Congress and the Nation, 2005-2008, Vol. XII: The 109th and 110th Congresses

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    Introduction

    The eight years between 2001 and 2009, most of the first decade of a new century, were remarkable for the Republican Party's extended period of control of the federal government. Except for two years, 1952 and 1953, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House, the GOP had not controlled all the levers of legislative and executive power in Washington since the 1920s. Republicans aggressively seized this opportunity to implement an agenda that had in many respects eluded previous GOP administrations.

    Even with this long-sought advantage, Republicans—under the leadership of President George W. Bush—rode a political roller coaster from triumph and success to, in the presidency's latter days, defeat and unpopularity. During this ride, Republicans put into effect—through legislation and executive actions—an array of programs and undertakings, many reflecting historical GOP priorities and philosophy but others breaking with traditional party thinking. In all, the Republican years from 2001 to 2009, when the Democrats regained congressional majorities, were as significant and controversial as any since the mid-1960s under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Supported by commanding Democratic majorities in Congress, Johnson had pushed through far-reaching domestic programs while foundering in a misbegotten war, much as history may judge Bush's years.

    Congress and the Nation Vol. XII, like its predecessor volumes, is framed by a presidential term but its content is informed deeply by the entire events of Bush's eight years in office. Most of the content of this volume is devoted to presidential and congressional actions in the four legislative years from 2005 to 2009, the 109th and 110th Congresses. But three overarching events from the eight years Bush occupied the White House dominate the story. The first two came in Bush's first term: the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, which destroyed the World Trade Center in New York City and severely damaged the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. The second came in 2003 when Bush authorized the invasion of Iraq to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein that was believed to be harboring, or developing, weapons of mass destruction. Both events set into motion continuing controversies still very much alive as Bush left office, including balancing national security and civil liberties, the appropriate role of the United States in world affairs, the rule of law in treating individuals who came into U.S. custody as part of the Iraq and related conflicts, the appropriate manner of paying the costs of waging war, and many more.

    The third central event came in the last years of Bush's tenure when the United States, and nearly the entire world, were plunged into a deep recession that was the most serious economic contraction since the Great Depression of the 1930s and that threatened to become another true worldwide depression. The economic crisis had its roots in a vast housing bubble in which home prices always seemed to go higher, until they no longer did, and in exotic financial activities created in Wall Street investment houses, major banks, and in what essentially was a shadow banking system of hedge funds and other financial structures, many overseas and outside the reach of usual U.S. regulation. When the economic downturn came, starting with declining housing prices in 2007, it resulted by 2008 in the near collapse of huge investment houses, insurance companies, and regular banks—and the actual collapse of a few key ones and many smaller institutions. While a wholesale disaster was prevented only by vast bailouts from the federal government costing billions of dollars, the subsequent economic recession was accompanied by unemployment rising above 10 percent by 2009.

    In an irony that was missed by none, it fell to a Republican administration, with impeccable free-market credentials and deeply held antiregulation philosophy, to lead the federal government's initial efforts to prevent a vast economic meltdown. It required the Bush administration—albeit with help from the Democratic-controlled Congress—to pour billions into financial institutions and even American auto manufacturers, essentially taking public ownership of some of the nation's largest firms. The administration's willingness to do this was illustrated in financial aid to banks and investment houses, in return for equity rights that portended government control; in the seizure of some institutions, including the nation's two largest underwriters of the mortgage market; and, in late 2008, during Bush's final weeks in office, in extending loans of up to $9.4 billion to General Motors and $4 billion to Chrysler, with the possibility of additional amounts in 2009. All of the money, which came from a $700 billion program approved by Congress, was intended to rescue the sprawling auto companies from almost certain bankruptcy within weeks. Bankruptcy eventually came to both automakers but in a carefully choreographed manner under the federal government's oversight that brought both companies back to life, free of many crushing debts and with an opportunity to regain their former role in American manufacturing.

    The accounts of that two-year period that began to emerge after Bush left office, including some by participants, portrayed an administration acting against its basic economic principles because the alternative of not acting was almost certainly going to end in an economic catastrophe.

    The economic crisis may remain, for historians, the premier example of the triumph of political practicality over political philosophy in a fundamentally conservative administration. But there were other examples of Republicans deviating from traditional beliefs when their agenda required it. One example came early in Bush's first term when GOP majorities in Congress pushed through deep tax reductions but without corresponding cuts in spending, resulting in yet more deficits and federal borrowing—traditionally anathema to Republicans. A second example occurred in 2003 when the Republican Congress enacted a significant expansion of Medicare, the health care program for seniors, by creating a prescription drug plan. This action substantially broadened one of the nation's largest and most expensive entitlement programs, which—even without the drug plan—faced long-term financial shortages that were predicted to drive it into bankruptcy eventually unless major changes were undertaken. The irony was not lost here, either: Republicans historically had been vocal critics of entitlement programs.

    Bush II: From Heights to Depths

    The settled themes of Bush's first term continued into, and defined, his second: two wars, primarily in Iraq but also in Afghanistan; an assertive and muscular foreign policy, which began to soften toward the end of his term; the policy aftermath to the 2001 attacks in what Bush described as a war on terror; and continued Republican efforts to reverse or significantly modify long-standing programs—largely delivered through government—that had become in the previous half century deeply woven into the nation's social and economic fabric. In addition, the administration continued to advance a theory of government known as the unitary presidency or unitary executive, which assumed extraordinary powers vested in the president by the Constitution to control the entire executive branch that, in the process, subordinated the role of Congress. This was often stated through signing statements by the president at the time legislation was signed into law in which the president asserted he would enforce the law's provision in the context of his understanding of the president's constitutional role, often as commander in chief—thus in effect saying he had the authority to ignore congressional language in a bill that he did not agree with under the cover of his presumed constitutional powers.

    All of these themes continued to build controversy around the Bush administration, but none more than the continuing, and increasingly violent, war in Iraq. Nevertheless, Bush won reelection in 2004 by a margin that left little doubt—unlike 2000—that his victory was convincing and legitimate. Republicans also strengthened their hold on Congress. With this renewed political strength Bush put forward an expansive vision of the appropriate role of government that differed starkly from the central pillars of Democratic theory. In this Republican vision, individuals would have more freedom to make decisions on their own—on housing, education, health care, business opportunities—with less intrusive government intervention and with lower taxes. Bush gave this view of the future a special name: an ownership society.

    Although Bush's ownership society touched on an array of activities, none drew more attention than his desire to change the nation's biggest entitlement program—Social Security—by permitting younger workers to use some of their pay to fund private savings accounts, which the president argued would strengthen the program's long-term solvency and help future generations as baby boomers went into retirement and started to draw benefits.

    Social Security, however, epitomized a fundamental divergence between the political philosophies of the two parties, with Democrats anchored in the belief that government was the proper vehicle to assure Americans a secure future and Republicans equally certain that citizens would be better off making their decisions free of government involvement on such matters as retirement, health care, and education. Bush's Social Security changes went nowhere, caught up in fierce opposition not only to the substance of the proposal but, as important, in the growing disillusionment of voters with his administration over the seemingly endless Iraq commitment, an inept federal response to 2005's devastating Hurricane Katrina, and a cascade of scandals in Congress—both personal and financial—that mostly involved Republicans.

    Nevertheless, Bush could look with satisfaction on many accomplishments. Perhaps most long lasting was the opportunity to solidify conservative control of the Supreme Court. When Chief Justice William Rehnquist died of cancer in September 2005, Bush replaced him with a much younger but equally conservative jurist, John G. Roberts Jr. (who had initially been nominated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor after she announced her intention to retire at the end of the 2004–2005 term of the Court). The major change, however, came with the nomination of a replacement for O'Connor, who had been a key swing vote on the Court, often voting with Court liberals on contentious social issues. Bush replaced her with a justice, Samuel A. Alito Jr., who in his early years proved by his votes to be a staunch member of the Court's conservative wing. He too was young, thus increasing the likelihood that the conservative tilt of the Court would continue for years, possibly decades.

    Bush also won legislative approval of long-sought GOP goals, including bankruptcy law reform, that critics said tilted heavily toward financial institutions at the expense of consumers; a limitation on class-action lawsuits; an energy bill that critics said was based mainly on new resource extraction rather than conservation; and steadfast—and largely successful—opposition to domestic program proposals of Democrats. In one notable instance, however, Bush emerged from his consistent conservative vision to aggressively urge a far-reaching immigration reform bill, joining with many Democrats in the effort and alienating many in his party who opposed any legislation that would offer a path to citizenship and who preferred instead to focus on removing illegal immigrants from the nation's borders. Bush lost this battle as his usual allies split between business groups, which needed the relatively inexpensive labor provided by immigrants, and socially conservative groups—a vital part of the GOP base—that saw illegal immigrants as flaunting U.S. laws, taking away needed jobs, contributing to a raft of social ills, and even changing the basic ethnic structure of the population.

    Although Bush could point to a legislative record in his first six years that was, in many respects, impressive, voter discontent grew after the GOP's 2004 electoral success and led, in fall 2006, to Democrats recapturing control of both houses of Congress, essentially ending hope of any further major legislative victories. Much of that discontent grew from the Iraq War but it also was fed, initially, by a stumbling federal response to the damage from Hurricane Katrina that devastated states on the Gulf Coast, as well as controversies over alleged torture of enemy combatants captured in Iraq and elsewhere, and wiretapping American phone lines without a court's authorizing warrant. The financial crisis that engulfed Bush's last two years in office merely added to his—and the GOP's—unpopularity leading up to the 2008 national elections. In the voting that fall, Democrats built on their 2006 success, and the plummeting popularity of Bush and fellow Republicans, to expand their majorities in Congress and to win control of the White House.

    Control of Congress

    Republicans controlled the House during all of Bush's first six years in office and the Senate for more than four of those years. Although they lost the 2000 elections, Democrats improbably took control of the Senate in June 2001 when a disgruntled GOP senator became an independent and caucused with the Democrats, giving them a razor-thin majority of one vote.

    For most of this period, Congress was a loyal follower of the White House, reflecting the GOP's ascendancy to power and the opportunity to enact its agenda. Even Democratic control of the Senate in the 109th Congress was limited by the party's slim majority and by the inclination of both parties to unite behind the president in the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks. The House was under a disciplined leadership that produced the votes for Republican legislation when needed or kept bills off the floor when agreement in their caucus was lacking. The Senate's Republican leaders were less effective—no surprise in a chamber that favors individuality and deliberation over unity and efficiency—but they still managed to find the votes to pass important bills favored by the White House.

    Missing during the first six years of the Bush administration was Congress exercising its watchdog role of oversight of the executive branch. Republicans were little interested in probing the actions of their president, much less in pushing back against administration initiatives they favored. This was reflected in the fact that Bush did not veto a single bill until 2006 and only one in that year.

    The administration's unitary presidency theory also affected the balance of power between the White House and Congress during this period. Many viewed Congress, even under Republican control, as a less than equal branch of the federal government.

    This compliant time for Congress ended when Democrats took charge in 2007 after the 2006 midterm elections. Congressional committees then aggressively began to conduct oversight investigations, causing significant troubles for the administration involving both programs and administration officials, one of whom—Attorney General Alberto Gonzales—was in effect forced to resign. Moreover, Congress no longer went along quietly with the administration's legislative preferences, instead putting the Democratic majority's stamp on bills. This, too, was reflected in Bush's veto record. In his last two years in office, he vetoed eleven bills; four of the vetoes were overridden. Still, Democrats often were limited by the lack of the supermajority needed in the Senate to block filibusters.

    Legislation and Politics: 2005–2009

    This book continues a series begun in 1965 with the publication of Congress and the Nation Vol. I, which covered national government and politics from 1945 to 1964. Subsequent volumes, published every four years, covered the same subjects over the two Congresses of each succeeding administration. As with the preceding volumes, this edition is divided into a series of chapters focusing on such substantive subjects as commerce, law and justice, and health and welfare. This volume, as with recent ones, contains sixteen chapters, an extensive appendix, and a comprehensive index. Following are brief summaries of the chapters and the highlights of events described in them.

    Chapter 1 Politics and National Issues

    This chapter is an overview of the four-year period 2005 to 2008. The major legislative and political events noted here are covered in more detail in subsequent chapters.

    Chapter 2 Economic Policy

    This chapter, in four parts, begins with an overview of economic events followed by descriptions of congressional action on budgeting and taxation, financial regulation, and trade issues.

    In a continuation of a pattern developing for a number of years, budgetary gridlock characterized congressional sessions from 2005 through 2008 as legislators' constitutional control of spending and taxing authority nearly collapsed. Congress completed action on regular appropriations bills only once, in 2005. In spite of admonitions from President Bush, Congress refused to grapple with looming financial crises in Medicare and Social Security. The economic crises that engulfed the nation in 2007 and 2008 forced emergency spending of billions of dollars that sent the federal deficit spiraling.

    The development and consequences of that financial crisis are described in substantial detail in the subchapter on economic policy and regulation. The crisis is described in a separate essay discussing the origins of the housing bubble, old and new systemic problems, and the economic fallout when the bubble imploded and financial institutions worldwide face collapsed. The report provides a chronology of governmental actions over the two-year period, 2007 and 2008, and into 2009.

    In its most important action, Congress, in late 2008—with the financial system teetering on collapse—passed a $700 billion bill known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The vast sum of money was intended primarily to stabilize the financial sector of the economy, although it came to be used for many other purposes. The effort was roundly criticized by some, who saw it as a bailout for Wall Street while average Americans on Main Street suffered. Voter rage was so great that the House at first rejected the TARP bill, which in turn sent the stock market into its steepest dive ever recorded, nearly 800 points on the Dow-Jones average. Congress, thoroughly spooked by the reaction of the financial markets, quickly reconsidered and passed the bill, which had been sweetened by the addition of a number of unrelated provisions advocated by different interest groups.

    The TARP money then became the primary vehicle for rescuing not only failing banks but also, in one of Bush's last major actions, the automakers General Motors and Chrysler, which were about to collapse in the face of disastrously declining auto sales as the recession worsened.

    Trade, seldom a popular subject in Congress, was caught up in the deteriorating domestic employment picture as unemployment rose from the recession. Many people, especially trade unions, also believed that globalization was shipping U.S. jobs overseas. As a result Bush was denied much of his second-term trade agenda.

    Chapter 3 Homeland Security

    The legislative branch became more skeptical of the executive branch's national security prerogatives, and members of Congress pushed back against White House claims of executive privilege, which the executive branch used to cloak details of national security efforts.

    Bush in 2005 had to negotiate with renegade Senate Republicans over renewal of his signature anti-terrorism law, the USA PATRIOT Act, and was challenged over allowing American telecommunication companies to eavesdrop on American citizens without first obtaining a court order. Inept handling of the disaster that unfolded in New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina made lawmakers wonder if the administration had become too focused on emphasizing international threats while ignoring serious problems at home.

    Congress did eventually approve a broad range of national security measures, however, including bills to protect U.S. ports, distribute first responder grants, secure the nation's southwest border, prevent bioterrorism attacks, and safeguard chemical plants.

    Chapter 4 Foreign Policy

    The Iraq War dominated foreign policy debate in Bush's second term, as the conflict approached its sixth anniversary when the 110th Congress adjourned in 2008. Legislators and the president dealt with many significant issues—including North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Sudan, China, the Middle East, foreign aid, HIV/AIDS, nuclear power—but none dominated as did Iraq. Through it all President Bush urged Americans to “stay the course” in Iraq. Democratic efforts to wind down the war came to naught, even as public sentiment went from support to skepticism to outright opposition. Voter discontent was a key factor in returning control of Congress to the Democrats in 2006 and expanding that majority and electing a Democrat to the White House in 2008. Bush himself late in his term agreed to a timetable to end most U.S. involvement.

    Congress nevertheless did act on many foreign policy issues. Both parties united to insist on more congressional involvement in a nuclear power agreement with India, which became one of Bush's most important foreign policy accomplishments. Over White House protests, legislators made deep cuts in Bush's signature foreign aid program, the Millennium Challenge Account, but approved billions more than requested for a popular global HIV/AIDS program.

    Chaper 5 Defense Policy

    The conduct and end-point of the U.S. war in Iraq overshadowed all other defense issues during Bush's second term. Democrats, with a few notable exceptions, tried unsuccessfully to assert congressional influence on the conflict, but Bush won all the important battles. By the end of his term, antiwar congressional Democrats and their limited number of GOP allies had become a chastened lot, unable to force the president's hand on the war.

