Name: Jeffrey Chiesa


Senate: New Jersey, Republican


Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 62%


Status: Former Member of the Senate

Score Breakdown:
62% (113th Congress: 2013-2014)

Key Votes:



On the Motion to Proceed S.J.Res. 26: A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the President's exercise of authority to suspend the debt limit, as submitted under section 1002(b) of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014 on October 17, 2013.
Vote Date: October 29, 2013Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Debt Limit Increase Disapproval.
The legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by the president to fund the federal government including ObamaCare through January 15, 2014 (see below) also provided for the suspension of the national debt ceiling through February 7, 2014. By suspending this limit on how much money the federal government may borrow, the president can run up the national debt by whatever amount he deems necessary to meet government obligations, without having to ask Congress to once again increase federal borrowing authority. However, the legislation includes a procedure for Congress to disapprove of the president raising the national debt limit.

In accordance with this procedure, Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made a motion to consider a resolution (Senate Joint Resolution 26) to disapprove of President Obama suspending the national debt limit. His motion of disapproval was rejected on October 29, 2013 by a vote of 45 to 54 (Roll Call 220). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should live within its means and because most of the spending responsible for the ballooning national debt is unconstitutional.

[ GOP Cave-in. The impasse over the continuing appropriations bill came to an end when, on the 16th day of the partial government shutdown, the House concurred in a Senate amendment that rewrote the House bill H.R. 2775, which had only contained a provision to prevent ObamaCare subsidies to individuals without verifying income, etc. As amended, the bill suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continued funding government operations through January 15, 2014 at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. It did not include any provision to defund ObamaCare.]



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2775: An act making continuing appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 16, 2013Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Continuing Resolution.
This bill (H.R. 2775), as amended by the Senate (see below), was the result of a negotiated deal that ended the partial government shutdown over the Republican attempt to defund ObamaCare. It continued funding government operations, including ObamaCare, through January 15, 2014. The amount of spending in the bill was based on the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. The legislation also suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014.

The Senate passed the bill on October 16, 2013 by a vote of 81 to 18 (Roll Call 219). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the negotiated deal contained in this bill constituted a cave-in by congressional Republicans that ended the Republican attempt to defund the unconstitutional ObamaCare law.

[ GOP Cave-in. The impasse over the continuing appropriations bill came to an end when, on the 16th day of the partial government shutdown, the House concurred in a Senate amendment that rewrote the House bill H.R. 2775, which had only contained a provision to prevent ObamaCare subsidies to individuals without verifying income, etc. As amended, the bill suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continued funding government operations through January 15, 2014 at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. It did not include any provision to defund ObamaCare.]



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1974 to H.J.Res. 59 (Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014): Of a perfecting nature.
Vote Date: September 27, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Continuing Resolution/Defunding ObamaCare.
During consideration of the fiscal 2014 continuing appropriations bill (House Joint Resolution 59), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a perfecting amendment that replaces the text of the continuing resolution with language supported by Senate Democrats. The amendment would strip from the bill language supported by the House to defund ObamaCare. It would also provide continuing appropriations to fund government operations from the start of fiscal year 2014 on October 1, 2013 through November 15, 2013 that would reflect an annual "discretionary" spending level of about $986.3 billion - approximately the same amount of discretionary spending in fiscal 2013.

The Senate adopted Reid's amendment on September 27, 2013 by a vote of 54 to 44 (Roll Call 208). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Senate used this amendment to reject the House's attempt to defund the unconstitutional ObamaCare law. The impasse between the House-passed CR that would have defunded ObamaCare (see below) and the Senate language that continued funding ObamaCare along with other government operations, led to the 16-day partial government shutdown.

[ House Bill: House Joint Resolution 59 would provide continuing appropriations to fund government operations from the beginning of fiscal year 2014 on October 1, 2013 until December 15, 2013 at approximately the same amount of "discretionary" spending as fiscal 2013, and it would defund ObamaCare. This bill represents the House Republicans' implementation of the strategy for defunding ObamaCare via a continuing resolution (CR). The bill contains appropriations for huge amounts of unconstitutional spending, it would completely defund unconstitutional ObamaCare in fiscal 2014. ]



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 59: A joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 27, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Continuing Resolution.
This vote represents Senate passage of the continuing resolution (House Joint Resolution 59), as amended by the Reid perfecting amendment (described by Senate vote below) to continue funding the federal government, including ObamaCare, through November 15, 2013.

[ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a perfecting amendment that replaces the text of the continuing resolution with language supported by Senate Democrats. The amendment would strip from the bill language supported by the House to defund ObamaCare. ]

The Senate passed this version of the continuing resolution on September 27, 2013 by a vote of 54 to 44 (Roll Call 209). We have assigned pluses to the nays because this vote affirmed the Senate's rejection of the House's attempt to defund the unconstitutional ObamaCare law. At the time, however, the House was unwilling to back down, and a modified version of the continuing resolution - albeit one including the ObamaCare funding - was later passed by both the Senate and the House (see below).

[ GOP Cave-in. The impasse over the continuing appropriations bill came to an end when, on the 16th day of the partial government shutdown, the House concurred in a Senate amendment that rewrote the House bill H.R. 2775, which had only contained a provision to prevent ObamaCare subsidies to individuals without verifying income, etc. As amended, the bill suspended the federal debt limit through February 7, 2014, and continued funding government operations through January 15, 2014 at the fiscal 2013 post-sequestration spending level. It did not include any provision to defund ObamaCare.]



