Name: Jim Webb


Senate: Virginia, Democrat


Cumulative Freedom Index Score: 15%


Status: Former Member of the Senate

Score Breakdown:
20% (112th Congress: 2011-2012); 10% (111th Congress: 2009-2010); 15% (110th Congress: 2007-2008)

Key Votes:



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 117: A joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 22, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Continuing Resolution. House Joint Resolution 117 would provide continuing appropriations for the federal government from October 1, 2012 through March 27, 2013. This would amount to an annualized rate of $1.047 trillion in "discretionary" spending for regular appropriations, and would include a 0.6 percent increase in funding for most federal programs and agencies. This continuing resolution would also provide nearly $100 billion in war funding and $6.4 billion in advance disaster relief funds.

To put this appropriations bill into perspective, consider what the Congressional Budget Office reported on August 22, 2012: "For fiscal year 2012 (which ends on September 30), the federal budget deficit will total $1.1 trillion, CBO estimates, marking the fourth year in a row with a deficit of more than $1 trillion." This deficit is based on the CBO's estimates of $2.435 trillion in federal revenue and $3.563 trillion in federal outlays for fiscal 2012. Therefore, 32 percent of every federal dollar spent in 2012 had to be borrowed. For 2011, 2010, and 2009 the shortfall has been 36, 37, and 40 percent respectively.

The Senate passed H. J. Res. 117 on September 22, 2012 by a vote of 62 to 30 (Roll Call 199). 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.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3414: A bill to enhance the security and resiliency of the cyber and communications infrastructure of the United States.
Vote Date: August 2, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (S. 3414) would create a National Cybersecurity Council under the chairmanship of the secretary of Homeland Security. The council would impose "voluntary" standards -- with incentives for compliance -- for owners of critical computer networks.

The Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture -- and thus end a filibuster so the bill could come up for a vote -- on August 2, 2012 by a vote of 52 to 46 (Roll Call 187; a three-fifths majority vote of the entire Senate -- 60 votes -- was needed to invoke cloture.) We have assigned pluses to the nays because the private owners of critical infrastructure are already heavily regulated and don't need to be further burdened with additional supposedly voluntary regulations in the name of cybersecurity.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2573 to S. 3412 (Middle Class Tax Cut Act): In the nature of a substitute.
Vote Date: July 25, 2012Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Tax Cut Extension. In view of the looming "fiscal cliff" of expiring tax cuts, tax increases, and automatic spending cuts set to take place January 1, 2013, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) offered a bill (S. 3412) to extend the expiring Bush-era tax rates for one year only for individuals earning less than $200,000 or families earning less than $250,000. Prior to a vote on the bill, Sen. Orrin Hatch (RUtah) offered a substitute amendment to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all income levels for one year. Hatch's substitute would also extend the current estate tax levels, with a 35-percent tax on estates worth more than $5 million. Without congressional action, this tax will jump next year to as high as 55 percent on estates worth more than $1 million.

The Senate rejected Hatch's substitute amendment on July 25, 2012 by a vote of 45 to 54 (Roll Call 183). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because extending the tax cuts keeps more money in the hands of citizens, where it can be invested into the economy, thus spurring economic growth. Of course, the deficits need to be eliminated, but the way to accomplish this is to cut spending, not increase taxes. (After the substitute amendment was rejected, the Senate passed Reid's bill to raise taxes for the "rich.")



On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 3369: A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to provide for additional disclosure requirements for corporations, labor organizations, Super PACs and other entities, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 17, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
DISCLOSE Act. The Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light On Spending in Elections (DISCLOSE) Act of 2012 (S. 3369) would require independent and corporate donors to disclose campaign related disbursements totaling more than $10,000 in an election cycle.

The Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture (and thus end a filibuster so the bill could be voted on) on July 17, 2012 by a vote of 53 to 45 (Roll Call 180; a three-fifths majority vote of the entire Senate -- 60 votes -- was needed to invoke cloture).

We have assigned pluses to the nays because the legislation would have a chilling effect on political free speech by exposing donors to threats and intimidation. Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which makes no exceptions for anonymous political donors, stating simply: "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech." In fact, some of the Founding Fathers engaged in anonymous free speech at times, such as when Madison, Jay, and Hamilton wrote The Federalist Papers under the pseudonym "Publius."



On the Conference Report H.R. 4348: Amended during conference: "An act to authorize funds for Federal-aid highways, highway safety programs, and transit programs, and for other purposes."
Vote Date: June 29, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Surface Transportation. This legislation (H.R. 4348) provides federal funds for interstate highway infrastructure, highway safety programs, and transit programs through fiscal 2014. The authorizations in the bill include $21.2 billion for the Highway Trust Fund, $80 billion for Federal Highway Administration contracts, and $21.3 billion for Federal Transit Administration programs. It also extends the 3.4 percent, federally subsidized student-loan interest rate through July 1, 2013, reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program, and distributes penalties paid by those responsible for the BP oil spill to Gulf Coast states.

The Senate adopted the final version of the bill (known as a conference report) on June 29, 2012 by a vote of 74-19 (Roll Call 172). We have assigned pluses to the nays because much of the spending is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2372 to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012): To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect agricultural operations or to record images of agricultural operations.
Vote Date: June 21, 2012Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Aerial Inspection. During consideration of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) offered an amendment to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from conducting aerial surveillance to inspect and/or record images of agricultural operations.

The Senate rejected Johanns' amendment on June 21, 2012 by a vote of 56 to 43 (Roll Call 159; by unanimous consent, the Senate had agreed to require 60 votes for adoption of the amendment). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the EPA is an unconstitutional agency created by executive order. It should not even exist, let alone engage in aerial surveillance for the purpose of detecting supposed violations of its regulations. Furthermore, while the surveillance is conducted from "public" airspace, so to speak, the air is not the subject of the surveillance. The use of the air is not unconstitutional, but the purpose of that use is unconstitutional, since it violates the Fourth Amendment protection against search of one's person, house, papers, and effects without probable cause and a warrant "particularly describing ... the persons or things to be seized."



On Passage of the Bill S. 3240: An original bill to reauthorize agricultural programs through 2017, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 21, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Farm Bill. The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240) would authorize federal farm and food assistance programs for five years. The programs include crop subsidies, food stamps, and foreign food aid. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the programs authorized by the bill would cost $969 billion if implemented over the next 10 years.

The Senate passed S. 3240 on June 21, 2012 by a vote of 64 to 35 (Roll Call 164). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal agricultural subsidies and food aid are unconstitutional.



On the Motion to Proceed S.J.Res. 37: A joint resolution to disapprove a rule promulgated by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency relating to emission standards for certain steam generating units.
Vote Date: June 20, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
EPA Regulations. After the Environmental Protection Agency established the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards that cap toxin emissions from coal-fired power plants, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) sponsored a joint resolution (S. J. Res. 37) to nullify the regulations. Sen. Inhofe said the "EPA's Utility MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) is designed to destroy jobs by killing off the coal industry. EPA admits itself that the Utility MACT rule would cost an unprecedented $11 billion to implement. Of course these costs will come in the form of higher electricity rates for every American.... The Utility MACT would destroy over 1 million jobs and cost the American economy billions of dollars."

A motion to proceed to consideration of the measure was defeated on June 20, 2012 by a vote of 46 to 53 (Roll Call 139). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the EPA is an unconstitutional agency created by executive order, and while the Commerce Clause allows Congress to regulate trade between states, federal agencies do not have constitutional authority to impose environmental regulations on industry. Moreover, the regulations will lead to the premature closure of many power plants, leading to more expensive, less reliable electricity for consumers.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2354 to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012): To prohibit assistance to North Korea under title II of the Food for Peace Act.
Vote Date: June 20, 2012Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Aid to North Korea. During consideration of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) offered an amendment to prohibit federal food assistance to North Korea.

The Senate rejected Kyl's amendment on June 20, 2012 by a vote of 43 to 56 (Roll Call 145). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because North Korea is a totalitarian regime, but also because foreign aid is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2313 to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012): To repeal the forest legacy program.
Vote Date: June 20, 2012Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Forest Legacy Program. During consideration of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (S. 3240), Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) offered an amendment to repeal the Forest Service's Forest Legacy Program.

Regarding the need for his amendment, Sen. Lee stated: "The Federal Government owns about two-thirds of the land in my own State. It owns nearly 30 percent of the land mass within the territorial boundaries of the United States. We do a lot to conserve that land. But when we use this money -- money estimated to amount to about $200 million a year in authorization, about $1 billion over a 5-year period -- we are using that money to take land out of use. We are using that money to pay people not to use their land for anything. Whenever we look for areas in which we can save money, one area is to not pay people not to use their land."

According to the Forest Service's website: "The Forest Legacy Program (FLP), a Federal program in partnership with States, supports State efforts to protect environmentally sensitive forest lands.... To maximize the public benefits it achieves, the program focuses on the acquisition of partial interests in privately owned forest lands. FLP helps the States develop and carry out their forest conservation plans. It encourages and supports acquisition of conservation easements, legally binding agreements transferring a negotiated set of property rights from one party to another, without removing the property from private ownership. Most FLP conservation easements restrict development, require sustainable forestry practices, and protect other values."

The Senate rejected Senator Lee's amendment to S. 3240 on June 20, 2012 by a vote of 21 to 77 (Roll Call 147). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not grant Congress the legislative power to acquire ownership of or conservation easement rights over large tracts of land within the states.



Motion to Table S.Amdt.2143: To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act concerning claims about the effects of foods and dietary supplements on health-related conditions and disease, to prohibit employees of the Food and Drug Administration from carrying firearms and making arrests without warrants, and to adjust the mens rea of certain prohibited acts under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to knowing and willful.
Vote Date: May 24, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
FDA Regulation of Food & Dietary Supplements. During consideration of the FDA user-fee authorization bill (S. 3187), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) offered an amendment to prohibit FDA from regulating food or dietary supplements as drugs and censoring product health claims. Paul's amendment would also "prohibit employees of the Food and Drug Administration from carrying firearms and making arrests without warrants."

The Senate tabled (killed) Paul's amendment on May 24, 2012 by a vote of 78 to 15 (Roll Call 107). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the FDA censorship of health claims is a violation of the right to free speech protected by the First Amendment, and because the federal government is using armed agents to enforce unconstitutional regulations -- e.g., against the selling of raw milk.



H.R. 2072: Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012
Vote Date: May 15, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Export-Import Bank. This legislation (H.R. 2072) reauthorized the U.S. Export-Import Bank for two years and increased the agency's lending cap from $100 billion to $140 billion. The bank issues loans and loan guarantees to foreign governments or companies for the purchase of U.S. products.

The Senate passed H.R. 2072 on May 15, 2012 by a vote of 78 to 20 (Roll Call 96). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority risking taxpayers' money to provide loans the private sector considers too risky to provide. Indeed, U.S. government backed export financing is a form of corporate welfare, and if the Ex-Im Bank goes bust (as happened to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae), the taxpayers will get stuck holding the bag.



S.Amdt.1826 to S.1813: Of a perfecting nature
Vote Date: March 13, 2012Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Oil and Gas Development; Keystone XL Pipeline. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) offered an amendment to open up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and natural-gas development, expand lease sales for offshore drilling, and approve the Keystone oil pipeline.

