Name: Jim Banks
Congress: Indiana, District: 3, Republican
Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 65%
Status: Active Member of the House
65% (115th Congress: 2017-2018)
|H R 6784: Gray Wolves|
|Vote Date: November 16, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 6784) would direct the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to issue a rule removing the gray wolf from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife, thus removing federal protections for the species in the 48 contiguous United States. It would also direct the Interior Department to reissue a 2011 rule delisting gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and would exempt both rules, and another rule delisting the species in Wyoming, from judicial review.|
The House passed H.R. 6784 on November 16, 2018 by a vote of 196 to 180 (Roll Call 420). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because decisions regarding human interaction with various animal species, if handled by government at all, should be handled at the state and local levels. The U.S. Constitution does not give the federal government the authority to declare animals endangered and thus off-limits to hunt or otherwise manage. The growing gray wolf population has been a menace to farmers and ranchers in many states, and farmers are not allowed to protect their own property owing to federal regulations. Working to overturn such regulations is a good thing.
|H R 6760: Tax Cuts|
|Vote Date: September 28, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 6760) would make permanent tax cuts for individuals in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 that were set to expire at the end of 2025, including lowered tax rates, increased standard deductions (from $13,000 to $24,000 for joint filers), and an increased child tax credit (from $1,000 to $2,000).|
The House passed H.R. 6760 on September 28, 2018 by a vote of 220 to 191 (Roll Call 414). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because tax cuts keep money in the hands of those who earned it and can spur economic growth. Unfortunately, however, neither the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act nor this new legislation addresses runaway federal spending, which needs to be reined in via other legislation.
|H RES 1099: Opioid Abuse Prevention and Health Programs|
|Vote Date: September 28, 2018||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 6), as amended by the House, would expand Medicare and Medicaid to cover medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse and would place new requirements on states regarding Medicaid drug review and utilization requirements. It would appropriate $15 million annually, from fiscal 2019 through fiscal 2023, to support the establishment or operation of public-health laboratories to detect synthetic opioids. The House amendment to the Senate-amended bill would allow Medicaid patients with opioid- or cocaineabuse problems to stay for up to 30 days per year in certain treatment facilities with more than 16 beds.|
The House agreed to an amendment to the Senate-amended version of H.R. 6 on September 28, 2018 by a vote of 393 to 8 (Roll Call 415). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Medicare and Medicaid are both unconstitutional programs. The U.S. Constitution gives no authority to the federal government to pay people’s medical expenses, no matter how poor or disabled they are. Such assistance should be handled by states, charity, or the free market. Any expansion of Medicare or Medicaid, which is what this bill authorizes, should be voted against.
|H R 6157: Appropriations for Defense, Labor-HHS-Education, and Continuing Appropriations|
|Vote Date: September 26, 2018||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 6157) would provide $855.1 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal 2019, including $674.4 billion for the Defense Department (including $67.9 billion in overseas contingency operations, i.e., Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.), $ 90.3 billion for the Health and Human Services Department, $71.4 billion for the Education Department, $12.1 billion for the Labor Department, and continuing appropriations for all of the remaining federal government departments not explicitly funded by this bill until December 7, 2018.|
The House adopted the final version of the bill (the conference report) on September 26, 2018 by a vote of 361 to 61 (Roll Call 405). We have assigned pluses to the nays because social-welfare spending falls outside the enumerated powers of the federal government, and lumping multiple appropriations bills into one mega bill reduces lawmakers’ accountability to their constituents. Moreover, even though defense spending is constitutional, the “defense” budget is bloated with funding for overseas military operations that have not contributed to the defense of our own country.
|H RES 1082: FAA Reauthorization and Supplemental Disaster Appropriations|
|Vote Date: September 26, 2018||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 302) would reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration though fiscal year 2023, with annual authorizations for federal aviation programs increasing from $10.2 billion in fiscal 2018 to $11.6 billion in fiscal 2023. It also eases restrictions on FAA regulation of drones, authorizes the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and includes $1.7 billion for Hurricane Florence disaster relief.|
The House passed the bill on September 26, 2018 by a vote of 398 to 23 (Roll Call 407). We have assigned pluses to the nays because of the bill’s unconstitutional federal overreach in both aviation and disaster relief. One example of this overreach is the TSA, which is known for groping and violating air travelers in the name of providing security. Instead of relying on an inefficient federal bureaucracy, security should be provided by the airlines, which have a vested interest in keeping their customers safe. Another area the feds should stay out of is the regulation of private-sector drones, which instead should be managed by local ordinances or (at most) state laws. And the market, not the feds, should determine such issues as the dimensions of seats on passenger airliners. Regarding disaster relief, this should be handled by private charitable efforts, not the federal government.
