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because presidents have been able to claim broad authority to go to war whenever or wherever they choose under the AUMF, despite the fact that the Founding Fathers never intended for one man to make this decision and under the Constitution only Congress may "declare war."
|H R 4435: On Agreeing to the Amendment 13 to H R 4435|
|Vote Date: May 22, 2014||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|Indefinite Military Detention.|
During consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015 (NDAA, H.R. 4435), Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) introduced an amendment to prohibit the indefinite military detention of any person detained under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force authority in the United States, its territories, or possessions by providing immediate transfer to a trial and proceedings by a court. It also would strike language that would provide for mandatory military custody of covered parties.
The House rejected Smith's amendment on May 22, 2014 by a vote of 191 to 230 (Roll Call 234). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because any attempt to limit or prohibit indefinite military detention is desirable, especially since persons detained may include U.S. citizens. Indefinite military detention is a blatant violation of the Sixth Amendment, and an executive who can wield such powers is akin to a monarch or dictator. As Rep. Smith said during consideration of the amendment: "That is an enormous amount of power to give the Executive: to take someone and lock them up without due process. It is not necessary. This President has not used the authority. President George W. Bush did not use it after about 2002 and then only in a couple of instances. It is not necessary. It is an enormous amount of power to grant the Executive, and I believe places liberty and freedom at risk in this country."
|H R 4435: On Agreeing to the Amendment 17 to H R 4435|
|Vote Date: May 22, 2014||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|Use of Military Force.|
During consideration of the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2015 (NDAA, H.R. 4435), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment to sunset the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force 12 months after the enactment of the 2015 NDAA.
The House rejected Schiff's amendment on May 22, 2014 by a vote of 191 to 233 (Roll Call 237). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, while granted by Congress, gives the president almost unlimited powers to invade countries, overthrow governments, and assassinate people under the pretext of waging the "war on terror." Congress essentially handed over its constitutional authority to declare war to the executive branch, thus giving the executive unconstitutional abilities. Any attempt to end the Authorization for the Use of Military Force is a step in the right direction.
|H R 4152: To provide for the costs of loan guarantees for Ukraine|
|Vote Date: April 1, 2014||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
This bill (H.R. 4152), as amended by the Senate (see Senate vote below), would provide $150 million for direct aid to Ukraine. It would also provide for loan guarantees (meaning that 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 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 House voted for this legislation on April 1, 2014 by a vote of 378 to 34 (Roll Call 149). 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.
|H R 4138: Executive Needs to Faithfully Observe and Respect Congressional Enactments of the Law Act of 2014|
|Vote Date: March 12, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Enforcing Existing Laws.|
This bill (H.R. 4138) would authorize either the House or Senate, upon adoption of a resolution, to bring civil action charges against the president, the head of any department or agency of the United States, or any other employee of the United States who has failed to enforce an existing law, policy, program, regulation, rule, or statute, in violation of the president's constitutional obligation to faithfully execute the laws (Article II, Section 3). This bill provides that such a civil action shall be filed in a U.S. district court and shall be heard by a three-judge panel. The panel's decisions would be reviewable only by appeal directly to the Supreme Court.
The House passed H.R. 4138 on March 12, 2014 by a vote of 233 to 181 (Roll Call 124). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution requires that the president "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." When instead the president picks and chooses which laws to enforce and which to ignore, he is usurping the powers of Congress, which under the Constitution possesses sole legislative powers.
|H R 3826: Electricity Security and Affordability Act|
|Vote Date: March 6, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
This bill (H.R. 3826) would prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from issuing, implementing, or enforcing any proposed rule under the Clean Air Act "that establishes a standard of performance for emissions of any greenhouse gas from any new source that is a fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating unit" unless such rule meets certain requirements as provided in this bill.
The House passed H.R. 3826 on March 6, 2014 by a vote of 229 to 183 (Roll Call 106). 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.
|S 540: Temporary Debt Limit Extension Act|
|Vote Date: February 11, 2014||Vote: NAY||Good 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 House passed S. 540 on February 11, 2014 by a vote of 221 to 201(Roll Call 61). 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.
|H R 2642: 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: January 29, 2014||Vote: NAY||Good 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 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.
