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The Conservative Index: our second look at the 108th Congress shows how every member of the House and Senate voted on key issues, including the UN, abortion and prescription drug benefits.

Our criteria for rating votes (see the sidebar on the opposite page) have nothing to do with who's a Republican or a Democrat. In this index, perhaps more so than others, some liberal Democrats scored higher than supposedly conservative Republicans. Many "conservative" Republicans have stuck by President Bush on "Free grade Agreements," the war" in Iraq, and the new socialistic Medicare entitlement for prescription drugs. On the other hand, many liberal Democrats have opposed GOP-backed spending increases because they consider the increases insufficient. And many Democrats, responding to their labor constituencies, oppose FTAs. Let the chips fall where they may!--Editor

House Vote Descriptions

11 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations. This bill (H.R. 2660) would appropriate $470 billion for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Departments for fiscal 2004, a 10 percent increase over fiscal 2003. This bill, the biggest of the fiscal 2004 domestic spending bills, includes $138 billion for discretionary spending, including $55.4 billion for education and $22.7 billion for the National Institutes of Health. That leaves $332 billion for so-called mandatory spending on entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and unemployment insurance.

The House passed H.R. 2660 on July 10, 2003 by a vote of 215 to 208 (Roll Call 353). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because this bill represents a significant increase in spending, and these departments are not authorized by the Constitution.

12 Agriculture Appropriations. This bill (H.R. 2673) would appropriate $77.5 billion for agriculture, rural development and nutrition programs in fiscal 2004. Over half of the money appropriated by this "agriculture" bill is ear-marked for so-called mandatory spending on nutrition programs, including $28 billion for food stamps and $16 billion for school lunch and other nutrition programs. Total spending for traditional agricultural programs is $26.8 billion, a 5 percent increase.

The House passed H.R. 2673 on July 14, 2003 by a vote of 347 to 64 (Roll Call 358). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are unconstitutional activities of the federal government.

13 Ban on UN Contributions. This amendment to H.R. 1950 (Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005) by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) stated that "none of the funds authorized ... by this Act may be obligated or expended to pay any United States contribution to the United Nations or any affiliated agency of the United Nations."

The House rejected this amendment to H.R. 1950 on July 15, 2003 by a vote of 74 to 350 (Roll Call 364). We have assigned pluses to the "yeas" because blocking the funding for the United Nations in this bill would be a first step toward getting our nation out of the UN and fully restoring our national sovereignty.

14 Millennium Challenge Account. This amendment to H.R. 1950 (Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 2004 and 2005) by Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) would authorize $9.3 billion over the next three years for a new foreign aid program to promote the key development objectives described in the United Nations Millennium Declaration. According to the amendment, "It is, therefore, the policy of the United States to support a new compact for global development...." Furthermore, the amendment asserts: "Economic development, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, must be a shared responsibility between donor and recipient countries."

The House adopted this amendment to H.R. 1950 on July 16, 2003 by a vote of 368 to 52 (Roll Call 368). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because foreign aid is not authorized by the Constitution.

15 Rejoining UNESCO. This amendment to H.R. 2799 (Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations, Fiscal Year 2004) by Ron Paul (R-Texas) stated that "none of the funds made available in this Act may be made available for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)."

The House rejected this amendment to H.R. 2799 on July 22, 2003 by a vote of 145 to 279 (Roll Call 405). We have assigned pluses to the "yeas" because our national sovereignty must be preserved by getting out and staying out of the United Nations and all of its agencies, including UNESCO.

16 U.S.-Singapore Trade. This bill (H.R. 2739) would implement a trade agreement to reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the United States and Singapore. A similar bill, the U.S.-Chile Trade Agreement (H.R. 2738), was presented to Congress at the same time as the U.S.-Singapore Trade Agreement. These are the first in a series of bilateral and regional free trade agreements (FTAs) that the Bush administration is negotiating, which will culminate in 2005 in the largest and most significant FTA of them all, the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).

The model for the FTAA is the European Union (EU), formerly the "Common Market," which has grown by design from a supposed free trade agreement into a supranational government for Europe. The world order architects intend for the FTAA to follow the same trajectory for the Americas.

The House passed H.R. 2739 on July 24, 2003 by a vote of 272 to 155 (Roll Call 432). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because these bilateral "free trade" agreements are intended to be stepping stones to the FTAA, which would set trade (and eventually other) policies for the member nations. However, under the U.S. Constitution only Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states...."

17 U.S.-Chile Trade. This bill (H.R. 2738) would implement a trade agreement to reduce tariffs and trade barriers between the United States and Chile. The significance of this trade agreement, like that of the U.S.-Singapore Trade Agreement, is described under House Vote #16.

The House passed H.R. 2738 on July 24, 2003 by a vote of 270 to 156 (Roll Call 436). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because these bilateral "free trade" agreements are intended to be stepping stones to the FTAA, which would set trade (and eventually other) policies for the member nations. However, under the U.S. Constitution only Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states...."