The Senate rejected Roberts' amendment on March 13, 2012 by a vote of 41 to 57 (Roll Call 38). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should allow entrepreneurs to develop energy resource, rather than deny access to the resources.



S.Amdt.1812 to S.1813: To prevent a tax increase on American businesses and to provide certainty to job creators by extending certain expiring tax credits relating to energy.
Vote Date: March 13, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Energy Tax Extensions. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) offered an amendment to extend already-lapsed and soon-to-expire programs intended to promote renewable energy -- including a lapsed stimulus program that allowed businesses to receive grants (as opposed to tax credits) for renewable-energy projects, and a production tax credit for wind energy producers set to sunset at the end of the year.

The Senate rejected Stabenow's amendment on March 13, 2012 by a vote of 49 to 49, under an agreement requiring 60 votes for passage (Roll Call 39). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the government has no constitutional business rewarding government-favored business interests. Instead, the market should decide "winners" and "losers" in the energy sector, as in other sectors of the economy, to ensure that wasteful, harmful, or inefficient entities are kept to a minimum.



S.Amdt.1535 to S.1813: To provide for an extension of the Draft Proposed Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program 2010-2015.
Vote Date: March 8, 2012Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Offshore Oil and Gas Development. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) proposed an amendment that would have allowed for more leases for offshore drilling than does the current plan. As explained by Vitter on the House floor, his amendment "would allow us to go back to the previous lease plan for the Outer Continental Shelf, replacing the current Obama administration lease plan which cuts that previous plan in half and moves us in the wrong direction in terms of producing our abundance of domestic energy, including oil and natural gas."

The Senate rejected Vitter's amendment on March 8, 2012 by a vote of 43 to 55 (Roll Call 28). 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.



S.Amdt.1660 to S.1813: To provide additional time for the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue achievable standards for industrial, commercial, and institutional boilers, process heaters, and incinerators.
Vote Date: March 8, 2012Vote: NAYBad Vote.
EPA Boiler Emission Regulations. During consideration of S. 1813, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) offered an amendment intended to provide regulatory relief from the EPA's new emission standards for industrial boilers. Collins warned that the "rules have an estimated cost of $14 billion, and 200,000 jobs would be lost." Her amendment would require the EPA to propose revised, supposedly less-burdensome, rules 15 months after enactment of her measure. It would also allow manufacturers at least five years after the effective date of the finalized rules to bring their facilities into compliance.

The Senate rejected Collins' amendment on March 8, 2012 by a vote of 52 to 46, under an agreement requiring 60 votes for passage (Roll Call 30). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the EPA is unconstitutional and EPA regulations harm the economy. Though Collins' amendment would not have killed the boiler regulations, it would at least have delayed them.



Motion to Table Blunt S.Amdt.1520: To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services.
Vote Date: March 1, 2012Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Religious Exemptions for Healthcare. During consideration of the surface transportation authorization bill (S. 1813), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) offered an amendment to "protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services." The Obama administration insists that under ObamaCare all employers must provide contraceptive coverage, even if they oppose such coverage for religious reasons. Blunt's amendment would have enabled health insurance plans to exclude coverage that the plan's sponsors or employers oppose as a matter of conscience.

The Senate tabled (killed) Blunt's amendment on March 1, 2012 by a vote of 51 to 48 (Roll Call 24). We have assigned pluses to the nays because, to quote Thomas Jefferson, "No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority."



S.Amdt.1488 to S.Amdt.1470: To express the sense of the Senate that the Senate should pass a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution that limits the number of terms a Member of Congress may serve.
Vote Date: February 2, 2012Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Congressional Term Limits. During consideration of a bill to ban congressional insider trading (S. 2038), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment "To express the sense of the Senate that the Senate should pass a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution that limits the number of terms a Member of Congress may serve." However, Roger Sherman stated at the 1787 Constitutional Convention: "Frequent elections are necessary to preserve the good behavior of rulers. They also tend to give permanency to the Government, by preserving that good behavior, because it ensures their re-election." Sherman's statement contains the essence of the argument against term limits, which is that the best incentive for an elected official to represent the interests of his constituents is the possibility of reelection.

The Senate rejected DeMint's amendment on February 2, 2012 by a vote of 24 to 75 (Roll Call 11). We have assigned pluses to the nays because congressional term limits would decrease the accountability of Congressmen to their constituents by increasing the number of lame-duck Congressmen serving in each congressional session.



Motion to Consider H.J. Res. 98: Relating to the disapproval of the President's exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as submitted under section 3101A of title 31, United States Code, on January 12, 2012.
Vote Date: January 26, 2012Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Debt Limit Disapproval. House Joint Resolution 98 would have disapproved of President Obama's request to raise the national debt limit by an additional $1.2 trillion, to $16.4 trillion. Under the debt deal of August 2011, enactment of a resolution of disapproval was needed to prevent this increase from going into effect. The House passed the resolution, but the Senate failed to do so.

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to proceed to H. J. Res. 98, but his motion was rejected on January 26, 2012 by a vote of 44 to 52 (Roll Call 2). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government should live within its means and because most of the spending responsible for the ballooning national debt is unconstitutional.



H.R. 2055: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012
Vote Date: December 17, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Omnibus Appropriations. This catch-all legislative package (H.R. 2055), which would provide $915 billion in discretionary appropriations for fiscal 2012, is comprised of nine appropriations bills for fiscal 2012 that Congress failed to complete separately -- Defense ($518.8 billion), Energy-Water ($32.1 billion), Financial Services ($21.5 billion), Homeland Security ($41.3 billion), Interior-Environment ($29.2 billion), Labor-HHS-Education ($156.3 billion), Legislative Branch ($4.3 billion), State-Foreign Operations ($33.5 billion), and Military Construction-VA ($73.7 billion).

The Senate adopted the final version of this legislation (known as a conference report) on December 17, 2011 by a vote of 67 to 32 (Roll Call 235). We have assigned pluses to the nays because many of the bill's spending programs -- e.g., education, housing, foreign aid, etc. -- are unconstitutional, and the country is running trillion-dollar annual deficits.



S.Amdt. 1126 to S. 1867: To limit the authority of the Armed Forces to detain citizens of the United States under section 1031.
Vote Date: December 1, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Indefinite Detention. Detaineerelated language in the Defense authorization bill (S. 1867) was written in such a sweeping way that even the United States can be considered part of the battlefield in the global war against terror -- and even American citizens accused of being terrorists can be apprehended by the U.S. military and detained indefinitely without habeas corpus and without even being tried and found guilty in a court of law. Several attempts were made to revise the language, including an amendment offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) to prohibit U.S. citizens from being held indefinitely without being charged or given a trial.

The Senate rejected this amendment on December 1 by a vote of 45 to 55 (Roll Call 214). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the War on Terror must not be allowed to destroy legal protections stretching back to the Magna Carta.



Conference Report S7684 to H.R. 2112: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012
Vote Date: November 17, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Agriculture-Commerce-Justice-Science-Transportation-HUD Appropriations. This so-called "minibus" bill (H.R. 2112) combined into a single package three of the regular appropriations bills -- Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (HUD) -- for fiscal 2012. Just the "discretionary" spending in the minibus for the three-bill package totaled $128.1 billion. In addition, there is the spending that the government deems "mandatory." In the case of the Agriculture bill that was incorporated into the minibus, for instance, the appropriations include $116.8 billion in mandatory spending in addition to $19.8 billion in discretionary spending. The so-called mandatory spending in the Agriculture bill includes nearly $99 billion for food and nutrition programs.

The Senate passed the final version (conference report) of this legislation on November 17, 2011 by a vote of 70 to 30 (Roll Call 208). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress has no constitutional authority to fund many of the programs in the bill, including the farm programs, food programs, and housing (under HUD).



S.J.Res. 6: A joint resolution disapproving the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission with respect to regulating the Internet and broadband industry practices.
Vote Date: November 10, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Net Neutrality. Senate Joint Resolution 6 would have nullified the "net neutrality" rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission in December 2010 and scheduled to become effective November 20, 2011. The new rules give the federal government more control over the Internet. "The FCC reversed its successful hands-off approach ... by passing net neutrality rules where the FCC has essentially granted itself power over all forms of communication including the Internet," warned Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), who spearheaded S. J. Res. 6. She added that the "regulations on broadband providers" in the net neutrality rules "establish the FCC as the Internet's gatekeeper, a role for which government is not really suited when innovation could be stifled."

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to proceed to the resolution, but the Senate rejected his resolution on November 10 by a vote of 46 to 52 -- thereby thwarting the attempt to nullify the net neutrality rules (Roll Call 200). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the federal government has no business serving as a gatekeeper for the Internet, and such a role could eventually threaten what has become an important public square for circulating ideas and information.



S.J.Res. 27: A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the mitigation by States of cross-border air pollution under the Clean Air Act.
Vote Date: November 10, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Cross-state Pollution. Senate Joint Resolution 27 would nullify the EPA's cross-state pollution rules targeting sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide power plant emissions. The House had already passed related legislation that would delay implementation of the EPA rules but not actually eliminate them.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to proceed to the resolution, but the Senate rejected his motion November 10 by a vote of 41 to 56 -- thereby thwarting the attempt to stop the EPA cross-state pollution rules (Roll Call 201). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because these rules will further damage the economy and also because the federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate power plant emissions.



H.R. 3080: United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act
Vote Date: October 12, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
South Korea Trade Agreement. On a single day - October 12, 2011 - both the House and Senate approved three separate trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia, and Panama. These measures are three more in a series of "free-trade agreements" intended to transfer the power to regulate trade (and eventually other powers too) to super-national arrangements via a step-by-step process. NAFTA is a prime example of such an arrangement. So is the developing continental government now known as the European Union, which is an outgrowth of a free-trade arrangement once called the Common Market. In fact, the Common Market-EU trajectory to regional governance served as a model for the formation of NAFTA.

The South Korea agreement, to quote Congressional Quarterly, is "considered the most economically important trade deal since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement." For this reason, the "Freedom Index" editors selected this vote over the other two (Colombia and Panama) for inclusion in this index.

The Senate passed H.R. 3080 on October 12, 2011 by a vote of 83 to 15 (Roll Call 161). We have assigned pluses to the nays because agreements such as this one are intended to transfer trade (and other) powers to super-national arrangements, despite the fact that under the Constitution only Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations."



Invoke Cloture on S. 1660: American Jobs Act of 2011
Vote Date: October 11, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Jobs Program. The Obama-Democrat jobs bill (S. 1660) would provide $175 billion in spending for transportation infrastructure projects, extending long-term unemployment benefits, preventing lay-offs of teachers and first responders, and upgrading public schools and community colleges. It would also extend and expand the current employee payroll tax cut. But it would offset the costs of the bill by imposing a 5.6 percent surtax on household income above $1 million.

The Senate rejected a motion to invoke cloture (and thus end debate so the bill could come up for a vote) on October 11, 2011 by a vote of 50 to 49 (Roll Call 160; a three-fifths majority vote of the full Senate -- 60 votes -- was needed to invoke cloture). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the way to create jobs is not to provide them via government financing of certain sectors of the economy, but to reduce the government's burden on the economy.