|S 1182: Flood Insurance|
|Vote Date: July 25, 2018||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|This bill (S. 1182) would extend the authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program through November 30, 2018.|
The House passed S. 1182 on July 25, 2018 by a vote of 366 to 52 (Roll Call 373). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Constitution does not give the federal government authority to get into the insurance business. Having the federal government as an insurer essentially subsidizes risky behavior, such as building in flood-, fire-, and earthquake-prone areas, and forces the taxpayer to pick up the tab. Insurance policies for natural disasters should be offered by private insurers, with the market setting the rates for such coverage.
|H R 184: Medical Device Tax Repeal|
|Vote Date: July 24, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 184) would fully repeal, after December 31, 2019, the 2.3-percent excise tax on domestic sales of medical devices. The “medical device tax” was put in place as part of the Affordable Care Act to help cover some of the program’s costs.|
The House passed H.R. 184 on July 24, 2018 by a vote of 283 to 132 (Roll Call 372). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because, while implementing an excise tax in itself is not an unconstitutional action of the federal government, this particular excise tax was put in place to help pay for an unconstitutional program — the Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare. Repealing part of the funding for such an unconstitutional federal healthcare program is a good thing and should be supported.
|H R 119: Carbon Tax|
|Vote Date: July 19, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This measure (House Concurrent Resolution 119) would express the sense of Congress “that a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses, and is not in the best interest of the United States.” During debate on the floor of the House, Representative Steve Scalise (R-La.) discussed how a carbon tax would raise and increase costs for families. He pointed out: “There would be an increase by an estimated $1,900 per family on the cost of things that they buy all across this country.”|
The House adopted H. Con. Res. 119 on July 19, 2018 by a vote of 229 to 180 (Roll Call 363). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Congress has no constitutional authority to limit the use of certain sources of energy, such as carbonbased fuels, by selectively imposing taxes on them.
|H R 6147: Emissions Standards|
|Vote Date: July 18, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This amendment to H.R. 6147, introduced by Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), would prohibit appropriated funds of the Fiscal 2019 Interior Environment and Financial Services Appropriations Package from being used to enforce the EPA’s “Oil and Natural Gas Sector: Emissions Standards for New, Reconstructed, and Modified Sources” rule, also known as the “methane rule.” According to the Congressional Record for July 18, 2018, Representative Mullin said the following: “This amendment would prohibit funds from enforcing the Obama administration EPA methane rule. This rule is currently facing litigation uncertainty, and Congress must act to block this job-killing regulation estimated to cost our economy $530 million annually. While oil and gas production has increased more than 25 percent since 2005, related methane emissions have actually decreased almost 40 percent during the same time period.”|
The House passed this amendment to H.R. 6147 on July 18, 2018 by a vote of 215 to 194 (Roll Call 346). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to regulate the environment in general, let alone regulate methane emissions that accompany oil and natural gas production, processing, and distribution.
|H R 3: Appropriations Cuts|
|Vote Date: June 7, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 3) would cut nearly $15 billion from previously approved, unspent spending, including $7 billion from the Children’s Health Insurance Program and $4.3 billion from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.|
The House passed H.R. 3 on June 7, 2018 by a vote of 210 to 206 (Roll Call 243). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because the spending falls outside the scope of constitutionally authorized federal powers, but also because the federal government needs to start reining in ballooning federal spending (and debt) somewhere in order to avert fiscal disaster. The cuts in this bill comprise only a fraction of one percent of total federal spending, and according to the Congressional Budget Office, most of the funding targeted by the bill would not be spent anyway. Yet modest cuts are better than none at all.