    Bush and Congress did reach an agreement to revamp rules and standards for trials and treatment of accused terrorists. The compromise action was forced by a 2005 Supreme Court decision in, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which found that military tribunals at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, violated U.S. and international law.

    Chapter 6 Transportation, Commerce, and Communications

    Congress produced a substantial amount of legislation on transportation and communication issues during Bush's second term, compared to meager enactments in his first. Legislators approved a variety of major legislative bills on transportation, television, consumer product safety, Internet use and availability, and money to keep highway construction from running out of funds. The White House, after frequently grumbling about the costs of some bills, often changed its tune to accept the work of the legislators—sometimes grudgingly and sometimes with praise. One of Congress's first and most noteworthy actions was passage of a $286.5 billion, six-year surface transportation bill that legislators had been wrestling with since the basic transportation authorization, dating from 1998, expired in 2003.

    Chapter 7 Energy and Environment

    Congress approved a major energy bill in 2005 reflecting long-standing Republican preferences for business-oriented efforts to spur domestic production of energy from both renewable and traditional sources. Critics said the law largely subsidized traditional producers of oil and natural gas and would do little to curb Americans' appetite for fuel. Just two years later, in the 110th Congress, newly empowered Democrats cleared a more targeted bill aimed at reducing energy use, which included a long-sought increase in vehicle fuel efficiency standards.

    Lawmakers also turned to other legislative vehicles to pass energy priorities. The 2008 farm bill contained popular tax breaks for ethanol and other biofuels. A major tax bill in 2008 contained a number of incentives for renewable energy conservation that were offset with revenue increases on the oil and gas industry.

    During Bush's second term, however, Republicans failed to win approval for drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Environmental issues settled into something of a stalemate, as neither Republicans, who wanted to relax federal regulations, nor Democrats, who wanted to respond to the threat of climate change, could win passage of significant legislation.

    Chapter 8 Agriculture

    Congress passed, over a presidential veto, a major agricultural bill extending and revising basic farm laws. Bush, critical of farm spending, sought reductions in crop subsidies, but ran headlong into the blunt political fact that agricultural spending remained vital to many members of Congress. The final bill boosted spending on nutrition programs, preserved the existing approach to crop subsidies, and expanded conservation programs. The legislation also set up a permanent disaster fund to quickly help farmers hit by floods and droughts.

    Chapter 9 Health and Human Services

    No major medical initiatives were enacted during Bush's second term, but Congress approved important bills reforming the Food and Drug Administration, reducing medical errors, extending mental health insurance coverage, preventing employers and insurers from discriminating on the basis of genetic information about workers and patients, and funding preparations for a possible flu pandemic. Congress also gave a temporary extension, to 2009, to the popular program of federal health insurance for low-income children (CHIP) and reauthorized for the first time in nearly a decade the Head Start early childhood development program.

    Chapter 10 Education

    Education legislation played a smaller role in Bush's second term. Congress passed nothing comparable to the No Child Left Behind Act of his first term, but legislators extended and expanded higher education and vocational education aid programs. In 2006 Congress reauthorized the popular vocational education program for high school students, which Bush tried unsuccessfully to kill to get funds for No Child Left Behind. In 2007 legislators approved sweeping changes to federal student aid and loan programs despite veto threats from the president. In 2008 Congress reauthorized the Higher Education Act for the first time in a decade and included many new requirements intended to keep down the cost of college education while increasing federal financial aid to students.

    Chapter 11 Housing and Urban Aid

    Congress responded to the bursting of the housing bubble with legislative packages designed to help homeowners facing foreclosure, strengthen federal oversight powers, and protect overall market stability. These included:

    • Providing a backstop for the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) and establishing a new regulator for the two mortgage finance giants. Legislation also help borrowers who could not afford their mortgage payments to stay in their homes.
    • Allowing the Treasury Department to buy assets from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, essentially expanding their existing line of credit with the government, or to buy stock in the companies to keep them capitalized and boost the confidence of their private investors. The Treasury later put both companies into conservatorships and began funneling billions of dollars into them to keep them functioning.
    • Providing federal grants to states to help low-income people pay their heating and cooling bills and weatherize their homes.

    Chapter 12 Labor and Pensions

    Several important labor and pension bills were enacted in Bush's second term: the national minimum wage was increased for the first time in nearly ten years; pension security laws were reformed to protect workers' retirement money; significant changes were made in mine safety rules after a series of fatal accidents in early 2006; and unemployment compensation benefits for workers who had exhausted their normal payments were extended twice.

    Chapter 13 Law and Justice

    President Bush solidified conservative control of the Supreme Court by appointing a new chief justice, John G. Roberts Jr., and an associate justice, Samuel A. Alito Jr. Alito replaced retiring Court member Sandra Day O'Connor, who often was the swing vote between the liberal and conservative blocs.

    Congressional Democrats, once back in power in 2007, stepped up oversight of the executive branch, uncovering scandals and forcing the resignation of controversial attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales.

    In one of its most important actions, Congress in 2006 extended expiring provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Congress also cleared bills to limit class-action lawsuits and the legal liability of firearms makers and dealers, and legislators extended and expanded the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act. Congress, however, could not agree on President Bush's top-priority plan to revise immigration laws, despite considerable support from Democrats as well as Republicans.

    Republicans took a public relations hit when in 2005 they passed legislation to help parents keep alive their brain-damaged daughter, Terri Schiavo, prompting a national debate about end-of-life medical care. Opinion polls showed strong public disapproval of congressional intervention in this private family case. Courts eventually decided the issue by allowing her husband to have her feeding tube removed.

    Chapter 14 General Government

    Devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita hit the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in August 2005, flooding New Orleans and resulting in vast swaths of disaster throughout these states. The destruction, and the federal government's inept response, prompted congressional investigations and quick approval of more than $62 billion for recovery and rebuilding in the Gulf Coast region.

    Chapter 15 Inside Congress

    The Republican Party was raked with scandals and criminal prosecutions in the 109th Congress, tarnishing the GOP's claim to continuing control of the institution and helping Democrats win back the majority in the 110th. Ethics inquiries continued throughout the four-year period in both chambers.

    Congress approved a plan to ensure that the legislative branch would continue even if many of its members were killed or incapacitated, a pressing concern since the September 11, 2001, attacks. The legislation pertained only to the House, the chamber in which replacing members with new elections is a more cumbersome process as compared to the Senate, where most governors can quickly make appointments.

    Chapter 16 The Bush Presidency

    President Bush, in his second term, imploded in a way rarely seen in American history. The same man who once scored a 90 percent approval rating in the Gallup opinion polls a few weeks after the September 11, 2001, attacks—the highest rating in the history of the Gallup poll, which started when Franklin D. Roosevelt was president—had plummeted to a 25 percent approval rating by October 2008. Only two other presidents, Harry S. Truman and Richard Nixon, had received lower Gallup scores at the depth of their unpopularity.

    It was a stunning turn of events rooted in the continuing war in Iraq, a decision made in his first term. Bush's presidency continued to unravel in a series of disasters and misjudgments, including a slow and ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina. Various scandals, from the outing of an undercover CIA agent to the firing of several U.S. attorneys, depicted a level of political vindictiveness within the administration that seemed unusual even by Washington standards. The financial meltdown that started in his final years seemed to be just another catastrophe that happened on his watch, although the president—often against his own political philosophy—helped summon the resources of the federal government to prevent an economic depression.

    Appendix

    The Appendix contains a variety of supplementary material, including key Senate and House votes (highlighted in boldface in the legislative chapters) during the four-year period, with charts showing how each member voted; a glossary of congressional terms; an explanation of how a bill becomes law; lists of committee and subcommittee chairs; biographical data on members of Congress between 2005 and 2009; presidential vetoes; and major presidential speeches and messages to Congress as well as other important documents. In addition, the Appendix includes extensive political charts, including presidential, House, Senate, and gubernatorial election returns for the period. Other tables record members who died or switched parties and special elections that were held. Finally, the Appendix includes a complete list of public laws enacted during the four years.

    This volume has been prepared under the direction of editors at CQ Press, a division of SAGE. The chapters and the appendix were prepared and edited by a group of veteran reporters, many of whom covered Congress for Congressional Quarterly Inc. and other Washington, D.C., news organizations. The principal contributors were John Felton, Martha Gottron, David Hosansky, Ken Jost, Kerry Kern, Chris Lawrence, Colleen McGuiness, David Nather, Ann O'Connor, Julie Rovner, and David Tarr, who also served as volume editor for this edition. Judy Schneider at the Congressional Research Service in the Library of Congress reviewed, corrected, and expanded the glossary of legislative terms that appears in the Appendix.

    At CQ Press Andrea Cunningham ably shepherded the manuscript through review and compilation to the editing and production team. Bringing the material together to make an actual book was efficiently directed by Belinda Josey. The index to the volume was prepared by Indexing Partners LLC. Doug Goldenberg-Hart at CQ Press was the sponsoring editor.

    CQ Press editors also wish to express their thanks to those dedicated reporters and editors on the CQ Weekly magazine and the CQ Almanac for their assistance in preparation of this edition.

  • Appendix

    Appendix

    Glossary of Congressional Terms

    AA — (See Administrative Assistant.)

    Absence of a Quorum — Absence of the required number of members to conduct business in a house or a committee. When a quorum call or roll-call vote in a house establishes that a quorum is not present, no debate or other business is permitted except a motion to adjourn or motions to request or compel the attendance of absent members, if necessary by arresting them.

    Absolute Majority — A vote requiring approval by a majority of all members of a chamber rather than a majority of members present and voting. Also referred to as constitutional majority.

    Account — Organizational units used in the federal budget primarily for recording spending and revenue transactions.

    Act — (1) A bill passed in identical form by the House and Senate and signed into law by the president or enacted over the president's veto. A bill also becomes an act without the president's signature if it is unsigned but not returned to Congress within ten days (Sundays excepted) and if Congress has not adjourned within that period. (2) Also, the technical term for a bill passed by at least one house and engrossed.

    Ad Hoc Select Committee — A temporary committee formed for a special purpose or to deal with a specific subject. Conference committees are ad hoc joint committees. A House rule adopted in 1975 authorizes the Speaker to refer measures to special ad hoc committees, appointed by the Speaker with the approval of the House.

    Adjourn — A motion to adjourn is a formal motion to end a day's session or meeting of a house or a committee. A motion to adjourn usually has no conditions attached to it, but it sometimes may specify the day or time for reconvening or make reconvening subject to the call of the chamber's presiding officer or the committee's chairman. In both houses, a motion to adjourn is of the highest privilege, takes precedence over all other motions, is not debatable, and must be put to an immediate vote. Adjournment of a house ends its legislative day. For this reason, the House or Senate sometimes adjourns for only one minute, or some other brief period of time, during the course of a day's session. The House does not permit a motion to adjourn after it has resolved into the Committee of the Whole or when the previous question has been ordered on a measure to final passage without an intervening motion.

    Adjourn for More Than Three Days — Under Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution, neither house may adjourn for more than three days without the approval of the other. The necessary approval is given in a concurrent resolution to which both houses have agreed.

    Adjournment Sine Die— Final adjournment of an annual or two-year session of Congress; literally, adjournment without a day. The two houses must agree to a privileged concurrent resolution for such an adjournment. A sine die adjournment precludes Congress from meeting again until the next constitutionally fixed date of a session (Jan. 3 of the following year) unless Congress determines otherwise by law or the president calls it into special session. Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution authorizes the president to adjourn both houses until such time as the president thinks proper when the two houses cannot agree to a time of adjournment. No president, however, has ever exercised this authority.

    Adjournment to a Day (and Time) Certain — An adjournment that fixes the next date and time of meeting for one or both houses. It does not end an annual session of Congress.

    Administration Bill — A bill drafted in the executive office of the president or in an executive department or agency to implement part of the president's program. An administration bill is introduced in Congress by a member who supports it or as a courtesy to the administration.

    Administrative Assistant (AA) — The title usually given to a member's chief aide, political advisor, and head of office staff. The administrative assistant often represents the member at meetings with visitors or officials when the member is unable (or unwilling) to attend.

    Adoption — The usual parliamentary term for approval of a conference report. It is also commonly applied to amendments.

    Advance Appropriation — In an appropriation act for a particular fiscal year, an appropriation that does not become available for spending or obligation until a subsequent fiscal year. The amount of the advance appropriation is counted as part of the budget for the fiscal year in which it becomes available for obligation.

    Advance Funding — A mechanism whereby statutory language may allow budget authority for a fiscal year to be increased, and obligations to be incurred, with an offsetting decrease in the budget authority available in the succeeding fiscal year. If not used, the budget authority remains available for obligation in the succeeding fiscal year. Advance funding is sometimes used to provide contingency funding of a few benefit programs.

    Adverse Report — A committee report recommending against approval of a measure or some other matter. Committees usually pigeonhole measures they oppose instead of reporting them adversely, but they may be required to report them by a statutory rule or an instruction from their parent body.

    Advice and Consent — The Senate's constitutional role in consenting to or rejecting the president's nominations to executive branch and judicial offices and treaties with other nations. Confirmation of nominees requires a simple majority vote of senators present and voting. Treaties must be approved by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.

    Aisle — The center aisle of each chamber. When facing the presiding officer, Republicans usually sit to the right of the aisle, Democrats to the left. When members speak of “my side of the aisle” or “this side,” they are referring to their party.

    Amendment — A formal proposal to alter the text of a bill, resolution, amendment, motion, treaty, or some other text. Technically, it is a motion. An amendment may strike out (eliminate) part of a text, insert new text, or strike out and insert—that is, replace all or part of the text with new text. The texts of amendments considered on the floor are printed in full in the Congressional Record.

    Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute — Usually, an amendment to replace the entire text of a measure. It strikes out everything after the enacting clause and inserts a version that may be somewhat, substantially, or entirely different. When a committee adopts extensive amendments to a measure, the panel often incorporates them into such an amendment. Occasionally, the term is applied to an amendment that replaces a major portion of a measure's text.

    Amendment Tree — A diagram showing the number and types of amendments that the rules and practices of a house permit to be offered to a measure before any of the amendments is voted on. It shows the relationship of one amendment to the others, and it may also indicate the degree of each amendment, whether it is a perfecting or substitute amendment, the order in which amendments may be offered, and the order in which they are put to a vote. The same type of diagram can be used to display an actual amendment situation.

    Amendments between the Houses — This is a method for reconciling differences between the House and Senate versions of a measure by passing the measure back and forth between the two chambers until both have agreed to identical language.

    Annual Authorization — Legislation that authorizes appropriations for a single fiscal year and usually for a specific amount. Under the rules of the authorization-appropriation process, an annually authorized agency or program must be reauthorized each year if it is to receive appropriations for that year. Sometimes Congress fails to enact the reauthorization (or authorization) but nevertheless provides appropriations to continue (or fund) the program, circumventing the rules by one means or another.

    Appeal — A member's formal challenge of a ruling or decision by the presiding officer or committee chair. On appeal, a house or a committee may overturn the ruling by majority vote. The right of appeal ensures the body against arbitrary control by the chair. Appeals are rarely made in the House and are even more rarely successful. Rulings are more frequently appealed in the Senate and occasionally overturned, in part because its presiding officer is not the majority party's leader, as in the House.

    Apportionment — The action, after each decennial census, of allocating the number of members in the House of Representatives to each state. By law, the total number of House members (not counting delegates and a resident commissioner) is fixed at 435. The number allotted to each state is based approximately on its proportion of the nation's total population. Because the Constitution guarantees each state one representative no matter how small its population, exact proportional distribution is virtually impossible. The mathematical formula currently used to determine the apportionment is called the Method of Equal Proportions. (See Method of Equal Proportions.)

    Appropriated Entitlement— An entitlement program, such as veterans' pensions, that is funded through annual appropriations rather than by a permanent appropriation. Because such an entitlement law requires the government to provide eligible recipients the benefits to which they are entitled, whatever the cost, Congress must appropriate the necessary funds.

    Appropriation— (1) Legislative language that permits a federal agency to incur obligations and make payments from the Treasury for specified purposes, usually during a specified period of time. (2) The specific amount of money made available by such language. The Constitution prohibits payments from the Treasury except “in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” With some exceptions, the rules of both houses forbid consideration of appropriations for purposes that are unauthorized in law or of appropriation amounts larger than those authorized in law. The House of Representatives claims the exclusive right to originate appropriation bills—a claim the Senate denies in theory but accepts in practice.

