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Senate Votes & Cosponsorships 2001 || House Votes & Cosponsorships 2001

+ for the public interest / - against the public interest
A absent / NA not applicable

Senate Vote & Cosponsorship Descriptions:

1. Clean Water/Stop Dumping Mountaintop Removal Waste: Mountaintop removal coal mining literally blasts the tops off of mountains in Appalachia in order to reach seams of coal within. The millions of tons of waste that result are dumped into valleys, obliterating streams and leveling landscapes. In October 1999, a West Virginia federal district court found that this practice violates provisions of the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). In response, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) attempted to attach an eleventh-hour rider to the fiscal year 2000 Omnibus Appropriations bill that would have exempted coal mining companies around the country from these portions of the Clean Water Act and SMCRA. This rider would have wreaked havoc on clean water around the nation and set a terrible precedent for a polluting industry to bypass environmental laws. Ultimately, Sen. Byrd attached his rider to a continuing resolution (a measure that extends funding for the federal government at last year's levels) that was never signed into law. On November 18, 1999, the Senate approved the Byrd rider, 56-33. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

2. Clean Water/Clean Up Mining Operations:
The hardrock mining industry is the nation's top toxic polluter and has polluted more than 12,000 miles of rivers and 180,000 acres of lakes nationwide. Dozens of mining waste sites are on the Superfund list of the nation's most toxic sites, and cleanup costs can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars per site. Regulations drafted in 1980 to protect public lands from the damaging impacts of hardrock mining were notoriously too weak and outdated, having been written before the onset of modern, destructive mining practices. Mining industry advocates succeeded for years in blocking needed reforms to these rules, and even attached a "rider" to the fiscal year 2001 Agriculture Appropriations bill (H.R. 4461) to gut a revised rule. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) offered an amendment to H.R. 4461 to reaffirm the authority of the Interior Department to pass new, more protective rules. Sen. Gramm (R-TX) called for a point of order against the Durbin amendment, arguing that it was not "germane," or relevant to the bill, even though the anti-environmental rider had been found germane. On July 20, 2000, the Senate approved the point of order finding the Durbin amendment not germane, thus blocking a vote on the amendment itself by 36-56. (The Clinton Administration ultimately negotiated language that allowed the mining rules to be revised, but current Interior Secretary Norton has proposed to suspend these more protective rules and reinstate the old, inadequate regulations.) PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

3. Endangered Species/Protect Endangered Species on the Missouri River: The Army Corps has proposed revisions to its master manual for water control that would prevent the extinction of the piping plover, the pallid sturgeon, and the lease tern. However, during consideration of H.R. 4733, the Fiscal Year 2001 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) inserted a rider to block revisions to the master manual and other proposed conservation actions on the river. Senators Thomas Daschle (D-SD) and Max Baucus (D-MT) offered an amendment to strike the Bond rider from the Energy and Water Appropriations bill. On September 7, 2000, the Senate rejected the amendment, 45-52. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

4. Toxic Waste/Oppose Weakening Toxic Waste Clean-Up Law: There are hundreds of toxic waste sites across the nation, including some of the largest Superfund sites, that have river and lake sediments contaminated with dangerous chemicals. Polluters, including General Electric, the nation's largest polluter of Superfund sites, successfully lobbied the House of Representatives to get an anti-environmental rider passed that would delay the cleanup of such sites, including the nation's largest Superfund site, the Hudson River. GE contaminated the Hudson River with over 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphynols (PCBs), which are probable human carcinogens. Sen. Barbara Boxer (CA) introduced an amendment to strike the anti-environmental rider from the bill. The Senate voted 56-39 to table her motion, defeating the effort to strip the rider. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

5. Environmental Preservation/Protect National Monuments: In July 2000, Representative Don Nickles (R-OK) offered an amendment to H.R. 4578, the Fiscal Year 2001 Interior Appropriations bill that would have prohibited funds from being used to establish or expand a national monument, unless approved by Congress. This language would have undermined the president's authority to proclaim national monuments under the Antiquities Act. On July 18, 2000, the Senate rejected the Nickles amendment by a 49-50 vote. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