|H R 3249: Law Enforcement Partnership Grants|
|Vote Date: June 6, 2018||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 3249) would establish a Project Safe Neighbor-hoods Block Grant Program within the Of-fice of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice to foster and improve existing partnerships between local, state, and fed-eral law-enforcement agencies to create safer neighborhoods through sustained reductions in violent crimes. It would authorize $50 million a year in each of the fiscal years from 2019 through 2021.|
The House concurred with the Senate version of H.R. 3249 on June 6, 2018 by a vote of 394 to 13 (Roll Call 239). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government is not autho-rized by the Constitution to partner with, train, or subsidize state or local law-enforcement agencies. Too, our contin-ued existence as a free people under the Constitution depends on the continued independence of our local police from federal and state control.
|S 204: Experimental Drugs|
|Vote Date: May 22, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This bill (S. 204) would allow patients with life-threatening diseases or conditions who are not participating in clinical trials to seek access to experimental and investigational drugs directly from a drug manufacturer, without approval by the Food and Drug Administration. It would require that in order for the patient to be eligible, the patient must first try all approved treatment options and be unable to participate in a clinical trial. Only drugs that have completed phase 1 clinical trials, that have not been approved or licensed for any use, and that are currently under an active FDA application or are undergoing clinical trials would be eligible for use under the bill’s provisions.|
The House passed S. 204 on May 22, 2018 by a vote of 250 to 169 (Roll Call 214). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government, under the Constitution, has not been given authority over what medical procedures U.S. citizens choose to engage in. If a person wants to try an “unapproved” treatment, he should be able to do so with no interference from the government. In fact, since the Constitution gives the federal government no authority whatsoever over any aspect of healthcare, the FDA should not even exist. Any law that lessens government overreach into the personal medical decisions of citizens is a step in the right direction.
|H R 2: Raw Milk|
|Vote Date: May 18, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|During consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2), Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to prohibit federal interference in the interstate transportation of unpasteurized milk and milk products between states that allow for the distribution of such products for direct human consumption.|
The House rejected Massie’s amendment on May 18, 2018 by a vote of 79 to 331 (Roll Call 201). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the U.S. Constitution does not give the federal government any authority over what foods a person chooses to consume. In other words, it is illegal for the federal government to make raw milk illegal. While the federal government does have authority to “regulate Commerce … among the several States,” there is no reason for federal interference in a scenario such as this, where a product is legally sold in each of the states in question. Massie’s amendment would have limited federal overreach and should have been supported.
|H R 2: Waters of the United States|
|Vote Date: May 18, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|During consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2), Representative Jim Banks (RInd.) introduced an amendment to repeal the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule. On the floor of the House, Banks called this rule “the poster child of government overreach during the Obama administration,” noting that it gives “unelected bureaucrats at the EPA the power to broadly interpret what is a navigable waterway” under the Clean Water Act — so broadly that “even a puddle in a farm’s drainage ditch could be subjected to Federal regulation.”|
The House adopted Banks’ amendment on May 18, 2018 by a vote of 238 to 173 (Roll Call 203). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because both federal water regulations and the EPA are unconstitutional, and if the rule were allowed to stand, activities such as farming and real estate development would be greatly hampered, since farmers and developers would be subject to increased unconstitutional permit requirements and fines concerning their treatment of almost any body of water, no matter how small.
|H R 2: Agricultural Crop Subsidies|
|Vote Date: May 17, 2018||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|During consideration of the farm bill (H.R. 2), Representative Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) introduced an amendment that would have phased out agricultural crop subsidies by fiscal year 2030.|
The House rejected McClintock’s amendment on May 17, 2018 by a vote of 34 to 380 (Roll Call 194). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because no warrant for the appropriation of crop subsidies is found in the Constitution, and subsidies disrupt the free market economy.
