[ Scorecard Home ]

VOTE DESCRIPTIONS


1) [SEN] Oppose Safe Drinking Water Rollback (RC1303) 7/12/95
Environmental Defense Campaign
The parasite cryptosporidium contaminated Milwaukee, Wisconsin's drinking water in 1993; 400,000 people were sickened and over 100 people died. Several other cryptosporidium outbreaks have occurred since, including an incident in Las Vegas, Nevada which killed at least 30 people. Cryptosporidium is not currently regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. EPA is developing health standards to address the threat of cryptosporidium in drinking water. Sen. Kohl (D-WI) offered an amendment to exempt regulations for cryptosporidium and other drinking water contaminants from the requirements and delays of the "regulatory reform" proposal, S. 343.
An amendment to table the Kohl amendment was adopted 50-48 on July 12, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

2) [SEN] Oppose Right to Know Rollback RC1306 7/13/95
Environmental Defense Campaign
The 1986 Community Right to Know Act requires companies to report releases of certain toxic chemicals to the environment. It is the best national database on toxics in the environment available to the public and government regulators. A provision in Sen. Dole's (R-KS) so-called Regulatory Reform bill (S.343) would allow polluters to avoid reporting under the Right to Know Act by removing up to 90 percent of the chemicals currently reported. Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ) offered an amendment to strike the provision and Sen. Dole moved to table the amendment.
The Dole motion to table the amendment was adopted 50-48 on July 13, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

3) [SEN] Oppose Health, Safety Rollback (RC1311) 7/18/95
Environmental Defense Campaign
Senate Majority Leader Dole (R-KS) sponsored S. 343, the so-called "Regulatory Reform" bill that would undercut existing legal safeguards and make it difficult to write new regulations for many laws including the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Majority Leader Dole brought his bill before the Senate for 11 days of debate over a four-week period. Senate debate on an issue can continue indefinitely without a final vote on passage unless 60 senators vote to cut off debate or invoke "cloture."
The Senate rejected the first cloture motion to cut off debate 53-47 (60 votes needed to cut off debate) on July 18, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

4) [SEN] Oppose Health, Safety Rollback (RC1315) 7/20/95
Environmental Defense Campaign
On July 20, 1995, the Senate rejected the third cloture motion 58-40 (60 votes needed to cut off debate) on the Dole Regulatory Reform bill (S. 343).
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

5) [SEN] Oppose EPA Budget Cuts (RC1470) 9/27/95
Environmental Defense Campaign
The Fiscal 1996 Veterans Administration and Housing and Urban Development (VA-HUD) Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill, H.R. 2099, which funds the EPA, slashed the Agency's budget by $1.5 billion. In addition, the bill included numerous anti-environmental "riders" or amendments that would weaken the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Air Act.
The Senate adopted the bill 55-45 on September 27, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

6) [SEN] End Ban on Protecting Species (RC2030) 3/13/96
Environmental Defense Campaign
Sens. Reid (D-NV) and Chafee (R-RI) motioned to table an amendment to the FY 1996 Omnibus Appropriations bill offered by Sen. Hutchison (R-TX) which continued a moratorium on listing endangered fish and wildlife under the Endangered Species Act and would give a mere $1 for the necessary studies to list endangered wildlife under the Act. Under the Hutchison amendment, an endangered species could only be given protection in an emergency situation, leaving over 240 threatened and endangered plants, fish, and animals in peril.
Motion to table the Hutchison amendment was rejected 49-51 on March 13, 1996.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

7) [SEN] End Logging Without Laws (RC2033) 3/14/96
Environmental Defense Campaign
Under the guise of promoting sales of "salvage" timber in our national forests, the House Appropriations Committee added language to a spending cuts bill to more than double logging and clearcutting in our ancient forests while exempting these timber sales from all federal environmental laws. U.S. taxpayers will spend an additional $200 million a year on timber industry subsidies because of this provision, and citizens are powerless to block these sales because of environmental concerns. After months of environmental devastation in our ancient forests, Sen. Murray (D-WA) offered an amendment to another spending bill to repeal the logging without laws provision.
Rejected 42-54 on March 14, 1996.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

