Name: Paul Kirk
Senate: Massachusetts, Democrat
Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 0%
Status: Former Member of the Senate
0% (111th Congress: 2009-2010)
|On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 45: A joint resolution increasing the statutory limit on the public debt.|
|Vote Date: January 28, 2010||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Debt Limit Increase. This bill (House Joint Resolution 45) would raise the national debt limit from $12.4 trillion to $14.29 trillion -- a $1.9 trillion increase. This increase, reported Congressional Quarterly, "should be large enough to cover borrowing into early next year." Really? To put this astronomical $1.9 trillion increase in perspective, consider that the total national debt did not top $1 trillion until 1981.|
The Senate passed H. J. Res. 45 on January 28, 2010 by a vote of 60 to 39 (Roll Call 14). We have assigned pluses to the nays because raising the national debt limit allows the federal government to borrow more money and continue its gross fiscal irresponsibility.
|On the Nomination PN959: Ben S. Bernanke, of New Jersey, to be Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of four years|
|Vote Date: January 28, 2010||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Bernanke Confirmation. On January 28, 2010, the Senate voted 70 to 30 to confirm Ben Bernanke to a second four-year term as Federal Reserve Chairman (Roll Call 16). With Bernanke at the helm, the Fed, which can create money out of thin air, has pumped trillions of newly created fiat (unbacked) dollars into the economy, even though this reckless expansion of the money supply (inflation) will diminish the value of the dollar and further hurt the economy in the long run. Bernanke's Fed has also kept interest rates artificially low, encouraging excessive borrowing and malinvestments. And Bernanke has called for the Fed -- which already possesses the power to create booms and busts through its control of the money supply and interest rates -- to be given new powers to manage the financial sector. |
We have assigned pluses to the nays because of the economic havoc Bernanke is accountable for at the Fed, a central bank that should not even exist.
|On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3590: An act entitled The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.|
|Vote Date: December 24, 2009||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|ObamaCare. This historic bill (H.R. 3590), officially titled the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," went on to be signed into law (Public Law 111-148) by President Obama on March 23, 2010. Popularly known as "ObamaCare," this bill essentially completed the government takeover of the American healthcare system that was begun with Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The ObamaCare law creates 159 new government agencies, which will inevitably drive private healthcare insurers out of the market, just as its pilot program, RomneyCare, is already beginning to do in Massachusetts. Although its official cost estimate was $1 trillion for the first 10 years, ObamaCare will soon join Medicare and Medicaid in the list of unfunded healthcare liabilities of the federal government, which together add up to tens of trillions of dollars. |
ObamaCare would create an exchange in each state for the purchase of government-approved health insurance, mandate that most individuals purchase health insurance, fine individuals who don't purchase health insurance, subsidize the purchase of health insurance for individuals earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, require employers with 50 or more employees to provide healthcare coverage or pay a fine if any employee gets a subsidized healthcare plan from the exchange, and prohibit insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
The Senate passed H.R. 3590 on December 24, 2009 by a vote of 60-39 (Roll Call 396). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to manage the healthcare industry.
|On the Point of Order S.Amdt. 2786 to H.R. 3590 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act): In the nature of a substitute.|
|Vote Date: December 23, 2009||Vote: NAY||Bad Vote.|
|Constitutional Point of Order Against the Healthcare Bill. During consideration of the healthcare bill (H.R. 3590), Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) raised a point of order that the mandate that individuals purchase health insurance is unconstitutional because it falls outside the scope of the enumerated powers in Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, and because it violates the Fifth Amendment's ban on taking private property for public use "without just compensation."|
The Senate rejected Ensign's constitutional point of order against the healthcare legislation on December 23, 2009 by a vote of 39-60 (Roll Call 389). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because requiring Americans to buy a particular product -- health insurance in this instance -- is both unconstitutional and an abridgment of economic freedom. The same day, the Senate also rejected by 39-60 a point of order raised by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison that the legislation violates the 10th Amendment.