18 Partial-birth Abortion Ban. The final version (conference report) of S. 3 would ban partial-birth abortions. Although on March 12 the Senate had amended their version of S. 3 to include a reaffirmation of Roe v. Wade, on September 30 a 10-member House-Senate conference committee agreed to report out a final version of the bill identical to one (H.R. 760) that passed the House earlier this year without any reaffirmation of Roe v. Wade. Of course, all abortion procedures should be banned. But this bill is still a step in the fight direction in that it is better to ban one abortion procedure than to ban none at all.

The House adopted the conference report on S. 3 on October 2, 2003 by a vote of 281 to 142 (Roll Call 530). We have assigned pluses to the "yeas" because all forms of abortion constitute the murder of preborn children, and the Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, overstepped its proper authority by "legalizing" abortion in the first place.

19 Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan. The final version (conference report) of H.R. 3289 would appropriate $87.5 billion in supplemental fiscal 2004 spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is the largest supplemental that Congress has ever passed. Of this total, military operations would receive $65.8 billion. Iraq reconstruction would be funded by grants totaling $18.6 billion, while reconstruction in Afghanistan would receive $1.2 billion.

William Norman Grigg predicted in the March 24 issue of this magazine that "the impending war on, or occupation of, Iraq is intended to carry out the UN Security Council mandates, not to protect our nation or to punish those responsible for the September 11th attack. The war would uphold the UN's supposed authority and vindicate its role as a de facto world government." In its November 20 report on President Bush's speech at London's Whitehall Palace the Guardian of London provided a concise confirmation of Mr. Grigg's prediction in its headline "Iraq war saved the UN, says president" Now American taxpayers must pay tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of billions ultimately, for this latest military intervention to empower the UN.

The House adopted the conference report on H.R. 3289 on October 31, 2003 by a vote of 298 to 121 (Roll Call 601). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because the U.S. military was sent into Iraq to enforce UN resolutions, when the only proper use of our nation's armed forces is to protect the lives and property of American citizens, and the huge U.S.-funded infrastructure rebuilding program in Iraq and Afghanistan is another example of unconstitutional foreign aid.

20 Prescription Drug Benefit. The final version (conference report) of H.R. 1 would create a prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients. Beginning in 2006, prescription coverage would be available to seniors through private insurers for a monthly premium estimated at $35. There would be a $250 annual deductible, then 75 percent of drug costs up to $2,250 would be reimbursed. Drug costs greater than $2,250 would not be covered until out-of-pocket expenses exceeded $3,600, after which 95 percent of drug costs would be reimbursed. Low-income recipients would receive more subsidies than other seniors by paying lower premiums, having smaller deductibles, and making lower co-payments for each prescription. The total cost of the new prescription drug benefit would be limited to the $400 billion that Congress had budgeted earlier this year for the first 10 years of this new entitlement program.

The House adopted the conference report on H.R. 1 on November 22, 2003 by a vote of 220 to 215 (Roll Call 669). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because this landmark legislation establishes a major new unconstitutional entitlement program.

Senate Vote Descriptions

11 Fuel Economy Standards. This amendment to S. 14 (Energy Policy Act of 2003) by Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) would mandate an increase in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The CAFE standard for passenger vehicles made before 2006 would be 25 miles per gallon. From model years 2006 to 2015 the CAFE standard would gradually increase to 40 miles per gallon. This new standard would initially be less than the current 27.5 miles per gallon, but only because "passenger automobile" would be redefined to include the previously exempted SUVs and passenger vans.

Since neither legislators nor manufacturers have a magic wand to reduce the amount of gas required to move a certain mass a certain distance, this radical legislation--akin to ordering the sun never to set--would effectively force manufacturers to reduce vehicle size, thereby limiting consumer choices and making vehicles less safe.

The Senate rejected this amendment to S. 14 on July 29, 2003 by a vote of 32 to 65 (Roll Call 309). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because this amendment would have authorized unconstitutional regulation of consumer choice of vehicle size.

12 U.S.-Singapore Trade. This trade agreement (H.R. 2739) is described under House Vote #16.

The Senate passed H.R. 2739 on July 31, 2003 by a vote of 66 to 32 (Roll Call 318). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because these bilateral "free trade" agreements are intended to be steppingstones to the FTAA, which would set trade (and eventually other) policies for the member nations. However, under the U.S. Constitution only Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states...."

13 U.S.-Chile Trade. This trade agreement (H.R. 2738) is described under House Vote #17.

The Senate passed H.R. 2738 on July 31, 2003 by a vote of 65 to 32 (Roll Call 319). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because these bilateral "free trade" agreements are intended to be steppingstones to the FTAA, which would set trade (and eventually other) policies for the member nations. However, under the U.S. Constitution only Congress has the power "to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states...."

14 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations. The Senate version of this bill (H.R. 2660) would appropriate $472 billion for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Departments for fiscal 2004, a 10 percent increase over fiscal 2003. This bill, the biggest of the fiscal 2004 domestic spending bills, includes $138 billion for discretionary spending. Since the Senate version of H.R. 2660 is virtually identical to the House version, see House Vote #11 for additional details.

The Senate passed H.R. 2660 on September 10, 2003 by a vote of 94 to 0 (Roll Call 347). We have assigned minuses to the "yeas" because this bill represents significant increase in spending, and these departments are not authorized by the Constitution.

