THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 108TH CONGRESS SENATE VOTING RECORD
1. Fiscal 2004 Budget Resolution – Amtrak Funding (S.Con.Res. 23) – The Senate narrowly adopted an amendment by Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and joined by Arlen Specter (R-PA) that increased spending on Amtrak by $912 million. This would have raised the President’s $900 million FY 2004 Budget request for Amtrak to $1.812 billion. The amendment was adopted 51-49 on March 21, 2003. A vote in support of the amendment is a right “R” vote.
2. Unemployment Insurance (S. 1054) – The Senate rejected a motion offered by Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) to waive the Budget Act with respect to the Charles Grassley (R-IA) point of order against the Kennedy amendment. The Kennedy amendment would extend unemployment benefits by 26 weeks, with an additional 13 weeks for workers who have exhausted federal benefits. A three-fifths majority vote (60) of the total Senate was required to waive the Budget Act. On May 15, 2003 the motion was rejected 50-49. A vote to waive the Budget Act is a right “R” vote. (Subsequently, the chair upheld the point of order and the amendment failed.)
3. Buy American (S. 1050) – The Senate approved an amendment offered by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to the Senator Mark Dayton (D-MN) amendment that would allow the Defense Department to forego a requirement to purchase American-made equipment if that equipment was manufactured by Australia, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, The Netherlands or Spain. The Dayton amendment would strike a provision of the bill allowing the Defense Department to forego a requirement to purchase American-made equipment if that equipment was manufactured by any nation with which the United States had a reciprocal defense procurement memorandum of understanding or agreement. On May 21, 2003 the measure was adopted on a vote of 50-48. A vote against adoption of the McCain amendment is a right “R” vote.
4. Unemployment Insurance (H.J. Res 51) – The Senate approved a motion offered by Senator Don Nickles (R-OK) to table (kill) the Ted Kennedy (D-MA) amendment that would have extended the temporary federal unemployment insurance program until December 31 and provided an additional 26 weeks of benefits for those whose benefits had already lapsed. On May 23, 2003 Motion was agreed to 50-49. A vote against the motion to table is a right “R” vote.
5. Unemployment Insurance (S. 925) – The Senate failed to pass a motion offered by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to waive the Budget Act with respect to the Nickles (R-OK) point of order against the Murray amendment which would have extended unemployment benefits by seven weeks for those who had already received 26 weeks of benefits and by 13 weeks for those who had already received 13 weeks of benefits. Benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act would have been extended for eligible employees with less than 10 years of service. A three-fifths majority vote (60) of the total Senate was required to waive the Budget Act. On July 10, 2003 the Senate failed to pass the motion on a vote of 48-48. A vote to waive the Budget Act with respect to the Nickles amendment is a right “R” vote. (Subsequently, the chair upheld the point of order and the amendment failed.)
6. Overtime Pay Regulations (H.R. 2660) – The Senate adopted an amendment offered by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) that prohibited funds in the bill from being used to promulgate or implement any regulation that would take away eligibility for overtime for any worker. This vote was to protect the Fair Labor Standards Act which created the 40-hour workweek and overtime pay. On September 10, 2003 the Harkin amendment was adopted 54-45. A vote in support of the Harkin amendment is a right “R” vote.
7. Privatization (H.R. 2691) – The Senate defeated an amendment offered by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) that would have prohibited the use of funds in the bill for competitive sourcing reviews (privatization reviews). The Senate failed to pass an amendment that would prohibit the use of funds to privatize federal jobs. This bill is particularly of danger to Amtrak employees as it could be used to privatize Amtrak, another method to ultimately eliminate the national passenger system. On September 23, 2003 the Reid amendment was rejected 44-51. A vote for the amendment is a right “R” vote.