|H R 1625: Omnibus Appropriations|
|Vote Date: March 22, 2018||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 1625) would provide $1.3 trillion in discretionary appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2018 for federal government operations and services. This represents an overall increase in discretionary spending of 12 percent over the 2017 level. The big winner was the Department of Defense, with an increase of 10 percent over last year’s appropriations. Democrat negotiators on this bill successfully fought off many Republican riders, such as a rider that would have permitted the Trump administration to withdraw the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Pro-life Republicans were saddened to learn that the omnibus bill continues the more than $500 million in taxpayer dollars Planned Parenthood receives each year.|
The House passed the omnibus spending bill on March 22, 2018 by a vote of 256 to 167 (Roll Call 127). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this omnibus bill, members of Congress are failing to address their fiscally and constitutionally irresponsible budgeting and appropriating process that is currently yielding annual federal deficits measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars, as well as minimizing their accountability to the voters by combining all discretionary federal spending for fiscal 2018 into one gigantic “take it or leave it” bill.
|H R 4909: School Violence|
|Vote Date: March 14, 2018||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|The STOP School Violence Act of 2018 (H.R. 4909) would authorize $75 million a year through fiscal year 2028 for the Justice Department’s Secure Our Schools grant program. SOS is a grant program of the Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which has been instrumental in laying the foundations for nationalizing local police by providing federal “assistance” in the form of funds, equipment, training, and development of guidelines to local law-enforcement agencies.|
In a podcast interview with Conservative Review, Representative Thomas Massie (RKy.) said the “STOP School Violence Act was bad enough for nationalizing defense of our schools,” but he further revealed, “There is money in that bill that is going to go to gun control groups. It literally says in there you can give it to the 501-C3s, and then it also says in there it can’t go to train anybody on gun safety. It’s got to go for all the liberal sort of agendas.”
The House passed H.R. 4909 on March 14, 2018 by a vote of 407 to 10 (Roll Call 106). We have assigned pluses to the nays because school safety is not a proper function of the federal government, and no action the federal government has ever taken would actually make schools safe. School safety should be addressed at the local level. Furthermore, the nationalizing of local police and school security, as well as any other gun-control measures contained in the bill, are all strictly unconstitutional.
|H R 3326: World Bank Accountability Act of 2017|
|Vote Date: January 17, 2018||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|The World Bank Accountability Act (H.R. 3326) would authorize $3.29 billion in U.S. contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association, which discharges concessional loans known as “credits” and economic grants to the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped countries.|
The House passed H.R. 3326 on January 17, 2018 by a vote of 237 to 184 (Roll Call 24). We have assigned pluses to the nays because authorizing such funds to the WTO’s IDA is foreign aid, which is a form of international welfare and completely unconstitutional, and most World Bank “aid” further enriches plutocrats in Third World countries, at the expense of the poor.
|S 139: Warrantless Surveillance|
|Vote Date: January 11, 2018||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|During consideration of the bill (S. 139) reauthorizing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Representative Justin Amash (R-Mich.) introduced an amendment to end NSA collection of communications data that is neither to nor from an approved foreign target, but rather communications “about” a foreign target entirely between American citizens. It would prohibit the FBI and intelligence agencies from searching the NSA database for information on U.S. citizens without first obtaining a warrant, except in certain circumstances. The amendment would also end “reverse targeting,” in which an American citizen communicating with a foreign target is also subject to surveillance.|
The House rejected Amash’s amendment on January 11, 2018 by a vote of 183 to 233 (Roll Call 14). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because this amendment is an attempt to limit NSA surveillance of U.S. citizens. Warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens is unconstitutional, and NSA surveillance certainly falls under this category. Amash’s amendment would require the FBI to obtain a warrant, rather than merely FISA Court approval, in order to access the NSA’s database.
|S 139: Warrantless Surveillance|
|Vote Date: January 11, 2018||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (S. 139) would reauthorize for six years, through 2023, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which governs electronic surveillance of foreign terrorism suspects. The bill would require the development of procedures for searching the NSA database that would protect the Fourth Amendment-guaranteed rights of U.S. citizens, while allowing the FBI to access information with an order from the secret FISA Court, in certain cases.|
The House passed S. 139 on January 11, 2018 by a vote of 256 to 164 (Roll Call 16). We have assigned pluses to the nays because FISA, while supposedly put in place to gather intelligence on foreign targets, has been used to spy on U.S. citizens. While the bill does provide provisions to, ostensibly, protect the privacy of U.S. citizens, given the track record of intelligence agencies, it is unlikely that they would actually follow these rules. The FISA Court gives a green light to just about any surveillance request that comes its way, and FISA-approved NSA warrantless surveillance of American citizens has become common knowledge.