The House passed the conference report on January 29, 2014 by a vote of 251 to 166 (Roll Call 31). 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.
|H R 7: To prohibit taxpayer funded abortions|
|Vote Date: January 28, 2014||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
This bill (H.R. 7) would permanently prohibit any federal funding or resources to be used to facilitate the coverage or performance of an abortion, except in cases involving the endangerment of the mother's life, incest, or rape. It would also prohibit abortions from being performed at any federal or District of Columbia healthcare facility and by any physician in the employment of the federal government or D.C.
The House passed H.R. 7 on January 28, 2014 by a vote of 227 to 188 (Roll Call 30). 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 3547: To extend the application of certain space launch liability provisions through 2014|
|Vote Date: January 15, 2014||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
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 House concurred with the Senate version of the omnibus appropriations bill on January 15, 2014 by a vote of 359 to 67 (Roll Call 21). 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.
|H J RES 59: Making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes|
|Vote Date: December 12, 2013||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
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 House concurred with the Senate version of the Budget Resolution on December 12, 2013 by a vote of 332 to 94 (Roll Call 640). 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.
|H R 2775: To condition the provision of premium and cost-sharing subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act upon a certification that a program to verify household income and other qualifications for such subsidies is operational, and for other purposes|
|Vote Date: October 16, 2013||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|Continuing Resolution (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 October 16, 2013, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) offered a motion to concur in the Senate amendment, and the House agreed to his motion by a vote of 285 to 144 (Roll Call 550). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the negotiated deal contained in this bill constituted a cave-in by 87 Republicans that ended the government shutdown as well as the Republican attempt to defund the unconstitutional ObamaCare law.
|H J RES 59: Making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes|
|Vote Date: September 20, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Continuing Resolution/Defunding ObamaCare.|
This 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 Republicansâ€™ implementation of the strategy for defunding ObamaCare via a continuing resolution (CR). Democrats, on the other hand, opposed any omnibus CR that did not also fund ObamaCare. The impasse led to the 16-day partial government shutdown at the start of the new fiscal year.
The House passed the CR on September 20, 2013 by a vote of 230 to 189 (Roll Call 478). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because, even though the bill contains appropriations for huge amounts of unconstitutional spending, it would completely defund unconstitutional ObamaCare in fiscal 2014.
|H R 367: Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act|
|Vote Date: August 2, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Congressional Approval of Federal Regulations. |
This bill (H.R. 367) would require agencies of the executive branch to obtain approval from Congress before enacting any proposals deemed to be "major rules." The definition of "major rules" includes proposals likely to cost more than $50 million, rules that would have an adverse effect on the economy, regulations pertaining to implementation of a carbon tax, and rules made under ObamaCare.
The House passed H.R. 367 on August 2, 2013 by a vote of 232 to 183 (Roll Call 445). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because in recent decades the executive branch, via various federal agencies and executive orders, has exercised a great deal of unconstitutional power. An executive who can write laws and regulations apart from the legislature is basically a king or a dictator, and this abuse of power is precisely what the Founding Fathers tried to prevent with the separation of powers.
|H R 2397: On Agreeing to the Amendment 54 to H R 2397|
|Vote Date: July 24, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|U.S.-China Joint Military Exercises.|
During consideration of the defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2397), Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) offered an amendment to prohibit funds to "be used for United States military exercises which include any participation by the People's Republic of China." On September 6, 2013, after this amendment was rejected, three Chinese warships arrived at Pearl Harbor to participate in a joint one-day search-and-rescue drill with the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser U.S.S. Lake Erie. The joint exercise was conducted on September 9, 2013. On November 12, 2013, for the first time in U.S. history, Chinese People's Liberation Army troops put boots on U.S. soil as they participated in a joint "Disaster Management Exchange" with the U.S. Army Pacific, the Hawaii Army National Guard, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The amendment to prohibit the use of funds for such ventures was intended to prevent the U.S. military from participating in them.
