THE SECOND SESSION OF THE 107TH CONGRESS
Unemployment Benefits (H.R. 622) – The Senate narrowly rejected an amendment offered by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) that would have expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits to laid-off workers seeking part-time jobs. The amendment would have provided a temporary supplement to unemployment insurance benefits of 15 percent or $25 per week, whichever was greater. The underlying bill provided for 13 additional weeks of coverage. Because a point of order was made against the amendment a three-fifths majority vote (60) of the total Senate was necessary for passage. The amendment failed on January 29, 2002, on a 57-35 vote. A vote to adopt the amendment is a right (R) vote.
Economic Stimulus (H.R. 622) – The Senate rejected an economic stimulus measure that would have extended unemployment benefits to laid-off workers for 13 weeks, provided a $300 payment to taxpayers who did not receive rebates last year, cut taxes for businesses that purchased equipment this year, and provided $5 billion in Medicaid assistance to states. The measure, which required 60 votes to invoke cloture, failed on February 6, 2002, on a 56-39 vote. A vote to adopt the measure is a right (R) vote.
Election Overhaul/Punch-Card Voting (S. 582) – The Senate rejected an amendment offered by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) that would have required purchased voting systems to notify a voter of an over-vote, and permit all voters, including punch-card voters, to verify their votes and provide an opportunity to correct any errors before the ballot is cast and counted. The amendment was rejected on February 14, 2002, on a 44-50 vote. A vote to adopt the amendment is a right (R) vote.
Fast Track Trade/Remove Bar on Enforcement of Workers’ Rights (H.R. 3009) – The Senate motioned to table (kill) an amendment offered by Senator Joe Lieberman (D-CT) that would have eliminated a provision in the bill making it almost impossible to enforce workers’ rights provisions in future trade agreements. On May 15, 2002, the motion to table the amendment passed on a 54-44 vote. A vote against the motion to table the amendment is a right (R) vote.
Fast Track Trade/Raise Workers’ Rights Standards (H.R. 3009) – The Senate motioned to table (kill) an amendment offered by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) that would have forced U.S. negotiators to seek workers’ rights standards and enforcement provisions in future trade agreements that would equal those negotiated in the recent U.S. Jordan Free Trade Agreement. On May 16, 2002, the motion to table the amendment passed on a 52-46 vote. A vote against the motion to table the amendment is a right (R) vote.) vote.
Estate Tax/Permanent Repeal (H.R. 8) – The Senate defeated a motion offered by Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) to waive the Budget Act which would have supported a Republican effort to make permanent last year’s temporary repeal of the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping taxes — three of the most progressive taxes in the internal revenue code. Eliminating the estate tax would cost taxpayers $840 billion over the next 20 years and would benefit the estates of less than 2 percent of all taxpayers. TCU opposes any type of tax repeals resulting in cut-back funding for projects funded by the General Fund such as Social Security, Amtrak, highway and mass transit and other transportation programs. A three-fifths majority vote (60) of the total Senate was required to waive the Budget Act. The motion was defeated on a 54-44 vote on June 12, 2002. A vote against the motion is a right (R) vote.
Nuclear Waste Storage/Motion to Proceed (S.J. Res. 34) – Senator Frank Murkowski (R-AK) offered a motion to proceed to the joint resolution that would approve a site at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, as a repository for the nation’s spent nuclear and high-level radioactive waste. On July 9, 2002, the motion was agreed to on a 60-39 vote. TCU did not support this legislation because it did not have adequate safety protection for TCU members. Subsequently, the Senate passed the House version (H.J. Res. 87) by voice vote. A vote against the motion is a right (R) vote.
Corporate Governance (S. 2673)– The Senate defeated an amendment offered by Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) that would require labor organizations with gross annual receipts of $200,000 or more to use financial reporting procedures comparable to those required of publicly traded corporations under the Securities and Exchange Act. It also would have provided civil monetary penalties, as established under the securities law, for violations of reporting and auditing requirements. Republicans introduced this amendment in attempts to cover-up the Republican corporate scandals and corruption in the marketplace. The motion to table the amendment passed on a 55-43 vote on July 10, 2002. A vote in support of the motion is a right (R) vote.
Prescription Drugs/State Authority (S. 812) – Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) offered an amendment to the Dorgan (D-ND) amendment which would codify state authority to set up programs designed to force pharmaceutical companies to offer discounted Medicaid drug prices for other groups. The amendment was adopted on a 56-43 vote on July 18, 2002. A vote to adopt the amendment is a right (R) vote.
Drug Patents/Prescription Drugs (S. 812) – Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) offered a motion to waive the Budget Act with respect to the Grassley (R-IA) point of order against the Graham (D-FL) amendment that would provide a new voluntary prescription drug benefit for eligible Medicare beneficiaries. It would have limited monthly premiums to $25 and the co-payment for all drugs to between $10 and $60, with catastrophic coverage beginning at $4,000. The motion was rejected 52-47. A three-fifths majority vote (60) of the total Senate is required to waive the Budget Act. A vote in support of the motion is a right (R) vote.