|H R 1: Tax Cuts|
|Vote Date: December 20, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This bill, known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1), would slash the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, cut individual income-tax rates through 2025, and effectively eliminate the tax penalty on Americans who do not purchase health insurance by reducing the penalty amount to zero. The latter was a cornerstone of the 2010 ObamaCare legislation.|
The House agreed to the final version of H.R. 1 on December 20, 2017 by a vote of 224 to 201 (Roll Call 699), after which the bill was sent to President Trump for his signature. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the tax cuts in this bill will keep more money in the hands of American businesses and consumers, where it can be invested into the economy, thus spurring economic growth. Unfortunately, however, the bill does not address federal spending, which needs to be reined in via other legislation.
|H R 849: Death Panel|
|Vote Date: November 2, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|The Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 849) would repeal the provisions of ObamaCare providing for the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), otherwise known as the “death panel.” In a statement applauding the passage of H.R. 849, David O. Barbe, president of the American Medical Association (AMA), said, “IPAB puts significant health care payment and policy decisions in the hands of an independent body with far too little accountability. Its cost-cutting targets would lead to short-sighted strategies that would threaten access to care for millions of Medicare patients across the country.”|
The House passed H.R. 849 on November 2, 2017 by a vote of 307 to 111 (Roll Call 604). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to interfere in healthcare, let alone ration it by deciding who should and should not receive medical care.
|H R 36: Abortion|
|Vote Date: October 3, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Protection Act,” this bill (H.R. 36) bans abortion when the age of the preborn baby is 20 weeks or longer. “After 20 weeks,” the bill says, “the unborn child reacts to stimuli that would be recognized as painful if applied to an adult human, for example, by recoiling.”|
The House passed H.R. 36 on October 3, 2017 by a vote of 237 to 189 (Roll Call 549). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because all forms of abortion constitute the murder of preborn children, and the U.S. Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, overstepped its proper authority by “legalizing” abortion in the first place.
|H R 2824: Home Visitations|
|Vote Date: September 26, 2017||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|The Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents Through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act (H.R. 2824) would authorize $400 million a year through 2022 for the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, which was created under ObamaCare. Under ObamaCare, the MIECHV Program is intended as a wellness and prevention program for homes in poor communities and is to serve as the basis for developing and implementing a national strategy. MIECHV mandates home visits by nurses and other workers to test both the children and parents in order to make improvements in the following extensive list of areas: prenatal; maternal; newborn health; child health and development; children’s cognitive, language, social, emotional, and physical development; parenting skills; school readiness; child academic achievement; reduction in crime; reduction in domestic violence; improvements in family economic self sufficiency; and more.|
The House passed H.R. 2824 on September 26, 2017 by a vote of 214 to 209 (Roll Call 537). We have assigned pluses to the nays because going into homes to check up on the physical, emotional, and economic “wellness” of families not only goes way beyond the few and defined federal powers authorized by the Constitution, but also is part of a dangerous trend of government further interjecting itself into the family.
|H R 3354: Fracking|
|Vote Date: September 8, 2017||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|During consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 3354), Representative Salud Carbajal (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment to prohibit funds to process any application for a drilling permit that would authorize use of hydraulic fracturing or acid well stimulation treatment in the Pacific outer continental shelf.|
The House rejected Carbajal’s amendment on September 8, 2017 by a vote of 177 to 230 (Roll Call 483). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should not interfere with energy exploration. Regulation of various industries, such as energy, is not one of the federal government’s enumerated powers under the Constitution. Allowing the United States to fully utilize its energy resources would make the country more self-sufficient and create, potentially, millions of jobs.
|H R 3354: UN Human Rights Agencies|
|Vote Date: September 7, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|During consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 3354), Representative Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) introduced an amendment to prohibit the use of funds for making contributions to various United Nations human rights agencies, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. |
The House rejected Yoho’s amendment on September 7, 2017 by a vote of 199 to 212 (Roll Call 470). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because taxpayer money should not go to fund any agencies of the United Nations, especially those led by communist, Marxist, or radical Islamic regimes, which are some of the world’s biggest offenders of human rights.