    At-Large— Elected by and representing an entire state instead of a district within a state. The term usually refers to a representative rather than to a senator. (See Apportionment; Congressional District; Redistricting.)

    August Adjournment— A congressional adjournment during the month of August in odd-numbered years, required by the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970. The law instructs the two houses to adjourn for a period of at least thirty days before the second day after Labor Day, unless Congress provides otherwise or if, on July 31, a state of war exists by congressional declaration.

    Authorization— (1) A statutory provision that establishes or continues a federal agency, activity, or program for a fixed or indefinite period of time. It may also establish policies and restrictions and deal with organizational and administrative matters. (2) A statutory provision, as described in (1), may also, explicitly or implicitly, authorize congressional action to provide appropriations for an agency, activity, or program. The appropriations may be authorized for one year, several years, or an indefinite period of time, and the authorization may be for a specific amount of money or an indefinite amount (“such sums as may be necessary”). Authorizations of specific amounts are construed as ceilings on the amounts that subsequently may be appropriated in an appropriation bill, but not as minimums; either house may appropriate lesser amounts or nothing at all.

    Authorization-Appropriation Process— The two-stage procedural system that the rules of each house require for establishing and funding federal agencies and programs: first, enactment of authorizing legislation that creates or continues an agency or program; second, enactment of appropriations legislation that provides funds for the authorized agency or program.

    Automatic Roll Call — Under a House rule, the automatic ordering of the yeas and nays when a quorum is not present on a voice or division vote and a member objects to the vote on that ground. It is not permitted in the Committee of the Whole.

    Backdoor Spending Authority — Authority to incur obligations that evades the normal congressional appropriations process because it is provided in legislation other than appropriation acts. The most common forms are borrowing authority, contract authority, and entitlement authority.

    Baseline — A projection of the levels of federal spending, revenues, and the resulting budgetary surpluses or deficits for the upcoming and subsequent fiscal years, taking into account laws enacted to date and assuming no new policy decisions. It provides a benchmark for measuring the budgetary effects of proposed changes in federal revenues or spending, assuming certain economic conditions.

    Bells — A system of electric signals and lights that informs members of activities in each chamber. The type of activity taking place is indicated by the number of signals and the interval between them. When the signals are sounded, a corresponding number of lights are lit around the perimeter of many clocks in House or Senate offices.

    Bicameral — Consisting of two houses or chambers. Congress is a bicameral legislature whose two houses have an equal role in enacting legislation. In most other national bicameral legislatures, one house is significantly more powerful than the other.

    Bigger Bite Amendment — An amendment that substantively changes a portion of a text including language that had previously been amended. Normally, language that has been amended may not be amended again. However, a part of a sentence that has been changed by amendment, for example, may be changed again by an amendment that amends a “bigger bite” of the text—that is, by an amendment that also substantively changes the unamended parts of the sentence or the entire section or title in which the previously amended language appears. The biggest possible bite is an amendment in the nature of a substitute that amends the entire text of a measure. Once adopted, therefore, such an amendment ends the amending process.

    Bill — The term for the chief vehicle Congress uses for enacting laws. Bills that originate in the House of Representatives are designated as HR, those in the Senate are designated as S, followed by a number assigned in the order in which they are introduced during a two-year Congress. A bill becomes a law if passed in identical language by both houses and signed by the president, or passed over the president's veto, or if the president fails to sign it within ten days after receiving it while Congress is in session.

    Bill of Attainder — An act of a legislature finding a person guilty of treason or a felony. The Constitution prohibits the passage of such a bill by the U.S. Congress or any state legislature.

    Bills and Resolutions Introduced — Members formally present measures to their respective houses by delivering them to a clerk in the chamber when their house is in session. Both houses permit any number of members to join in introducing a bill or resolution. The first member listed on the measure is the sponsor; the other members listed are its cosponsors.

    Bills and Resolutions Referred — After a bill or resolution is introduced, it is normally sent to one or more committees that have jurisdiction over its subject, as defined by House and Senate rules and precedents. A Senate measure is usually referred to the committee with jurisdiction over the predominant subject of its text, but it may be sent to two or more committees by unanimous consent or on a motion offered jointly by the majority and minority leaders. In the House, a rule requires the Speaker to refer a measure to the committee that has primary jurisdiction. The Speaker is also authorized to refer measures sequentially to additional committees and to impose time limits on such referrals.

    Bipartisan Committee — A committee with an equal number of members from each political party. The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics are the only bipartisan, permanent full committees.

    Borrowing Authority — Statutory authority permitting a federal agency, such as the Export-Import Bank, to borrow money from the public or the Treasury to finance its operations. It is a form of backdoor spending. To bring such spending under the control of the congressional appropriation process, the Congressional Budget Act requires that new borrowing authority shall be effective only to the extent and in such amounts as are provided in appropriations acts.

    Budget — A detailed statement of actual or anticipated revenues and expenditures during an accounting period. For the national government, the period is the federal fiscal year (Oct. 1 to Sept. 30). The budget usually refers to the president's budget submission to Congress early each calendar year. The president's budget estimates federal government income and spending for the upcoming fiscal year and contains detailed recommendations for appropriation, revenue, and other legislation. Congress is not required to accept or even vote directly on the president's proposals, and it often revises the president's budget extensively. (See Fiscal Year.)

    Budget Act — Common name for the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974, which established the basic procedures of the current congressional budget process; created the House and Senate Budget Committees; and enacted procedures for reconciliation, deferrals, and rescissions. (See Budget Process; Deferral; Impoundment; Reconciliation; Rescission. See also Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985.)

    Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 — The law that, for the first time, authorized the president to submit to Congress an annual budget for the entire federal government. Before passage of the act, most federal agencies sent their budget requests to the appropriate congressional committees without review by the president.

    Budget Authority — Generally, the amount of money that may be spent or obligated by a government agency or for a government program or activity. Technically, it is statutory authority to enter into obligations that normally result in outlays. The main forms of budget authority are appropriations, borrowing authority, and contract authority. It also includes authority to obligate and expend the proceeds of offsetting receipts and collections. Congress may make budget authority available for only one year, several years, or an indefinite period, and it may specify definite or indefinite amounts.

    Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 — An act that revised the sequestration process established by the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985, replaced the earlier act's fixed deficit targets with adjustable ones, established discretionary spending limits for fiscal years 1991 through 1995, instituted pay-as-you-go rules to enforce deficit neutrality on revenue and mandatory spending legislation, and reformed the budget and accounting rules for federal credit activities. Unlike the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, the 1990 act emphasized restraints on legislated changes in taxes and spending instead of fixed deficit limits.

    Budget Enforcement Act of 1997 — An act that revised and updated the provisions of the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, including by extending the discretionary spending caps and pay-as-you-go rules through 2002.

    Budget Process — (1) In Congress, the procedural system it uses (a) to approve an annual concurrent resolution on the budget that sets goals for aggregate and functional categories of federal expenditures, revenues, and the surplus or deficit for an upcoming fiscal year; and (b) to implement those goals in spending, revenue, and, if necessary, reconciliation and debt-limit legislation. (2) In the executive branch, the process of formulating the president's annual budget, submitting it to Congress, defending it before congressional committees, implementing subsequent budget-related legislation, impounding or sequestering expenditures as permitted by law, auditing and evaluating programs, and compiling final budget data. The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 and the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 established the basic elements of the current budget process. Major revisions were enacted in the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985, the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990, and the Budget Enforcement Act of 1997.

    Budget Resolution — A concurrent resolution in which Congress establishes or revises its version of the federal budget's broad financial features for the upcoming fiscal year and several additional fiscal years. As with other concurrent resolutions, it does not have the force of law, but it provides the framework within which Congress subsequently considers revenue, spending, and other budget-implementing legislation. The framework consists of two basic elements: (1) aggregate budget amounts (total revenues, new budget authority, outlays, loan obligations and loan guarantee commitments, deficit or surplus, and debt limit); and (2) subdivisions of the relevant aggregate amounts among the functional categories of the budget. Although it does not allocate funds to specific programs or accounts, the budget committees' reports accompanying the resolution often discuss the major program assumptions underlying its functional amounts. Unlike those amounts, however, the assumptions are not binding on Congress.

    By Request — A designation indicating that a member has introduced a measure on behalf of the president, an executive agency, or a private individual or organization. Members often introduce such measures as a courtesy because neither the president nor any person other than a member of Congress can do so. The term, which appears next to the sponsor's name, implies that the member who introduced the measure does not necessarily endorse it. A House rule dealing with by-request introductions dates from 1888, but the practice goes back to the earliest history of Congress.

    Byrd Rule — The popular name of an amendment to the Congressional Budget Act that bars the inclusion of extraneous matter in any reconciliation legislation considered in the Senate. The ban is enforced by points of order that the presiding officer sustains. The provision defines different categories of extraneous matter, but it also permits certain exceptions. Its chief sponsor was Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va.

    Calendar — A list of measures or other matters (most of them favorably reported by committees) that are eligible for floor consideration. The House has four calendars; the Senate has two. A place on a calendar does not guarantee consideration. Each house decides which measures and matters it will take up, when, and in what order, in accordance with its rules and practices.

    Calendar Wednesday — A House procedure that on Wednesdays permits its committees to bring up for floor consideration nonprivileged measures they have reported. The procedure is so cumbersome and susceptible to dilatory tactics, however, that it is rarely used.

    Call Up — To bring a measure or report to the floor for immediate consideration.

    Casework — Assistance to constituents who seek assistance in dealing with federal and local government agencies. Constituent service is a high priority in most members' offices.

    Caucus — (1) A common term for the official organization of each party in each house. (2) The official title of the organization of House Democrats. House and Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats call their organizations “conferences.” (3) A term for an informal group of members who share legislative interests, such as the Black Caucus, Hispanic Caucus, and Children's Caucus.

    Censure — The strongest formal condemnation of a member for misconduct short of expulsion. A house usually adopts a resolution of censure to express its condemnation, after which the presiding officer reads its rebuke aloud to the member in the presence of his or her colleagues.

    Chairman — The presiding officer of a committee, a subcommittee, or a task force. At meetings, the chairman preserves order, enforces the rules, recognizes members to speak or offer motions, and puts questions to a vote. The chairman of a committee or subcommittee usually appoints its staff and sets its agenda, subject to the panel's veto.

    Chamber — The Capitol room in which a house of Congress normally holds its sessions. The chamber of the House of Representatives, officially called the Hall of the House, is considerably larger than that of the Senate because it must accommodate 435 representatives, five delegates, and one resident commissioner. Unlike the Senate chamber, members have no desks or assigned seats. In both chambers, the floor slopes downward to the well in front of the presiding officer's raised desk. A chamber is often referred to as “the floor,” as when members are said to be on or going to the floor. Those expressions usually imply that the member's house is in session.

    Christmas Tree Bill — Jargon for a bill adorned with amendments, many of them unrelated to the bill's subject, that provide benefits for interest groups, specific states, congressional districts, companies, and individuals.

    Classes of Senators — A class consists of the thirty-three or thirty-four senators elected to a six-year term in the same general election. Because the terms of approximately one-third of the senators expire every two years, there are three classes.

    Clean Bill — After a House committee extensively amends a bill, it often assembles its amendments and what is left of the bill into a new measure that one or more of its members introduce as a “clean bill.” The revised measure is assigned a new number.

    Clerk of the House — An officer of the House of Representatives responsible principally for administrative support of the legislative process in the House. The clerk is invariably the candidate of the majority party.

    Cloakrooms — Two rooms with access to the rear of each chamber's floor, one for each party's members, where members may confer privately, sit quietly, or have a snack. The presiding officer sometimes urges members who are conversing too loudly on the floor to retire to their cloakrooms.

    Closed Hearing — A hearing closed to the public and the media. A House committee may close a hearing only if it determines that disclosure of the testimony to be taken would endanger national security, violate any law, or tend to defame, degrade, or incriminate any person. The Senate has a similar rule. Both houses require roll-call votes in open session to close a hearing.

    Closed Rule — A special rule reported from the House Rules Committee that prohibits amendments to a measure or that only permits amendments offered by the reporting committee.

    Cloture — A Senate procedure that limits further consideration of a pending proposal to thirty hours to end a filibuster. Sixteen senators must first sign and submit a cloture petition to the presiding officer. One hour after the Senate meets on the second calendar day thereafter, the chair puts the motion to a yea-and-nay vote following a live quorum call. If three-fifths of all senators (sixty if there are no vacancies) vote for the motion, the Senate must take final action on the cloture proposal by the end of the thirty hours of consideration and may consider no other business until it takes that action. Cloture on a proposal to amend the Senate's standing rules requires approval by two-thirds of the senators present and voting.

    Code of Official Conduct — A House rule that bans certain actions by House members, officers, and employees; requires them to conduct themselves in ways that “reflect creditably” on the House; and orders them to adhere to the spirit and the letter of House rules and those of its committees. The code's provisions govern the receipt of outside compensation, gifts, and honoraria, and the use of campaign funds; prohibit members from using their clerk-hire allowance to pay anyone who does not perform duties commensurate with that pay; forbid discrimination in members' hiring or treatment of employees on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, disability, age, or national origin; restrict members convicted of a crime who might be punished by imprisonment of two or more years from participating in committee business or voting on the floor until exonerated or reelected; and restrict employees' contact with federal agencies on matters in which they have a significant financial interest. The Senate's rules contain some similar prohibitions.

    College of Cardinals — A popular term for the subcommittee chairmen of the appropriations committees, reflecting their influence over appropriation measures. The chairmen of the full appropriations committees are sometimes referred to as popes.

    Colloquy — A discussion between members to put a mutual understanding about the intent of a measure or amendment on the record. The discussion usually is scripted in advance.

    Comity — The practice of maintaining mutual courtesy and civility between the two houses in their dealings with each other and in members' speeches on the floor. Although the practice is largely governed by long-established customs, a House rule explicitly cautions its members not to characterize any Senate action or inaction, refer to individual senators except under certain circumstances, or quote from Senate proceedings except to make legislative history on a measure. The Senate has no rule on the subject but references to the House have been held out of order on several occasions. Generally the houses do not interfere with each other's appropriations although minor conflicts sometimes occur. A refusal to receive a message from the other house has also been held to violate the practice of comity.

    Committee — A panel of members elected or appointed to perform some service or function for its parent body. Congress has four types of committees: standing, special or select, joint, and, in the House, a Committee of the Whole. Committees conduct investigations, make studies, issue reports and recommendations, and, in the case of standing committees, review and prepare measures on their assigned subjects for action by their respective houses. Most committees divide their work among several subcommittees. With rare exceptions, the majority party in a house holds a majority of the seats on its committees, and their chairmen are also from that party.

    Committee Jurisdiction — The legislative subjects and other functions assigned to a committee by rule, precedent, resolution, or statute. A committee's title usually indicates the general scope of its jurisdiction but often fails to mention other significant subjects assigned to it.

    Committee of the Whole — Common name of the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union, a committee consisting of all members of the House of Representatives. Measures from the union calendar must be considered in the Committee of the Whole before the House officially completes action on them; the committee often considers other major bills as well. A quorum of the committee is 100, and it meets in the House chamber under a chairman appointed by the Speaker. Procedures in the Committee of the Whole expedite consideration of legislation because of its smaller quorum requirement, its ban on certain motions, and its five-minute rule for debate on amendments. The Senate no longer uses a Committee of the Whole.

    Committee Ratios— The ratios of majority to minority party members on committees. By custom, the ratios of most committees reflect party strength in their respective houses as closely as possible.

    Committee Report on a Measure— A document submitted by a committee to report a measure to its parent chamber. Customarily, the report explains the measure's purpose, describes provisions and any amendments recommended by the committee, and presents arguments for its approval.

    Committee Veto— A procedure that requires an executive department or agency to submit certain proposed policies, programs, or action to designated committees for review before implementing them. Before 1983, when the Supreme Court declared that a legislative veto was unconstitutional, these provisions permitted committees to veto the proposals. Committees no longer conduct this type of policy review, and the term is now something of a misnomer. Nevertheless, agencies usually take the pragmatic approach of trying to reach a consensus with the committees before carrying out their proposals, especially when an appropriations committee is involved.

    Concur— To agree to an amendment of the other house, either by adopting a motion to concur in that amendment or a motion to concur with an amendment to that amendment. After both houses have agreed to the same version of an amendment, neither house may amend it further, nor may any subsequent conference change it or delete it from the measure. Concurrence by one house in all amendments of the other house completes action on the measure; no vote is then necessary on the measure as a whole because both houses previously passed it.