8) [SEN] Oppose Drilling in Arctic Refuge (RC1525) 10/27/95
Environmental Defense Campaign
The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska is one of our last great wilderness areas. It is home to polar bears, musk oxen and the 150,000 Porcupine Caribou herd. Oil industry interests attached a provision to the Senate Budget Reconciliation bill to allow oil and gas exploration and drilling in the refuge. Sen. Roth (R-DE) offered an amendment to strip this anti-environmental provision. Sen. Domenici (R-NM) motioned to table the Roth amendment.
The motion to table was adopted 51-48 on October 27, 1995. President Clinton later vetoed the bill.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

9) [SEN] Oppose Grazing Standards Rollback (RC2050) 3/21/96
Environmental Defense Campaign
Current federal policy for grazing on public lands is worse than a simple taxpayer handout to ranchers. Over two-thirds of our federally-owned rangelands have been over-grazed, eroded, or otherwise degraded. "The Public Rangelands Management Act" S. 1459, introduced by Sen. Domenici (R-NM), would further threaten the future of over 250 million acres of public rangelands by giving ranchers even more power, preventing meaningful public participation, and circumventing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Adopted 51-46 on March 21, 1996.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

10) [SEN] End Dangerous Nuclear Program (RC1347) 8/1/95
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
The Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) lacks containment structures to prevent radiation from escaping into the environment in the case of an accident. The gas-cooled reactor received the fourth worst grade in a 1991 Department of Energy report ranking 23 energy technologies on the basis of economic and energy potential, environmental impact and technical risk. Sens. Bumpers (D-AR) and Inhofe (R-OK) offered an amendment to the FY 1996 Energy and Water Appropriations bill to cut the $12 million appropriation for this dangerous technology.
Adopted 62-38 on August 1, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

11) [SEN] Stop Mining Industry Giveaway (RC1372) 8/8/95
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
The Mining Law of 1872 is the "granddaddy" of all polluter pork programs. Under this archaic law, gold, silver and other hardrock mining companies extract billions of dollars of minerals from public lands with no return to the federal Treasury. Under this 124-year old corporate welfare program, these companies may purchase the land for $2.50 to $5.00 per acre through a process called "patenting," and often leave highly-contaminated rivers, groundwater and land which then must be cleaned at taxpayer expense. Sen. Bumpers (D-AR) offered a one-year extension of a moratorium on patenting.
Rejected 46-51 on August 8, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

12) [SEN] Increase Grazing Fees on Public Lands (RC2018) 3/21/96
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
Taxpayers lose over $50 million per year subsidizing grazing on public lands because the below-market value fees do not begin to cover the costs of administering federal range management programs. According to the General Accounting Office, 2% of grazing permittees, including four billionaires and a few oil companies, control roughly half of the acreage. Sen. Jeffords (R-VT) offered an amendment to S. 1459 to increase the federal grazing fee for large permittees to the equivalent of fees paid on state lands.
Rejected 47-52 on March 21, 1996.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

13) [SEN] Expand Citizens' Right to Know (RC1587) 11/29/95
Safe Drinking Water
As part of the Senate debate over reauthorizing the Safe Drinking Water Act, Sens. Boxer (D-CA) and Daschle (D-SD) offered an amendment that would have required water utilities to send annual reports to consumers detailing contaminants found in their tap water. Sen. Chafee (R-RI) offered an amendment to table this simple proposal to expand citizens' right to know what is in their drinking water.
The amendment to table was adopted 59-40 on November 29, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

14) [SEN] Oppose Product Safety Rollback (RC2046) 3/21/96
Consumer Protection Campaign
Final passage of the conference report on H.R. 956, the Product Liability Fairness Act, primarily sponsored by Sens. Gorton (R-WA) and Rockefeller (D-WV). The bill weakens the rights of victims of defective products, including firearms and tobacco victims, and encourages the manufacture of dangerous products by reducing liability of corporate wrongdoers and capping punitive damage awards. The bill discriminates against women, children and the elderly by eliminating joint liability for pain and suffering damages. It also unfairly repeals pro-consumer state laws, but allows anti-consumer state laws to stand.
Adopted 59-40 on March 21, 1996.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