S.Amdt. 626 to S.Amdt. 633 to H.R. 2832: To provide trade promotion authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and for other trade agreements.
Vote Date: September 20, 2011Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Trade Promotion Authority. During consideration of the trade-preferences bill, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced an amendment to reinstitute trade promotion authority through 2013 for the purpose of expediting approval of trade bills. The authority, which was called "fast track" when initially instituted, had expired in 2007. The fast-track procedure requires that Congress must not amend or filibuster trade agreements submitted to them by the President, and must either approve or disapprove of the agreements within 90 days of submission. Renewing trade promotion authority is considered crucial for picking up the pace for approving future free-trade agreements such as the South Korea trade agreement.

The Senate rejected McConnell's amendment on September 20, 2011 by a vote of 45 to 55 (Roll Call 141). We have assigned pluses to the nays because trade promotion authority limits the ability of Congress to deliberate and legislate. Moreover, treaties should need a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate for approval.



S.J.Res. 25: A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of the President\'s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as submitted under section 3101A of title 31, United States Code, on August 2, 2011.
Vote Date: September 8, 2011Vote: NONE No Vote.
Joint Resolution 25 would disapprove of President Obama\'s intent to raise the national debt ceiling by an additional $500 billion on top of the immediate $400 billion increase under last August\'s budget deal (Senate vote #12 above). If the motion of disapproval were enacted, the additional $500 billion increase would not go into effect. S. J. Res. 25 is similar to H. J. Res. 77.

The Senate rejected a motion to proceed to the resolution of disapproval on September 8 by a vote of 45 to 52 (Roll Call 130). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because piling on more and more debt is devastating to the economy.



S. 365: Budget Control Act of 2011
Vote Date: August 2, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Debt Deal. This legislation (S. 365) provided for an immediate $400 billion increase in the national debt limit, while allowing the President to raise the ceiling an additional $500 billion unless Congress passes a resolution of disapproval on September 14, 2011 by a vote of 232 to 186 (Roll Call 706).

This legislation also established a process for reducing future cumulative deficit projections by up to $2.4 trillion for fiscal years 2012 through 2021, including the establishment of a supercommittee tasked with recommending cuts totaling up to $1.5 trillion for the 10-year period. If the supercommittee were to fail in recommending at least $1.2 trillion in cuts (and, as we know, the supercommittee failed to recommend any cuts), then the legislation would trigger automatic cuts totaling up to $1.2 trillion over 10 years.

The debt-raising/deficit-cutting package created the appearance that Congress was doing something to rein in out-of-control spending. But in reality, the total national debt would still increase even if the entire dollar amount of cuts called for in the legislation were identified and enacted, since the cuts are not cuts in the absolute sense but cuts in future budget projections. The national debt would continue to go up, but not as fast as before, for the simple reason that cutting (say) $1.2 trillion over 10 years will not offset projected annual $1 trillion-plus deficits.

The Senate agreed to the House-passed version of the bill on August 2, 2011 by a vote of 74 to 26 (Roll Call 123). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the debt deal allows both the national debt and spending to continue their upward trajectories.



S.Amdt.501 to S.679: To repeal the authority to provide certain loans to the International Monetary Fund, the increase in the United States quota to the Fund, and certain other related authorities, and to rescind related appropriated amounts.
Vote Date: June 29, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
IMF Loans. During consideration of a bill on executive branch nominations (S. 679), Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) introduced an amendment to repeal the authority to provide certain loans to the International Monetary Fund, and to rescind up to $108 billion previously appropriated for the IMF. The IMF is an adjunct of the United Nations and grants foreign aid to qualifying countries.

The Senate rejected the DeMint amendment on June 29, 2011 by a vote of 44 to 55 (Roll Call 99). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because there is no authority in the U.S. Constitution for redistributing American wealth to other countries.



S.Amdt. 476: To repeal the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit
Vote Date: June 16, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Ethanol Subsidies Repeal. During consideration of the economic development bill (S. 782), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced an amendment that would end the 45-cents per-gallon tax credit that refiners get for blending ethanol with gasoline and the 54-cents-per-gallon tariff on imported ethanol. These federal energy subsidies currently cost about $6 billion per year. Critics of the ethanol subsidy say ethanol production for use in fuels hurts the environment, gums up engines, and raises food prices. According to DesMoinesRegister.com, "About 40 percent of last year's U.S. corn crop went toward ethanol production."

The Senate adopted Feinstein's amendment on June 16, 2011 by a vote of 73 to 27 (Roll Call 90). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not authorize the federal government to subsidize alternative energy sources.



Motion to Table S.Amdt. 363: Motion to Table S.Amdt. 363
Vote Date: May 26, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Patriot Act (Firearms Purchase Records). During consideration of the Patriot Act extension bill (S. 990), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who opposes the Patriot Act on constitutional grounds, offered an amendment that would have banned the use of Patriot Act searches for American citizens' firearms records without the Fourth Amendment's protections of probable cause, warrants, and particularity. Gun Owners of America, which supported this amendment, warned: "Without Paul's exemption, it is possible that the BATFE could go to a secret (FISA) court, and, in a one-party (ex parte) proceeding, obtain an order to produce every 4473 [firearms transaction record] in the country, ostensibly because a 'terrorism investigation' requires it. If such an action were taken, the government would have a list of every gun buyer in the country going back decades."

The Senate tabled (killed) Rand Paul's amendment on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 85 to 10 (Roll Call 82). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Paul's amendment would have prevented the Patriot Act from being used to violate the rights of gun owners.



S. 990: PATRIOT Sunsets Extension Act of 2011
Vote Date: May 26, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Patriot Act Extension. This legislation (S. 990) extended for four years three provisions of the Patriot Act that were set to expire: the "roving wiretap" provision that allows the federal government to wiretap any number of a suspect's telephone/ Internet connections without specifying what they will find or how many connections will be tapped; the "financial records" provision that allows the feds to seize "any tangible thing" that has "relevance" to an investigation; and the "lone wolf" provision that allows spying on non-U.S. citizens without a warrant. These provisions violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which requires that no warrants be issued "but upon probable cause" (a much higher standard than "relevance"), and that warrants must contain language "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The Patriot Act even allows the FBI to issue warrants called "National Security Letters" without going to a judge, though this provision was not set to expire and therefore was not part of this legislation.

The Senate passed S. 990 on May 26, 2011 by a vote of 72 to 23 (Roll Call 84). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the extended provisions, and the Patriot Act as a whole, violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.



H.Con.Res. 35: Directing the Clerk of the House of Representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of H.R. 1473
Vote Date: April 14, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
ObamaCare Defunding. House Concurrent Resolution 35 would direct the House clerk to insert a section in the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) that would bar the use of funds made available in the bill to implement the provisions of the 2010 healthcare overhaul law. Since full repeal of the ObamaCare law had already been rejected in the Senate, this attempt to defund the implementation of ObamaCare for fiscal year 2011 was made.

The Senate rejected H. Con. Res. 35 on April 14, 2011 by a vote of 47 to 53 (Roll Call 59). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because there is no constitutional authority for the federal government to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to manage the healthcare industry.



H.Con.Res. 36: Directing the Clerk of the House of Representatives to make a correction in the enrollment of H.R. 1473
Vote Date: April 14, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Planned Parenthood Defunding. House Concurrent Resolution 36 would have directed the House clerk to insert a section in the enrollment of H.R. 1473 (Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011) that would prohibit the use of any funding in the bill for Planned Parenthood.

The House adopted H. Con. Res. 36 on April 14, 2011, but the Senate rejected it the same day by a vote of 42 to 58 (Roll Call 60). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Planned Parenthood is the nation's largest abortion provider and government should not subsidize the killing of innocent human life. Moreover, under the Constitution, the federal government should not be subsidizing any private entity in the marketplace.



S.Amdt. 183: To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change
Vote Date: April 6, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Greenhouse-gas Regulation. During consideration of a small-business bill (S. 493), Sen. Mitch McConnell (RKy.) offered an amendment to prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from stationary sources for the purpose of addressing climate change.

The Senate rejected McConnell's amendment on April 6, 2011 by a vote of 50 to 50 (Roll Call 54). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because restricting greenhouse-gas emissions would be harmful to the economy, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are not pollutants, and the federal government has no constitutional authority to limit such emissions.



H.R. 4: Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011
Vote Date: April 5, 2011Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ObamaCare (1099 Reporting Requirement Repeal). This bill (H.R. 4) stripped the very unpopular 1099 reporting requirement out of ObamaCare. This was significant because it was the first component of ObamaCare to be repealed by Congress. This reporting requirement for businesses and real estate owners to file a 1099 form with the IRS for every vendor to whom they paid more than $600 a year had been added to the ObamaCare legislation as a way to raise $19 billion by reducing tax fraud; however, business organizations protested that the 1099 requirement would bury businesses in additional, costly paperwork.

The Senate passed H.R. 4 on April 5, 2011 by a vote of 87 to 12 (Roll Call 49). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the burdensome 1099 reporting requirement was added to the ObamaCare legislation as a way to help pay for this unconstitutional program.



Motion to Table S.Amdt. 276: Motion to Table Paul Motion to Commit S. 493 to Committee on Foreign Relations, with Instructions
Vote Date: April 5, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Authority for Military Action. During consideration of a small-business bill (S. 493), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) moved to send the bill to the Foreign Relations Committee with instructions to insert his amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that "the President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation." Paul's amendment was in response to President Obama undertaking U.S. military action in Libya without congressional authorization.

The Senate tabled (killed) Rand Paul's motion on April 5, 2011 by a vote of 90 to 10 (Roll Call 50). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the U.S. Constitution assigns to Congress the power "to declare war."



Motion to Table S.Amdt. 4: Motion to Table S.Amdt. 4
Vote Date: February 17, 2011Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Subsidized Airline Service. During consideration of the FAA reauthorization bill (S. 223), Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) offered an amendment to end the Essential Air Service program, which provides subsidies to airlines to maintain otherwise unprofitable commercial airline service to certain small communities.

The Senate tabled (killed) the McCain amendment on February 17, 2011 by a vote of 61 to 38 (Roll Call 21). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to subsidize private airlines, and the free market should be allowed to determine which communities commercial airlines service, as well as the cost and extent of that service.



S.Amdt. 13: To repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
Vote Date: February 2, 2011Vote: NAYBad Vote.
ObamaCare Repeal. Since widespread opposition to ObamaCare propelled the Republicans to a substantial majority in the House in the 2010 elections, it was appropriate that the Republicans arranged for a vote on repealing ObamaCare very early in the first session of the 112th Congress. Dubbed the "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act," H.R. 2 would repeal both the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" (PL 111-148) and the "Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010" (PL 111-152), known collectively as ObamaCare. Passage of this repeal bill would be the best solution to the ObamaCare problem because it is worded to be effective as of the original date of enactment of PL 111-148 and 152 and would repeal both laws, as well as restore and revive the provisions of law that had been amended or repealed by ObamaCare, as if ObamaCare had never been enacted.

The essential text of the House's bill (H.R. 2) "Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act" was brought to a vote in the Senate by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as an amendment to S. 223, the FAA reauthorization bill. The Senate rejected Senator McConnell's amendment on February 2, 2011 by a vote of 47-51 (Roll Call 9). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the 2010 healthcare overhaul law (PL 111-148 and 111-152), popularly known as ObamaCare, is unconstitutional. There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to require individuals to purchase health insurance or to manage the healthcare industry.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3628: A bill to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 23, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Campaign Finance Disclosure. Back on June 24, 2010, the House passed the DISCLOSE Act ("Campaign Finance Disclosure"), H.R. 5175, which would establish new regulations for corporations, unions, and advocacy and lobbying groups for campaign-related activities.

