Each Senate vote used in the ratings is described separately and is identified by a number that corresponds to the numbers at the top of the columns of tabular information.
Key to Symbols
|+||"Correct" vote, supporting the Chamber's position||'08%||Percentage of correct votes of total cast by member on Chamber-selected issues during 2008, the second session of the 110th Congress.|
|-||"Wrong" vote, contrary to the Chamber's position|
|?||No recorded vote||CUM%||Average annual percentage of correct votes cast by member on Chamber-selected issues since the Chamber began rating members in 1965, or since that member's first year in Congress, through 2008.|
|S||Speaker did not vote|
|Note: The percentage calculations were made using only + and - votes. The ?, S, and P votes were not included in the calculations.|
Vote Descriptions - Senate
In the midst of a looming financial crisis, the Senate passed H.R. 1424, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act by a vote of 74-25. The Chamber strongly backed this legislation, which contains provisions necessary to stabilize the U.S. financial system and unlock frozen credit markets that severely restrict the availability of credit to Main Street businesses and their customers.
The legislation established the Troubled Asset Relief Program to remove as much as $700 billion in illiquid and impaired assets from the system. In addition to provisions to shore up the financial system and preserve the flow of credit to the economy, this legislation increases FDIC insurance coverage; protects millions of Americans from the AMT; provides disaster tax relief; and extends expiring tax provisions, which are essential to businesses across the country. The bipartisan vote in the Senate was a major step toward preventing catastrophic disruption in the financial markets and a steep and prolonged decline in the economy.
The House subsequently approved H.R. 1424, and it was signed into law on October 3.
By a vote of 86-13, the Senate approved H.R. 7081, the United States-India Nuclear Cooperation Approval and Nonproliferation Enhancement Act, clearing the way for the president to sign this bill into law on October 8.
The Chamber supported this legislation because it brings India into the international nuclear nonproliferation mainstream and enhances the safety of India's civil nuclear program. Also, of specific importance to the business community, the bill helps revitalize the U.S. nuclear industry and create thousands of high-tech American jobs.
Enactment of H.R. 7081 represents a historic step to strengthen the growing partnership between the world's oldest and largest democracies and support thousands of U.S. jobs in the process.
On July 31, the Senate passed the conference report on H.R. 4137, the College Opportunity and Affordability Act by an 83-8 vote. The bill reauthorizes and amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 by providing financial relief for students, enhancing access to and affordability of higher education, and creating more flexibility within the higher education system.
The Chamber supported the conference report because it allows employees to align their educational goals with the needs of American business. Many of the programs highlighted in H.R. 4137-especially those related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-help reduce the education gap. This legislation also assists in developing long-term solutions to expand the pool of educated and qualified American workers and improve excellence in education.
The president signed the conference report into law on August 14.
After many questions were left unanswered about the feasibility and economic impact of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, on June 6, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on the Boxer amendment to S. 3036, the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, by a 48-36 vote.
The Chamber opposed the Boxer amendment because it contained onerous new mandates, reporting requirements, and regulations that would have significantly increased costs for the business community. The amendment would have restricted the use of fossil fuels while providing inadequate support for research and development of new technologies necessary to continue powering the U.S. economy.
Following the failed cloture vote on the Boxer amendment, S. 3036 was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
By a vote of 56-42, the Senate failed to invoke cloture on H.R. 2831, the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on April 23. This legislation purported to overturn a Supreme Court decision supporting commonsense limitations on the time period within which an alleged paycheck discrimination claim must be filed.
The Chamber opposed this legislation because it would have effectively abolished the statute of limitations in many cases, allowing a lawsuit to be filed years after an alleged act of pay discrimination occurs, even decades after an individual ceased to work for an employer. By also expanding the criteria under which paycheck discrimination cases could be brought, this legislation would have led to an explosion of litigation second-guessing legitimate employment and personnel decisions.
The legislation was referred back to the Senate Judiciary Committee after cloture failed.
On April 10, the Senate approved a Chamber-supported amendment to H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act, by a vote of 88-8.
This amendment contained important incentives that would have aided the development of renewable and alternative energy technologies essential to our nation's future. Although this amendment was adopted by the Senate, it was excluded from the final version of H.R. 3221, which the president signed into law on July 30.
On April 3, the Senate voted 58-36 to table an amendment to H.R. 3221, the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which would have expanded the bankruptcy code by allowing judges to modify the terms of existing mortgages, a practice sometimes referred to as a cram down.
The Chamber opposed the amendment because it would have created greater risk in the lending market, which ultimately would have led to higher mortgage costs to offset this risk.
Both the House and the Senate approved H.R. 3221 without including cram down provisions, and the president signed the bill into law on July 30.
The Senate overwhelmingly passed H.R. 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act, on February 7 by a vote of 81-16. This legislation provides incentives to encourage consumer spending, increase business investment, and promote job growth, all of which are critical to improving the nation's economic outlook.
The Chamber supported this bill because it includes bonus depreciation and increased expensing provisions, which reduce the amount of time required for businesses to recover investment costs. In addition, the legislation increases loan limits for government-sponsored enterprises and for the Federal Housing Administration.
The bipartisan vote in the Senate cleared the way for the president to sign this important bill into law on February 13.