    Concurrent Resolution— A resolution that requires approval by both houses but does not need the president's signature and therefore cannot have the force of law. Concurrent resolutions deal with the prerogatives or internal affairs of Congress as a whole. Designated H Con Res in the House and S Con Res in the Senate, they are numbered consecutively in each house in their order of introduction during a two-year Congress.

    Conferees— A common title for managers, the members from each house appointed to a conference committee. The Senate usually authorizes its presiding officer to appoint its conferees. The Speaker appoints House conferees and under a rule adopted in 1993 can remove conferees “at any time after an original appointment” and also appoint additional conferees at any time. Conferees are expected to support the positions of their houses despite their personal views, but in practice this is not always the case. The party ratios of conferees generally reflect the ratios in their houses. Each house may appoint as many conferees as it pleases. House conferees often outnumber their Senate colleagues; however, each house has only one vote in a conference, so the size of its delegation is immaterial.

    Conference — (1) A formal meeting or series of meetings between members representing each house to reconcile House and Senate differences on a measure (occasionally several measures). Because one house cannot require the other to agree to its proposals, the conference usually reaches agreement by compromise. When a conference completes action on a measure, or as much action as appears possible, it sends its recommendations to both houses in the form of a conference report, accompanied by an explanatory statement. (2) The official title of the organization of all Democrats or Republicans in the Senate and of all Republicans in the House of Representatives. (See Party Caucus.)

    Conference Committee — A temporary joint committee formed for the purpose of resolving differences between the houses on a measure. Major and controversial legislation usually requires conference committee action. Voting in a conference committee is not by individuals but within the House and Senate delegations. Consequently, a conference committee report requires the support of a majority of the conferees from each house. Both houses require that conference committees open their meetings to the public. The Senate's rule permits the committee to close its meetings if a majority of conferees in each delegation agree by a roll-call vote. The House rule permits closed meetings only if the House authorizes them to do so on a roll-call vote. Otherwise, there are no congressional rules governing the organization of, or procedure in, a conference committee. The committee chooses its chairman, but on measures that go to conference annually, such as general appropriation bills, the chairmanship traditionally rotates between the houses.

    Conference Report — A document submitted to both houses that contains a conference committee's agreements for resolving their differences on a measure. It must be signed by a majority of the conferees from each house separately and must be accompanied by an explanatory statement. Both houses prohibit amendments to a conference report and require it to be accepted or rejected in its entirety.

    Congress — (1) The national legislature of the United States, consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. (2) The national legislature in office during a two-year period. Congresses are numbered sequentially; thus, the 1st Congress of 1789–1791 and the 106th Congress of 1999–2001. Before 1935, the two-year period began on the first Monday in December of odd-numbered years. Since then it has extended from January of an odd-numbered year through noon on Jan. 3 of the next odd-numbered year. A Congress usually holds two annual sessions, but some have had three sessions and the 67th Congress had four. When a Congress expires, measures die if they have not yet been enacted.

    Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 (CAA) — An act applying eleven labor, workplace, and civil rights laws to the legislative branch and establishing procedures and remedies for legislative branch employees with grievances in violation of these laws. The following laws are covered by the CAA: Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967; Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; Chapter 71 of Title 5, U.S. Code (relating to federal service labor-management relations); Employee Polygraph Protection Act of 1988; Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act; Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and Chapter 43 of Title 38, U.S. Code (relating to veterans' employment and reemployment).

    Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 — The law that established the basic elements of the congressional budget process, the House and Senate budget committees, the Congressional Budget Office, and the procedures for congressional review of impoundments in the form of rescissions and deferrals proposed by the president. The budget process consists of procedures for coordinating congressional revenue and spending decisions made in separate tax, appropriations, and legislative measures. The impoundment provisions were intended to give Congress greater control over executive branch actions that delay or prevent the spending of funds provided by Congress.

    Congressional Budget Office (CBO) — A congressional support agency created by the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974 to provide nonpartisan budgetary information and analysis to Congress and its committees. CBO acts as a scorekeeper when Congress is voting on the federal budget, tracking bills to ensure they comply with overall budget goals. The agency also estimates what proposed legislation would cost over a five-year period. CBO works most closely with the House and Senate Budget committees.

    Congressional Directory— The official who's who of Congress, usually published during the first session of a two-year Congress.

    Congressional District — The geographical area represented by a single member of the House of Representatives. For states with only one representative, the entire state is a congressional district. After the reapportionment from the 2000 census, seven states had only one representative each: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

    Congressional Record— The daily, printed, and substantially verbatim account of proceedings in both the House and Senate chambers. Extraneous materials submitted by members appear in a section titled “Extensions of Remarks.” A “Daily Digest” appendix contains highlights of the day's floor and committee action plus a list of committee meetings and floor agendas for the next day's session.Although the official reporters of each house take down every word spoken during the proceedings, members are permitted to edit and “revise and extend” their remarks before they are printed. In the Senate section, all speeches, articles, and other material submitted by senators but not actually spoken or read on the floor are set off by large black dots, called bullets. However, bullets do not appear when a senator reads part of a speech and inserts the rest. In the House section, undelivered speeches and materials are printed in a distinctive typeface. The term “permanent Record” refers to the bound volumes of the daily Records of an entire session of Congress.

    Congressional Research Service (CRS) — Established in 1917, a department of the Library of Congress whose staff provide nonpartisan, objective analysis and information on virtually any subject to committees, members, and staff of Congress. Originally the Legislative Reference Service, it is the oldest congressional support agency.

    Congressional Support Agencies— A term often applied to three agencies in the legislative branch that provide nonpartisan information and analysis to committees and members of Congress: the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO)—previously called the General Accounting Office.

    Congressional Terms of Office— A term normally begins on Jan. 3 of the year following a general election and runs two years for representatives and six years for senators. A representative chosen in a special election to fill a vacancy is sworn in for the remainder of the predecessor's term. An individual appointed to fill a Senate vacancy usually serves until the next general election or until the end of the predecessor's term, whichever comes first. Some states, however, require their governors to call a special election to fill a Senate vacancy shortly after an appointment has been made.

    Constitutional Option— (See Nuclear Option.)

    Constitutional Rules— Constitutional provisions that prescribe procedures for Congress. In addition to certain types of votes required in particular situations, these provisions include the following: (1) the House chooses its Speaker, the Senate its president pro tempore, and both houses their officers; (2) each house requires a majority quorum to conduct business; (3) less than a majority may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of absent members; (4) neither house may adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other; (5) each house must keep a journal; (6) the yeas and nays are ordered when supported by one-fifth of the members present; (7) all revenue-raising bills must originate in the House, but the Senate may propose amendments to them. The Constitution also sets out the procedure in the House for electing a president, the procedure in the Senate for electing a vice president, the procedure for filling a vacancy in the office of vice president, and the procedure for overriding a presidential veto.

    Constitutional Votes— Constitutional provisions that require certain votes or voting methods in specific situations. They include (1) the yeas and nays at the desire of one-fifth of the members present; (2) a two-thirds vote by the yeas and nays to override a veto; (3) a two-thirds vote by one house to expel one of its members and by both houses to propose a constitutional amendment; (4) a two-thirds vote of senators present to convict someone whom the House has impeached and to consent to ratification of treaties; (5) a two-thirds vote in each house to remove political disabilities from persons who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion or given aid or comfort to the enemies of the United States; (6) a majority vote in each house to fill a vacancy in the office of vice president; (7) a majority vote of all states to elect a president in the House of Representatives when no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes; (8) a majority vote of all senators when the Senate elects a vice president under the same circumstances; and (9) the casting vote of the vice president in case of tie votes in the Senate.

    Contempt of Congress — Willful obstruction of the proper functions of Congress. Most frequently, it is a refusal to obey a subpoena to appear and testify before a committee or to produce documents demanded by it. Such obstruction is a misdemeanor and persons cited for contempt are subject to prosecution in federal courts. A house cites an individual for contempt by agreeing to a privileged resolution to that effect reported by a committee. The presiding officer then refers the matter to a U.S. attorney for prosecution.

    Continuing Body — A characterization of the Senate on the theory that it continues from Congress to Congress and has existed continuously since it first convened in 1789. The rationale for the theory is that under the system of staggered six-year terms for senators, the terms of only about one-third of them expire after each Congress and, therefore, a quorum of the Senate is always in office. Consequently, under this theory, the Senate, unlike the House, does not have to adopt its rules at the beginning of each Congress because those rules continue from one Congress to the next. This makes it extremely difficult for the Senate to change its rules against the opposition of a determined minority because those rules require a two-thirds vote of the senators present and voting to invoke cloture on a proposed rules change.

    Continuing Resolution (CR) — A joint resolution that provides funds to continue the operation of federal agencies and programs at the beginning of a new fiscal year if their annual appropriation bills have not yet been enacted; also called continuing appropriations. Continuing resolutions are enacted shortly before or after the new fiscal year begins and usually make funds available for a specified period. Additional resolutions are often needed after the first expires. Some continuing resolutions have provided appropriations for an entire fiscal year. Continuing resolutions for specific periods customarily fix a rate at which agencies may incur obligations based either on the previous year's appropriations, the president's budget request, or the amount as specified in the agency's regular annual appropriation bill if that bill has already been passed by one or both houses. In the House, continuing resolutions are privileged after Sept. 15.

    Contract Authority — Statutory authority permitting an agency to enter into contracts or incur other obligations even though it has not received an appropriation to pay for them. Congress must eventually fund them because the government is legally liable for such payments. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 requires, with a few exceptions, that new contract authority may not be used unless provided for in advance by an appropriation act.

    Cordon Rule — A Senate rule that requires a committee report to show changes the reported measure would make in current law. The rule is named after its sponsor, Sen. Guy Cordon, R-Ore. The House's analogous rule is called the Ramseyer rule. (See Ramseyer Rule.)

    Correcting Recorded Votes — The rules of both houses prohibit members from changing their votes after a vote result has been announced. Nevertheless, the Senate permits its members to withdraw or change their votes, by unanimous consent, immediately after the announcement. In rare instances, senators have been granted unanimous consent to change their votes several days or weeks after the announcement. Votes tallied by the electronic voting system in the House may not be changed. But when a vote actually given is not recorded during an oral call of the roll, a member may demand a correction as a matter of right. On all other alleged errors in a recorded vote, the Speaker determines whether the circumstances justify a change. Occasionally, members merely announce that they were incorrectly recorded; announcements can occur hours, days, or even months after the vote and appear in the Congressional Record.

    Cosponsor— A member who has joined one or more other members to sponsor a measure. Joining on the day of introduction qualifies the member as an original sponsor.

    Credit Authority— Authority granted to an agency to incur direct loan obligations or to make loan guarantee commitments. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 bans congressional consideration of credit authority legislation unless the extent of that authority is made subject to provisions in appropriation acts.

    C-SPAN— Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, which provides live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of Senate floor proceedings on one cable television channel and coverage of House floor proceedings on another channel. C-SPAN also televises important committee hearings in both houses. Each house also transmits its televised proceedings directly to congressional offices.

    Current Services Estimates— Executive branch estimates of the anticipated costs of federal programs and operations for the next and future fiscal years at existing levels of service and assuming no new initiatives or changes in existing law. The president submits these estimates to Congress with the annual budget and includes an explanation of the underlying economic and policy assumptions on which they are based, such as anticipated rates of inflation, real economic growth, and unemployment, plus program caseloads and pay increases.

    Custody of the Papers— Possession of an engrossed measure and certain related basic documents that the two houses produce as they try to resolve their differences over the measure.

    Dance of the Swans and the Ducks— A whimsical description of the gestures some members use in connection with a request for a recorded vote, especially in the House. When members want their colleagues to stand in support of the request, they move their hands and arms in a gentle upward motion resembling the beginning flight of a graceful swan. When they want their colleagues to remain seated to avoid such a vote, they move their hands and arms in a vigorous downward motion resembling a diving duck.

    Dean— Within a state's delegation in the House of Representatives, the member with the longest continuous service; also the longest-serving member of the House.

    Debate— In congressional parlance, speeches delivered during consideration of a measure, motion, or other matter, as distinguished from speeches in other parliamentary situations, such as one-minute and special order speeches when no business is pending. Virtually all debate in the House of Representatives is under some kind of time limitation. Most debate in the Senate is unlimited; that is, a senator, once recognized, may speak for as long as he or she chooses, unless the Senate invokes cloture.

    Debt Limit — The maximum amount of outstanding federal public debt permitted by law. The limit (or ceiling) covers virtually all debt incurred by the government except agency debt. Each congressional budget resolution sets forth the new debt limit that may be required under its provisions.

    Deferral — An impoundment of funds for a specific period of time that may not extend beyond the fiscal year in which it is proposed. Under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the president must notify Congress that he is deferring the spending or obligation of funds provided by law for a project or activity. Congress can disapprove the deferral by legislation.

    Deficit — The amount by which the government's outlays exceed its budget receipts for a given fiscal year. Both the president's budget and the annual congressional budget resolution provide estimates of the deficit or surplus for the upcoming and several future fiscal years.

    Degrees of Amendment — Designations that indicate the relationships of amendments to the text of a measure and to each other. In general, an amendment offered directly to the text of a measure is an amendment in the first degree, and an amendment to that amendment is an amendment in the second degree. Both houses normally prohibit amendments in the third degree—that is, an amendment to an amendment to an amendment.

    Delegate — A nonvoting member of the House of Representatives elected to a two-year term from the District of Columbia, the territory of Guam, the territory of the Virgin Islands, the territory of American Samoa, or the territory of the Northern Marianas. By law, delegates may not vote in the full House but they may participate in debate, offer motions (except to reconsider), and serve and vote on standing and select committees. On their committees, delegates possess the same powers and privileges as other members and the Speaker may appoint them to appropriate conference committees and select committees.

    Denounce — A formal action that condemns a member for misbehavior; considered by some experts to be equivalent to censure. (See Censure.)

    Dilatory Tactics — Procedural actions intended to delay or prevent action by a house or a committee. They include, among others, offering numerous motions, demanding quorum calls and recorded votes at every opportunity, making numerous points of order and parliamentary inquiries, and speaking as long as the applicable rules permit. The Senate rules permit a battery of dilatory tactics, especially lengthy speeches, except under cloture. In the House, possible dilatory tactics are more limited. Speeches are always subject to time limits and debate-ending motions. Moreover, a House rule instructs the Speaker not to entertain dilatory motions and lets the Speaker decide whether a motion is dilatory. However, the Speaker may not override the constitutional right of a member to demand the yeas and nays and in practice usually waits for a point of order before exercising that authority. (See Cloture.)

    Discharge a Committee — Remove a measure from a committee to which it has been referred in order to make it available for floor consideration. Noncontroversial measures are often discharged by unanimous consent. However, because congressional committees have no obligation to report measures referred to them, each house has procedures to extract controversial measures from recalcitrant committees.

    District Office — Representatives maintain one or more offices in their districts for the purpose of assisting and communicating with constituents. The costs of maintaining these offices are paid from members' official allowances. Senators can use the official expense allowance to rent offices in their home state, subject to a funding formula based on their state's population and other factors.

    District Work Period — The House term for a scheduled congressional recess during which members may visit their districts and conduct constituency business.

    Division Vote — A vote in which the chair first counts those in favor of a proposition and then those opposed to it, with no record made of how each member votes. In the Senate, the chair may count raised hands or ask senators to stand, whereas the House requires members to stand; hence, often called a standing vote. Committees in both houses ordinarily use a show of hands. A division usually occurs after a voice vote and may be demanded by any member or ordered by the chair if there is any doubt about the outcome of the voice vote. The demand for a division can also come before a voice vote. In the Senate, the demand must come before the result of a voice vote is announced. It may be made after a voice vote announcement in the House, but only if no intervening business has transpired and only if the member was standing and seeking recognition at the time of the announcement. A demand for the yeas and nays or, in the House, for a recorded vote takes precedence over a division vote.

    Earmark — A set-aside within an appropriations measure for a specific purpose.

    Effective Dates — Provisions of an act that specify when the entire act or individual provisions in it become effective as law. Most acts become effective on the date of enactment, but it is sometimes necessary or prudent to delay the effective dates of some provisions.