A companion DISCLOSE bill, S. 3628, was introduced in the Senate on July 21, 2010.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture (limiting debate and allowing for a vote) on the motion to proceed to the DISCLOSE Act, S. 3628, on September 23, 2010 by a vote of 59-39 (Roll Call 240). Sixty votes are required to invoke cloture. We have assigned pluses to the nays because invoking cloture would have permitted a vote on, and certain passage of, the unconstitutional DISCLOSE Act to restrict the free speech rights of corporations, unions, and special interest groups.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3454: An original bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2011 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 21, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
DREAM Act. The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2009 would, as described by Congressional Quarterly, "provide a pathway to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who attend college or join the military." This act would provide amnesty for up to 2.1 million children of illegal immigrants. It would also permit states to offer them in-state tuition rates.

The DREAM Act was first introduced in the Senate in 2001. Although it was voted down as a stand-alone measure in the Senate in 2007, pro-amnesty forces have continued to promote its passage. Since the DREAM Act had not been brought up for a stand-alone vote in this session, Democratic leaders attempted to add it as an amendment to the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill (S. 3454) by scheduling a pre-election cloture vote on proceeding to the defense bill with a limitation that only three amendments could be considered: (1) the DREAM Act; (2) a limitation on Senators' use of secret holds on bills or nominations; and (3) striking the defense bill's repeal of the 1993 "don't ask, don't tell" law. Although the DREAM Act shared billing with two other amendments, it was clear that the DREAM Act, with its obvious implications for wooing the Hispanic vote, was the centerpiece of this pre-election cloture vote.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture (limiting debate and allowing a vote) on the motion to proceed to the defense authorization bill on September 21, 2010 by a vote of 56-43 (Roll Call 238). Sixty votes are required to invoke cloture. We have assigned pluses to the nays because invoking cloture would have permitted a vote on, and likely approval of, the DREAM Act amendment to provide amnesty to certain groups of illegal immigrants.



On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 4596 to S.Amdt. 4595 to S.Amdt. 4594 to H.R. 5297: To repeal the expansion of information reporting requirements for payments of $600 or more to corporations, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 14, 2010Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ObamaCare 1099 Requirement. One of the most unpopular provisions in the massively unconstitutional ObamaCare law is the requirement for businesses to file 1099 forms with their vendors and the IRS for any purchases totaling more than $600 per year with a vendor. This will force 40 million business entities to file untold billions of new reports with their vendors and the IRS each year.

Pressure has been building on Congress to repeal the 1099 reporting requirement. On September 14 the Senate considered an amendment by Senator Mike Johanns (Neb.) to repeal this requirement.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture (limiting debate and allowing a vote) on the Johanns amendment on September 14, 2010 by a vote of 46-52 (Roll Call 231). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because invoking cloture would have permitted a vote on an amendment to repeal the highly unpopular 1099 IRS reporting provision of the unconstitutional ObamaCare law.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 1586 with Amendment No. 4575.): An act to modernize the air traffic control system, improve the safety, reliability, and availability of transportation by air in the United States, provide for modernization of the air traffic control system, reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 5, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Medicaid and Education Assistance. This legislation (H.R. 1586) would provide $26.1 billion in state aid for Medicaid ($16.1 billion of the total) and education ($10 billion). The latter is for the purpose of creating or retaining education-related jobs.

The Senate agreed to this legislation on August 5, 2010 by a vote of 61-39 (Roll Call 228). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to pay for healthcare for the poor or to fund education. Also, there is no statistical evidence showing that federal involvement in education has increased learning -- though it certainly has increased federal bureaucracy and control.



On the Nomination PN1768: Elena Kagan, of Massachusetts, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Vote Date: August 5, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Kagan Confirmation. The Senate confirmed President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on August 5, 2010 by a vote of 63-37 (Roll Call 229).

We have assigned pluses to the nays because Kagan is not committed to adhering to the original intent of the Constitution in her judicial decisions. Instead, her public record indicates that she is a legal positivist who will interpret law based on her own ideological bent and effectively revise and rewrite law by judicial fiat.



On the Motion (DeMint Motion to Suspend Rule 22 Re: Motion to Refer House Message on H.R. 4213 to the Committee on Finance): A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 21, 2010Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Estate Tax. During consideration of a bill to extend unemployment benefits (H.R. 4213), Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) offered a measure to submit the bill to the Finance Committee with instructions to include language to permanently repeal the estate tax. Under current law, the estate tax, which expired at the end of 2009 after being incrementally reduced, will rise to 55 percent next year with an exemption of $1 million. The estate tax often forces the sale of family farms and other businesses that owners want to bequeath to their children.

A motion to allow for a vote on DeMint's measure was rejected on July 21, 2010 by a vote of 39-59 (Roll Call 213). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the estate tax should be permanently eliminated.



On the Motion (DeMint Motion to Suspend Rule 22 Re: DeMint Amdt. No. 4464): A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to extend certain expiring provisions, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 21, 2010Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Arizona Immigration Law. During consideration of the bill to extend unemployment benefits (H.R. 4213), Sen. Jim DeMint (S.C.) offered a measure to recommit the bill to the Judiciary Committee with instructions to include language that no funds in any provision of law may be used to participate in a lawsuit against Arizona's immigration law. The Obama administration opposes the Arizona law (S.B. 1070) despite the fact that it does not actually create new powers of government but instead makes illegal under state law the illegal immigration that is already illegal under federal law.

A motion to allow for a vote on DeMint's measure was rejected on July 21, 2010 by a vote of 43-55 (Roll Call 214). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because Arizona (like any other state) has the right to stem the tide of illegal immigration into the state.



On the Conference Report H.R. 4173: A bill to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 15, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Financial Regulatory Reform. This sweeping legislation (H.R. 4173) would tighten federal control of the financial sector on the false premise that the financial crisis was driven by free-market forces, as opposed to government and Fed policies (e.g., artificially low interest rates) that encouraged excessive borrowing and risk-taking. The legislation would create a new Financial Stability Oversight Council that would monitor the financial sector for system-wide risks, and could (by a two-thirds majority vote) subject non-bank entities to Fed regulatory powers and approve Fed decisions to break up large companies. It would also create a new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection run by the Federal Reserve.

According to the American Bankers Association, the legislation would subject traditional banks to 5,000 pages of new regulations.

The Senate adopted the final version (conference report) of H.R. 4173 on July 15, 2010 by a vote of 60-39 (Roll Call 208). We have assigned pluses to the nays because ramping up regulatory control of the financial sector by the Fed and the federal government is not only unconstitutional but will make it exceedingly more difficult for the economy to recover.



On the Motion to Proceed S.J.Res. 26: A joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by the Environmental Protection Agency relating to the endangerment finding and the cause or contribute findings for greenhouse gases under section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act.
Vote Date: June 10, 2010Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Greenhouse Gas Regulation. This legislative measure (Senate Joint Resolution 26) would disapprove an Environmental Protection Agency endangerment finding that greenhouse gases may be regulated as pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The EPA had issued the finding in December 2009, claiming that "six greenhouse gases taken in combination endanger both the public health and the public welfare of current and future generations." The supposedly dangerous pollutants include carbon dioxide, even though this natural substance is necessary for the existence of plant life.

A motion to consider Senate Joint Resolution 26 was rejected by the Senate on June 10, 2010 by a vote of 47-53 (Roll Call 184). 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.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4899: Making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 27, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Supplemental Appropriations. The supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 4899) would provide an additional $58.8 billion in "emergency" funding for the current fiscal year (2010). The supplemental appropriations in the bill include $37.1 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $5.1 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and $2.9 for earthquake relief in Haiti.

The Senate passed the bill on May 27, 2010 by a vote of 67-28 (Roll Call 176). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the spending is over and above what the federal government already budgeted for the current fiscal year, Congress never declared war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of the spending (e.g., foreign aid) is unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4173: A bill to promote the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system, to end "too big to fail", to protect the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, to protect consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 20, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Financial Regulatory Reform. The Senate version of this legislation (which has the same bill number as the House version, H.R. 4173) would create a new consumer financial watchdog (a "Consumer Financial Protection Agency") run by the Federal Reserve and in general give the Fed more power to intervene in and regulate the financial sector.

The Senate passed H.R. 4173 on May 20, 2010 by a vote of 59-39 (Roll Call 162). We have assigned pluses to the nays because more government control of the economy will do more harm than good.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 3760 to S.Amdt. 3739 to S. 3217 (Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010): To address availability of information concerning the meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 11, 2010Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Audit the Fed. During consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill (S. 3217), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) offered an amendment to audit the Federal Reserve. The Senate rejected the Vitter amendment on May 11, 2010 by a vote of 37-62 (Roll Call 138), after unanimously adopting a watered-down audit-the-Fed amendment offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sanders had much earlier introduced legislation in the Senate that mirrored the audit-the-Fed legislation in the House championed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). When Sanders caved and offered his watered-down amendment, Vitter stepped in and offered an amendment for a full Fed audit along the lines of Paul's (and Sanders' earlier) proposal. The Sanders amendment allows for a onetime audit of the Fed's emergency actions taken in response to the 2008 financial crisis. However, unlike the Vitter amendment, the Sanders amendment (in Paul's words) "exempts monetary policy decisions, discount window operations, and agreements with foreign central banks from [GAO] audit."

The vote on the Vitter amendment is used here to rate Senators on their position on auditing the Fed. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the American people need to know what the Fed is doing and because this may represent a first step in eliminating the unconstitutional Federal Reserve.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4872: An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to Title II of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2010 (S. Con. Res. 13).
Vote Date: March 25, 2010Vote: AYEBad Vote.
ObamaCare Reconciliation. This bill (H.R. 4872), officially titled the "Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010," was passed to amend the ObamaCare bill at the insistence of disaffected House Democrats. Among other things, it increases subsidies to help uninsured individuals buy health insurance and increases some taxes and fees to help pay for the expanded coverage provided by ObamaCare. This bill also makes the federal government the sole provider of student loans after July 1, which is just one more example of a complete government takeover of a significant sector of our economy.

The Senate passed H.R. 4872 on March 25, 2010 by a vote of 56-43 (Roll Call 105). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government has no constitutional authority to manage the healthcare industry



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 45: A joint resolution increasing the statutory limit on the public debt.
Vote Date: January 28, 2010Vote: AYEBad 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, 2010Vote: AYEBad 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, 2009Vote: AYEBad 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, 2009Vote: NAYBad 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, 2009Vote: AYEBad 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, 2009Vote: AYEBad 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, 2009Vote: AYEBad 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, 2009Vote: AYEBad 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, 2009Vote: AYEBad 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, 2009Vote: AYEBad 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.