6. Clean Air and Clean Water/Oppose Weakening Clean Air and Clean Water Protections: Over 30 million people drink water containing dangerous amounts of arsenic. Arsenic is known to cause cancer of the bladder, lungs and skin, as well as a host of other adverse health effects. Congress required EPA to update the drinking water standard for arsenic by January 2001. The old drinking water standard of 50 parts per billion was set in 1942. The National Academy of Sciences concluded that the 50 parts per billion standard "could easily result in a 1 in 100 fatal cancer risk. Polluters, including the mining industry, lobbied for an anti-environmental rider to increase the amount of time that EPA had to increase protections against arsenic in tap water. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) submitted an amendment to strike this anti-environmental rider from the bill. On October 12, 2000, the Senate voted 63-32 to table the Boxer amendment, defeating the attempt to strip the rider. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

7. Arctic Refuge/Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from Oil and Gas Drilling: The vote on the Arctic Refuge was on the 2000 Senate Budget Resolution. Drilling supporters Senators Frank Murkowski (R-AK) and Pete Domenici (R-AZ), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, included language in the Budget Resolution that assumed revenue from leasing and drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Including revenue language in the Budget Resolution has often been used in the past as a first step towards passing legislation that would actually authorize leasing and drilling in the Arctic Refuge. Sen. William Roth (R-DE) introduced an amendment to strike the assumption of revenue language from the Budget Resolution. Sen. Murkowski countered with a motion to table Roth's amendment. So supporters of protecting the Arctic Refuge from oil and gas drilling voted no on Murkowski's motion to table Roth's amendment. On April 6, 2000, the Senate voted 51-49 to table (not to allow) a vote on the Roth amendment. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

8. National Forests/Cut Subsidy for Logging in National Forests: The U.S. Forest Service subsidizes the destruction of our National Forests by selling off our trees to the timber industry at prices that do not even cover the agency's costs to administer these sales. As a result, taxpayers have lost $2 billion over the last six years. At the same time, logging in the National Forests has destroyed wildlife habitat, polluted rivers necessary for fish and for drinking water, and caused expensive and deadly mudslides. Logging also removes mature trees and leaves behind brush that increases the severity of forest fires. Senators Richard Bryan (D-NV) and Peter Fitzgerald (R-IL) offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2001 Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 4578) that would have cut $30 million from the timber subsidy, and shifted $15 million to wildland fire planning and preparedness. On July 18, 2001 the Senate rejected the amendment 45-54. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

9. Polluter Pork/Stop Wasteful Water Project: The Animas-La Plata water project would siphon up to a quarter of the Animas River to create a reservoir in southwestern Colorado, which would not be used by anyone for years. The project would cost $450 million, more than 80% of which would be paid for by federal taxpayers. The project would also drain one of the nation's most endangered rivers and one of the West's last free-flowing rivers, threatening two endangered species, a trout fishery, and flooding wildlife habitat and Native American burial sites in the process. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) introduced a bill (S. 2508) authorizing this destructive water project. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI) offered an amendment to the bill to address some of the more blatant fiscal and environmental problems. On October 25, 2000, Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) offered a motion to table the amendment which passed 56-34. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

10. Nuclear Waste/Stop Dangerous Transport of Nuclear Waste: S. 1287, The Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments of 2000, would needlessly mandate the transportation of highly radioactive waste through 43 states. This bill would put millions of Americans at risk, and undermine EPA radiation standards. On February 10, 2000, the Senate approved S. 1287 by a 64-34 vote. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

11. Global Warming/Energy Efficiency/Stop Freeze on Auto Fuel Efficiency Standards: A legal loophole allowing lower miles per gallon standards for sport utility vehicles, minivans and light trucks causes an extra 187 million tons of global warming pollution and costs consumers up to $27 billion extra at the gas pump annually. This loophole also causes the U.S. to consume almost a million extra barrels of oil per day. Since 1995, a rider placed on the Transportation Appropriations bill by Rep. Tom Delay (R-TX) and Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) has prohibited the Department of Transportation from even considering updated standards for these vehicles. Senators Gorton (R-WA), Byran (D-NV) and Feinstein (D-CA) offered an amendment to the Senate Transportation Appropriations bill rejecting the Wolf rider. On September 15, 1999, the Senate rejected the amendment 40-55. Although 40 votes in favor of the amendment is sufficient to sustain a veto of the bill, the president ultimately signed the bill and the rider into law. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