15 Supplemental Spending for Iraq & Afghanistan. The Senate version of this bill (S. 1689) would appropriate $86.5 billion in fiscal 2004 supplemental spending for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unlike the House version (H.R. 3289), S. 1689 also included an amendment requiring that $10 billion of the approximately $20 billion in Iraqi reconstruction aid be initially offered as a loan--and be converted into a grant only if 90 percent of Iraq's bilateral debts, estimated at $130 billion, are forgiven by its creditors. (This amendment was deleted from the final version of this legislation, known as the conference report. The conference report was approved by voice vote in the Senate and roll call vote in the House. See House Vote #19 for a description of the conference report.)

The Senate passed S. 1689 on October 17, 2003 by a vote of 87 to 12 (Roll Call 400). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because the U.S. military was sent into Iraq to enforce UN resolutions, when the only proper use of our nation's armed forces is to protect the lives and property of American citizens, and the huge U.S.-funded infrastructure rebuilding program in Iraq and Afghanistan is another example of unconstitutional foreign aid.

16 Partial-birth Abortion Ban. The final version (conference report) of this legislation (S. 3) is described under House Vote #18.

The Senate adopted the conference report on S. 3 on October 21, 2003 by a vote of 64 to 34 (Roll Call 402). We have assigned pluses to the "yeas" because all forms of abortion constitute the murder of preborn children, and the Supreme Court, in its Roe v. Wade decision, overstepped its proper authority by "legalizing" abortion in the first place.

17 Global Warming. This substitute amendment to S. 139 (Climate Stewardship Act of 2003) by Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) would mandate that so-called greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 2000 levels by 2010. Greenhouse gases would be defined as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. Other provisions of the substitute amendment include a program of scientific research on climate change, a national greenhouse database, and a market-driven system of greenhouse gas tradable allowances.

The Senate rejected this substitute amendment to S. 139 on October 30, 2003 by a vote of 43 to 55 (Roll Call 420). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because this amendment would have established restrictions on so-called greenhouse gas emissions based on the myth of catastrophic global warming.

18 Data Mining. This amendment to S. 1753 (National Consumer Credit Reporting System Improvement Act of 2003) would require each federal agency or department engaged in data mining to submit a public report to Congress. Data mining involves the use of computer systems to scan through vast amounts of electronic information to detect patterns and trends. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) introduced this amendment because of his concerns about Total Information Awareness-type programs being developed at various federal agencies. His amendment would require the reports to Congress to assess "the likely impact of the implementation of the data-mining technology on privacy and civil liberties...."

The Senate agreed to a motion to table (kill) this amendment to S. 1753 on November 4, 2003 by a vote of 61 to 32 (Roll Call 435). We have assigned pluses to the "nays"--that is, those who opposed killing the amendment--because federal data mining activity is clearly a threat to the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

19 Agriculture Appropriations. The Senate version of H.R. 2673 would appropriate $79.7 billion for agriculture, rural development, and nutrition programs in fiscal 2004. Over half of the money appropriated by this "agriculture" bill is earmarked for so-called mandatory spending on nutrition programs, including $30 billion for food stamps and $16 billion for school lunch and other nutrition programs. (See House Vote #12 for a description of the House version of this bill.)

The Senate passed H.R. 2673 on November 6, 2003 by a vote of 93 to 1 (Roll Call 444). We have assigned a plus to the "nay" because federal aid to farmers and federal food aid to individuals are unconstitutional activities of the federal government.

20 Prescription Drug Benefit. The final version (conference report) of this legislation (H.R. 1) is described under House Vote #20.

The Senate adopted the conference report on H.R. 1 on November 25, 2003 by a vote of 54 to 44 (Roll Call 459). We have assigned pluses to the "nays" because this landmark legislation establishes a major new, unconstitutional entitlement program.

RELATED ARTICLE: About this index.

"The Conservative Index" rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, to national sovereignty, and to a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements. Preserving our Constitution, the freedom it guarantees, and the moral bedrock on which it is based is what the word "conservatism" once meant--and how it is being applied here.

To learn how any representative or senator voted on the key measures described herein, look him up in the tables on pages 26-31. The scores are derived by dividing a congressman's conservative votes (pluses) by the total number he cast (pluses and minuses) and multiplying by 100. (A "?" indicates that a congressman did not vote, and a "P" indicates that he voted "Present." If a congressman cast fewer than five votes in this index, a scores in the Senate at 80 percent.

The average House score for this index (votes 11-20) is 35 percent, as is the average Senate score. Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) had the top score for the House at 100 percent. Senators Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and John Edwards (D-N.C.) had the highest scores in the Senate at 80 percent.

We encourage readers to examine how their own congressman voted on each of the 10 key measures in this index as well as overall. Our first index for the 108th Congress (votes 1-10) appeared in our July 14, 2003 issue.

We also encourage readers to commend legislators for their conservative votes and to urge improvement where needed. For congressional contact information go to www.thenewamerican.com/congress/.
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Title Annotation:Congress
Publication:The New American
Date:Dec 29, 2003
Words:3226
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