On Passage of the Bill 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: September 17, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Transportation-HUD Appropriations. The Senate version of H.R. 3288 is similar to the House-passed version. [ House: The fiscal 2010 Transportation-HUD appropriations (H.R. 3288) would authorize a whopping $123.1 billion for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. This includes $68.8 billion for discretionary spending for the two departments and their related agencies, a 25-percent increase from fiscal 2009 levels. The bill would provide $1.5 billion in federal grants for Amtrak and $18.2 billion for the Section 8 Tenant-based Rental Assistance program. ]

The Senate version would authorize $122 billion, including $67.7 billion in discretionary spending, for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development and related agencies.

The Senate passed H.R. 3288 on September 17, 2009 by a vote of 73-25 (Roll Call 287). We have assigned pluses to the nays because virtually every dollar assigned to this bill, whether it is for transportation or housing assistance, is unconstitutional and unaffordable.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2355 to H.R. 3288 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010): Prohibiting use of funds to fund the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).
Vote Date: September 14, 2009Vote: AYEGood Vote.
ACORN Funding. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) offered an amendment to the fiscal 2010 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 3288) stating: "None of the funds made available under this Act may be directly or indirectly distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)." According to a September 15 AP story, Johanns "said that ACORN has received $53 million in taxpayer funds since 1994 and that the group was eligible for a wider set of funding in the pending legislation, which funds housing and transportation programs." ACORN has come under intense scrutiny since the release of videos on September 9 by two conservatives, who posed as a prostitute and her pimp, in which ACORN employees in Baltimore gave advice on buying a home with illicit funds and how to account on tax forms for the woman's income. Over the next few days, the pair released several other videos depicting similar situations in ACORN offices around the nation.

The Senate passed the ACORN Funding Ban amendment to H.R. 3288 on September 14, 2009 by a vote of 83-7 (Roll Call 275). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because federal government funding of community organizations is not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Nomination PN506: Sonia Sotomayor, of New York, to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States
Vote Date: August 6, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Sotomayor Confirmation. Judge Sonia Sotomayor revealed her view on our God-given right to keep and bear arms while on the Second Circuit Court in the case of United States v. Sanchez-Villar (2004). In a footnote to their decision on this case, Sotomayor and two colleagues dismissed a Second Amendment claim by holding that "the right to possess a gun is clearly not a fundamental right." Her widely quoted remarks that the "court of appeals is where policy is made" and "I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life" provide further evidence that Sotomayor does not base her judicial decisions on the original intent of the Constitution.

The Senate confirmed Sonia Sotomayor to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court on August 6, 2009 by a vote of 68-31 (Roll Call 262). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Judge Sotomayor is not committed to adhering to the original intent of the Constitution in her judicial decisions.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3435: A bill making supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2009 for the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save Program.
Vote Date: August 6, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Cash for Clunkers Funding. After running out of funds almost immediately, Congress quickly introduced yet another bill (H.R. 3435) that would provide an additional $2 billion for the "Cash for Clunkers" program. Under the program consumers were offered rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in their old cars for more fuel-efficient ones. The vehicles traded in were destroyed, meaning cars not ready for the junkyard would be taken off the road, reducing the stock of used vehicles and inflating the prices of used cars.

The Senate passed H.R. 3435 on August 6, 2009 by a vote of 60-37 (Roll Call 270). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should not be subsidizing the car industry and because it is unconstitutional and wasteful.



On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 1511 to S. 1390 (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010): To provide Federal assistance to States, local jurisdictions, and Indian tribes to prosecute hate crimes, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 16, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Hate Crimes. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) attached an amendment to the Fiscal 2010 Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 1390) that would expand the federal hate-crimes law. Attaching such an amendment to a "must-pass" appropriations bill further ensured passage of the legislation by preventing nay votes from Senators who supported the annual appropriations bill. The expanded hate-crimes law would cover victims of crimes based on one's sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. (Current law covers crimes based on race, color, religion, or national origin.)

The Senate agreed to invoke cloture on the Leahy amendment (thus limiting debate so that the amendment itself could be voted on) on July 16, 2009 by a vote of 63-28 (Roll Call 233). The amendment was subsequently adopted by unanimous consent. We have assigned pluses to the nays because this legislation would further federalize the criminal code, as well as punish not only criminal acts but the thoughts behind them.



On the Nomination PN225: Harold Hongju Koh, of Connecticut, to be Legal Adviser of the Department of State
Vote Date: June 25, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Koh Confirmation. On March 23, 2009, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Harold Hongju Koh to be the Legal Adviser of the U.S. State Department. During Senate floor debate on Koh's confirmation on June 23, Senator Jim DeMint provided evidence of Koh's positions regarding international law and the U.S. Constitution, and then concluded that "Mr. Koh believes that if our President and Congress, empowered by our Constitution, decide military action is needed to defend our Nation from harm, we must get United Nations approval or our actions are illegal." As further evidence of Koh's troubling beliefs regarding the Constitution and international law, Senator DeMint quoted from a 2004 law review article entitled "International Law as Part of Our Law," in which Koh states: "U.S. domestic courts must play a key role in coordinating U.S. domestic constitutional rules with rules of foreign and international law, not simply to promote American aims but to advance the broader development of a well-functioning international judicial system."

The Senate confirmed Harold Koh to be State Department Legal Adviser on June 25, 2009 by a vote of 62-35 (Roll Call 213). We have assigned pluses to the nays because subordination of U.S. sovereignty to international law and international organizations would undermine the Constitution.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2346: A bill making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 18, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Supplemental Appropriations. This final version (conference report) of the fiscal 2009 supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 2346) would provide an additional $105.9 billion in so-called emergency funds over and above the regular appropriations for 2009. This outrageous supplemental package would include $79.9 billion for defense funding (including for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), $10.4 billion for foreign aid programs, $7.7 billion to address the national flu scare, and $5 billion for International Monetary Fund activities. This supplemental bill would also include $1 billion for the Cash for Clunkers program.

A day prior to the House vote, Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) urged his fellow lawmakers to reject the bill, stating, "I continue to believe that the best way to support our troops is to bring them home from Iraq and Afghanistan.... Our continued presence in Iraq and Afghanistan does not make us safer at home, but in fact it undermines our national security."

The Senate adopted the conference report (thus sending it to the President) on June 18, 2009 by a vote of 91-5 (Roll Call 210). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the spending is over and above what the federal government had already budgeted, the United States never declared war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of the spending (e.g., Cash for Clunkers and foreign aid) is unconstitutional.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1138 to H.R. 2346 (Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2009): To strike the provisions relating to increased funding for the International Monetary Fund.
Vote Date: May 21, 2009Vote: NAYBad Vote.
IMF Funding. During consideration of the Fiscal 2009 Supplemental bill (H.R. 2346), Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment to delete $5 billion provided by the bill for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF is an adjunct of the United Nations and grants foreign aid to qualifying countries.

The Senate rejected the DeMint amendment on May 21, 2009, by a vote of 30-64 (Roll Call 201). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because foreign aid is unconstitutional, and this is deficit spending.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2346: A bill making supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 21, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Fiscal 2009 Supplemental Appropriations. The Senate version of the Fiscal 2009 Supplemental Appropriations bill (H.R. 2346) would provide an additional $91.3 billion in "emergency" funding for the current fiscal year over and above the regular appropriations. The spending would include $73 billion for the Defense Department (including the ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan), $1.5 billion to address potential pandemic flu, and $5 billion for the International Monetary Fund, a UN agency that lends to qualifying countries.

The Senate passed H.R. 2346 on May 21, 2009, by a vote of 86-3 (Roll Call 202). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the spending is over and above what the federal government had already budgeted, Congress never declared war against Iraq and Afghanistan, and some of the spending (e.g., foreign aid) is unconstitutional.



On the Conference Report S.Con.Res. 13: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2010, revising the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal year 2009, and setting forth the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2011 through 2014.
Vote Date: April 29, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Budget Resolution. The final version of the Fiscal 2010 Budget Resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 13) calls for $3.56 trillion in federal spending for the fiscal year beginning on September 1, 2009. This level of spending would be significantly less than the $4.0 trillion the Obama administration forecast in May that the federal government would spend in the current fiscal year (which includes the $700 billion TARP program), but significantly more than the $3.0 trillion the federal government spent in fiscal 2008. And the deficit for fiscal 2010 would be more than $1 trillion.

The Senate passed the final version (conference report) of the budget resolution on April 29, 2009, by a vote of 53-43 (Roll Call 173). We have assigned pluses to the nays because much of the budget is unconstitutional (e.g., foreign aid, education, healthcare, etc.), and the federal government should end deficit spending and live within its means.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 1388: A bill entitled "The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, an Act to reauthorize and reform the national service laws."
Vote Date: March 26, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
National-service Programs. The Serve America Act (H.R. 1388) would reauthorize Corporation for National and Community Service programs through 2014, and expand the number of "volunteer" positions (which are actually paid positions) in national-service programs such as AmeriCorps from 75,000 to 250,000. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the House version of this legislation would cost $6 billion and the Senate version would cost $5 billion over five years.

The Senate passed H.R. 1388 on March 26, 2009, by a vote of 79-19 (Roll Call 115). We have assigned pluses to the nays because national-service programs are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 662 to H.R. 1105 (Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009): To prohibit the use of funds by the Federal Communications Commission to repromulgate the Fairness Doctrine.
Vote Date: March 10, 2009Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Fairness Doctrine. During consideration of the omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 1105), Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) offered an amendment to prohibit the use of funding in the bill to reinstitute a Federal Communications Commission rule known as the "Fairness Doctrine." Under this doctrine, which the FCC itself abolished in 1987, radio and television broadcasters were required to air opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. The rule had the effect of encouraging broadcasters to minimize controversial programming so as to avoid providing free air time for opposing viewpoints. And it inhibited free speech in the same way that an extension of the Fairness Doctrine to magazines or newspapers would have inhibited the ability of publishers to express their beliefs.

The Senate rejected Thune's amendment on March 10, 2009, by a vote of 47-50 (Roll Call 92). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because reinstituting the Fairness Doctrine would be an unconstitutional infringement on the right to free speech.



On Passage of the Bill S. 160: A bill to provide the District of Columbia a voting seat and the State of Utah an additional seat in the House of Representatives.
Vote Date: February 26, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
District of Columbia Voting Rights. The District of Columbia Voting Rights bill (S. 160) would add two seats to the United States House of Representatives, bringing the total number of representatives to 437. Specifically, the bill would create an additional seat in Utah beginning with the 112th Congress and a permanent seat in the District of Columbia beginning with the 113th Congress. The bill would also increase the size of the Electoral College to accommodate the changes.

The Senate passed S. 160 on February 26, 2009, by a vote of 61-37 (Roll Call 73). We have assigned pluses to the nays because Article 1 Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution states, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states." The District of Columbia is not a state, and can only become a state (and be entitled to representation in Congress) via a constitutional amendment.



On the Conference Report H.R. 1: A bill making supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation, infrastructure investment, energy efficiency and science, assistance to the unemployed, and State and local fiscal stabilization, for fiscal year ending September 30, 2009, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: February 13, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Economic Stimulus. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (H.R. 1) would provide $787 billion -- $575 billion in new spending and $212 billion in tax cuts -- to stimulate the economy. The "stimulus" spending is supposed to create jobs, yet the money that the government spends for this purpose would have to be drained from the economy in the first place, thereby destroying jobs throughout the economy in order to give the government the means to create jobs in selected sectors. Even the tax cuts, which constitute less than a third of the stimulus package, would not reduce the burden that government spending places on the economy, since there are no corresponding spending cuts. Since the federal government is already operating in the red, the entire $787-billion "stimulus" would translate into another $787 billion in federal debt, as well as inflation when the money to finance the debt is created out of thin air by the Fed and pumped into the economy. In fact, the legislation would increase the national debt ceiling by $789 billion, a little more than the bill's price tag.