12. Polluter Pork/Protect Taxpayers and Stop Underpayment of Oil Royalties: Companies that drill for oil on public lands are required to pay royalties, which benefit taxpayers, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, and state governments, many of which use the royalties for public education. However, according to the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the largest oil companies have been underpaying these royalties by at least $66 million a year. To address this underpayment, the MMS formulated new rules to create fair, market-based oil payments, but three "riders" on three different spending bills blocked the final passage of these rules. During consideration of the fiscal year 2000 Interior Appropriations bill, Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) offered yet another rider to delay the MMS rules. (The MMS rules were finalized on March 15, 2000, but the oil industry is suing the MMS to prevent the rules from being enforced.) On September 23, 1999, the Senate adopted the Hutchison oil royalty rider, 51-47. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

13. Campaign Finance Reform/Ban Soft Money Contributions: Sens. McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI) brought S. 1593 to the floor of the Senate to ban soft money contributions in federal elections. Soft money is unlimited and unregulated funds from corporations, labor unions, and wealthy individuals given to political parties and other organizations as a way to get around the legal limits on contributions to parties. While the bill fell short of comprehensive reform, it would have been an important first step. A motion to invoke cloture on the debate, which would have allowed it to come to a final vote, failed on October 19, 1999 by 53-47. Despite the fact that a majority of Senators supported the bill, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) did not bring it to a final vote because 60 votes were needed to break a filibuster led by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY). PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

14. Campaign Finance Reform/Amend Constitution to Limit Contributions and Spending: Sens. Hollings (D-SC) and Specter (R-PA) proposed a constitutional amendment that would grant Congress and the states the authority to set mandatory limits on campaign spending and contributions. Congress set spending limits in 1974, but they were invalidated by the controversial Supreme Court decision, Buckley vs. Valeo, which extended First Amendment protection to unlimited spending in elections. On March 28, 2000, the Senate tabled (killed) the amendment by a vote of 67-33. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

15. Health Care/Pass Strong Patients' Bill of Rights: This is the Managed Care Patient Protections amendment #3273 to the Fiscal 2001 Defense Authorization (S. 549). Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD) attempted to attach pro-consumer managed care reform legislation to the Defense Department authorization bill. Adopted in the House in 1999, the legislation was intended to protect the doctor-patient relationship, both by ensuring that physician decisions prevail over plan objections if upheld by an external review and by eliminating improper physician incentive plans. In addition, it would have: required a timely and independent external grievance and appeals system; held managed care organizations legally accountable for negligence; allowed health care providers to prescribe the right drug for their patients, even if that drug was not on the plan's formulary; and allowed patients direct access to specialists in some cases. Furthermore, the bill's protections would have applied to all 161 million Americans enrolled in private insurance plans. On June 8, 2000, a motion to table, and thus kill, Sen. Daschle's amendment was agreed to 51-48. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

16. Consumer Protection/Oppose Weakening Consumer Bankruptcy Protections: Congress passed one-sided legislation that would have restricted the ability of financially strapped consumers to make a fresh start in bankruptcy without reining in unfair credit card company marketing practices. The bill would have imposed a rigid new means test on debtors seeking to file for Chapter 7 "fresh-start" bankruptcy, forcing many consumers into unfair Chapter 13 "5-year repayment plans." The bill also would have created onerous legal and paperwork burdens for debtors of modest means while continuing to allow affluent debtors in some states to file for bankruptcy protection and retain expensive homes. Furthermore, it would have done virtually nothing to rein in -- and would likely have encouraged -- abusive creditor practices that help lead consumers into insupportable debt. On December 7, 2001, the conference report was adopted 70-28, but was vetoed by the President. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

17. Consumer Protection/Protect Consumers From High-Cost Lenders: During consideration of legislation supported by the credit card industry to amend the bankruptcy laws, S. 625, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN) offered a balancing amendment to curb certain abusive practices. The Wellstone amendment would have prevented predatory lenders who make loans at interest rates greater than 100% APR, such as payday and auto title pawn loan companies, from making claims against consumers to recover unpaid debts in bankruptcy. The amendment would have also curbed certain unfair debt collection practices. On February 1, 2000, the Senate voted to table (kill) the Wellstone amendment 53-44. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

18. Higher Education/Increase Student Aid Funding From Pell Grants: Sen. Kennedy (D-MA) introduced an amendment to the Budget Resolution to increase Pell Grant Funding by $400 for the maximum annual award. The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) was passed to ensure that all Americans would have access to higher education, regardless of their economic status. An integral piece of the HEA is the Pell Grant Program, the primary source of the federal need-based grant aid for students. Each year, Pell Grants enable millions of students to afford a college education. However, over the past two decades college costs have soared while the spending value of the Pell Grant has been cut in half. In the late 1970s the maximum Pell Grant paid for three-quarters of the average cost of attendance at a public four-year college. Today the Pell Grant covers only one-third of the average of attending a public four-year college - increases in the maximum Pell Grant have not kept pace with rising tuition costs. On April 7, 2000 the Senate approved this amendment 51-49. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