|H R 3180: Intelligence Authorization|
|Vote Date: July 28, 2017||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 3180) would authorize classified amounts of funding through fiscal 2018 for 16 U.S. intelligence agencies and intelligence-related activities, including the Office of the National Intelligence Director, the CIA, and the National Security Agency. The bill would also require the director of national intelligence to submit to Congress multiple reports regarding Russia’s campaigns directed at foreign elections and its efforts related to cyber influence, including an assessment of Russian influence conducted during the three years prior to the bill’s enactment. |
The House passed H.R. 3180 on July 28, 2017 by a vote of 380 to 35 (Roll Call 437). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the very idea of Congress authorizing classified amounts of spending is unconstitutional, as well as frightening. Furthermore, some of the agencies that this “classified” spending is funding are themselves engaged in unconstitutional activities, such as spying on and gathering data from U.S. citizens without a warrant. While assessing (dubious) Russian influence in U.S. politics is an acceptable use of federal funds, much of this bill’s spending is unconstitutional and should be rejected.
|H R 806: Ozone Standards|
|Vote Date: July 18, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|The Ozone Standards Implementation Act (H.R. 806) would delay by eight years the implementation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), issued on October 26, 2015. The EPA’s new NAAQS for ground-level ozone levels went from 75 parts per billion (PPB) to 70 PPB.|
Upon its passage in the House, the bill’s main sponsor, Congressman Pete Olson (R-Texas), said in a statement, “My bill provides needed flexibility so that states and localities can adequately achieve new, lower standards with time for compliance. Health remains the first priority in setting standards and giving our local officials the tools they need make the Clean Air Act work.” The Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to set criteria pollution standards for ground level ozone.
The House passed H.R. 806 on July 18, 2017 by a vote of 229 to 199 (Roll Call 391). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because it provides temporary relief from having to immediately implement the new ozone reduction standards. Ideally, the EPA should be abolished and the Clean Air Act repealed, since both are unconstitutional infringements on state responsibilities.
|H RES 397: NATO|
|Vote Date: June 27, 2017||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|This legislation (H. Res. 397) “solemnly reaffirms the commitment of the United States to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s principle of collective defense as enumerated in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.” Under Article 5, the member nations of the NATO military alliance “agree that an armed attack against one or more of them ... shall be considered an attack against them all.” |
The House passed H. Res. 397 on June 27, 2017 by a lopsided vote of 423 to 4 (Roll Call 328). We have assigned pluses to the nays not only because the United States should stay clear of entangling alliances such as NATO, but also because the NATO provision that obligates the United States to go to war if any member of NATO is attacked undermines the provision in the U.S. Constitution that assigns to Congress the power to declare war. Moreover, the number of nations that the United States has pledged to defend under NATO has grown from 11 to 28 over the years, as the alliance itself has grown from 12 member nations (including the United States) when NATO was created in 1949 to 29 today. Although NATO was ostensibly formed to counter the threat from the Soviet bloc of nations, some of the nations the United States is now pledged to defend under NATO were once part of that bloc, including Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic (as part of Czechoslovakia), Hungary, Poland, and Romania.
|H R 10: Dodd-Frank Financial Regulations|
|Vote Date: June 8, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This bill (H.R. 10) would overhaul financial industry regulations and repeal many provisions of the 2010 Dodd-Frank law. Additionally, the bill would change the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau into an executive-branch agency funded by annual appropriations. |
The House passed H.R. 10 on June 8, 2017 by a vote of 233 to 186 (Roll Call 299). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because regulation of the financial industry is not a responsibility, nor one of the enumerated powers, of the federal government. While allegedly put in place to protect consumers from irresponsible Wall Street tycoons and prevent a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis, Dodd-Frank has, in reality, negatively affected small community banks and credit unions with its heavy regulatory burden. While this bill does not represent a complete exit of the federal government from the financial industry, it is a step in the right direction.