15) [SEN] Oppose Investor Rights Rollback (RC1612) 12/22/95
Consumer Protection Campaign
Motion to override President Clinton's veto, and enact into law, H.R. 1058, the Securities Litigation Reform Act, sponsored primarily by Sens. Dodd (D-CT) and Domenici (R-NM). The new law makes it nearly impossible for defrauded investors to recover their losses in investment swindles, broadly immunizes accountants, lawyers and companies for their complicity in financial frauds, and fails to fix recent anti-investor decisions of the courts.
Adopted 68-30 (2/3rds required to override veto) on December 22, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

16) [SEN] Support Student Loans (RC1231) 5/25/95
Higher Education Campaign
Sens. Snowe (R-ME) and Simon (D-IL) offered this amendment to the FY 96 Budget Resolution (SCR 13) that would restore funds to the student loan program. The amendment was instrumental in stopping proposals to eliminate the in-school interest exemption on student loans. Without the government funding for the interest payments on student loans, the cost of student loans would increase by 20% to 50%. This amendment kept funding available for the student loan program by closing tax loopholes for foreign corporations.
Adopted 67-32 on May 25, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

17) [SEN] Keep Voluntary Taxpayer Donation (RC1194) 5/24/95
Campaign Finance Reform
Sen. Kerry (D-MA) proposed an amendment to Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 to restore the taxpayer checkoff funding mechanism to provide public financing for presidential campaigns which had been eliminated in the original draft of the resolution. These provisions, first implemented in 1976, set voluntary spending limits for presidential races and reduce the dependence of presidential candidates on special interest contributions.
Adopted 56-44 on May 24, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

18) [SEN] Protect Funds for National Service (RC1464) 9/26/95
Citizen Participation
This amendment to the VA, HUD, and independent agencies appropriations bill for 1996, would have restored $403 million in funding for the AmeriCorps National Service program. AmeriCorps and the other programs funded under the Corporation For National Service provide college aid and a minimal stipend in return for a year of full time community service. Service projects help with environmental restoration and protection, public health, education, and crime prevention. This amendment by Sen. Mikulski (D-MD) would have stopped the program from being eliminated completely.
Rejected 47-52 on September 26, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

1) [HSE] Oppose Health, Safety Rollback (2/28/95)
Environmental Defense Campaign
The "Risk Assessment and Cost Benefit Act" would require lengthy, complicated risk assessment and cost-benefit studies before most new public health and environmental protection programs would take effect. The bill would increase red tape and bureaucracy by requiring bureaucrats to quantify the harm caused by a particular chemical or pollutant, replacing environmental and health-based standards with cost-benefit analysis. EPA estimates that it would take 1,000 new bureaucrats and $220 million to conduct all of these risk studies.
Adopted 286-141 on February 28, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

2) [HSE] Oppose Takings/Compensation for Polluters (3/3/95)
Environmental Defense Campaign
The "Private Property Rights Act" would require the government to compensate landowners who claimed that their property is devalued by 20% from compliance with wetlands protection or endangered species preservation laws. Taxpayers would have to pay land speculators not to destroy the wetlands or endangered species habitat on their land.
Adopted 278-147 on March 3, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

3) [HSE] Oppose Environmental Rollback/Contract (3/3/95)
Environmental Defense Campaign
The bill combined the final versions of the risk assessment, takings and other anti-public interest provisions from so-called regulatory reform bills into one bill.
Adopted 277-141 on March 3, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

4) [HSE] Oppose "Dirty Water Act" (5/16/95)
Environmental Defense Campaign
Rep. Shuster (R-PA) introduced a "Dirty Water Act" (H.R. 961) that would reauthorize and rewrite the Clean Water Act. The bill would relax or waive federal water pollution control regulations, allow more toxic chemicals and sewage into waterways, remove up to 80 percent of wetlands from federal protection, and require the federal government to reimburse landowner if wetlands protections cause a 20 percent decrease in value to any portion of their land.
Adopted 240-185 on May 16, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