Senate Votes & Cosponsorships 2001 || House Votes & Cosponsorships 2001

+ for the public interest / - against the public interest
A absent / NA not applicable

House Vote & Cosponsorship Descriptions

1. Clean Air/Clean Up Polluting Power Plants: Representatives Waxman (D-CA) and Boehlert (R-NY) introduced the Clean Smokestacks Act (H.R. 2900) to clean up the nation's coal-burning power plants. These plants constitute the largest industrial source of the pollution that causes acid rain, smog, soot, global warming, and mercury contamination. The bill was cosponsored by 122 Members of the House of Representatives, and has been reintroduced in the 107th Congress for further consideration. PUBLIC INTEREST POSITION: Cosponsorship of Bill

2. Clean Air/Oppose Weakening Clean Air Protections: Representatives Linder (R-GA) and Collins (R-GA) authored a rider that halted the designation of high smog areas under the new, more protective, health standard for smog. The impact of this rider was to delay for a year the first step in the process to ultimately bring all areas into attainment with the health standard that protects all Americans from adverse impacts of air pollution. On June 21, 2000, the House voted to pass the rider 225-199. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

3. Clean Water/Oppose Weakening Drinking Water Protections: There are hundreds of toxic waste sites across the nation, including some of the largest Superfund sites, that have river and lake sediments contaminated with dangerous chemicals. Polluters, including General Electric, the nation's largest polluter of Superfund sites, successfully lobbied the House of Representatives to get an anti-environmental rider passed that would delay the clean up of such sites, including the nation's largest Superfund site, the Hudson River. GE contaminated the Hudson River with over 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphynols (PCBs), which are probable human carcinogens. Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Sherrod Brown (R-OH), and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) cosponsored an amendment to strip this anti-environmental rider from the bill. On June 21, 2000, the House voted 208-216 not to strip the rider. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

4. Clean Energy/Cut Oil and Coal Subsidies: The burning of coal and oil is a major source of smog-forming nitrogen oxide, soot-producing sulfur dioxide, the global warming gas carbon dioxide, and toxic mercury. Yet, every year, coal and oil companies receive hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to continue producing these dirty energy sources. Representatives Bernard Sanders (I-VT), Ron Lewis (R-KY), James Oberstar (D-MN) and Bart Stupak (D-MI) offered an amendment to cut $50 million from the fossil fuel subsidy. On July 14, 1999, the House adopted the amendment 248-169. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

5. Arctic Refuge/Protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from Oil and Gas Drilling: Members of the House of Representatives were asked to cosponsor H.R. 1239, the Mo Udall Arctic Wilderness Bill. H.R. 1239 would have designated the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge as wilderness. Wilderness designation prohibits any kind of development, which obviously would not allow oil and gas exploration on the coastal plain. PUBLIC INTEREST POSITION: Consponsorship of Bill

6. Toxic Waste/Make Polluters Pay to Clean Up Toxic Waste: H.R. 5175, the Small Business Liability Relief Act, would have let big corporate polluters get out of paying to clean up their contamination at Superfund sites. Rep. Michael Oxley (R-OH), the sponsor of H.R. 5175, brought the bill before the full House on a suspension vote, which is normally reserved for non-controversial bills that do not go through the committee process. On a suspension vote, a bill needs 2/3 of the voting Representatives to vote for passage. On September 26, 2000, the House voted in favor of the bill 253-161, but with less than the 2/3s needed to pass. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

7. Toxic Waste/Oppose Unlimited Mining Waste Dumping on Public Lands: The hardrock mining industry is the nation's top toxic polluter, releasing more toxic chemicals than any other industry. It is also one of the most heavily subsidized industries in the country. Under the antiquated 1872 Mining Law, mining companies have been allowed to extract billions of dollars of minerals from public land without paying a dime in royalties and have abandoned more than half a million polluting mine sites, leaving the cleanup tab to taxpayers. Yet, the mining industry is now seeking an even greater giveaway - a change to the 1872 Mining Law to allow unlimited access to public lands for use as private mining waste dumps. Representatives Nick Rahall (D-WV), Christopher Shays (R-CT) and Jay Inslee (D-WA) offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2000 Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 2466) to protect taxpayers and the environment by limiting the amount of public land mining companies can use to dump waste. On July 14, 1999, the House passed the amendment 273-151. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