The House rejected Stockman's amendment on July 24, 2013 by a vote of 137 to 286 (Roll Call 404). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because communist China is a self-proclaimed enemy of the United States, responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people in the 20th century; continues to persecute countless political dissenters, Christians, and other religious minorities; and has recently threatened to target and destroy U.S. cities with nuclear-tipped ICBMs. Military collaboration with the Chinese regime will not diminish the security threat it poses to the United States but, if anything, heighten it.
|H R 2397: On Agreeing to the Amendment 64 to H R 2397|
|Vote Date: July 24, 2013||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
During consideration of the defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2397), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) offered an amendment to prohibit funding for military actions after December 31, 2014 that are carried out pursuant to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF). As Rep. Schiff noted: "The 2001 AUMF was never intended to authorize a war without end, and it now poorly defines those who pose a threat to our country. That authority and the funding that goes along with it should expire concurrent with the end of our combat role in Afghanistan."
Schiff also noted: "The Constitution vests the Congress with the power to declare war and the responsibility of appropriating funds to pay for it. It is our most awesome responsibility and central to our military efforts overseas. We owe it to the men and women we send into combat to properly define and authorize their mission, and my amendment will effectively give Congress the next 16 months to do so."
The House rejected Schiff's amendment on July 24, 2013 by a vote of 185 to 236 (Roll Call 410). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because only Congress has the constitutional authority to declare war and appropriate funds to pay for it. Authorizing the president to use military force without a declaration of war is a shifting of responsibility from Congress to the executive branch that essentially allows the president to exercise dictator-like powers and should be opposed.
|H R 2397: On Agreeing to the Amendment 70 to H R 2397|
|Vote Date: July 24, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|NSA Surveillance of Phone Records.|
During consideration of the defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2397), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) offered an amendment to end the blanket collection of records under the Patriot Act. Amash's amendment would also prevent the NSA and other agencies from using provisions of the Patriot Act to collect records, including phone records, from persons who are not subject to an investigation. As Rep. Amash noted during the debate on his amendment, "My amendment ... limits the government's collection of the records to those records that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation pursuant to section 215 [of the Patriot Act]."
The House rejected Amash's amendment on July 24, 2013 by a vote of 205 to 217 (Roll Call 412). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because any effort to limit the collection of Americans' personal information by the surveillance state is a good thing. Blanket collection of electronic records of citizens who are not under investigation is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on search and seizure without a warrant.
|H R 2397: On Agreeing to the Amendment 30 to H R 2397|
|Vote Date: July 23, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Buying Russian Helicopters for Afghan Security Forces.|
During consideration of the defense appropriations bill (H.R. 2397), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) introduced an amendment to defund a Defense Department purchase of 30 Russian Mi-17 helicopters. Circumventing Congress, the Defense Department on June 13, 2013 awarded a $553.8 million contract to the Russian state-owned arms export firm Rosoboronexport for the purchase of the helicopters. Coffman's amendment would specifically strip that amount from the DOD's Afghanistan Security Forces Fund.
The House adopted Coffman's amendment on July 23, 2013 by a vote of 346 to 79 (Roll Call 390). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because it is preposterous that the United States would take U.S. taxpayer dollars to purchase helicopters for the new Afghan military from Rosoboronexport, a Russian state-owned export company that has manufactured and supplied arms to enemy states, such as Iran and Syria.
|H R 2231: Offshore Energy and Jobs Act|
|Vote Date: June 28, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Offshore Oil and Gas.|
This legislation (H.R. 2231), the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act, would allow for increased energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf and provide for equitable sharing of energy production revenue for all coastal states. The act also instructs the energy secretary to lease areas off the coast of South Carolina and Southern California that have geologically promising hydrocarbon resources.
The House passed H.R. 2231 on June 28, 2013 by a vote of 235 to 186 (Roll Call 304). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because increased exploration and utilization of the country's energy resources would greatly assist economic growth and energy independence for our nation.
|H R 1947: Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act|
|Vote Date: June 20, 2013||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Farm and Food Programs. |
This legislation (H.R. 1947) would authorize roughly $939 billion through fiscal 2018 for federal farm aid, nutrition assistance, rural development, etc. This bill would also institute programs to manage milk supplies and subsidies for farmers. Significantly, this proposed legislation would restrict eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as food stamps, and allow states to conduct drug testing on SNAP applicants.