5) [HSE] Oppose Pro-Polluter "Riders"/EPA Budget (7/31/95)
Environmental Defense Campaign
Anti-environmental forces in Congress attached 17 "riders" to the Fiscal 1996 VA-HUD Independent Agencies Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2099), which funds the EPA. These riders would have weakened key sections of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Community Right to Know Act. Reps. Stokes (D-OH) and Boehlert (R-NY) offered an amendment to eliminate the anti-environmental riders from the EPA Budget.
On July 28, 1995, the amendment was adopted by a narrow six-vote margin. Three days later, on July 31, 1995, the Stokes-Boehlert amendment was rejected 210-210.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

6) [HSE] Oppose Pro-Polluter "Riders"/EPA Budget (11/2/95)
Environmental Defense Campaign
The House again considered the 17 anti-environmental riders on the EPA Budget. During a vote naming conferees to the House-Senate Conference Committee on H.R. 2099, Rep. Stokes (D-OH) offered a motion to instruct the House conferees to drop the anti-environmental riders in the conference.
The motion was adopted 227-194 on November 2, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

7) [HSE] End Logging Without Laws (3/15/95)
Environmental Defense Campaign
Under the guise of promoting sales of "salvage" timber in our national forests, the House Appropriations Committee added language to a spending cuts bill to more than double logging and clearcutting in our ancient forests while exempting these timber sales from all federal environmental laws. U.S. taxpayers will spend an additional $200 million a year on timber industry subsidies because of this provision, and citizens are powerless to block these sales because of environmental concerns. Rep. Yates (D-IL) offered an amendment to strip this provision from the bill.
Rejected 150-275 on March 15, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

8) [HSE] Stop Tongass Forest/Mining Giveaways (11/15/96)
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
The House/Senate conference on the Interior Appropriations bill removed a one-year moratorium on the sale of public lands to the mining industry for $2.50 - $5.00 per acre from the bill and added language to increase logging in Alaska's Tongass National Forest, already the biggest money-loser in terms of below-cost timber sales. Led by Rep. Yates (D-IL), the House twice rejected the Interior Appropriations Conference Report because of the mining and Tongass Forest issues.
The House adopted the second motion to reject the Conference Report 230-199 on November 15, 1996.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

9) [HSE] End Dangerous Nuclear Program (7/11/95)
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
The Gas Turbine-Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR) lacks containment structures to prevent radiation from escaping into the environment in the case of an accident. The gas-cooled reactor received the fourth worst grade in a 1991 Department of Energy report ranking 23 energy technologies on the basis of economic and energy potential, environmental impact and technical risk. Reps. Klug (R-WI), Foley (R-FL), Obey (D-WI), and Luther (D-MN) offered an amendment to the FY 1996 Energy and Water Appropriations bill to cut the $12 million appropriation for this dangerous technology.
Adopted 306-121 on July 11, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

10) [HSE] Stop Giveaway to Mining Companies (7/18/95)
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
The Mining Law of 1872 is the "granddaddy" of all polluter pork programs. Under this archaic law, gold, silver and other hardrock mining companies extract billions of dollars of minerals from public lands with no return to the federal Treasury. Under this 124-year old corporate welfare program, these companies may purchase the land for $2.50 to $5.00 per acre through a process called "patenting," and often leave highly-contaminated rivers, groundwater and land which then must be cleaned at taxpayer expense. Reps. Klug (R-WI) and Rahall (D-WV) offered an amendment to the House Interior Appropriations bill which would extend for one year the moratorium on patenting public lands.
Adopted 271-153 on July 18, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

11) [HSE] Stop Sugar Industry Subsidy (2/28/96)
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
Through a series of trade restrictions and price controls, the U.S. sugar industry reaps an extra $1.4 billion annually from U.S. consumers. U.S. sugar prices are double those on the world market. Increasing production of sugarcane in the Florida Everglades, spurred by this consumer subsidy, has caused disruption of the water flow to the ecosystem and has dumped tons of pollutants, mostly phosphorous, into the Everglades.
In the House, an amendment offered by Reps. Miller (R-FL) and Schumer (D-NY) to reform the sugar program was rejected 208-217 on February 28, 1996.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