    Electronic Voting — Since 1973 the House has used an electronic voting system to record the yeas and nays and to conduct recorded votes. Members vote by inserting their voting cards in one of the boxes at several locations in the chamber. They are given at least fifteen minutes to vote. When several votes occur immediately after each other, the Speaker may reduce the voting time to five minutes on the second and subsequent votes. The Speaker may allow additional time on each vote but may also close a vote at any time after the minimum time has expired. Members can change their votes at any time before the Speaker announces the result. The House also uses the electronic system for quorum calls. While a vote is in progress, a large panel above the Speaker's desk displays how each member has voted. Smaller panels on either side of the chamber display running totals of the votes and the time remaining. The Senate does not have electronic voting.

    Enacting Clause — The opening language of each bill, beginning “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled….” This language gives legal force to measures approved by Congress and signed by the president or enacted over the president's veto. A successful motion to strike it from a bill kills the entire measure.

    Engrossed Bill — The official copy of a bill or joint resolution as passed by one chamber, including the text as amended by floor action, and certified by the clerk of the House or the secretary of the Senate (as appropriate). Amendments by one house to a measure or amendments of the other also are engrossed. House engrossed documents are printed on blue paper; the Senate's are printed on white paper.

    Enrolled Bill — The final official copy of a bill or joint resolution passed in identical form by both houses. An enrolled bill usually is printed on parchment. After it is certified by the chief officer of the house in which it originated and signed by the House Speaker and the Senate president pro tempore, the measure is sent to the White House for the president's signature.

    Entitlement Program — A federal program under which individuals, businesses, or units of government that meet the requirements or qualifications established by law are entitled to receive certain payments if they seek such payments. Major examples include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and military and federal civilian pensions. Congress cannot control their expenditures by refusing to appropriate the sums necessary to fund them because the government is legally obligated to pay eligible recipients the amounts to which the law entitles them.

    Equality of the Houses — A component of the Constitution's emphasis on checks and balances under which each house is given essentially equal status in the enactment of legislation and in the relations and negotiations between the two houses. Although the House of Representatives initiates revenue and appropriation measures, the Senate has the right to amend them. Either house may initiate any other type of legislation, and neither can force the other to agree to, or even act on, its measures. Moreover, each house has a potential veto over the other because legislation requires agreement by both. Similarly, in a conference to resolve their differences on a measure, each house casts one vote, as determined by a majority of its conferees. In most other national bicameral legislatures, the powers of one house are markedly greater than those of the other.

    Ethics Rules — Several rules or standing orders in each house that mandate certain standards of conduct for members and congressional employees in finance, employment, franking, and other areas. The Senate Select Committee on Ethics and the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct investigate alleged violations of conduct and recommend appropriate actions to their respective houses.

    Exclusive Committee — (1) Under the rules of the Republican Conference and House Democratic Caucus, a standing committee whose members usually cannot serve on any other standing committee. As of 2010 the Appropriations, Energy and Commerce (for Democrats beginning service in the 105th Congress), Financial Services (for Democrats beginning in the 109th Congress), Ways and Means, and Rules committees were designated as exclusive committees. (2) Under the rules of the two-party conferences in the Senate, a standing committee whose members may not simultaneously serve on any other exclusive committee.

    Executive Calendar — The Senate's calendar for executive business, namely treaties and nominations. The calendar numbers indicate the order in which items were referred to the calendar but have no bearing on when or if the Senate will consider them. The Senate, by motion or unanimous consent, resolves itself into executive session to consider them.

    Executive Document — A document, usually a treaty, sent by the president to the Senate for approval. It is referred to a committee in the same manner as other measures. Resolutions to ratify treaties have their own “treaty document” numbers. For example, the first treaty submitted in the 106th Congress would be “Treaty Doc 106-1.”

    Executive Order — A unilateral proclamation by the president that has a policy-making or legislative impact. Members of Congress have challenged some executive orders on the grounds that they usurped the authority of the legislative branch. Although the Supreme Court has ruled that a particular order exceeded the president's authority, it has upheld others as falling within the president's general constitutional powers.

    Executive Privilege — The assertion that presidents have the right to withhold certain information from Congress. Presidents have based their claim on (1) the constitutional separation of powers; (2) the need for secrecy in military and diplomatic affairs; (3) the need to protect individuals from unfavorable publicity; (4) the need to safeguard the confidential exchange of ideas in the executive branch; and (5) the need to protect individuals who provide confidential advice to the president.

    Executive Session — (1) A Senate meeting devoted to the consideration of treaties or nominations. Normally, the Senate meets in legislative session; it resolves itself into executive session, by motion or by unanimous consent, to deal with its executive business. It also keeps a separate Journal for executive sessions. Executive sessions are usually open to the public, but the Senate may choose to close them.

    Expulsion — A member's removal from office by a two-thirds vote of his or her chamber; the supermajority is required by the Constitution. It is the most severe and most rarely used sanction a house can invoke against a member. Although the Constitution provides no explicit grounds for expulsion, the courts have ruled that it may be applied only for misconduct during a member's term of office, not for conduct before the member's election. Generally, neither house will consider expulsion of a member convicted of a crime until the judicial processes have been exhausted. At that stage, members sometimes resign rather than face expulsion. In 1977 the House adopted a rule urging members convicted of certain crimes to voluntarily abstain from voting or participating in other legislative business.

    Extensions of Remarks — An appendix to the daily Congressional Record that consists primarily of miscellaneous extraneous material submitted by members. It often includes members' statements not delivered on the floor, newspaper articles and editorials, praise for a member's constituents, and noteworthy letters received by a member, among other material. Representatives supply the bulk of this material; senators submit little. “Extensions of Remarks” pages are separately numbered, and each number is preceded by the letter “E.” Materials may be placed in the Extensions of Remarks section only by unanimous consent. Usually, one member of each party makes the request each day on behalf of his or her party colleagues after the House has completed its legislative business of the day.

    Fast Track — This is a procedure that circumvents or speeds up all or part of the legislative process. Some rulemaking statutes prescribe expedited procedures for certain measures, such as trade agreements.

    Federal Debt — The total amount of monies borrowed and not yet repaid by the federal government. Federal debt consists of public debt and agency debt. Public debt is the portion of the federal debt borrowed by the Treasury or the Federal Financing Bank directly from the public or from another federal fund or account. For example, the Treasury regularly borrows money from the Social Security trust fund. Public debt accounts for about 99 percent of the federal debt. Agency debt refers to the debt incurred by federal agencies such as the Export-Import Bank but excluding the Treasury and the Federal Financing Bank, which are authorized by law to borrow funds from the public or from another government fund or account.

    Filibuster — The use of time-consuming parliamentary tactics by one member or a minority of members to delay, modify, or defeat proposed legislation or rules changes. Filibusters are also sometimes used to delay urgently needed measures to force the body to accept other legislation. The Senate's rules permitting unlimited debate and the extraordinary majority it requires to impose cloture make filibustering particularly effective in that chamber. Under the stricter rules of the House, filibusters in that body are short-lived and therefore ineffective and rarely attempted.

    Fiscal Year — The federal government's annual accounting period. It begins Oct. 1 and ends on the following Sept. 30. A fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends and is often referred to as FY. Thus, fiscal year 2009 began Oct. 1, 2008, ended Sept. 30, 2009, and is called FY09. In theory, Congress is supposed to complete action on all budgetary measures applying to a fiscal year before that year begins. It rarely does so.

    Five-Minute Rule — (1) A House rule that limits debate on an amendment offered in the Committee of the Whole to five minutes for its sponsor and five minutes for an opponent. In practice, the committee routinely permits longer debate by three devices: offering pro forma amendments, each debatable for five minutes; unanimous consent for a member to speak longer than five minutes; and special rule. Consequently, debate on an amendment sometimes continues for hours. At any time after the first ten minutes, however, the committee may shut off debate immediately or by a specified time, either by unanimous consent or by majority vote on a nondebatable motion. The motion, which dates from 1847, is also used in the House as in Committee of the Whole, where debate also may be shut off by a motion for the previous question.

    Floor — The ground level of the House or Senate chamber where members sit and the houses conduct their business. When members are attending a meeting of their house they are said to be on the floor. Floor action refers to the procedural actions taken during floor consideration such as deciding on motions, taking up measures, amending them, and voting.

    Floor Manager — A majority party member responsible for guiding a measure through its floor consideration in a house and for devising the political and procedural strategies that might be required to get it passed. The presiding officer gives the floor manager priority recognition to debate, offer amendments, oppose amendments, and make crucial procedural motions. The minority party member is referred to as the minority floor manager.

    Frank — Informally, members' legal right to send official mail postage free under their signatures; often called the franking privilege. Technically, it is the autographic or facsimile signature used on envelopes instead of stamps that permits members and certain congressional officers to send their official mail free of charge. The franking privilege has been authorized by law since the first Congress, except for a few months in 1873. Congress reimburses the U.S. Postal Service for the franked mail it handles.

    Function or Functional Category—A broad category of national need and spending of budgetary significance. A category provides an accounting method for allocating and keeping track of budgetary resources and expenditures for that function because it includes all budget accounts related to the function's subject or purpose such as agriculture, administration of justice, commerce and housing, and energy. Functions do not necessarily correspond with appropriations acts or with the budgets of individual agencies. As of 2010 there were twenty functional categories, each divided into a number of subfunctions.

    Gag Rule — A pejorative term for any type of special rule reported by the House Rules Committee that proposes to prohibit amendments to a measure or only permits amendments offered by the reporting committee.

    Galleries — The balconies overlooking each chamber from which the public, news media, staff, and others may observe floor proceedings.

    General Appropriation Bill — A term applied to each of the annual bills that provide funds for most federal agencies and programs and also to the supplemental appropriation bills that contain appropriations for more than one agency or program.

    Germaneness — The requirement that an amendment be closely related—in terms of subject or purpose, for example—to the text it proposes to amend. A House rule requires that all amendments be germane. In the Senate, only amendments offered to general appropriation bills and budget measures or proposed under cloture must be germane. Germaneness rules can be waived by suspension of the rules in both houses, by unanimous consent agreements in the Senate, and by special rules from the Rules Committee in the House. Moreover, presiding officers usually do not enforce germaneness rules on their own initiative; therefore, a nongermane amendment can be adopted if no member raises a point of order against it. Under cloture in the Senate, however, the chair may take the initiative to rule amendments out of order as not being germane, without a point of order being made. All House debate must be germane except during general debate in the Committee of the Whole, but special rules invariably require that such debate be “confined to the bill.” The Senate requires germane debate only during the first three hours of each daily session. Under the precedents of both houses, an amendment can be relevant but not necessarily germane. A crucial factor in determining germaneness in the House is how the subject of a measure or matter is defined. For example, the subject of a measure authorizing construction of a naval vessel is defined as being the construction of a single vessel; therefore, an amendment to authorize an additional vessel is not germane.

    Gerrymandering — The manipulation of legislative district boundaries to benefit a particular party, politician, or minority group. The term originated in 1812 when the Massachusetts legislature redrew the lines of state legislative districts to favor the party of Gov. Elbridge Gerry, and some critics said one district resembled a salamander. (See also Congressional District; Redistricting.)

    Government Accountability Office (GAO) — A congressional support agency, often referred to as the investigative arm of Congress. It evaluates and audits federal agencies and programs in the United States and abroad on its initiative or at the request of congressional committees or members. The office, created in 1921, was called the General Accounting Office until 2004.

    Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act of 1985 — Common name for the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, which established new budget procedures intended to balance the federal budget by fiscal year 1991. (The timetable subsequently was extended and then deleted.) The act's chief sponsors were senators Phil Gramm, R-Texas, Warren Rudman, R-N.H., and Ernest Hollings, D-S.C.

    Grandfather Clause — A provision in a measure, law, or rule that exempts an individual, entity, or a defined category of individuals or entities from complying with a new policy or restriction. For example, a bill that would raise taxes on persons who reach the age of sixty-five after a certain date inherently grandfathers out those who are sixty-five before that date. Similarly, a Senate rule limiting senators to two major committee assignments also grandfathers some senators who were sitting on a third major committee before a specified date.

    Grants-in-Aid — Payments by the federal government to state and local governments to help provide for assistance programs or public services.

    Hearing — Committee or subcommittee meetings to receive testimony on proposed legislation during investigations or for oversight purposes. Relatively few bills are important enough to justify formal hearings. Witnesses often include experts, government officials, spokespersons for interested groups, officials of the Government Accountability Office, and members of Congress.

    Hold — A senator's request that his or her party leaders delay or halt floor consideration of certain legislation or presidential nominations. The majority leader usually honors a hold for a reasonable period of time, especially if its purpose is to assure the senator that the matter will not be called up during his or her absence or to give the senator time to gather necessary information.

    Hold (or Have) the Floor — A member's right to speak without interruption, unless he or she violates a rule, after recognition by the presiding officer. At the member's discretion, he or she may yield to another member for a question in the Senate or for a question or statement in the House, but may reclaim the floor at any time.

    Hold-Harmless Clause — In legislation providing a new formula for allocating federal funds, a clause to ensure that recipients of those funds do not receive less in a future year than they did in the current year if the new formula would result in a reduction for them. Similar to a grandfather clause, it has been used most frequently to soften the impact of sudden reductions in federal grants. (See Grandfather Clause.)

    Hopper — A box on the clerk's desk in the House chamber into which members deposit bills and resolutions to introduce them. In House jargon, to drop a bill in the hopper is to introduce it.

    Hour Rule — A House rule that permits members, when recognized, to hold the floor in debate for no more than one hour each. The majority party member customarily yields one-half the time to a minority member. Although the hour rule applies to general debate in the Committee of the Whole as well as in the House, special rules routinely vary the length of time for such debate and its control to fit the circumstances of particular measures.

    House as in Committee of the Whole — A hybrid combination of procedures from the general rules of the House and from the rules of the Committee of the Whole, sometimes used to expedite consideration of a measure on the floor.

    House Calendar — The calendar reserved for all public bills and resolutions that do not raise revenue or directly or indirectly appropriate money or property when they are favorably reported by House committees.

    House Manual — A commonly used title for the handbook of the rules of the House of Representatives, published in each Congress. Its official title is Constitution, Jefferson's Manual, and Rules of the House of Representatives.

    House of Representatives — The house of Congress in which states are represented roughly in proportion to their populations, but every state is guaranteed at least one representative. By law, the number of voting representatives is fixed at 435. Five delegates and one resident commissioner also serve in the House; they may vote in their committees but not on the House floor. Although the House and Senate have equal legislative power, the Constitution gives the House sole authority to originate revenue measures. The House also claims the right to originate appropriation measures, a claim the Senate disputes in theory but concedes in practice. The House has the sole power to impeach (only the Senate convicts, however) and elects the president when no candidate has received a majority of the electoral votes. The House is sometimes referred to as the lower body.

    Immunity (1) Members' constitutional protection from lawsuits and arrest in connection with their legislative duties. They may not be tried for libel or slander for anything they say on the floor of a house or in committee. Nor may they be arrested while attending sessions of their houses or when traveling to or from sessions of Congress, except when charged with treason, a felony, or a breach of the peace. (2) In the case of a witness before a committee, a grant of protection from prosecution based on that person's testimony to the committee. It is used to compel witnesses to testify who would otherwise refuse to do so on the constitutional ground of possible self-incrimination. Under such a grant, none of a witness's testimony may be used against him or her in a court proceeding except in a prosecution for perjury or for giving a false statement to Congress. (See also Contempt of Congress.)

    Impeachment — The first step to remove the president, the vice president, Supreme Court justices, or other federal civil officers from office and to disqualify them from any future federal office “of honor, Trust or Profit.” An impeachment is a formal charge of treason, bribery, or “other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The House has the sole power of impeachment and the Senate the sole power of trying the charges and convicting. The House impeaches by a simple majority vote; conviction requires a two-thirds vote of all senators present.

    Impeachment Trial, Removal, and Disqualification — The Senate conducts an impeachment trial under a separate set of twenty-six rules that appears in the Senate Manual. Under the Constitution, the chief justice of the Supreme Court presides over trials of the president, but the vice president, the president pro tempore, or any other senator may preside over the impeachment trial of another official.The Constitution requires senators to take an oath for an impeachment trial. During the trial, senators may not engage in colloquies or participate in arguments, but they may submit questions in writing to House managers or defense counsel. After the trial concludes, the Senate votes separately on each article of impeachment without debate unless the Senate orders the doors closed for private discussions. During deliberations senators may speak no more than once on a question, not for more than ten minutes on an interlocutory question and not more than fifteen minutes on the final question. These rules may be set aside by unanimous consent or suspended on motion by a two-thirds vote.The Senate's impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999 was only the second such trial involving a president. It continued for five weeks, with the Senate voting not to convict on the two impeachment articles.Senate impeachment rules allow the Senate, at its discretion, to name a committee to hear evidence and conduct the trial, with all senators thereafter voting on the charges. The impeachment trials of three federal judges were conducted this way, and the Supreme Court upheld the validity of these rules in Nixon v. United States, 506 U.S. 224, 1993.An official convicted on impeachment charges is removed from office immediately. However, the convicted official is not barred from holding a federal office in the future unless the Senate, after its conviction vote, also approves a resolution disqualifying the convicted official from future office. For example, federal judge Alcee L. Hastings was impeached and convicted in 1989, but the Senate did not vote to bar him from office in the future. In 1992 Hastings was elected to the House of Representatives, and no challenge was raised against seating him when he took the oath of office in 1993.