|H R 1616: National Computer Forensics Institute Authorization|
|Vote Date: May 16, 2017||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|The Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act of 2017 (H.R. 1616) would, according to the bill, authorize "within the United States Secret Service a National Computer Forensics Institute" for fiscal years 2017 through 2022. According to the bill, "The Institute shall disseminate information related to the investigation and prevention of cyber and electronic crime and related threats, and educate, train, and equip State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges." (Emphasis added.) In the name of combating cyber crime, this bill would further erode the distinction between local law enforcement and federal policing. |
The House passed H.R. 1616 on May 16, 2017 by a vote of 408 to 3 (Roll Call 258). We have assigned pluses to the nays because providing federal equipment and training to state and local law-enforcement officers not only is unconstitutional, but also further federalizes the police system.
|H R 1628: ObamaCare Replacement|
|Vote Date: May 4, 2017||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Rather than voting to repeal ObamaCare, the House voted instead to retain much of ObamaCare under the guise of "repeal and replace." The legislation (H.R. 1628), known as the American Health Care Act (AHCA), was strongly backed by President Trump and the Republican congressional leadership. Consequently most Republicans voted for the bill, but 20 voted against it. Liberty-minded Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) noted that the AHCA entailed "replacing mandates, subsidies and penalties with mandates, subsidies and penalties." Another Republican lawmaker, Representative Andy Biggs (Ariz.), while "applaud[ing] all the hard work of the House Freedom Caucus, which has made every effort ... to improve this legislation," nonetheless concluded that the "final bill ... does not meet the promises I made to my constituents." Biggs added, "I remain committed to a full repeal of ObamaCare."|
The House passed H.R. 1628 on May 4, 2017 by a vote 217 to 213 (Roll Call 256). We have assigned pluses to the nays because ObamaCare should be repealed, not replaced with a Republican variant of unconstitutional government healthcare that more liberty-minded lawmakers have referred to as "ObamaCare Lite" and "ObamaCare 2.0." Admittedly, the Democrats who voted against this GOP alternatives have gotten "pluses" on this for the wrong reasons (they do not want to move away from the ObamaCare brand and in many cases want even more socialized medicine), but the Republicans who voted against the bill based on principle as opposed to partisanship are to be applauded.
|H R 244: Omnibus Appropriations|
|Vote Date: May 3, 2017||Vote: NAY||Good Vote.|
|The Consolidated Appropriations Act or omnibus bill (H.R. 244) would provide $1.16 trillion in discretionary appropriations through September 30, 2017 for the following federal departments and agencies: $20.9 billion for Agriculture, $56.6 billion for Commerce-Justice-Science, $593 billion for Defense, $37.8 billion for Energy-Water, $21.5 billion for Financial Services, $42.4 billion for Homeland Security, $32.2 billion for Interior-Environment, $161 billion for Labor-HHS-Education, $4.4 billion for Legislative, $53.1 billion for State-Foreign Operations, and $57.7 billion for Transportation-HUD. The measure would also authorize classified amounts of funding for various U.S. intelligence agencies.|
The House agreed to the omnibus appropriations bill on May 3, 2017 by a vote of 309 to 118 (Roll Call 249). We have assigned pluses to the nays because with this fiscal 2017 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 nearly $20 trillion national debt.
|H R 1238: Homeland Security Defense of Agriculture|
|Vote Date: March 22, 2017||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|The Securing Our Agriculture and Food Act (H.R. 1238) would expand the War on Terror to the farm and dairy front in order to "share information and quickly respond to agro-terrorism threats," according to the bill's lead sponsor, Representative David Young (R-Iowa). Congressman Young cited the 2015 avian influenza that “wiped out millions of layer hens, turkeys, and backyard flocks" in Iowa to justify the need for his bill, despite the fact that the bird flu was not caused by terrorists. |
The House passed H.R. 1238 on March 22, 2017 by a vote of 406 to 6 (Roll Call 187). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this bill expands the "War on Terror" to include the fictitious and non-existent threat of "agro-terrorism" in the American homeland, thereby further interjecting the U.S. government into the agriculture sector, despite the absence of any constitutional power to manage this or any other sector of the American economy.