12) [HSE] Stop Building Roads for Timber Industry (7/18/95)
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
Taxpayer funds are used to build Forest Service roads. These are built so that the timber industry can gain access to national forests. Because the Forest Service sells the timber for less than the cost of the roads and other program costs, a recent General Accounting Office study found that taxpayers lost $955 million in the timber program from 1992 through 1994. Rep. Kennedy (D-MA) offered an amendment to the Interior Appropriations bill which would have prohibited road-building in roadless areas.
Rejected 166-255 on July 18, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

13) [HSE] Eliminate Tobacco Industry Subsidy (7/20/95)
Campaign to Cut Polluter Pork
During consideration of the Agricultural Appropriations Bill, Reps. Durbin (D-IL), Smith (R-WA) and Hansen (R-UT) offered an amendment to cut $23 million in taxpayer subsidies to the tobacco industry. Tobacco pork is particularly egregious, since the tobacco industry not only generates $45 billion in annual revenues, but sells a product that, when used as directed, kills 434,000 Americans each year including 50,000 non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke.
Rejected 199-223 on July 20, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

14) [HSE] Increase Funding for Solar Energy (7/12/95)
Campaign for R.E.A.L. Energy
Energy use and production is the largest source of pollution, yet the House Science and Appropriations committees cut funding for clean renewable energy sources (solar, geothermal, biomass and wind) by 43% compared to 1995 levels. Rep. Klug (R-WI) offered an amendment to add $44.7 million to the renewable energy research and development account.
Adopted 214-208 on July 12, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: YES

15) [HSE] Oppose Investor Rights Rollback (12/20/95)
Consumer Protection Campaign
Motion to override President Clinton's veto, and enact into law, H.R. 1058, the Securities Litigation Reform Act, sponsored primarily by Reps. Cox (R-CA), Tauzin (R-LA), Fields (R-TX) and Bliley (R-VA). The new law makes it nearly impossible for defrauded investors to recover their losses in investment swindles, broadly immunizes accountants, lawyers and companies for their complicity in financial frauds, and fails to fix recent anti-investor decisions of the courts.
Adopted (2/3rds required to override veto) 319-100 on December 20, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

16) [HSE] Oppose Product Safety Rollback (3/10/95)
Consumer Protection Campaign
Passage of H.R. 956, which would encourage the manufacture of defective products and restrict the legal rights of victims in all civil lawsuits, including not only product liability victims but also victims of medical malpractice and drunk drivers. The bill discriminates against women, children and the elderly by restricting non-economic damages, or pain and suffering, awards. It also unfairly repeals pro-consumer state laws, but allows anti-consumer state laws to stand.
Adopted 265-161 on March 10, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

17) [HSE] Oppose Patient Rights Rollback (3/9/95)
Consumer Protection Campaign
During consideration of H.R. 956, legislation restricting the rights of product liability victims, Rep. Cox (R-CA) proposed an amendment to extend the bill's $250,000 cap on non-economic damages to medical malpractice claims. These awards for pain and suffering generally compensate victims who are maimed, paralyzed, blinded or disfigured.
Adopted 247-171 on March 9, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

18) [HSE] Oppose Campus Gag Rule (8/3/95)
Higher Education Campaign
Rep. Solomon (R-NY) introduced this amendment to the 1996 education spending bill (HR 2127) in an effort to silence student groups and activism on college campuses. The amendment would have denied federal funds to colleges and universities where student groups used student funds for any activity which might "influence public policy." This amendment was an attack on student rights and free speech, and represented new levels of federal intrusion into campus activities. This amendment was opposed by thousands of educators, college presidents, education associations, student groups and public interest organizations.
Rejected 161-263 on August 3, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

19) [HSE] Oppose Student Loan Cuts (8/3/95)
Higher Education Campaign
This education spending bill slashed over $4.5 billion from education, the largest education cuts in history. The bill included $700 million in cuts to student aid, eliminating State Student Incentive Grants, the Perkins Loan Program, and Harris and Javits graduate fellowships. In addition, the bill contained legislative riders that would have crippled the Direct Student Loan Program. These riders were supported by banking interests in an effort to maintain taxpayer giveaways to the banks that operate the old student loan program.
Adopted 219-208 on August 3, 1995.
PUBLIC INTEREST VOTE: NO

Copyright © 1997 Public Interest Research Groups
Updated 18 Jun 1997 pirg@pirg.org