    Impoundment — An executive branch action or inaction that delays or withholds the expenditure or obligation of budget authority provided by law. The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 classifies impoundments as either deferrals or rescissions, requires the president to notify Congress about all such actions, and gives Congress authority to approve or reject them.

    Inspector General in the House of Representatives — A position established with the passage of the House Administrative Reform Resolution of 1992. The duties of the office have been revised several times and are now contained in House Rule II. The inspector general (IG), who is subject to the policy direction and oversight of the Committee on House Administration, is appointed for a Congress jointly by the Speaker and the majority and minority leaders of the House. The IG communicates the results of audits to the House officers or officials who were the subjects of the audits and suggests appropriate corrective measures. The IG submits a report of each audit to the Speaker, the majority and minority leaders, and the chairman and ranking minority member of the House Administration Committee; notifies these five members in the case of any financial irregularity discovered; and reports to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct on possible violations of House rules or any applicable law by any House member, officer, or employee. The IG's office also has certain duties to audit various financial operations of the House that had previously been performed by the Government Accountability Office.

    Instruct Conferees — A formal action by a house urging its conferees to uphold a particular position on a measure in conference. The instruction may be to insist on certain provisions in the measure as passed by that house or to accept a provision in the version passed by the other house. Instructions to conferees are not binding because the primary responsibility of conferees is to reach agreement on a measure and neither house can compel the other to accept particular provisions or positions.

    Investigative Power — The authority of Congress and its committees to pursue investigations, upheld by the Supreme Court but limited to matters related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of the Congress. Standing committees in both houses are permanently authorized to investigate matters within their jurisdictions. Major investigations are sometimes conducted by temporary select, special, or joint committees established by resolutions for that purpose.Some rules of the House provide certain safeguards for witnesses and others during investigative hearings. These permit counsel to accompany witnesses, require that each witness receive a copy of the committee's rules, and order the committee to go into closed session if it believes the testimony to be heard might defame, degrade, or incriminate any person. The committee may subsequently decide to hear such testimony in open session. The Senate has no rules of this kind.

    Item Veto — Item veto authority, which is available to most state governors, allows governors to eliminate or reduce items in legislative measures presented for their signature without vetoing the entire measure, and sign the rest into law. A similar authority was briefly granted to the U.S. president under the Line Item Veto Act of 1996. According to the majority opinion of the Supreme Court in its 1998 decision overturning that law, a constitutional amendment would be necessary to give the president item such veto authority.

    Jefferson's Manual— Short title of Jefferson's Manual of Parliamentary Practice, prepared by Thomas Jefferson for his guidance when he was president of the Senate from 1797 to 1801. Although it reflects English parliamentary practice in his day, many procedures in both houses of Congress are still rooted in its basic precepts. Under a House rule adopted in 1837, the manual's provisions govern House procedures when applicable and when they are not inconsistent with its standing rules and orders. The Senate, however, has never officially acknowledged it as a direct authority for its legislative procedure.

    Johnson Rule — A policy instituted in 1953 under which all Democratic senators are assigned to one major committee before any Democrat is assigned to two. The Johnson Rule is named after its author, Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson, D-Texas, then the Senate's Democratic leader. Senate Republicans adopted a similar policy soon thereafter.

    Joint Committee — A committee composed of members selected from each house. The functions of most joint committees involve investigation, research, or oversight of agencies closely related to Congress. Permanent joint committees, created by statute, are sometimes called standing joint committees. Once quite numerous, only four joint committees remained as of 2010: Joint Economic, Joint Taxation, Joint Library, and Joint Printing. None has authority to report legislation.

    Joint Explanatory Statement — This is a statement appended to a conference report that explains in plain English the conference agreement and the intent of the conferees.

    Joint Resolution — A legislative measure that Congress uses for purposes other than general legislation. Similar to a bill, it has the force of law when passed by both houses and either approved by the president or passed over the president's veto. Unlike a bill, a joint resolution enacted into law is not called an act; it retains its original title. Most often, joint resolutions deal with such relatively limited matters as the correction of errors in existing law, continuing appropriations, a single appropriation, or the establishment of permanent joint committees. Unlike bills, however, joint resolutions also are used to propose constitutional amendments; these do not require the president's signature and become effective only when ratified by three-fourths of the states. The House designates joint resolutions as H J Res, the Senate as S J Res. Each house numbers its joint resolutions consecutively in the order of introduction during a two-year Congress.

    Joint Session — Informally, any combined meeting of the Senate and the House. Technically, a joint session is a combined meeting to count the electoral votes for president and vice president or to hear a presidential address, such as the State of the Union message; any other formal combined gathering of both houses is a joint meeting. Joint sessions are authorized by concurrent resolutions and are held in the House chamber, because of its larger seating capacity. Although the president of the Senate and the Speaker sit side by side at the Speaker's desk during combined meetings, the former presides over the electoral count and the latter presides on all other occasions and introduces the president or other guest speaker. The president and other guests may address a joint session or meeting only by invitation.

    Joint Sponsorship — Two or more members sponsoring the same measure.

    Journal— The official record of House or Senate actions, including every motion offered, every vote cast, amendments agreed to, quorum calls, and so forth. Unlike the Congressional Record, it does not provide reports of speeches, debates, statements, and other items. The Constitution requires each house to maintain a Journal and to publish it periodically.

    Junket — A member's trip at government expense, especially abroad, ostensibly on official business but, it is often alleged, for pleasure.

    Killer Amendment — An amendment that, if agreed to, might lead to the defeat of the measure it amends, either in the house in which the amendment is offered or at some later stage of the legislative process. Members sometimes deliberately offer or vote for such an amendment in the expectation that it will undermine support for the measure in Congress or increase the likelihood that the president will veto it.

    King of the Mountain (or Hill Rule) — (See Queen of the Hill Rule.)

    LA — (See Legislative Assistant.)

    Lame Duck — Jargon for a member who has not been reelected, or did not seek reelection, and is serving the balance of his or her term.

    Lame Duck Session — A session of a Congress held after the election for the succeeding Congress, so-called after the lame duck members still serving.

    Last Train Out — Colloquial name for last must-pass bill of a session of Congress.

    Law — An act of Congress that has been signed by the president, passed over the president's veto, or allowed to become law without the president's signature.

    Lay on the Table — A motion to dispose of a pending proposition immediately, finally, and adversely; that is, to kill it without a direct vote on its substance. Often simply called a motion to table, it is not debatable and is adopted by majority vote or without objection. It is a highly privileged motion, taking precedence over all others except the motion to adjourn in the House and all but three additional motions in the Senate. It can kill a bill or resolution, an amendment, another motion, an appeal, or virtually any other matter.Tabling an amendment also tables the measure to which the amendment is pending in the House, but not in the Senate. The House does not allow the motion against the motion to recommit, in the Committee of the Whole, and in some other situations. In the Senate it is the only permissible motion that immediately ends debate on a proposition, but only to kill it.

    (The) Leadership — Usually, a reference to the majority and minority leaders of the Senate or to the Speaker and minority leader of the House. The term sometimes includes the majority leader in the House and the majority and minority whips in each house and, at other times, other party officials as well.

    Legislation — (1) A synonym for legislative measures: bills and joint resolutions. (2) Provisions in such measures or in substantive amendments offered to them. (3) In some contexts, provisions that change existing substantive or authorizing law, rather than provisions that make appropriations.

    Legislation on an Appropriation Bill — A common reference to provisions changing existing law that appear in, or are offered as amendments to, a general appropriation bill. A House rule prohibits the inclusion of such provisions in general appropriation bills unless they retrench expenditures. An analogous Senate rule permits points of order against amendments to a general appropriation bill that propose general legislation.

    Legislative Assistant (LA) — A member's staff person responsible for monitoring and preparing legislation on particular subjects and for advising the member on them; commonly referred to as an LA.

    Legislative Day — The day that begins when a house meets after an adjournment and ends when it next adjourns. Because the House of Representatives normally adjourns at the end of a daily session, its legislative and calendar days usually coincide. The Senate, however, frequently recesses at the end of a daily session, and its legislative day may extend over several calendar days, weeks, or months. Among other uses, this technicality permits the Senate to save time by circumventing its morning hour, a procedure required at the beginning of every legislative day.

    Legislative History — (1) A chronological list of actions taken on a measure during its progress through the legislative process. (2) The official documents relating to a measure, the entries in the Journals of the two houses on that measure, and the Congressional Record text of its consideration in both houses. The documents include all committee reports and the conference report and joint explanatory statement, if any. Courts and affected federal agencies study a measure's legislative history for congressional intent about its purpose and interpretation.

    Legislative Process — (1) Narrowly, the stages in the enactment of a law from introduction to final disposition. An introduced measure that becomes law typically travels through reference to committee; committee and subcommittee consideration; report to the chamber; floor consideration; amendment; passage; engrossment; messaging to the other house; similar steps in that house, including floor amendment of the measure; return of the measure to the first house; consideration of amendments between the houses or a conference to resolve their differences; approval of the conference report by both houses; enrollment; approval by the president or override of the president's veto; and deposit with the Archivist of the United States. (2) Broadly, the political, lobbying, and other factors that affect or influence the process of enacting laws.

    Legislative Veto — A procedure, declared unconstitutional in 1983, that allowed Congress or one of its houses to nullify certain actions of the president, executive branch agencies, or independent agencies. Sometimes called congressional vetoes or congressional disapprovals. Following the Supreme Court's 1983 decision, Congress amended several legislative veto statutes to require enactment of joint resolutions, which are subject to presidential veto, for nullifying executive branch actions.

    Limitation on a General Appropriation Bill — Language that prohibits expenditures for part of an authorized purpose from funds provided in a general appropriation bill. Precedents require that the language be phrased in the negative: that none of the funds provided in a pending appropriation bill shall be used for a specified authorized activity. Limitations in general appropriation bills are permitted on the grounds that Congress can refuse to fund authorized programs and, therefore, can refuse to fund any part of them as long as the prohibition does not change existing law. House precedents have established that a limitation does not change existing law if it does not impose additional duties or burdens on executive branch officials, interfere with their discretionary authority, or require them to make judgments or determinations not required by existing law. The proliferation of limitation amendments in the 1970s and early 1980s prompted the House to adopt a rule in 1983 making it more difficult for members to offer them. The rule bans such amendments during the reading of an appropriation bill for amendments, unless they are specifically authorized in existing law. Other limitations may be offered after the reading, but the Committee of the Whole can foreclose them by adopting a motion to rise and report the bill back to the House. In 1995 the rule was amended to allow the motion to rise and report to be made only by the majority leader or his or her designee. The House Appropriations Committee, however, can include limitation provisions in the bills it reports.

    Line Item — An amount in an appropriation measure. It can refer to a single appropriation account or to separate amounts within the account. In the congressional budget process, the term usually refers to assumptions about the funding of particular programs or accounts that underlie the broad functional amounts in a budget resolution. These assumptions are discussed in the reports accompanying each resolution and are not binding.

    Line-Item Veto — (See Item Veto; Line Item Veto Act of 1996.)

    Line Item Veto Act of 1996 — A law, in effect only from January 1997 until June 1998, that granted the president authority intended to be functionally equivalent to an item veto, by amending the Impoundment Control Act to incorporate an approach known as enhanced rescission. Key provisions established a new procedure that permitted the president to cancel amounts of new discretionary appropriations (budget authority), new items of direct spending (entitlements), or certain limited tax benefits. It also required the president to notify Congress of the cancellation in a special message within five calendar days after signing the measure. The cancellation would become permanent unless legislation disapproving it was enacted within thirty days. On June 25, 1998, in Clinton v. City of New York the Supreme Court held the Line Item Veto Act unconstitutional, on the grounds that its cancellation provisions violated the presentment clause in Article I, clause 7, of the Constitution.

    Live Pair — A voluntary and informal agreement between two members on opposite sides of an issue, one of whom is absent for a recorded vote, under which the member who is present withholds or withdraws his or her vote to offset the failure to vote by the member who is absent. Usually the member in attendance announces that he or she has a live pair, states how each would have voted, and votes “present.” In the House, under a rules change enacted in the 106th Congress, a live pair is only permitted on the rare occasions when electronic voting is not used.

    Live Quorum — In the Senate, a quorum call to which senators are expected to respond. Senators usually suggest the absence of a quorum, not to force a quorum to appear, but to provide a pause in the proceedings during which senators can engage in private discussions or wait for a senator to come to the floor. A senator desiring a live quorum usually announces his or her intention, giving fair warning that there will be an objection to any unanimous consent request that the quorum call be dispensed with before it is completed.

    Loan Guarantee — A statutory commitment by the federal government to pay part or all of a loan's principal and interest to a lender or the holder of a security in case the borrower defaults.

    Lobby — To try to persuade members of Congress to propose, pass, modify, or defeat proposed legislation or to change or repeal existing laws. Lobbyists attempt to promote their preferences or those of a group, organization, or industry. Originally the term referred to persons frequenting the lobbies or corridors of legislative chambers in order to speak to lawmakers. In a general sense, lobbying includes not only direct contact with members but also indirect attempts to influence them, such as writing to them or persuading others to write or visit them, attempting to mold public opinion toward a desired legislative goal by various means, and contributing or arranging for contributions to members election campaigns. The right to lobby stems from the First Amendment to the Constitution, which bans laws that abridge the right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 — The principal statute requiring disclosure of—and also, to a degree, circumscribing—the activities of lobbyists. In general, it requires lobbyists who spend more than 20 percent of their time on lobbying activities to register and make semiannual reports of their activities to the clerk of the House and the secretary of the Senate, although the law provides for a number of exemptions. Among the statute's prohibitions, lobbyists are not allowed to make contributions to the legal defense fund of a member or high government official or to reimburse for official travel. Civil penalties for failure to comply may include fines of up to $50,000. The act does not include grassroots lobbying in its definition of lobbying activities.The act amended several other lobby laws, notably the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), so that lobbyists can submit a single filing. Since the measure was enacted, the number of lobby registrations has risen from about 12,000 to more than 20,000. In 1998 expenditures on federal lobbying, as disclosed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, totaled $1.42 billion. The 1995 act supersedes the 1946 Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act, which was repealed in Section 11 of the 1995 Act.

    Logrolling— Jargon for a legislative tactic or bargaining strategy in which members try to build support for their legislation by promising to support legislation desired by other members or by accepting amendments they hope will induce their colleagues to vote for their bill.

    Lower Body— A way to refer to the House of Representatives, which is considered pejorative by House members.

    Mace— The symbol of the office of the House sergeant at arms. Under the direction of the Speaker, the sergeant at arms is responsible for preserving order on the House floor by holding up the mace in front of an unruly member, or by carrying the mace up and down the aisles to quell boisterous behavior. When the House is in session, the mace sits on a pedestal at the Speaker's right; when the House is in Committee of the Whole, it is moved to a lower pedestal. The mace is forty-six inches high and consists of thirteen ebony rods bound in silver and topped by a silver globe with a silver eagle, wings outstretched, perched on it.

    Majority Leader— The majority party's chief floor spokesperson, elected by that party's caucus—sometimes called floor leader. In the Senate, the majority leader also develops the party's political and procedural strategy, usually in collaboration with other party officials and committee chairmen. The majority leader negotiates the Senate's agenda and committee ratios with the minority leader and usually calls up measures for floor action. The chamber traditionally concedes to the majority leader the right to determine the days on which it will meet and the hours at which it will convene and adjourn. In the House, the majority leader is the Speaker's deputy and heir apparent and helps plan the floor agenda and the party's legislative strategy and often speaks for the party leadership in debate.

    Managers— (1) The official title of members appointed to a conference committee, commonly called conferees. The ranking majority and minority managers for each house also manage floor consideration of the committee's conference report. (2) The members who manage the initial floor consideration of a measure. (3) The official title of House members appointed to present impeachment articles to the Senate and to act as prosecutors on behalf of the House during the Senate trial of the impeached person.