The Senate adopted H.R. 1 (thus clearing it for the president to sign) on February 13, 2009, by a vote of 60-38 (Roll Call 64). We have assigned pluses to the nays because much of the spending would be unconstitutional and government cannot stimulate the economy by draining money from the private sector.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2: A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children
Vote Date: January 29, 2009Vote: AYEBad Vote.
SCHIP. H.R. 2 would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program, commonly referred to as SCHIP, for over four and a half years and increase the funding for the program by $32.8 billion. SCHIP is designed to provide health insurance to children of families whose incomes are up to four times above the poverty level (and therefore would have too much income to qualify for Medicaid), yet would have little income to buy private insurance. Often SCHIP crowds out private insurance: the Congressional Budget Office found that between 25 and 50 percent of children who enroll in SCHIP dropped their private insurance to get "free care." Because SCHIP, like Medicaid and Medicare, pays doctors and hospitals only a fraction of the actual cost of care, the unfunded costs get passed to holders of private insurance. Additionally, SCHIP would apply to 400,000 to 600,000 children of legal immigrants whose sponsors had agreed to cover the children's healthcare needs for at least five years after arriving to the United States.

The Senate passed H.R. 2 on January 29, 2009, by a vote of 66-32 (Roll Call 31). We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal healthcare programs are unconstitutional and would likely lower the quality of healthcare.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 65 to H.R. 2 (Children: To restore the prohibition on funding of nongovernmental organizations that promote abortion as a method of birth control (the "Mexico City Policy").
Vote Date: January 28, 2009Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Mexico City Policy. Senator Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) offered an amendment to the Children's Health Insurance bill to reinstate the so-called Mexico City Policy, which newly inaugurated President Barack Obama had overturned on January 23, 2009 via executive order. The overturned policy barred the distribution of U.S. foreign aid to organizations that "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning."

The Senate rejected the Martinez amendment by a vote of 37-60 on January 28, 2009 (Roll Call 19). We have assigned pluses to the yeas not only because foreign aid is unconstitutional, but because the amendment would have helped to protect the right to life.



On the Joint Resolution S.J.Res. 5: A joint resolution relating to the disapproval of obligations under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.
Vote Date: January 15, 2009Vote: NAYBad Vote.
TARP Funding. Senate Joint Resolution 5 would have prevented the release of the remaining $350 billion of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to bail out banks and other institutions. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 had authorized a total of $700 billion, only half of which was initially released, for TARP. The act was written so that the Treasury Department, which administers the program, could start spending the second $350 billion unless both chambers of Congress disapproved.

The Senate rejected this resolution on January 15, 2009, by a vote of 42-52 (Roll Call 5). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Constitution does not authorize Congress to grant financial aid or loans to private companies, i.e., banks and automakers.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 1424: A bill to provide authority for the Federal Government to purchase and insure certain types of troubled assets for the purposes of providing stability to and preventing disruption in the economy and financial system and protecting taxpayers, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide incentives for energy production and conservation, to extend certain expiring provisions, to provide individual income tax relief, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 1, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Bailout Bill. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (H.R. 1424) passed 74-25 (Roll Call 213) on October 1, 2008. This bill authorizes the Treasury Department to use $700 billion of taxpayer money to purchase troubled mortgage-related securities from banks and other financial-related institutions, on terms set by the Treasury Secretary, who now has authority to manage and sell those assets. The bailout plan also expands FDIC protection from $100,000 to $250,000 per bank account, extends dozens of expiring tax provisions, expands incentives for renewable energy, provides a one-year adjustment to exempt millions of Americans from the alternative minimum tax, and requires health insurers who provide mental-health coverage to put mental-health benefits on par with other medical benefits.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill establishes an unconstitutional merger of government with big business -- in other words, fascism -- and greatly increases the national debt and monetary inflation by forcing taxpayers to pay the price for the failures of private financial institutions.



On the Conference Report H.R. 4137: A bill to amend and extend the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 31, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Higher Education Aid. H.R. 4137 would reauthorize the Higher Education Act through fiscal 2012. It would increase the maximum authorized level of Pell Grants for low-income students from $5,800 per year to $6,000 for the 2009-10 academic year, and to $8,000 for the 2014-15 academic year. It would also create a $10,000 student-aid forgiveness program ($2,000 per year for five years) for graduates who work in high-need fields such as nursing and early childhood education.

The Senate passed the final version of this legislation (known as the conference report) on July 31, 2008 by a vote of 83-8 (Roll Call 194). We have assigned pluses to the nays because education aid is not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to Senate Amendment to the House Amendments to the Senate Amendment to HR 3221): A bill to provide needed housing reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 26, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Mortgage Relief. This legislation (H.R. 3221) would grant authority to the Treasury Department to extend new credit and buy stock in the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac). As described by Congressional Quarterly, "It also would create an independent regulator for the two mortgage giants and the Federal Home Loan Bank System. It would overhaul the Federal Housing Administration and allow it to insure up to $300 billion worth of new, refinanced loans for struggling mortgage borrowers. It also includes a $7,500 tax credit to some first-time homebuyers, higher loan limits for FHA-backed loans, a standard tax deduction for property taxes and revenue-raisers to offset part of the costs. It also would authorize $3.92 billion in grants to states and localities to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed properties, and increase the federal debt limit to $10.6 trillion."

The Senate passed H.R. 3221 on July 26, 2008 by a vote of 72-13 (Roll Call 186). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government acting as an insurer, a micromanager of markets, and a wealth redistributor is unconstitutional and will undoubtedly affect market behavior, leading to more and worse market strife.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3186: A bill to provide funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
Vote Date: July 26, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Low-income Energy Assistance. Bill S. 3186 would provide emergency funds of $2.5 billion, nearly doubling the funding, for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. A motion to limit debate on the motion to proceed to the bill was rejected 50-35 (Roll Call 187) on July 26, 2008 in a vote that required the approval of three-fifths of the Senate. Proponents of the funding said it was needed to help people with low income pay for rapidly rising heating and cooling costs.

The funding would have an emergency designation, meaning it is neither paid for from existing funds nor offset by spending reductions in other programs. Thus the cost would be added to the national debt and passed on to future generations. The program still had a $100 million surplus and was expected to be refunded in a continuing resolution, therefore the bill was unnecessary. The bill ignored demands for increasing domestic energy production as a means to restrain rising energy prices.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because the federal government should stop over-regulating and interfering with the energy industry and get out of the unconstitutional welfare business.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 5501: A bill to authorize appropriations for fiscal years 2009 through 2013 to provide assistance to foreign countries to combat HIV AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 16, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Global HIV/AIDS Program. This version of H.R. 5501, as modified by the Senate, was agreed to 303-115 (Roll Call 531) on July 24, 2008. The bill would authorize $48 billion for fiscal 2009 through 2013 to combat AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis overseas. Currently one-third of the funding for HIV prevention is required to go to abstinence education. The bill would change that allocation to balance funding between condom, fidelity, and abstinence programs. It would also authorize $2 billion to fund programs for American Indian health, clean water, and law enforcement.

The Senate passed H.R. 5501 on July 16, 2008 by a vote of 80-16 (Roll Call 182). We have assigned pluses to the nays because foreign aid is unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 6304: A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to establish a procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: July 9, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Warrantless Searches. H.R. 6304, the bill to revamp the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), would allow warrantless electronic surveillance, including monitoring telephone conversations and e-mails, of foreign targets, including those communicating with American citizens in the United States. The final version of the bill would not explicitly grant immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted President Bush's warrantless surveillance program. But it would require courts to dismiss lawsuits against such companies if there is "substantial evidence" they were insured in writing the program was legal and authorized by the president. The provision would almost certainly result in the dismissal of the lawsuits.

The Senate passed H.R. 6304 on July 9, 2008 by a vote of 69-28 (Roll Call 168). We have assigned pluses to the nays because warrantless searches are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires that any searches be conducted only upon issuance of a warrant under conditions of probable cause. Moreover, Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution forbids "ex post facto laws" -- laws having a retroactive effect.



On the Motion (Motion To Concur In House Amdts To Senate Amdt To House Amdt To Senate Amdt To H.R. 2642): A bill making appropriations for military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 26, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Funds for War, Welfare, Etc. The Supplemental Appropriations bill (H.R. 2642) was agreed to 92-2 (Roll Call 162) on June 26, 2008. Such bills fund unforeseen needs after an annual budget has been approved. However, regular use of emergency supplemental bills to pay for never-ending wars, domestic welfare, and infrastructure programs has made the annual budget a misleading indicator of spending intentions.

This $186.5 billion measure includes $161.8 billion of additional funding for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The remaining $24.7 billion is for domestic programs including tornado, flood, and hurricane relief efforts. It would also expand veterans' education benefits, expand unemployment benefits, and delay shifting some Medicaid costs to the states.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress continues to fund a war it never authorized under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. Also, the federal government is unconstitutionally involved as an individual and corporate insurer at taxpayer expense.



On Overriding the Veto H.R. 6124: A bill to provide for the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 18, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Farm Bill (Veto Override). H.R. 6124 would authorize the nation's farm programs for the next five years, including crop subsidies and nutrition programs. The final version of the legislation provides $289 billion for these programs, including a $10.4 billion boost in spending for nutrition programs such as food stamps.

After this five-year, $289 billion farm bill was vetoed by President Bush, the Senate passed the bill over the president's veto on June 18, 2008 by a vote of 80-14 (Roll Call 151). A two-thirds majority vote is required to override a presidential veto.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Cloture Motion S. 3044: A bill to provide energy price relief and hold oil companies and other entities accountable for their actions with regard to high energy prices, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 10, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Energy Prices. A motion to limit debate and proceed to the Consumer-First Energy Act of 2008 (S. 3044) was rejected 51-43 (Roll Call 146) on June 10, 2008, in a vote that required three-fifths of the Senate to succeed. The bill would repeal $17 billion in tax breaks for oil companies over 10 years and redirect that revenue to the benefit of renewable energy. A windfall profits tax would also be imposed on the largest oil companies.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because increasing taxes on the profits of U.S. oil producers would drive gasoline, heating oil, and natural gas prices higher, as the increased tax expense would simply be passed on to consumers. Targeting the largest U.S. oil companies for making higher profits creates a disincentive to increasing exploration and production, and undermines the exceedingly large capital base required to rebuild after hurricanes devastate the oil patch. Moreover, it is unfair because other companies and sectors with even higher profit margins are ignored. Finally, the government should not be subsidizing energy development.



On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 4825 to S. 3036 (Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008): In the nature of a substitute.
Vote Date: June 6, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Global Warming. The substitute amendment offered by Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) to S. 3036 would have created a cap-and-trade system for reducing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The system would have forced utilities, factories, etc., to collectively reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions by 71 percent by 2050, though individual companies could emit more by purchasing allowances from companies that emit less. The cost to the economy would be in the trillions.

