Kentucky Ornithological Society

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Voting Summaries 2003 - 2004 (108th Congress)

Kentucky's Delegation to the U.S. Senate


Voting Summaries: 106th Congress | 107th Congress


PRO = Pro-environment vote & ANTI = Anti-environment vote


Vote Number 
(Click on the number 
for more information)
Jim Bunning
Mitch McConnell



1
ANTI
ANTI
2
ANTI
ANTI
3
ANTI
ANTI
4
ANTI
ANTI
5
ANTI
ANTI
6
ANTI
ANTI
7
ANTI
ANTI
8
ANTI
ANTI
9
ANTI
ANTI
10
ANTI
ANTI
11
ANTI
ANTI
12
ANTI
ANTI
13
ANTI
ANTI
14
ANTI
ANTI
% Pro-environment votes
0
0

14 - On April 29, 2004, the Senate voted 55- 43 to reject the motion (60 votes were needed) to invoke cloture on Domenici Amdt. No. 3051. Rejection of this anti-environmental, anti-consumer energy bill is a huge victory for anyone who drinks water, breathes air, pays utility bills or pays taxes. Instead of rewarding the dirty, unsustainable and unreliable sources of energy being promoted by industry lobbyists in Washington, the Senate chose to pursue a smarter, cleaner energy future for America's consumers. The energy bill would have delayed clean up of air pollution in smoggy areas, increased our dependence on oil, failed to harness the potential for diversifying our energy supply to include clean renewable energy sources, authorized programs that increase the risk of nuclear proliferatio, weakened important drinking water and surface water protections, further exposed electricity consumers to future Enrons and blackouts, and squandered billions in taxpayer handouts to oil, gas, nuclear and other dirty energy sources. A NO vote was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's senators (McConnell and Bunning) voted YES.

13 - On March 11, 2004, the Senate rejected, by a vote of 44 - 52, an amendment (Lautenberg Amdt. No. 2703 )
to S. Con. Res. 95 (Budget Appropriations, FY2005 resolution) that would reduce debt and require the industries responsible for producing products that contaminate toxic waste sites and industries who are exempt from liability for such contamination, to help pay for the cleanup by reinstating the Superfund polluter pays fees, and to reduce the deficit. A YES vote was to require responsible industries to help pay for the cleanup of Superfund sites. Both of Kentucky's senators (McConnell and Bunning) voted NO.

12 - On November 21, 2003, the Senate failed to break the Democrats' filibuster against the energy bill, which has already passed the House. Fifty-seven senators voted in favor of cutting off debate and moving to a yes-or-no vote on the measure itself. But under Senate rules, 60 votes are required to halt debate. Forty senators voted to keep the debate going. Senate Majority Leader Frist vows to bring the measure up again before recess. But while the GOP will send out its best industry lobbyists to work on finding those votes, they won't be easy to get. There's a sweet irony now to the GOP's closed-door policy: If they'd been more willing to work with the folks across the aisle, they might have a bill everyone—or even just two more lawmakers—could support. Anna Aurilio, legislative director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, called the outcome "a huge victory for anyone who drinks the water, breathes the air, pays the utility bills or pays the taxes." A NO vote (not to cut off debate) was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators (Bunning and McConnell) voted YES.

11 - On October 30, 2003, the Senate rejected, by a vote of 43 - 55, a proposal to establish mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions from utilities and other industries. The proposal faced strong opposition from the White House, utilities, the auto industry and conservatives. The bill would have held greenhouse gas emissions by utilities, major industries and refineries to 2000 levels but allow companies to buy pollution credits from lesser industrial polluters to meet their targets. YES was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators (Bunning and McConnell) voted NO.