The House rejected H.R. 1947 on June 20, 2013 by a vote of 195 to 234 (Roll Call 286). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this legislation would call for nearly $1 trillion in unconstitutional spending. The constitution does not authorize the federal government to subsidize food, farmers, or poverty. These subsidies have resulted in large market distortions as the government essentially picks winners and losers in the food production industry, and the fact that the number of people enrolled in food stamp programs has grown consistently illustrates that these programs do little to lift people out of poverty.
|H R 1960: On Agreeing to the Amendment 12 to H R 1960|
|Vote Date: June 13, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Indefinite Military Detention.|
During consideration of the defense authorization bill (H.R. 1960), Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) offered an amendment to eliminate indefinite military detention of any person detained in the United States, its territories, or possessions, under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force. Smith's amendment would call for the immediate transfer of such detained persons to trial in a civilian court. Furthermore, Smith's amendment would repeal a provision of the 2012 defense authorization law that requires mandatory military custody of members or associates of al-Qaeda who planned or carried out attacks against the United States or its coalition partners.
The House rejected Smith's amendment on June 13, 2013 by a vote of 200 to 226 (Roll Call 228). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because indefinite detention without trial is a serious violation of long-cherished legal protections including the right to habeas corpus, the issuance of a warrant based on probable cause (Fourth Amendment), and the right to a "speedy and public" trial (Sixth Amendment). Under the National Defense Authorization Act, the president may abrogate these rights simply by designating terror suspects, including Americans, as "enemy combatants." A government that would lock up anyone indefinitely without trial is certainly moving toward tyranny, and legislation to prevent this abuse of power is needed.
|H R 2217: On Agreeing to the Amendment 40 to H R 2217|
|Vote Date: June 6, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Illegal Immigration. During consideration of the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 2217), Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) offered an amendment to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce" the Obama administration policies regarding illegal immigrants known as prosecutorial discretion, which "seek to implement an administrative amnesty policy."|
Rep. King went on to remark: "This is an that prohibits the resources from being used to enforce [prosecutorial discretion], amendment and it conforms with the Founding Fathers' vision, and it conforms with the Constitution in that the President cannot defy his own oath of office. He can't defy the Constitution. The President can't take on Article I authority and legislate by executive order or edict or press conference. That's the job of this Congress. That's why we are Article I. He is Article II."
The House adopted King's amendment on June 6, 2013 by a vote of 224 to 201 (Roll Call 208). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because only Congress has the power under the Constitution "to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization."
|H R 2217: On Agreeing to the Amendment 27 to H R 2217|
|Vote Date: June 5, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Homeland Security Ammunition Purchases. During consideration of the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 2217), Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) offered an amendment specifying that "none of the funds made available by this Act may be used for entering into a new contract for the purposes of purchasing ammunition" until the Department of Homeland Security submits a report to Congress about its purchase and use of ammunition. Meadows explained on the floor of the House that a recent large ammunition purchase by DHS was a cause for concern. "Earlier this year, it was reported that DHS solicited bids for some 1.1 billion rounds of ammunition," he noted. "This was more than 10 times the amount that the Department purchased in fiscal year 2012." Meadows added that the current inventory of ammunition for the 62,618 DHS employees certified in firearms amounts to nearly 4,000 rounds per person.|
The House adopted Meadows' amendment on June 5, 2013 by a vote of 234 to 192 (Roll Call 204). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the size of DHS ammunition purchases is alarming - particularly considering that under our constitutional system domestic law enforcement is a local and state responsibility.
|H R 3: To approve the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL pipeline, and for other purposes|
|Vote Date: May 22, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Keystone XL Pipeline. This bill (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 House passed H.R. 3 on May 22, 2013 by a vote of 241 to 175 (Roll Call 179). 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 45: To repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010|
|Vote Date: May 16, 2013||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|ObamaCare Repeal. This legislation (H.R. 45) would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148) and healthcare-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-152), which together are known as "ObamaCare." This bill would also restore or revive the provisions of healthcare law amended or repealed by Public Laws 111-148 and 111-152 as if these two laws had never been enacted. Although this vote could be viewed as merely symbolic because it stood no chance of passage in the Senate, the upcoming ObamaCare-implementation train-wreck could still lead to the ultimate repeal of ObamaCare.|
The House passed H.R. 45 on May 16, 2013 by a vote of 229 to 195 (Roll Call 154). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because ObamaCare is obviously unconstitutional, and it is causing healthcare costs to rise dramatically.