8. Environmental Preservation/Protect National Monuments: A provision attached to H.R. 4578, the 2001 Interior appropriations bill, would have prohibited the use of funds for the design, planning or management of national monuments created since 1999. The provision would have prevented the Department of Interior from managing current monuments, as well as thwarting the President's authority under the Antiquities Act to proclaim new monuments. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) offered an amendment to strike the prohibition on national monument funding from the bill. In response, Representative Jim Hansen (R-UT) offered a substitute amendment to keep the national monuments language in the bill. On June 15, 2000, the House rejected the Hansen amendment by a 187-234 vote. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO (The Dicks amendment went on to pass by a vote of 243-177.)

9. Environmental Defense/Weaken Land Use Protections: Anti-environment "property rights" advocates have long sought to undermine land use, public health, clean water and other environmental protections. They are trying to change the way that courts determine if compensation is required because a local, state or federal government regulation results in a "taking" of private property. Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL), with the support of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), introduced H.R. 2372, which would allow developers to challenge local land use, zoning and environmental laws directly in federal court, bypassing local elected officials and land use procedures, as well as state courts. On March 16, 2000, the House voted to pass H.R. 2372 by a vote of 226-182. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

10. Environmental Defense/Oppose Restricting New Health And Safety Protections: H.R. 350, the "Mandates Information Act," would roll back major protections for the environment and public health by creating opportunities for Members of Congress to kill such protections without even voting on them. The bill allows Members to use a procedural rule, called a "point of order," that can stop Congress from considering any bill that imposes costs exceeding $100 million on the private sector. Since Congress must periodically reauthorize existing environmental laws and pass all new protections, Members could use this "point of order" to gut our nation's environmental laws. On February 10, 1999, the House passed the bill 274-149. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

11. Nuclear Waste/Stop Dangerous Transport of Nuclear Waste: S. 1287, The Nuclear Waste Policy Act Amendments of 2000, would needlessly mandate the transportation of highly radioactive waste through 43 states. This bill would put millions of Americans at risk, and undermine EPA radiation standards. On March 22, 2000, the House approved S. 1287 by a vote of 253-167. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

12. National Forests/Cut Subsidy for Logging in National Forests: The U.S. Forest Service subsidizes the destruction of our National Forests by selling off our trees to the timber industry at prices that do not even cover the agency's costs to administer these sales. As a result, taxpayers have lost $2 billion over the last six years. At the same time, logging in the National Forests has destroyed wildlife habitat, polluted rivers necessary for fish and for drinking water and caused expensive and deadly mudslides. Logging also removes mature trees and leaves behind brush that increases the severity of forest fires. Representatives David Wu (D-OR), Mark Udall (D-CO) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2001 Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 4578) that would have cut $14.7 million from the timber subsidy, and shifted the funding to fish and wildlife management. On June 14, 2000, the House rejected the amendment 173-249. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

13. Health Care/Pass Strong Patients' Bill of Rights: Overcoming strong opposition from the Republican leadership, the House passed H.R. 2723, a broadly bipartisan, pro-consumer managed care reform bill-Norwood (R-GA)-Dingell (D-MI). The bill protects the doctor-patient relationship by ensuring that physician decisions prevail over health plan objections if upheld by external review and by eliminating improper physician incentives to deny care. The bill holds health plans liable for negligence, allows patients the right to drugs not on their health plan's list, and allows patients direct access to specialists in some cases. Unlike the weak Senate-passed proposal, H.R. 2723's protections apply to all 161 million Americans in private insurance plans. On October 7, 1999, the House passed the bill 275-151. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

14. Campaign Finance Reform/Ban Soft Money Contributions: Representatives Chris Shays (R-CT) and Marty Meehan (DMA) introduced a bill to enact modest reforms in the federal campaign finance system in the 106th Congress. The bill would do nothing to limit the outrageous amounts that special interests can give directly to candidates, but it would prevent corporations and very wealthy donors from giving unregulated and unlimited "soft money" contributions to political parties and other groups seeking to influence election outcomes. On September 14, 1999, the House passed the final version of the bill 252-177. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