10 - On October 22, 2003, the Senate voted on whether to bring up for floor debate the so-called "Class Action Fairness Act" (S. 1751), which was opposed by most national consumer, health, civil rights and environmental groups. The move to bring the Act up for debate was rejected by a vote of 59 - 39 (60 'yes' votes were needed for approval). The bill would impair consumers' ability to redress harms caused by corporate wrongdoing by letting defendants move most state class action lawsuits to federal court. Corporations prefer to be sued in federal court because federal judges are less likely to certify a case to proceed, more reticent to interpret state law in novel ways and more willing to permit state laws to be preempted by federal law. NO was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators (Bunning and McConnell) voted YES.

9 - On September 23, 2003, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) attempted to remove a provision in the FY2004 Department of Interior Appropriations bill that would limit the public's right to appeal money loosing, destructive timber sales in the Tongass National Forest of Alaska. Senator Boxer's amendment failed 44-52. Alaska Senator Ted Steven's rider (Section 333) on the Interior Appropriations bill (S. 1391) makes it virtually impossible for citizens to challenge logging projects by limiting to 30 days the time available to file lawsuits on more than 73 Tongass logging projects including over a dozen sales where all or portions of the sale area are currently covered by the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Thirty days after the Forest Service issues a record of decision approving a timber sale is simply too short a time to find a lawyer, research possible claims to determine if a good claim exists, write up the claim and get it filed. The rider also interferes with the independence of the federal judiciary by limiting to 180 days the time the Federal District Court in Alaska has to review and render a final decision on lawsuits regarding logging projects on the Tongass National Forest. This is clear interference with the independence of the federal judiciary; the rider's time limits could force the court to consider challenges to federal timber sales before hearing other cases on its docket. The pro-environment vote was NO. Both of Kentucky's Senators (Bunning and McConnell) voted YES.

8 - On July 29, 2003, the Senate rejected a proposal to require a sharp increase in automobile fuel economy after concerns were raised that it would lead to a loss of auto industry jobs and limit consumer's ability to buy larger cars and SUVs. By a 65-32 vote, the Senate turned back a proposal offered by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., that would have required automakers to produce a fleet average of 40 miles per gallon by 2015, a dramatic increase from the current 27.5 mpg now required. Supporters of tougher fuel economy measures said the Senate cannot pass a comprehensive energy blueprint for America without doing something about fuel use by passenger vehicles, which burn two of every five barrels of oil used in the country each day. YES was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators (Bunning and McConnell) voted NO.

7 - On July 9, 2003, the Senate, by a vote of 43 - 53, backed a repeal of President Bush's ban on assistance to international family planning groups that, with their own funding, advocate for or provide access to legal abortion services or counseling. The defeat of Sen. Lugar's amendment to eliminate Senator Boxer’s amendment to S.925, the 2004 State Department Authorization bill, blocks President Bush from withholding funding from foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that provide legal abortion services or lobby to make abortion legal or more available in their own country. President Bush placed the Global Gag Rule restriction on international family planning funding on his first day in office in 2001. The Global Gag Rule has imposed unjust and unnecessary restrictions on U.S. funding to foreign NGOs. The policy has forced clinics and other reproductive health service providers to choose between doing what is right for their community and freely participating in their country’s democratic process, or doing what the United States dictates. Where clinics or family planning organizations make the decision to reject this anti-democratic policy, they lose all U.S. family planning assistance – often strapping communities’ reproductive health care services. The Senate’s vote to pass Senator Boxer’s amendment paves the way to insuring that women and families around the world will have access to family planning and reproductive healthcare. With almost one-half of the global population under the age of twenty-five, now is not the time to place roadblocks to reproductive health care. Young people’s access to family planning and the decisions they make about how many childeren to have will play a critical role in shaping our shared future. NO (against Lugar's amendment &, as a result, in support of Boxer's amendment to do away with the Global Gag Rule) was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators (Bunning and McConnell) voted YES.