On the Cloture Motion S. 1243: An original bill making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 1, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Transportation-HUD Appropriations.
This appropriations bill (S. 1243) would provide $54 billion in fiscal 2014 for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Total spending called for by the bill would be "about $5.6 billion more than the current level under the sequester," according to Congressional Quarterly. And much of the spending allocations — such as $19.6 billion for the Section 8 rental-assistance program — is unconstitutional.

Republicans filibustered against the bill because of the amount of spending it contained. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who favored the bill, offered a motion to invoke cloture, in order to break the filibuster and allow the bloated bill to come to a vote. But the Senate rejected Reid's motion on August 1, 2013 by a vote of 54 to 43 (60 votes - three-fifths of the full Senate - are needed to invoke cloture; Roll Call 199). We have assigned pluses to the nays not only because the bill called for more spending but also because much of the spending is unconstitutional.



On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 1739 to S. 1243 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations): To redirect certain foreign assistance to the Government of Egypt as a result of the July 3, 2013, military coup d'etat.
Vote Date: July 31, 2013Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Aid to Egypt.
During consideration of the fiscal 2014 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (S. 1243), Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) offered a motion to table (kill) an amendment by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Paul's amendment would have established that the July 3, 2013 overthrow of the Mohammed Morsi government in Egypt was a military coup d'état, thus prohibiting the United States from providing military aid to Egypt until another "democratic" election occurs. As Paul noted in the text of the amendment, "The United States is legally prohibited from providing foreign assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup d'état, or removed in such a way that the military plays a decisive role.... [Military aid] shall be halted until the President certifies to Congress that democratic national elections have taken place in Egypt followed by a peaceful transfer of power."

The money that would be used for military aid to Egypt would instead, under Paul’s amendment, be redirected for the repair of U.S. bridges and other critical national highways.

The Senate agreed to the motion and killed the Paul amendment on July 31, 2013 by a vote of 86 to 13 (Roll Call 195). We have assigned pluses to the nays because a reduction in foreign aid, particularly in the form of military assistance, is a good thing. The Constitution does not authorize the government to give foreign aid and meddle in other nations’ internal affairs, so while Paul's amendment would allow for the resumption of aid to Egypt, it would still be an improvement on the status quo.



On the Cloture Motion S. 1238: A bill to amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to extend the current reduced interest rate for undergraduate Federal Direct Stafford Loans for 1 year, to modify required distribution rules for pension plans, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 10, 2013Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Student Loans.
During consideration of the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 (S. 1238), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a motion to invoke cloture and thus end debate on the bill so it could be voted on. This act would serve to extend the 3.4-percent interest rate on undergraduate Stafford loans disbursed to students between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2013 to between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2014.

The Senate rejected Reid's motion, and thus did not invoke cloture, on July 10, 2013 by a vote of 51 to 49 (Roll Call 171). We have assigned pluses to the nays because forcing a vote on an unconstitutional action of the federal government is a bad thing. The U.S. government should not be in the business of subsidizing higher education to begin with, and continuing a low interest rate on student loans would merely encourage this unconstitutional activity. Additionally, owing to the ease of obtaining government loans for education and the sheer amount of unpaid student debt, the nation is now facing a colossal "student debt bubble" that could have severe negative economic consequences.



On Passage of the Bill S. 744: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 27, 2013Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Immigration Reform.
This bill (S. 744) would provide an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy that features the granting of immediate legal status for most illegal immigrants in the United States (aka amnesty), new visa programs for a wide range of workers from low-skilled to high-skilled, and new border security measures (only reducing the illegal immigration rate by 25-50 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office). While the rate of legal immigration into the United States is currently about one million per year, this bill would raise the average legal immigration rate to several million per year.

The Senate passed the Immigration Overhaul on June 27, 2013 by a vote of 68 to 32 (Roll Call 168). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the large-scale amnesty and new visa programs coupled with a lack of effective border security would lead to both large increases in legal immigration and continuing large-scale illegal immigration, even though the U.S. government has the duty under Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution to "protect [every state] against Invasion." Furthermore, we have assigned pluses to the nays because, by granting amnesty, increasing levels of legal immigration, and permitting continued large-scale illegal immigration, this bill provides a transition to the open borders sought by the advocates of a North American Union and other regional government schemes threatening our national sovereignty.



On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 1200 to S. 744 (Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act): To provide for enhanced border security, including strong border security metrics and congressional votes on border security and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 19, 2013Vote: NONE No Vote.
Border Security.
During consideration of the Immigration Overhaul (S. 744), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a motion to table (kill) an amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would "not allow the processing of this new category called registered provisional immigrants until Congress votes that the border is secure." Paul's amendment featured a requirement that Congress certify every year for five years that the border is secure or at least making specific progress toward border security as defined in detail by the amendment. If Congress would vote in any of these five years that the border is not becoming more secure, then the processing of people as "registered provisional immigrants" as provided for in S. 744 would stop until Congress would vote that the border is becoming more secure.

The Senate agreed to Reid's motion and killed the Paul amendment on June 19, 2013 by a vote of 61 to 37 (Roll Call 154). We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is the constitutional duty of the United States to "protect [every state] against Invasion" (Article IV, Section 4).



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