The legislation was likely derailed for the remainder of 2008 when on June 6 proponents failed to invoke cloture on the Boxer substitute amendment. Invoking cloture would have limited debate so that the bill could come up for a vote. The cloture vote failed 48-36 (Roll Call 145), a dozen short of the 60 needed under Senate rules.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because mandates on greenhouse-gas emissions are not constitutionally authorized and would harm the economy.



On the Conference Report S.Con.Res. 70: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2009 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2008 and 2010 through 2013.
Vote Date: June 4, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Budget Resolution. The final version of the Fiscal 2009 Budget Resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 70) was adopted 214-210 on June 5, 2008 (Roll Call 382). Drafted by the Democrats, this $3.03 trillion budget sets nonbinding limits for the 12 annual appropriations bills. Last year's $2.9 trillion budget allowed $145.2 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new budget included only $70 billion for the two wars in 2009 and nothing thereafter, an unrealistic notion that understates true spending intent and necessitates more war funding in a supplemental bill. The budget would be significantly higher if war funding were not largely off-budget. The plan predicts a hypothetical budget surplus by 2012, which is meaningless.

All spending bills would be increased over 2008. The budget assumes that revenue will be stable or increase and that some tax cuts will expire. An increase was called for in the statutory debt ceiling by $800 billion to $10.6 trillion. That promptly occurred in the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout.

The Senate adopted Senate Con. Res. 70 on June 4, 2008 by a vote of 48-45 (Roll Call 142). We have assigned pluses to the nays because inflation and the national debt are skyrocketing as Congress persistently disregards constitutional limits on spending.



On the Conference Report H.R. 2419: A bill to provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: May 15, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Farm Bill. H.R. 2419 would authorize the nation's farm programs for the next five years, including crop subsidies and nutrition programs. The final version of this legislation worked out by House and Senate conferees (known as a conference report) provides $289 billion for these programs, including a $10.4 billion boost in spending for nutrition programs such as food stamps.

The Senate passed the final version of H.R. 2419 by a vote of 81-15 (Roll Call 130) on May 15, 2008. We have assigned pluses to the nays because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are not authorized by the Constitution.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 4720 to S. 2284 (Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2007): Of a perfecting nature.
Vote Date: May 13, 2008Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Oil Security via Domestic Production. Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) offered an amendment (No. 4720) to S. 2284 that was rejected 42-56 on May 13, 2008 (Roll Call 123). This amendment to the Flood Insurance Reform bill would increase America's supply of energy and generate jobs by ending the moratorium on offshore oil and gas leasing for the Outer Continental Shelf off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; open the oil shale reserves in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming; encourage coal-to-liquid fuels; and seek to increase refinery capacity. Filling of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would also be suspended for 180 days in an attempt to lower gas prices short-term.

We have assigned pluses to the yeas because America is dangerously dependent on foreign oil and we should increase domestic oil production to mitigate an expected decline in foreign oil exports to America. Time is fleeting for preparing for a supply crisis.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3221: A bill to provide needed housing reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: April 10, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Mortgage Relief. H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, passed 84-12 on April 10, 2008 (Roll Call 96). It was originally introduced in the House as an energy bill under another title and was passed as such in 2007. The Senate substituted a very different text, turning the bill into a vehicle for foreclosure prevention and returned it to the House for approval as three Senate amendments.

Among the overall bill's many aspects, it reforms the Federal Housing Administration, providing it liquidity and changing its insurance program to help homeowners facing foreclosure to refinance; it includes a net operating loss proposal that Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) described as a multi-billion dollar bailout of the home-builders industry; it appropriates funding to states to redevelop foreclosed properties; and it would provide renewable-energy tax breaks.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional for the federal government to be an insurer, and wealth redistributor.



On the Concurrent Resolution S.Con.Res. 70: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2009 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2008 and 2010 through 2013.
Vote Date: March 14, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
2009 Budget Resolution. Senate Concurrent Resolution 70, the Senate plan for a fiscal 2009 budget, was adopted 51-44 on March 14, 2008 (Roll Call 85). This non-binding budget recommends outlays of about $2.6 trillion for fiscal year 2009, with a deficit of $564 billion. A one year moratorium on earmarks was rejected. A $35 billion economic stimulus package would be provided for, with no fiscal offset. Tax breaks aimed at low-income households would be extended, such as the 10-percent tax bracket, marriage penalty relief, and the child tax credit. However, an extension for other tax cuts, including reduced tax rates for capital gains and dividends, was rejected.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress must discontinue unconstitutional and deficit spending. Otherwise the dollar could collapse.



On Passage of the Bill S. 2248: An original bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, to modernize and streamline the provisions of that Act, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: February 12, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Warrantless Searches. S. 2248, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, passed 68-29 on February 12, 2008 (Roll Call 20). The bill would amend the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to effectively give the executive branch of the federal government a blank check to eavesdrop on telephone calls and e-mail messages between people in foreign countries and those in the United States. The bill includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that have collaborated with federal agencies in the warrantless surveillance of American citizens.

We have assigned pluses to the nays because warrantless wiretaps are a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires that any searches be conducted only upon issuance of a warrant under conditions of probable cause. Moreover, Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution forbids "ex post facto laws" -- laws having a retroactive effect.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 5140: A bill to provide economic stimulus through recovery rebates to individuals, incentives for business investment, and an increase in conforming and FHA loan limits.
Vote Date: February 7, 2008Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Economic Stimulus. H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus package, whereby rebate checks were mailed to taxpayers, passed 81-16 on February 7, 2008 (Roll Call 10). It would provide about $150 billion in economic stimulus, including $101.1 billion in direct payments of rebate checks (typically $600) to most taxpayers in 2008 and temporary tax breaks for businesses.

After the House resolved its differences with the Senate, the bill was cleared for President Bush, who signed it into law. We have assigned pluses to the nays because creating money out of thin air (which was what was done for the rebate checks) cannot improve the economy.





*** Prior to 2008, "The Freedom Index" was known as the "The Conservative Index." ***





On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3688: A bill to implement the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.
Vote Date: December 4, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Peru Free Trade Agreement. The Peru Free Trade Agreement (H.R. 3688) is another in a series of free-trade agreements to transfer the power to regulate trade (and other powers as well) to regional arrangements. A prime example is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, as noted by the House Ways and Means Committee report on H.R. 3688, the Peru Free Trade Agreement is the first U.S. FTA to include -- in its core text fully enforceable commitments by the Parties to adopt, maintain, and enforce basic international labor standards, as stated in the 1988 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. -- The ILO, or International Labor Organization, is a UN agency.

The Senate passed the Peru Free Trade Agreement on December 4, 2007 by a vote of 77-18 (Roll Call 413). We have assigned pluses to the nays because so-called free-trade arrangements threaten our national independence and harm our economy.



On the Conference Report H.R. 1429: A bill to reauthorize the Head Start Act, to improve program quality, to expand access, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: November 14, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Head Start. The final version (conference report) of H.R. 1429, a bill to reauthorize the Head Start program through 2012, was adopted 381-36 on November 14, 2007 (Roll Call 1090). Head Start provides educational activities and social services for children up to age five from low-income families. The program received $6.9 billion in fiscal year 2007. $7 billion was authorized in the fiscal 2008 omnibus bill, but H.R. 1429 increased funding to $7.4 billion for fiscal 2008, $7.7 billion for 2009, and $8 billion for 2010. The income level at which families are eligible to participate was raised from 100 percent of the poverty level to 130 percent ($26,728 for a family of four). Some members opposed the bill because Head Start grants will not be allowed to faith-based organizations that hire employees on the basis of religious preference.

We have assigned minuses to the yeas (there were no nays) because a federalized educational system is an unconstitutional and wasteful bureaucracy.



On the Nomination PN958: Michael B. Mukasey, of New York, to be Attorney General
Vote Date: November 8, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Mukasey Confirmation. When Michael Mukasey testified at his confirmation hearings for attorney general, he repeatedly refused to say that waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques reportedly practiced by the CIA constituted torture and were therefore illegal. (Waterboarding is a form of controlled drowning.) He also stated, incredibly, that the president could operate outside laws passed by Congress if "what goes outside the statute lies within the authority of the president to defend the country."

The Senate confirmed Michael Mukasey as U.S. attorney general on November 8, 2007, by a vote of 53-40 (Roll Call 407). In so doing, the U.S. Senate demonstrated its willingness to tolerate torture -- which is anathema to American values -- and its willingness to allow the president to trump laws passed by Congress in the name of national security. We have therefore assigned pluses to the nays.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3963: A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to extend and improve the Children
Vote Date: November 1, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Children's Health Insurance. H.R. 3963, the five-year, $60 billion SCHIP Extension bill, passed 64-30 on November 1, 2007 (Roll Call 403) and then went to the president, who vetoed it. This legislation is identical to that described under House vote #23, which occurred after the presidential veto.

We have assigned pluses to the nays, because the Constitution does not authorize federal involvement in healthcare, even for children.



On Passage of the Bill S. 294: A bill to reauthorize Amtrak, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 30, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Amtrak Reauthorization. This bill (S. 294) would authorize $11.4 billion for Amtrak funding over the next six years. That amount would include monies for operating subsidies ($3.3 billion) and capital grants ($4.9 billion). If passed, states would be required to provide a 20-percent match of funds.

Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) opposed the reauthorization of federal funds to Amtrak. According to DeMint, Amtrak routes are so unprofitable that each ticket is federally subsidized by hundreds of dollars. Amtrak was created in 1970 and has been operating under annual federal appropriation funds since 2002.

The Senate passed S. 294 on October 30, 2007, by a vote of 70-22 (Roll Call 400). We have assigned pluses to the nays because spending billions of tax dollars for federal grants and subsidies for Amtrak transportation is unconstitutional.



On the Cloture Motion S. 2205: A bill to authorize the cancellation of removal and adjustment of status of certain alien students who are long-term United States residents and who entered the United States as children, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 24, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
DREAM Act. After a number of failed attempts to pass the DREAM Act (S. 2205) as an amendment to larger bills, Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced this amnesty bill as a standalone piece of legislation. The DREAM Act would allow children who illegally entered the country before the age of 16 to remain in the United States and attend a college or university, taking advantage of government benefits.

The Senate failed to invoke cloture on S. 2205 on October 24, 2007, by a vote of 52-44 (Roll Call 394). We have assigned pluses to the nays because the DREAM Act would implement an amnesty program by placing millions of illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 3043: A bill making appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and related agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: October 23, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations. This massive appropriations bill (H.R. 3043) would appropriate $605.5 billion in fiscal 2008 for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. This spending bill represents the largest domestic spending bill the Senate has passed in the 110th Congress. H.R. 3043 would provide monies for the Education Department ($63 billion), the Labor Department ($14.9 billion), the Department of Health and Human Services ($479.1 billion), and related agencies.

The Senate passed H.R. 3043 on October 23, 2007, by a vote of 75-19 (Roll Call 391). We have assigned pluses to the nays because social-welfare programs and federal involvement in education are unconstitutional.



On the Joint Resolution H.J.Res. 43: A joint resolution increasing the statutory limit on the public debt.
Vote Date: September 27, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Debt Limit Increase. This bill (House Joint Resolution 43) would increase the national debt limit to an astronomical $9.8 trillion, an $850 billion increase. This increase would be the fifth time the national debt was raised since 2002, representing about a $3 trillion increase in just the last five years.