6 - On June 10, 2003, the Senate voted to provide billions of dollars in government help for the nuclear industry. Ron Wyden (D - OR) introduced an amendment (S. AMDT. 875) that would have stripped a broad energy bill (S. 14) of a provision that would give loan guarantees for construction of six next-generation nuclear power reactors. The amendment was rejected narrowly 50-48. Opponents questioned why nuclear power should be singled out for such a largess, which they said could cost taxpayers $14 billion to $16 billion should the future power reactors fail and be abandoned. It's ''not a question about whether someone is pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear,'' said Sen. Wyden, but whether ''to put at risk the taxpayers of this country'' if the reactor projects flop. In the most aggressive attempt to spur nuclear power development in decades, the legislation would have the government underwrite with loan guarantees construction of six next-generation power reactors.Wyden cited an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office that estimated the new plants probably will cost $2.1 billion to $3 billion apiece with ''the risk of default on such a loan guarantee to be very high -- well above 50 percent.'' Other provisions in the legislation would: (1) have the government build a $1.1 billion reactor in Idaho to produce hydrogen, (2) recommend spending $865 million to speed research into ways to alter reactor waste chemically to reduce its volume and long-term radioactivity, and (3) increase other nuclear research spending by tens of millions of dollars over current levels. YES (to approve S. AMDT. 875) was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators,  Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, voted NO.

5 - On March 25, 2003, the Senate rejected an amendment that would have reinstated a tax on polluters to help pay for cleaning up the Superfund toxic waste sites. By a vote of 43 - 56, Republican senators shot down a Democratic move to revive the tax, which Congress let expire in 1995. Since then the special trust fund created from the taxes on chemical and petroleum companies has dwindled from a high of $3.6 billion to a projected $28 million by the end of this year. The 1980 Superfund law says polluters should pay to clean up the environmental messes they made. The amendment's sponsor, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), said Republicans' rejection of the "polluter pays tax" sends a clear message that the GOP "stand with the corporate polluters and not with American families." Julie Wolk, a health advocate for U.S. Public Interest Research Group, said the government shouldered nearly one-fifth of the Superfund program costs the year after the tax expired. The Treasury will pay almost four-fifths under President Bush's 2004 budget request. YES was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators, Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, voted NO.

4 - On March 25, 2003, the Senate, by a vote of 47 - 52, rejected an amendment to Con.Res. 23 (the congressional budget for the United States Government for fiscal year 2004) sponsored by Sen. Corzine (D-NJ) that would have provided increased funding for environmental protection and natural resources conservation. YES was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators, Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, voted NO.

3 - On March 19, 2003, the Senate passed an amendment by a vote of 52 - 48 that stripped language out of a 2004 budget
 resolution that would have allowed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Drilling proponents used a back-door method of sneaking in provisions to the resolution that required an amendment to remove assumed revenues from tapping the refuge for crude. YES was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators, Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, voted NO.

2 - On January 23, 2003, the Senate voted to direct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to enter into contracts for a $181 million project to build a project that will drain and damage 200,000 acres of wetlands in the Mississippi River Flyway. The language in the omnibus appropriations bill directs the Corps to move forward with this project even though the legally required environmental and fiscal reports have not yet been completed. The Yazoo Pumps project - which will be the world's largest hydraulic pumping plant - will be located near the confluence of the Yazoo and Big Sunflower Rivers north of Jackson, Mississippi. An amendment introduced by Arizona Republican Senator John McCain that would have required the Corps to finish its project planning before entering into contracts was defeated by a 67 to 30 vote. A NO vote was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators, Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, voted YES.

1 - On January 22, 2003, the Senate rejected by a vote of 46 - 50 an effort to delay the White House's new pollution rules; rules will roll back clean air standards and endanger human health. The rules, completed last month, would permit aging coal-fired factories and power plants to modernize without installing antipollution devices. The rules affect a section of the Clean Air Act, the antipollution statute adopted more than 30 years ago. Advocates say the changes will create soot and smog, hurting people with asthma and respiratory ailments. The attorneys general of nine states have challenged the rules in court. A YES vote was the pro-environment vote. Both of Kentucky's Senators, Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, voted NO.


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