    Mandatory Appropriations— Amounts that Congress must appropriate annually because it has no discretion over them unless it first amends existing substantive law. Certain entitlement programs, for example, require annual appropriations.

    Markup— A meeting or series of meetings by a committee or subcommittee during which members mark up a measure by offering, debating, and voting on amendments to it.

    Means-Tested Programs— Programs that provide benefits or services to low-income individuals who meet a test of need. Most are entitlement programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps, and Supplementary Security Income. A few—for example, subsidized housing and various social services—are funded through discretionary appropriations.

    Members' Allowances — Official expenses that are paid for or for which members are reimbursed by their houses. Among these are the costs of office space in congressional buildings and in their home states or districts; office equipment and supplies; postage-free mailings (the franking privilege); a set number of trips to and from home states or districts, as well as travel elsewhere on official business; telephone and other telecommunications services; and staff salaries.

    Member's Staff — The personal staff to which a member is entitled. The House sets a maximum number of staff and a monetary allowance for each representative. The Senate does not set a maximum staff level, but it does set a monetary allowance for each senator. In each house, the staff allowance is included with office expenses allowances and official mail allowances in a consolidated allowance. Representatives and senators can spend as much money in their consolidated allowances for staff, office expenses, or official mail, as long as they do not exceed the monetary value of the three allowances combined. This provides members with flexibility in operating their offices.

    Method of Equal Proportions — The mathematical formula used since 1950 to determine how the 435 seats in the House of Representatives should be distributed among the fifty states in the apportionment following each decennial census. It minimizes as much as possible the proportional difference between the average district population in any two states. Because the Constitution guarantees each state at least one representative, fifty seats are automatically apportioned. The formula calculates priority numbers for each state, assigns the first of the 385 remaining seats to the state with the highest priority number, the second to the state with the next highest number, and so on until all seats are distributed. (See Apportionment.)

    Midterm Election — The general election for members of Congress that occurs in November of the second year in a presidential term.

    Minority Leader — The minority party's leader and chief floor spokesperson, elected by the party caucus; sometimes called minority floor leader. With the assistance of other party officials and the ranking minority members of committees, the minority leader devises the party's political and procedural strategy.

    Minority Staff — Employees who assist the minority party members of a committee. Most committees hire separate majority and minority party staffs, but they also may hire nonpartisan staff. Senate rules state that a committee's staff must reflect the relative number of its majority and minority party committee members, and the rules guarantee the minority at least one-third of the funds available for hiring partisan staff. In the House, each committee is authorized thirty professional staff, and the minority members of most committees may select up to ten of these staff (subject to full committee approval). Under House rules, the minority party is to be “treated fairly” in the apportionment of additional staff resources. Each House committee determines the portion of its additional staff it allocates to the minority; some committees allocate one-third; and others allot less.

    Modified Rule — A special rule from the House Rules Committee that permits only certain amendments to be offered to a measure during its floor consideration or that bans certain specified amendments or amendments on certain subjects.

    Morning Business — In the Senate, routine business that is to be transacted at the beginning of the morning hour. The business consists, first, of laying before the Senate, and referring to committees, matters such as messages from the president and the House, federal agency reports, and unreferred petitions, memorials, bills, and joint resolutions. Next, senators may present additional petitions and memorials. Then committees may present their reports, after which senators may introduce bills and resolutions. Finally, resolutions coming over from a previous day are taken up for consideration. In practice, the Senate adopts standing orders that permit senators to introduce measures and file reports at any time, but only if there has been a morning business period on that day. Because the Senate often remains in the same legislative day for several days, weeks, or months at a time, it orders a morning business period almost every calendar day for the convenience of senators who wish to introduce measures or make reports.

    Morning Hour — A two-hour period at the beginning of a new legislative day during which the Senate is supposed to conduct routine business, call the calendar on Mondays, and deal with other matters described in a Senate rule. In practice, the morning hour rarely, if ever, occurs, in part because the Senate frequently recesses, rather than adjourns, at the end of a daily session. Therefore the rule does not apply when the Senate next meets. The Senate's rules reserve the first hour of the morning for morning business. After the completion of morning business, or at the end of the first hour, the rules permit a motion to proceed to the consideration of a measure on the calendar out of its regular order (except on Mondays). Because that normally debatable motion is not debatable if offered during the morning hour, the majority leader may, but rarely does, use this procedure in anticipating a filibuster on the motion to proceed. If the Senate agrees to the motion, it can consider the measure until the end of the morning hour, and if there is no unfinished business from the previous day the Senate can continue considering it after the morning hour. But if there is unfinished business, a motion to continue consideration is necessary, and that motion is debatable.

    Motion — A formal proposal for a procedural action, such as to consider, to amend, to lay on the table, to reconsider, to recess, or to adjourn. It has been estimated that at least eighty-five motions are possible under various circumstances in the House of Representatives, somewhat fewer in the Senate. Not all motions are created equal; some are privileged or preferential and enjoy priority over others. Some motions are debatable, amendable, or divisible, while others are not.

    Multiple and Sequential Referrals — The practice of referring a measure to two or more committees for concurrent consideration (multiple referral) or successively to several committees in sequence (sequential referral). A measure may also be divided into several parts, with each referred to a different committee or to several committees sequentially (split referral). In theory this gives all committees that have jurisdiction over parts of a measure the opportunity to consider and report on them.Before 1975, House precedents banned such referrals. A 1975 rule required the Speaker to make concurrent and sequential referrals “to the maximum extent feasible.” On sequential referrals, the Speaker could set deadlines for reporting the measure. The Speaker ruled that this provision authorized him to discharge a committee from further consideration of a measure and place it on the appropriate calendar of the House if the committee fails to meet the Speaker's deadline. The Speaker also used combinations of concurrent and sequential referrals. In 1995 joint referrals were prohibited. Measures are referred to a primary committee and also may be referred, either concurrently or sequentially, to one or more other committees, but usually only for consideration of portions of the measure that fall within the jurisdiction of each of those other committees. In 2003 the Speaker was authorized to not designate a primary committee under “extraordinary circumstances.”In the Senate, before 1977 concurrent and sequential referrals were permitted only by unanimous consent. In that year, a rule authorized a privileged motion for such a referral if offered jointly by the majority and minority leaders. Debate on the motion and all amendments to it is limited to two hours. The motion may set deadlines for reporting and provide for discharging the committees involved if they fail to meet the deadlines. To date, this procedure has never been invoked; multiple referrals in the Senate continue to be made by unanimous consent.

    Multiyear Appropriation— An appropriation that remains available for spending or obligation for more than one fiscal year; the exact period of time is specified in the act making the appropriation.

    Multiyear Authorization— (1) Legislation that authorizes the existence or continuation of an agency, program, or activity for more than one fiscal year. (2) Legislation that authorizes appropriations for an agency, program, or activity for more than one fiscal year.

    Nomination— A proposed presidential appointment to a federal office submitted to the Senate for confirmation. Approval is by majority vote. The Constitution explicitly requires confirmation for ambassadors, consuls, “public Ministers” (department heads), and Supreme Court justices. By law, other federal judges, all military promotions of officers, and many high-level civilian officials must be confirmed.

    Nuclear Option— A common name for a parliamentary maneuver that changes Senate rules to prevent filibusters on judicial nominations to force a floor vote. Also referred to as the constitutional option.

    Oath of Office— On taking office, members of Congress must swear or affirm that they will “support and defend the Constitution … against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” that they will “bear true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution, that they take the obligation “freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion,” and that they will “well and faithfully discharge the duties” of their office. The oath is required by the Constitution, and the wording is prescribed by a statute. All House members must take the oath at the beginning of each new Congress. Usually, the member with the longest continuous service in the House swears in the Speaker, who then swears in the other members. The president of the Senate or a surrogate administers the oath to newly elected or reelected senators.

    Obligation— A binding agreement by a government agency to pay for goods, products, services, studies, and so on, either immediately or in the future. When an agency enters into such an agreement, it incurs an obligation. As the agency makes the required payments, it liquidates the obligation. Appropriation laws usually make funds available for obligation for one or more fiscal years but do not require agencies to spend their funds during those specific years. The actual outlays can occur years after the appropriation is obligated, as with a contract for construction of a submarine may provide for payment to be made when it is delivered in the future. Such obligated funds are often said to be “in the pipeline.” Under these circumstances, an agency's outlays in a particular year can come from appropriations obligated in previous years as well as from its current-year appropriation. Consequently, the money Congress appropriates for a fiscal year does not equal the total amount of appropriated money the government will actually spend in that year.

    Off-Budget Entities— Specific federal entities whose budget authority, outlays, and receipts are excluded by law from the calculation of budget totals, although they are part of government spending and income. As of 2005 these included the Social Security trust funds (Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund) and the Postal Service. Government-sponsored enterprises are also excluded from the budget because they are considered private rather than public organizations.

    Office of Management and Budget (OMB)— A unit in the Executive Office of the President, reconstituted in 1990 from the former Bureau of the Budget. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) assists the president in preparing the budget and in formulating the government's fiscal program. The OMB also plays a central role in supervising and controlling implementation of the budget, pursuant to provisions in appropriations laws, the Budget Enforcement Act, and other statutes. In addition to these budgetary functions, the OMB has various management duties, including those performed through its three statutory offices: Federal Financial Management, Federal Procurement Policy, and Information and Regulatory Affairs.

    Officers of Congress— The Constitution refers to the Speaker of the House and the president of the Senate as officers and declares that each house “shall chuse” its “other Officers,” but it does not name them or indicate how they should be selected. A House rule refers to its clerk, sergeant at arms, and chaplain as officers. Officers are not named in the Senate's rules, but Riddick's Senate Procedure lists the president pro tempore, secretary of the Senate, sergeant at arms, chaplain, and the secretaries for the majority and minority parties as officers. A few appointed officials are sometimes referred to as officers, including the parliamentarians and the legislative counsels. The House elects its officers by resolution at the beginning of each Congress. The Senate also elects its officers, but once elected, Senate officers serve from Congress to Congress until their successors are chosen.

    Official Objectors— House members who screen measures on the Private Calendar and decide whether or not to object to the consideration of any one or more of them.

    Omnibus Bill— A measure that combines the provisions of several disparate subjects into a single and often lengthy bill.

    One-Minute Speeches— Addresses by House members that can be on any subject but are limited to one minute. They are usually permitted at the beginning of a daily session after the chaplain's prayer, the pledge of allegiance, and approval of the Journal. They are a customary practice, not a right granted by rule. Consequently, recognition for one-minute speeches requires unanimous consent and is entirely within the Speaker's discretion. The Speaker sometimes refuses to permit them when the House has a heavy legislative schedule or limits or postpones them until a later time of the day.

    Open Rule— A special rule from the House Rules Committee that permits members to offer as many floor amendments as they wish as long as the amendments are germane and do not violate other House rules.

    Order of Business (House)— The sequence of events prescribed by a House rule during the meeting of the House on a new legislative day that is supposed to take place, also called the general order of business. The sequence consists of (1) the chaplain's prayer; (2) reading and approval of the Journal; (3) the pledge of allegiance; (4) correction of the reference of public bills to committee; (5) disposal of business on the Speaker's table; (6) unfinished business; (7) the morning hour call of committees and consideration of their bills; (8) motions to go into Committee of the Whole; and (9) orders of the day. In practice, the House never fully complies with this rule. Instead, the items of business that follow the pledge of allegiance are supplanted by any special orders of business that are in order on that day (for example, conference reports; the corrections, discharge, or private calendars; or motions to suspend the rules) and by other privileged business (for example, general appropriation bills and special rules) or measures made in order by special rules or unanimous consent. The regular order of business is also modified by unanimous consent practices and orders that govern recognition for one-minute speeches (which date from 1937) and for morning-hour debates, begun in 1994. By this combination of an order of business with privileged interruptions, the House gives precedence to certain categories of important legislation, brings to the floor other major legislation from its calendars in any order it chooses, and provides expeditious processing for minor and noncontroversial measures.

    Order of Business (Senate)— The sequence of events at the beginning of a new legislative day, as prescribed by Senate rules and standing orders. The sequence consists of (1) the chaplain's prayer; (2) the pledge of allegiance; (3) the designation of a temporary presiding officer if any; (4) Journal reading and approval; (5) recognition of the majority and minority leaders or their designees under the standing order; (6) morning business in the morning hour; (7) call of the calendar during the morning hour (largely obsolete); and (8) unfinished business from the previous session day.

    Organization of Congress— The actions each house takes at the beginning of a Congress that are necessary to its operations. These include swearing in newly elected members, notifying the president that a quorum of each house is present, making committee assignments, and fixing the hour for daily meetings. Because the House of Representatives is not a continuing body, it must also elect its Speaker and other officers and adopt its rules.

    Original Bill— (1) A measure drafted by a committee and introduced by its chairman or another designated member when the committee reports the measure to its house. Unlike a clean bill, it is not referred back to the committee after introduction. The Senate permits all its legislative committees to report original bills. In the House, this authority is referred to in the rules as the “right to report at any time,” and five committees (Appropriations, Budget, House Administration, Rules, and Standards of Official Conduct) have such authority under circumstances specified in House Rule XIII, clause 5.(2) In the House, special rules reported by the Rules Committee often propose that an amendment in the nature of a substitute be considered as an original bill for purposes of amendment, meaning that the substitute, as with a bill, may be amended in two degrees. Without that requirement, the substitute may only be amended in one further degree. In the Senate, an amendment in the nature of a substitute automatically is open to two degrees of amendment, as is the original text of the bill, if the substitute is offered when no other amendment is pending.

    Original Jurisdiction— The authority of certain committees to originate a measure and report it to the chamber. For example, general appropriation bills reported by the House Appropriations Committee are original bills, and special rules reported by the House Rules Committee are original resolutions.

    Other Body— A commonly used reference to a chamber by a member of the other chamber. Congressional comity discourages members from directly naming the other chamber during debate.

    Outlays— Amounts of government spending. They consist of payments, usually by check or in cash, to liquidate obligations incurred in prior fiscal years as well as in the current year, including the net lending of funds under budget authority. In federal budget accounting, net outlays are calculated by subtracting the amounts of refunds and various kinds of reimbursements to the government from actual spending.

    Override a Veto— Congressional enactment of a measure over the president's veto. A veto override requires a recorded two-thirds vote of those voting in each house, a quorum being present. Because the president must return the vetoed measure to its house of origin, that house votes first, but neither house is required to attempt an override, whether immediately or at all. If an override attempt fails in the house of origin, the veto stands and the measure dies.

    Oversight— Congressional review of the way in which federal agencies implement laws to ensure that they are carrying out the intent of Congress and to inquire into the efficiency of the implementation and the effectiveness of the law. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 defined oversight as the function of exercising continuous watchfulness over the execution of the laws by the executive branch.

    Oxford-Style Debate— The House held three Oxford-style debates in 1994, modeled after the famous debating format favored by the Oxford Union in Great Britain. Neither chamber has held Oxford-style debates since then. The Oxford-style debates aired nationally over C-SPAN television and National Public Radio. The organized event featured eight participants divided evenly into two teams, one team representing the Democrats (then holding the majority in the chamber) and the other the Republicans. Both teams argued a single question chosen well ahead of the event. A moderator regulated the debate and began it by stating the resolution at issue. The order of the speakers alternated by team, with a debater for the affirmative speaking first and a debater for the opposing team offering a rebuttal. The rest of the speakers alternated in kind until all gained the chance to speak.

    Parliamentarian— The official advisor to the presiding officer in each house on questions of procedure. The parliamentarian and his or her assistants also answer procedural questions from members and congressional staff, refer measures to committees on behalf of the presiding officer, and maintain compilations of the precedents. The House parliamentarian revises the House Manual at the beginning of every Congress and usually reviews special rules before the Rules Committee reports them to the House. Either a parliamentarian or an assistant is always present and near the podium during sessions of each house.

    Party Caucus— Generic term for each party's official organization in each house. Only House Democrats officially call their organization a caucus. House and Senate Republicans and Senate Democrats call their organizations conferences. The party caucuses elect their leaders, approve committee assignments and chairmanships (or ranking minority members, if the party is in the minority), establish party committees and study groups, and discuss party and legislative policies. On rare occasions, they have stripped members of committee seniority or expelled them from the caucus for party disloyalty.