The Senate passed House Joint Resolution 43 on September 27, 2007, by a vote of 53-42 (Roll Call 354). We have assigned pluses to the nays because raising the public debt limit by $850 billion facilitates continued, gross fiscal irresponsibility.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2797 to H.R. 3074 (Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008): To prohibit the establishment of a program that allows Mexican truck drivers to operate beyond the commercial zones near the Mexican border.
Vote Date: September 11, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Mexican Trucking. During consideration of the fiscal 2008 Transportation-HUD appropriations bill (H.R. 3074), Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) introduced an amendment to "prohibit the establishment of a program that allows Mexican truck drivers to operate beyond the commercial zones near the Mexican border." This amendment was introduced in response to a new pilot program that was launched in September that allows Mexican truckers to operate beyond the 25-mile radius of the Mexican border as previously limited. Opponents of the Mexican trucks argue that the newly launched program sponsored by the Department of Transportation would pose a threat to U.S. security and displace American workers.

The Senate passed the Dorgan amendment to H.R. 3074 on September 11, 2007, by a vote of 75-23 (Roll Call 331). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because allowing Mexican trucks to travel freely across U.S. highways presents a threat to our national security and displaces American truckers whose jobs would be lost to Mexican workers.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 2700 to H.R. 2764 (Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2008): To strike the provision in section 113 that increases the limit on the United States
Vote Date: September 6, 2007Vote: NAYBad Vote.
UN "Peacekeeping" Increase. During consideration of the foreign-aid appropriations bill (H.R. 2764), Senator John Ensign (R-Nev.) introduced an amendment to strike a provision in H.R. 2764 that would increase the limit on the U.S. share of UN "peacekeeping" operations from 25 percent to 27.1 percent.

The Senate rejected the Ensign amendment to H.R. 2764 on September 6, 2007, by a vote of 30-63 (Roll Call 317). We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the United States should not be funding UN "peacekeeping" period -- let alone increasing the amount.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2764: A bill making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2008, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: September 6, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Foreign-aid Contributions. The fiscal 2008 foreign-aid appropriations bill (H.R. 2764) would authorize $34.4 billion for foreign-aid operations and economic assistance programs. In part, the bill would appropriate $9.1 billion for the U.S. Agency for International Development, $5.1 billion to combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases, and $1.2 billion for the Millennium Challenge Account.

The Senate passed H.R. 2764 on September 6, 2007, by a vote of 81-12 (Roll Call 325). We have assigned pluses to the nays because foreign aid is unconstitutional.



On Passage of the Bill S. 1927: A bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide additional procedures for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence information and for other purposes.
Vote Date: August 3, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Protect America Act. The Protect America Act (S. 1927) would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to allow warrantless electronic surveillance (eavesdropping) of targets outside the United States regardless of whether they are communicating with someone within the United States. This surveillance had been conducted illegally by the CIA. Under this legislation, communications companies would be required to comply with surveillance requests and would be provided lawsuit protections.

The Senate passed S. 1927 on August 3, 2007, by a vote of 60-28 (Roll Call 309). We have assigned pluses to the nays because warrantless surveillance of American citizens is a violation of the Fourth Amendment's prohibition "against unreasonable searches and seizures."



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 976: A bill to amend title XXI of the Social Security Act to reauthorize the State Children
Vote Date: August 2, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
SCHIP. H.R. 976 would reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to the amount of $60.2 billion for five years. The proposed amount would expand the program by $35.2 billion and cover an addition 6.1 million children.

The Senate passed H.R. 976 on August 2, 2007, by a vote of 68-31 (Roll Call 307). We have assigned pluses to the nays because taxpayer-financed federal health insurance is unconstitutional.

After successful passage of H.R. 976 in both the House and Senate, President Bush vetoed the measure on October 3, 2007.



On the Cloture Motion S. 1639: A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes.
Vote Date: June 28, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
Immigration Reform -- Cloture. Attempting to end debate and force a final vote on so-called immigration reform, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) invoked a motion for cloture on Ted Kennedy's Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 (S. 1639). Kennedy's bill, also known as the "grand compromise" on immigration reform, was arrived at through negotiation between the Bush administration and Senate leaders. The Kennedy bill would, among other things, create an enhanced guest-worker program, call for the acceleration of the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, and establish the Z visa, which would grant amnesty by placing illegal immigrants on a path toward citizenship. The vote on cloture would reveal whether or not the Senate had enough votes to force a vote on final passage of S. 1639.

The Senate rejected the motion to invoke cloture by a vote of 46-53 (Roll Call 235) on June 28, 2007 (60 votes are required to invoke cloture). We have assigned pluses to the nays because cloture would have ended floor debate on the Kennedy bill and enabled a vote by the full Senate on this dangerous piece of legislation.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1157 to S.Amdt. 1150 to S. 1348 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007): To strike title VI (related to Nonimmigrants in the United States Previously in Unlawful Status).
Vote Date: May 24, 2007Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants. David Vitter (R-La.) offered this amendment to Ted Kennedy's substitute amendment (S. Amdt. 1150) for the immigration reform bill of 2007 (S. 1348). The Vitter amendment would drastically alter the scope of the immigration bill by striking an amnesty provision from the bill that would establish the Z visa, which would be issued to millions of illegal immigrants, placing them on a path toward citizenship.

The Senate rejected the Vitter amendment by a vote of 29-66 (Roll Call 180) on May 24, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the Vitter amendment would prevent those who have entered the United States unlawfully from gaining legal status, also known as amnesty.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 1153 to S.Amdt. 1150 to S. 1348 (Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007): To strike the Y nonimmigrant guestworker program.
Vote Date: May 22, 2007Vote: AYEGood Vote.
Guest-worker Program. Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) introduced an amendment to strike the guest-worker provision of Ted Kennedy's substitute amendment (S. Amdt. 1150) for the immigration reform bill of 2007 (S. 1348). Kennedy's so-called guest-worker provision would create a renewable two-year guest-worker program, issue a guest-worker visa, and set an adjustable annual cap on the number of guest workers permitted in this country.

The Dorgan amendment was rejected by a vote of 31-64 (Roll Call 174) on May 22, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because the guest-worker program would constitute a large increase in legal immigration for our country, which would ultimately displace more American workers from their jobs and depress wages.



On the Conference Report H.R. 1591: A bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes.
Vote Date: April 26, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Supplemental Spending -- Conference Report. The final version (conference report) of this supplemental appropriations bill (H.R. 1591) would provide an additional $124.2 billion for the previous fiscal year (fiscal 2007), over and above previous appropriations.

Although the bill would set a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops in Iraq, it would also authorize an additional $95.5 billion to carry out military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, this seemingly catchall bill also would raise the federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour and provide nearly $5 billion in small-business incentives. Even if the spending in this supplemental bill were constitutional, it should have been added to the federal budget in the annual appropriations process.

The Senate passed the final version of H.R. 1591 by a vote of 51-46 (Roll Call 147) on April 26, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays for several reasons: it contains an enormous amount of unconstitutional spending, would raise the federal minimum wage, and would authorize money for the Iraq War.



On Passage of the Bill S. 5: A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide for human embryonic stem cell research.
Vote Date: April 11, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Embryonic Stem-cell Research. The stem-cell research bill (S. 5), introduced by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.), would overturn the 2001 ban on federally funding embryonic stem-cell research with federal dollars. S. 5 would fund the research, experimentation, and destruction of human embryos donated from in vitro fertilization clinics.

The Senate passed Reid's stem-cell research bill by a vote of 63-34 (Roll Call 127) on April 11, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because the bill violates the right to life for millions of unborn babies.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 578 to S.Con.Res. 21: To repeal the death tax.
Vote Date: March 23, 2007Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Repeal Estate Tax. During consideration of the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 21), Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) offered an amendment that would make the phased-out repeal of the estate tax (also known as the "death tax") permanent. Under current law, the death tax will be phased out by 2010, but because of a "sunset" provision the tax will only be eliminated for a single year before being reinstituted.

The tax has forced many asset-rich but cash-poor individuals to liquidate family farms, small businesses, and private property rather than bequeath those assets to loved ones.

The Senate rejected the DeMint amendment by a vote of 44-55 (Roll Call 109) on March 23, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because repealing the estate tax would be a constitutional tax cut that would benefit all Americans who would be subject to estate taxes again in 2011 and all subsequent years according to current tax law.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 529 to S.Con.Res. 21: To increase funding for the COPS Program to $1.15 billion for FY 2008 to provide state and local law enforcement with critical resources necessary to prevent and respond to violent crime and acts of terrorism and is offset by an unallocated reduction to non-defense discretionary spending and/or reduction to administrative expenses.
Vote Date: March 23, 2007Vote: NAYGood Vote.
COPS Funding. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) offered an amendment to the fiscal 2008 budget resolution (Senate Concurrent Resolution 21) that would authorize a $1.2 billion increase in federal funds to support the Community-Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

The Senate passed the Biden amendment by a vote of 65-33 (Roll Call 110) on March 23, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because providing federal aid to local law enforcement programs is not only unconstitutional, but it also further federalizes the police system.



On the Resolution S.Con.Res. 21: An original concurrent resolution setting forth the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2008 and including the appropriate budgetary levels for fiscal years 2007 and 2009 through 2012.
Vote Date: March 23, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Budget Resolution. The 2008 budget resolution (House Concurrent Resolution 21) would authorize nearly $2.9 trillion for fiscal 2008, a nearly $150 billion increase from fiscal 2007.

The Senate adopted the fiscal 2008 budget resolution by a vote of 52-47 (Roll Call 114) on March 23, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because Congress must not continue to support massive amounts of irresponsible and unconstitutional spending.



On Passage of the Bill H.R. 2: A bill to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to provide for an increase in the Federal minimum wage.
Vote Date: February 1, 2007Vote: AYEBad Vote.
Minimum Wage. The minimum-wage bill (H.R. 2) would raise the federal minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour over the course of two years. The bill would also provide $8.3 billion in small-business tax incentives.

The Senate passed the minimum-wage increase by a vote of 94-3 (Roll Call 42) on February 1, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the nays because it is unconstitutional to prohibit citizens from working for less than a government-set wage.



On the Amendment S.Amdt. 20 to S.Amdt. 3 to S. 1: To strike a provision relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying.
Vote Date: January 18, 2007Vote: NAYBad Vote.
Grass-roots Lobbying. During consideration of the ethics and lobbying overhaul bill (S. 1), Senator Robert Bennett (R-Utah) offered this amendment that would strike Section 220, a provision that would subject grass-roots lobbying groups to strict disclosure requirements, from the bill. The bill caused a firestorm of controversy from grass-roots activists who saw this bill as a threat to the freedom of speech. Commenting on Section 220, LifeNews.com reported, "If this provision is enacted, many ordinary citizens will get less and less information from pro-life groups and other issue-oriented organizations about what is going on in Congress."

The Senate adopted the Bennett amendment by a vote of 55-43 (Roll Call 17) on January 18, 2007. We have assigned pluses to the yeas because it would preserve the right of free speech for grass-roots organizations to inform the public about events on Capitol Hill without subjecting them to repressive regulatory controls.



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