|On the Conference Report H.R. 3288: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.|
|Vote Date: December 13, 2009||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Omnibus Appropriations. The final version (Conference Report) of this catch-all $1.1 trillion bill (H.R. 3288) -- consisting of six appropriations bills for fiscal 2010 that Congress failed to complete separately -- Commerce-Justice-Science; Financial Services; Labor-HHS-Education; Military Construction-VA; State-Foreign Operations; and Transportation-HUD. The total price tag in the final version (conference report) of H.R. 3288 is about $1.1 trillion, including $447 billion in discretionary spending.|
The Senate passed the conference report on December 13, 2009 by a vote of 57-35 (Roll Call 374). We have assigned pluses to the nays because many of the bill's spending programs -- e.g., education, housing, foreign aid, etc. -- are unconstitutional. Moreover, lawmakers should have been able to vote on component parts of the total package.
|On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 2962 to S.Amdt. 2786 to H.R. 3590 (Service Members Home Ownership Tax Act of 2009): To prohibit the use of Federal funds for abortions.|
|Vote Date: December 8, 2009||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Abortion. During consideration of healthcare "reform" legislation (H.R. 3590), Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) offered an amendment to prohibit the use of any funding authorized by the bill to pay for abortions or for health plans that cover abortions, except in cases of rape or incest or when the life of the mother is endangered.|
The Senate voted to table (kill) the pro-life Nelson amendment on December 8, 2009 by a vote of 54-45 (Roll Call 369). We have assigned pluses to the nays because government should not subsidize the killing of innocent human life.
|On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2847: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Commerce and Justice, and Science, and Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.|
|Vote Date: November 5, 2009||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations. This legislation (H.R. 2847) would appropriate $65.1 billion in fiscal 2010 for the Commerce and Justice Departments,|
and agencies including NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Census Bureau. Congressional Quarterly reported that the bill's $64.9 billion in discretionary funding is "nearly 13 percent more than was appropriated for such programs in fiscal 2009."
The Senate passed H.R. 2847 on November 5, 2009 by a vote of 71-28 (Roll Call 340). We have assigned pluses to the nays because spending needs to be cut, not increased.
|On the Conference Report H.R. 2996: A bill making appropriations for the Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.|
|Vote Date: October 29, 2009||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Interior-Environment Appropriations. This appropriations bill (H.R. 2996) would authorize $32.3 billion in fiscal 2010 for the Interior Department, the EPA, and related agencies. The bill would provide $11 billion for the Interior Department, $10.3 billion for the EPA, $3.5 billion for the Forest Service, and $4.1 billion for the Indian Health Service. Additionally, H.R. 2996 would authorize $168 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, and provide $761 million to the Smithsonian Institution.|
The spending in H.R. 2996 is about $4.7 billion, or roughly 17 percent, more than what was received in fiscal 2009 for the same programs. Representative Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.) argued that the increased spending is "irresponsible, especially in light of the fact Congress must soon consider legislation to increase our national debt limit."
The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on October 29, 2009 by a vote of 72-28 (Roll Call 331). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the majority of funding in the bill is unconstitutional and wasteful.
|On the Conference Report H.R. 3183: A bill making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.|
|Vote Date: October 15, 2009||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Energy-Water Appropriations. The final version (conference report) of H.R. 3183 would appropriate $34 billion in fiscal 2010 for energy and water projects. The funds would provide $27.1 billion for the Energy Department, $5.4 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, and $1.1 billion for the Interior Department's Bureau of Reclamation.|
The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on October 15, 2009 by a vote of 80-17 (Roll Call 322). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the Department of Energy is not authorized by the Constitution.
|On the Conference Report H.R. 2997: A bill making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.|
|Vote Date: October 8, 2009||Vote: AYE||Bad Vote.|
|Agriculture Appropriations. The final version (conference report) of the Agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2997) would authorize $121.2 billion in fiscal 2010 for the Agriculture Department and related agencies. This social-welfare bill would include $21 billion for the Agriculture Department, $2.4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration, $58.3 billion to fund the food stamp program, $17 billion for the child nutrition program, $7.3 billion for the Women, Infants, and Children program, and $1.7 billion for the Food for Peace program.|
Excluding emergency spending, H.R. 2997 would represent a $2.7 billion increase from the 2009 appropriations level. More than 80 percent of the funds for H.R. 2997 would be reserved for mandatory programs such as food stamps and crop support.
The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on October 8, 2009 by a vote of 76-22 (Roll Call 318). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized by the Constitution.