15. Campaign Finance Reform/Stop Increase In Contribution Limits: During the House debate on campaign finance reform, Rep. Edward Whitfield (R-KY) offered an amendment to the Shays-Meehan bill that would have increased the current limit on contributions to candidates from $1,000 to $3,000. This would only further increase the amounts that candidates could raise from wealthy donors, and give special interests even more influence in determining who runs for office and who wins elections. On September 14, 1999, the House rejected the amendment 127-300. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

16. Public Health/Expand Citizens' Right to Know about Toxics: Toxic substances like dioxin and mercury are known to have significant impacts on human health and particularly on the health of growing children. Unfortunately, the public is kept in the dark about the health risks of industrial chemicals -- of the tens of thousands of chemicals in use, a significant majority have not been fully tested for health impacts. Even for chemicals that are known to be toxic, manufacturers aren't required to tell consumers about the chemicals they place in products, and companies don't report their chemical use to the surrounding community. Successful right-to-know programs in Massachusetts and New Jersey require chemical use reporting. In Massachusetts, facilities have reduced their use of toxic chemicals by more than 30% and reduced the toxic waste they produce by 50% since the program started. The Children's Environmental Protection and Right to Know Act, championed by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Jim Saxton (R-NJ) would take these valuable lessons and apply them at the national level, providing citizens and communities across the country with the right to know about toxic hazards that could threaten children's health and encouraging industries to reduce these hazards. At the end of the 106th Congress, the bill had 157 cosponsors. PUBLIC INTEREST POSITION: Cosponsorship of Bill

17. Consumer Protection/Fund Tobacco Lawsuit: This vote relates to the tobacco lawsuit amendment #883 (A017) to the Fiscal 2001 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations bill (H.R. 4690). The Amendment allows the Justice Department to receive funds from the Veterans Administration to aid in the cost of tobacco litigation. A provision called a "rider" was included in the Justice Department appropriations bill to prevent DOJ from receiving funds from other departments to support "high-cost" federal lawsuits. Among the pending lawsuits that would have been de-funded is the federal government's lawsuit to recover the billions that it spends each year treating tobacco-related illnesses. That suit is jointly funded by DOJ and the Veterans' Administration. On June 23, 2000, an amendment by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) to exempt the tobacco lawsuit from the prohibition and thus allow it to go forward passed 215-183. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

18. Consumer Protection/Oppose Weakening Consumer Legal Rights: The House passed the falsely-labeled "Small Business Liability Reform Act," which caps the amount of punitive damages recoverable by the victims of corporate misconduct and largely applies to all firms, not only small businesses. Punitive damages are only awarded by the courts in the most egregious circumstances. The mere threat of punitive damages serves as an important deterrent against corporate misbehavior, so this legislation will likely lead to more medical malpractice, more dangerous products, more contaminated food and more financial scams. The proposal shifts the costs of business misbehavior from the companies who profited from it to consumers injured by it. On February 16, 1999, the House passed the bill 221-193. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

19. Consumer Protection/Support Strong Privacy Protections: Members of the bi-partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus opposed suspension of the rules to pass a bill establishing a commission to study privacy. House leadership chose to allow H.R. 4049 to be considered under suspension of the rules, rather than under an "open" rule, to prevent those pro-privacy members from offering stronger privacy protection provisions as floor amendments. Further, had the House enacted the modest, and unnecessary study proposal, Congressional privacy opponents, and industry foes of strong privacy laws, would have falsely claimed a privacy victory as well as used the bill's passage as a delaying tactic when further substantive reforms were proposed. On October 2, 2000, the House voted 250-146 for the bill - but fell short of the 2/3s required to pass. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

20. Consumer Protection/Oppose Weakening Consumer Bankruptcy Protections: Over the last three years, the credit card industry has persisted in a multi-million dollar lobbying and public relations campaign to enact draconian changes to the bankruptcy laws that would prevent consumers from making a fresh start in bankruptcy as current consumer protections allow in certain circumstances. Worse, the industry has also blocked all balancing amendments designed to stop abusive and deceptive credit card marketing and interest rate practices that have resulted in massive and growing credit card debt loads as well as thousands of consumer complaints to regulators. Recent studies have shown that consumers do not abuse bankruptcy laws, but generally are forced to file bankruptcy due to medical or job dislocation crises. Further, studies show that if there ever was a bankruptcy crisis, it is self-correcting. On May 5, 1999, the House passed the bill 313-108. PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

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May 31, 2001