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How They Voted 2009 - Senate
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|
|N/A||Insufficient votes cast||Note: The percentage calculations were made using only + and - votes. The ?, S, and P votes were not included in the calculations.|
(1) Health Care Reform-H.R. 3590
Despite Chamber opposition, on December 24, the Senate passed H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a 60-39 vote.
While the Chamber supports meaningful health care reform, it opposed this legislation because it would only make the status quo worse at the expense of the business community. Specifically, it would make health care more expensive, create onerous new burdens for businesses, increase government spending in the health sector, and implement a variety of new taxes on employers of all sizes.
H.R. 3590 was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010.
(2) Travel Promotion-S. 1023
On September 9, with the Chamber's support, the Senate passed S. 1023, the Travel Promotion Act by a vote of 79-19. This legislation will promote United States as a travel destination abroad.
The Chamber supported this bill because international travelers provide a crucial boost to businesses as well as to state and local economies. The partnership that would be established by the Travel Promotion Act has the potential to attract 1.6 million new international visitors annually and would do so without requiring any funding from American taxpayers.
The Travel Promotion Act was signed into law by President Obama in March 2010
(3) Bankruptcy Expansion-S.896
On April 30, by a vote of 45-51, the Senate rejected an amendment to S. 896, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009, which would have granted bankruptcy judges new powers to modify the terms of existing home mortgages. The Chamber opposed this amendment because allowing judges to modify legitimate mortgage contracts-including reducing the amount owed on a mortgage, changing the interest rate, or stretching out the term of the mortgage-constitutes an improper expansion of the bankruptcy code.
The Chamber believes that Congress should take meaningful steps to prevent mortgage foreclosure and correct the volatile housing market. However, this amendment would have injected greater risk into the lending process that would have led to increased mortgage costs for primary residences in the form of higher interest rates, down payments, points, and fees.
Such bankruptcy provisions were not included in the version of S. 896 that was ultimately enacted into law on May 20.
(4) False Claims Amendment-S. 386
On April 22, the Senate agreed to the Kyl Amendment to S. 386, the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act of 2009, by an overwhelming vote of 94-1.
The Chamber supported the Kyl Amendment because it addressed a serious concern with the underlying legislation. Specifically, the amendment protects the business community from strict liability for routine errors or oversights that do not involve actual fraud.
The Senate and House passed the overall legislation, and the president signed it into law on May 20.
On March 5, by a vote of 42-52, the Senate failed to pass a Chamber-supported amendment offered by Sen. Murkowski to H.R. 1105, the FY09 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. The amendment would have required a 60-day public notice and comment period before the executive branch could withdraw or reissue two important rules help ensure that the business community is not adversely impacted by the Endangered Species Act.
Withdrawing these rules would create unnecessary interagency consultations, which could delay business operations, as well as lay the groundwork for environmental activists to use frivolous litigation to block infrastructure and other development projects that emit greenhouse gases.
The underlying bill was passed by voice vote and signed into law on March 11.
(6) Economic Stimulus-H.R. 1
On February 13, the Senate passed the conference report to H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 by a 60-38 vote. The Chamber supported H.R. 1 because this legislation was critical to help get the U.S. economy back on track.
The tax relief and spending provisions in the bill provided important assistance to sectors of the economy that had been hurt by the financial crisis and helped prevent further loss of American jobs.
The House also passed the conference report, and the president signed it into law on February 17.
On January 22, despite the Chamber's opposition, the Senate approved S. 181, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act by a 61-36 vote. The legislation overturns a Supreme Court decision upholding commonsense limitations on the time period within which an alleged paycheck discrimination claim must be filed.
The Chamber opposed this legislation because it effectively abolishes the statue of limitations in many cases, allowing lawsuits to be filed years after an alleged act of pay discrimination occurs, even decades after an individual ceased to work for an employer. By expanding the criteria under which paycheck discrimination cases could be brought, this legislation leads to an expansion of litigation second-guessing of legitimate employment and personnel decisions.
S. 181 was later agreed to by the House and signed into law by the president on January 29.