|H R 1181: Veteran Gun Purchases|
|Vote Date: March 16, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (H.R. 1181) would prohibit a Veterans Affairs Department determination that an individual is mentally incompetent from being used as a basis for that individual's inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which would thereby prevent the individual from purchasing a gun. Under the measure, an individual could not be considered to be mentally defective without a judicial authority's finding that the individual poses a danger to himself or herself or others.|
The House passed H.R. 1181 on March 16, 2017 by a vote of 240 to 175 (Roll Call 169). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Veterans Affairs Department determination referenced above is a clear violation of the Second Amendment, which states that "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
|H J RES 69: Predator Control|
|Vote Date: February 16, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This legislation (House Joint Resolution 69) would disapprove of and nullify a U.S. Department of Interior rule, "Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participating and Close Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska," which was released in final form on August 5, 2016. According to the bill's sponsor, Don Young (R-Alaska): "Not only does this [rule] undermine Alaska's authority to manage fish and wildlife upon refuge lands, it fundamentally destroys a cooperative relationship between Alaska and the federal government. I continue to fight to protect Alaska's sovereignty and management authority and will use every tool at my discretion to strike this rule."|
The House passed H. J. Res. 69 on February 16, 2017 by a vote of 225 to 193 (Roll Call 98). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because it reaffirms Alaska's sovereign power to manage its wildlife. Since the power of wildlife management was not granted to the federal government by the Constitution, it is reserved to Alaska and the other 49 states according to the 10th Amendment.
|H J RES 43: Federal Family Planning|
|Vote Date: February 16, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This legislation (House Joint Resolution 43) would disapprove of and nullify a Health and Human Services Department (HHS) rule that prevents states from restricting federal family planning funding to a health provider, such as denying funds to a center that provides abortions, for any basis other than its ability to provide health services. Under the current rule, HHS can withhold family planning grants to any state that restricts the participation of a health provider in the family planning services grant program.|
The House passed H. J. Res. 43 on February 16, 2017 by a vote of 230 to 188 (Roll Call 99). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because this bill limits the power of an unconstitutional federal government agency. The U.S. Constitution does not authorize the federal government to get involved in healthcare, much less establish a Department of Health and Human Services, so any attempt to limit the power of an unconstitutional federal agency is a step in the right direction.
|H J RES 38: Stream Protection Rule|
|Vote Date: February 1, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|This legislation (House Joint Resolution 38) would disapprove of and nullify the "Stream Protection Rule" issued by the Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in 2016. This new rule would "jeopardize thousands of coal and coal-related jobs, devastate coal producing communities, and put a majority of the country's coal reserves off limits," according to the bill's lead sponsor, Representative Bill Johnson (R-Ohio).|
The House passed H. J. Res. 38 on February 1, 2017 by a vote of 228 to 194 (Roll Call 73). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because the federal government has no constitutional authority to issue environmental regulations, but also because environmental regulations such as the "Stream Protection Rule" destroy jobs and increase energy costs. Also, states already protect streamwater.
|H R 7: Federal Funding for Abortion|
|Vote Date: January 24, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act (H.R. 7) would permanently prohibit federal funds from being used to pay for abortion services or health insurance plans that include abortion coverage, as well as prohibit the District of Columbia from using its own local funds to provide or pay for abortions. Additionally, the Office of Personnel Management would be required to ensure that qualified health plans under the state exchanges were not providing abortion coverage. There is a rape, incest, and life of the mother exemption.|
The House passed H.R. 7 on January 24, 2017 by a vote of 238 to 183 (Roll Call 65). We have assigned pluses to the yeas for two reasons. First, the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to fund any healthcare-related programs. Such issues should be left up to the states, or, ideally, left to the free market. Second, abortion is the taking of an innocent human life, period. It is unconscionable that American taxpayers' money should be used to subsidize such a practice.
|H R 26: Major Regulations|
|Vote Date: January 5, 2017||Vote: AYE||Good Vote.|
|Under the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act (H.R. 26), regulations would require congressional approval before any "major rule" issued by an executive branch agency could go into effect. "Major rules" would include any regulation that would have an annual economic impact of $100 million or more. The intent of the legislation is to rein in the executive branch from usurping legislative powers.|
The House passed H.R. 26 on January 5, 2017 by a vote of 237 to 187 (Roll Call 23). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not simply because of the economic impact of the "major rules," but also because all legislative powers in the Constitution are vested in Congress, not the executive branch. Mandatory rules issued by the executive branch might not be called laws, but they have the same effect as laws, and what they are called does not change the reality.