|H R 624: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection (CISPA) Act|
|Vote Date: April 18, 2013||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This legislation (H.R. 624) would further legalize the massive sharing of private-user online data by Internet companies with federal government agencies, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), that has already been happening for years. As Robert X. Cringely posted in his article "The CISPA Circus: Send in the Clowns" on InfoWorld.com on April 19, the day after the CISPA bill passed in the House: "The problem with CISPA is that in its current form it's still vague and ripe for abuse. It absolves corporations of being responsible for what happens to the data they've collected. It allows data sharing with the entire federal government, not just the parts responsible for ensuring our safety. It circumvents other laws designed to limit governmental access to private information. And it can be deployed for a wide range of perceived threats that have nothing to do with attacks on our nation's infrastructure."|
The House passed CISPA on April 18, 2013 by a vote of 288 to 127 (Roll Call 117). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the massive sharing of private citizens' online data by Internet companies with federal government agencies authorized by this bill violates "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" as set forth in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
|H R 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013|
|Vote Date: March 21, 2013||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Continuing Appropriations for Fiscal 2013. This appropriations bill (H.R. 933) would finance the federal government through the end of fiscal 2013. Its provisions include five full-year appropriations bills - Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Defense, Homeland Security, and Military Construction-VA. It would also continue appropriations for the remainder of the federal government at 2012 levels, with certain adjustments. The spending includes $1.043 trillion in "discretionary" (non-mandatory) spending before sequestration.|
In general, this appropriations bill perpetuates the Washington spendathon without making the needed decisions to slash government spending and eliminate deficit spending - projected to be $973 billion for fiscal 2013 in the budget Obama submitted in April.
The House agreed to this legislation on March 21, 2013 by a vote of 318 to 109 (Roll Call 89). 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 803: Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills Act|
|Vote Date: March 15, 2013||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|Minimum Wage. During consideration of a bill to consolidate job-training programs (H.R. 803), Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) offered a motion to recommit the bill to the House Education and the Workforce Committee and report it back immediately with an amendment that, among other things, would incrementally increase the federal minimum wage by a total $2.85 over two years to $10.10 an hour. In 2007, the federal minimum wage was increased by $2.10 to the current $7.25 an hour. Though many people believe that raising the federal minimum wage is a solution to national poverty, mandating higher wages causes employers to limit hiring of entry-level workers, causing more unemployment. On the other hand, when the market is allowed to dictate wages, entry-level workers are able to get the experience and job training they need to get higher paying jobs.|
The House rejected Miller's motion on March 15, 2013 by a vote of 184 to 233 (Roll Call 74). We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional for the government to prohibit citizens from working for less than a government-set wage.
|H R 933: Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013|
|Vote Date: March 6, 2013||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|Sequestration Caps. During consideration of the continuing appropriations bill for fiscal 2013 (H.R. 933), Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.) moved to send the bill back to the House Appropriations Committee with instructions to report it back with an amendment striking the automatic sequestration cuts from the bill. Those cuts total $85 billion in fiscal 2013 - a relatively small amount compared to a total federal budget estimated at $3.68 trillion for fiscal 2013 in the budget Obama submitted to Congress in April.|
The House rejected Peters' motion on March 6, 2013 by a vote of 188 to 231 (Roll Call 61). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the runaway federal spending needs to be reined in. Though the sequestration cuts are too small to solve the fiscal crisis, they are better than no cuts at all.
|H R 325: 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 23, 2013||Vote: AYE||Bad 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 House passed H.R. 325 on January 23, 2013 by a vote of 285 to 144 (Roll Call 30). 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.
|H R 152: Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other purposes|
|Vote Date: January 15, 2013||Vote: NAY||Good 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 House passed H.R. 152 on January 15, 2013 by a vote of 241 to 180. (Roll Call 23). We have assigned pluses to the nays because disaster relief - which should be provided through private charitable efforts - is not a federal responsibility.