    Pay-as-You-Go (PAYGO)— A provision first instituted under the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 that applies to legislation enacted before Oct. 1, 2002. It requires that the cumulative effect of legislation concerning either revenues or direct spending should not result in a net negative impact on the budget. If legislation does provide for an increase in spending or decrease in revenues, that effect is supposed to be offset by legislated spending reductions or revenue increases. If Congress fails to enact the appropriate offsets, the act requires presidential sequestration of sufficient offsetting amounts in specific direct spending accounts. Congress and the president can circumvent this requirement if both agree that an emergency requires a particular action or if a law is enacted declaring that deteriorated economic circumstances make it necessary to suspend the requirement.

    Permanent Appropriation— An appropriation that remains continuously available, without current action or renewal by Congress, under the terms of a previously enacted authorization or appropriation law. One such appropriation provides for payment of interest on the public debt and another the salaries of members of Congress.

    Permanent Authorization— An authorization without a time limit. It usually does not specify any limit on the funds that may be appropriated for the agency, program, or activity that it authorizes, leaving such amounts to the discretion of the appropriations committees and the two houses.

    Permanent Staff — Term used formerly for committee staff authorized by law, who were funded through a permanent authorization and also called statutory staff. Most committees were authorized thirty permanent staff members. Most committees also were permitted additional staff, often called investigative staff, who were authorized by annual or biennial funding resolutions. The Senate eliminated the primary distinction between statutory and investigative staff in 1981. The House eliminated the distinction in 1995 by requiring that funding resolutions authorize money to hire both types of staff.

    Personally Obnoxious (or Objectionable) — A characterization a senator sometimes applies to a president's nominee for a federal office in that senator's state to justify his or her opposition to the nomination.

    Pocket Veto — The indirect veto of a bill as a result of the president withholding approval of it until after Congress has adjourned sine die. A bill the president does not sign but does not formally veto while Congress is in session automatically becomes a law ten days (excluding Sundays) after it is received. But if Congress adjourns its annual session during that ten-day period the measure dies even if the president does not formally veto it.

    Point of Order — A parliamentary term used in committee and on the floor to object to an alleged violation of a rule and to demand that the chair enforce the rule. The point of order immediately halts the proceedings until the chair decides whether the contention is valid.

    Pork or Pork Barrel Legislation — Pejorative terms for federal appropriations, bills, or policies that provide funds to benefit a legislator's district or state, with the implication that the legislator presses for enactment of such benefits to ingratiate himself or herself with constituents rather than on the basis of an impartial, objective assessment of need or merit. The terms are often applied to such benefits as new parks, federal offices, dams, canals, bridges, roads, water projects, sewage treatment plants, and public works of any kind, as well as demonstration projects, research grants, and relocation of government facilities. Funds released by the president for various kinds of benefits or government contracts approved by him allegedly for political purposes are also sometimes referred to as pork.

    Postcloture Filibuster— A filibuster conducted after the Senate invokes cloture. It employs an array of procedural tactics rather than lengthy speeches to delay final action. The Senate curtailed the postcloture filibuster's effectiveness by closing a variety of loopholes in the cloture rule in 1979 and 1986.

    Power of the Purse— A reference to the constitutional power Congress has over legislation to raise revenue and appropriate monies from the Treasury. Article I, Section 8 states that Congress “shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, [and] to pay the Debts.” Section 9 declares: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

    Preamble— Introductory language describing the reasons for and intent of a measure, sometimes called a whereas clause. It occasionally appears in joint, concurrent, and simple resolutions but rarely in bills.

    Precedent— A previous ruling on a parliamentary matter or a long-standing practice or custom of a house. Precedents serve to control arbitrary rulings and serve as the common law of a house.

    President of the Senate— One constitutional role of the vice president is serving as the presiding officer of the Senate, or president of the Senate. The Constitution permits the vice president to cast a vote in the Senate only to break a tie, but the vice president is not required to do so.

    President Pro Tempore— Under the Constitution, an officer elected by the Senate to preside over it during the absence of the vice president of the United States. Often referred to as the “pro tem,” this senator is usually a member of the majority party with the longest continuous service in the chamber and also, by virtue of seniority, a committee chairman. When attending to committee and other duties the president pro tempore appoints other senators to preside.

    Presiding Officer— In a formal meeting, the individual authorized to maintain order and decorum, recognize members to speak or offer motions, and apply and interpret the chamber's rules, precedents, and practices. The Speaker of the House and the president of the Senate are the chief presiding officers in their respective houses.

    Previous Question— A nondebatable motion that, when agreed to by majority vote, usually cuts off further debate, prevents the offering of additional amendments, and brings the pending matter to an immediate vote. It is a major debate-limiting device in the House; it is not permitted in the Committee of the Whole in the House or in the Senate.

    Private Bill— A bill that applies to one or more specified persons, corporations, institutions, or other entities, usually to grant relief when no other legal remedy is available to them. Many private bills deal with claims against the federal government, immigration and naturalization cases, and land titles.

    Private Calendar— Commonly used title for a calendar in the House reserved for private bills and resolutions favorably reported by committees. The private calendar is officially called the Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House.

    Private Law— A private bill enacted into law. Private laws are numbered in the same fashion as public laws.

    Privilege— An attribute of a motion, measure, report, question, or proposition that gives it priority status for consideration. Privileged motions and motions to bring up privileged questions are not debatable.

    Privilege of the Floor— In addition to the members of a house, certain individuals are admitted to its floor while it is in session. The rules of the two houses differ somewhat but both extend the privilege to the president and vice president, Supreme Court justices, cabinet members, state governors, former members of that house, members of the other house, certain officers and officials of Congress, certain staff of that house in the discharge of official duties, and the chamber's former parliamentarians. They also allow access to a limited number of committee and members' staff when their presence is necessary.

    Pro Forma Amendment— In the House, an amendment that ostensibly proposes to change a measure or another amendment by moving “to strike the last word” or “to strike the requisite number of words.” A member offers it not to make any actual change in the measure or amendment but only to obtain time for debate.

    Pro Tem— A common reference to the president pro tempore of the Senate or, occasionally, to a Speaker pro tempore. (See President Pro Tempore; Speaker Pro Tempore.)

    Procedures— The methods of conducting business in a deliberative body. The procedures of each house are governed first by applicable provisions of the Constitution, and then by its standing rules and orders, precedents, traditional practices, and any statutory rules that apply to it. The authority of the houses to adopt rules in addition to those specified in the Constitution is derived from Article I, Section 5, clause 2 of the Constitution, which states: “Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings….” By rule, the House of Representatives also follows the procedures in Jefferson's Manual that are not inconsistent with its standing rules and orders. Many Senate procedures also conform with Jefferson's provisions, but by practice rather than by rule. At the beginning of each Congress, the House uses procedures in general parliamentary law until it adopts its standing rules.

    Proxy Voting— The practice of permitting a member to cast the vote of an absent colleague in addition to his or her own vote. Proxy voting is prohibited on the floors of the House and Senate, but the Senate permits its committees to authorize proxy voting, and most do. In 1995, House rules were changed to prohibit proxy voting in committee.

    Public Bill— A bill dealing with general legislative matters having national applicability or applying to the federal government or to a class of persons, groups, or organizations.

    Public Debt— Federal government debt incurred by the Treasury or the Federal Financing Bank by the sale of securities to the public or borrowings from a federal fund or account.

    Public Law— A public bill or joint resolution enacted into law. It is cited by the letters “PL” followed by a hyphenated number. The digits before the hyphen indicate the number of the Congress in which it was enacted; the digits after the hyphen indicate its position in the numerical sequence of public measures that became law during that Congress. For example, the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990 became PL 101-508 because it was the 508th measure in that sequence for the 101st Congress. (See also Private Law.)

    Qualification (of Members)— The Constitution requires members of the House of Representatives to be twenty-five years of age at the time their terms begin. They must have been citizens of the United States for seven years before that date and, when elected, must be “Inhabitant[s]” of the state from which they were elected. There is no constitutional requirement that they reside in the districts they represent. Senators are required to be thirty years of age at the time their terms begin. They must have been citizens of the United States for nine years before that date and, when elected, must be “Inhabitant[s]” of the states in which they were elected. The “Inhabitant” qualification is broadly interpreted, and in modern times a candidate's declaration of state residence has generally been accepted as meeting the constitutional requirement.

    Queen of the Hill Rule — A special rule from the House Rules Committee that permits votes on a series of amendments, especially complete substitutes for a measure, in a specified order, but directs that the amendment receiving the greatest number of votes shall be the winning one. This kind of rule permits the House to vote directly on a variety of alternatives to a measure. In doing so, it sets aside the precedent that once an amendment has been adopted, no further amendments may be offered to the text it has amended. Under an earlier practice, the Rules Committee reported “king of the hill” rules under which there also could be votes on a series of amendments, again in a specified order. If more than one of the amendments was adopted under this kind of rule, it was the last amendment to receive a majority vote that was considered as having been finally adopted, whether or not it had received the greatest number of votes.

    Quorum — The minimum number of members required to be present for the transaction of business. Under the Constitution, a quorum in each house is a majority of its members: 218 in the House and 51 in the Senate when there are no vacancies. By House rule, a quorum in the Committee of the Whole is 100. In practice, both houses usually assume a quorum is present even if it is not, unless a member makes a point of no quorum in the House or suggests the absence of a quorum in the Senate. Consequently, each house transacts much of its business, and even passes bills, when only a few members are present. For House and Senate committees, chamber rules allow a minimum quorum of one-third of a committee's members to conduct most types of business.

    Quorum Call — A procedure for determining whether a quorum is present in a chamber. In the Senate, a clerk calls the roll (roster) of senators. The House usually employs its electronic voting system.

    Ramseyer Rule — A House rule that requires a committee's report on a bill or joint resolution to show the changes the measure, and any committee amendments to it, would make in existing law. The rule requires the report to present the text of any statutory provision that would be repealed and a comparative print showing, through typographical devices such as stricken-through type or italics, other changes that would be made in existing law. The rule, adopted in 1929, is named after its sponsor, Rep. Christian W. Ramseyer, R-Iowa. The Senate's analogous rule is called the Cordon Rule. (See Cordon Rule.)

    Rank or Ranking — A member's position on the list of his or her party's members on a committee or subcommittee. When first assigned to a committee, a member is usually placed at the bottom of the list, then moves up as those above leave the committee. On subcommittees, however, a member's rank may not have anything to do with the length of his or her service on it.

    Ranking Member— (1) Most often a reference to the minority member with the highest ranking on a committee or subcommittee. (2) A reference to the majority member next in rank to the chairman or to the highest ranking majority member present at a committee or subcommittee meeting.

    Ratification— (1) The president's formal act of promulgating a treaty after the Senate has approved it. The resolution of ratification agreed to by the Senate is the procedural vehicle by which the Senate gives its consent to ratification. (2) A state legislature's act in approving a proposed constitutional amendment. Such an amendment becomes effective when ratified by three-fourths of the states.

    Reapportionment— (See Apportionment.)

    Recess— (1) A temporary interruption or suspension of a meeting of a chamber or committee. Unlike an adjournment, a recess does not end a legislative day. Because the Senate often recesses from one calendar day to another, its legislative day may extend over several calendar days, weeks, or even months. (2) A period of adjournment for more than three days to a day certain, especially over a holiday or in August during odd-numbered years.

    Recess Appointment— A presidential appointment to a vacant federal position made after the Senate has adjourned sine die or has adjourned or recessed for more than thirty days. If the president submits the recess appointee's nomination during the next session of the Senate, that individual can continue to serve until the end of the session even though the Senate might have rejected the nomination. When appointed to a vacancy that existed thirty days before the end of the last Senate session, a recess appointee is not paid until confirmed.

    Recommit— To send a measure back to the committee that reported it; sometimes called a straight motion to recommit to distinguish it from a motion to recommit with instructions. A successful motion to recommit kills the measure unless it is accompanied by instructions.

    Recommit a Conference Report— To return a conference report to the conference committee for renegotiation of some or all of its agreements. A motion to recommit may be offered with or without instructions.

    Recommit with Instructions— To send a measure back to a committee with instructions to take some action on it. Invariably in the House and often in the Senate, when the motion recommits to a standing committee, the instructions require the committee to report the measure “forthwith” with specified amendments.

    Reconsider— A practice that gives a chamber an opportunity to review its action on any proposition. Any member who voted on the prevailing side can ask to reconsider the vote, creating, in effect, another vote on the same proposition. Usually this procedure creates the anomalous situation of an opponent of a measure changing his or her “no” vote to a “yea” vote to force a new vote.

    Reconciliation — A procedure for changing existing revenue and spending laws to bring total federal revenues and spending within the limits established in a budget resolution. Congress has applied reconciliation chiefly to revenues and mandatory spending programs, especially entitlements. Discretionary spending is controlled through annual appropriation bills.

    Recorded Vote— (1) Generally, any vote in which members are recorded by name for or against a measure; also called a record vote or roll-call vote. The only recorded vote in the Senate is a vote by the yeas and nays and is commonly called a roll-call vote. (2) Technically, a recorded vote is one demanded in the House of Representatives and supported by at least one-fifth of a quorum (forty-four members) in the House sitting as the House or at least twenty-five members in the Committee of the Whole.

    Recorded Vote by Clerks— A voting procedure in the House where members pass through the appropriate “aye” or “no” aisle in the chamber and cast their votes by depositing a signed green (yea) or red (no) card in a ballot box. These votes are tabulated by clerks and reported to the chair. The electronic voting system is much more convenient and has largely supplanted this procedure. (See Committee of the Whole; Recorded Vote; Teller Vote.)

    Redistricting— The redrawing of congressional district boundaries within a state after a decennial census. Redistricting may be required to equalize district populations or to accommodate an increase or decrease in the number of a state's House seats that might have resulted from the decennial apportionment. The state governments determine the district lines, but by 2010 some states were turning to outside entities, such as a panel of judges, as an option to conduct the redistricting. (See Apportionment; Congressional District; Gerrymandering.)

    Referral— The assignment of a measure to committee for consideration. Under a House rule, the Speaker can refuse to refer a measure if the Speaker believes it is “of an obscene or insulting character.”

    Report— (1) As a verb, a committee is said to report when it submits a measure or other document to its parent chamber. (2) A clerk is said to report when he or she reads a measure's title, text, or the text of an amendment to the body at the direction of the chair. (3) As a noun, a committee document that accompanies a reported measure. It describes the measure, the committee's views on it, its costs, and the changes it proposes to make in existing law; it also includes certain impact statements. (4) A committee document submitted to its parent chamber that describes the results of an investigation or other study or provides information it is required to provide by rule or law.

    Representative— An elected and duly sworn member of the House of Representatives who is entitled to vote in the chamber. The Constitution requires that a representative be at least twenty-five years old, a citizen of the United States for at least seven years, and an inhabitant of the state from which he or she is elected. Customarily, members reside in the districts they represent. Representatives are elected in even-numbered years to two-year terms that begin the following January.

    Reprimand— A formal condemnation of a member for misbehavior, considered a milder reproof than censure. The House of Representatives first used it in 1976. The Senate first used it in 1991. (See also Censure; Code of Official Conduct; Denounce; Ethics Rules; Expulsion; Seniority Loss.)

    Rescission — A provision of law that repeals previously enacted budget authority in whole or in part. Under the Impoundment Control Act of 1974, the president can impound such funds by sending a message to Congress requesting one or more rescissions and the reasons for doing so. If Congress does not pass a rescission bill for the programs requested by the president within forty-five days of continuous session after receiving the message, the president must make the funds available for obligation and expenditure. If the president does not, the comptroller general of the United States is authorized to bring suit to compel the release of those funds. A rescission bill may rescind all, part, or none of an amount proposed by the president, and may rescind funds the president has not impounded.

    Reserving the Right to Object — Members' declaration that at some indefinite future time they may object to a unanimous consent request. It is an attempt to circumvent the requirement that members may prevent such an action only by objecting immediately after it is proposed.

    Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico — A nonvoting member of the House of Representatives, elected to a four-year term. The resident commissioner has the same status and privileges as delegates. As with the delegates, the resident commissioner may not vote in the House or Committee of the Whole.

    Resolution — (1) A simple resolution; that is, a nonlegislative measure effective only in the house in which it is proposed and not requiring concurrence by the other chamber or approval by the president. Simple resolutions are designated H Res in the House and S Res in the Senate. Simple resolutions express nonbinding opinions on policies or issues or deal with the internal affairs or prerogatives of a house. (2) Any type of resolution: simple, concurrent, or joint. (See Concurrent Resolution; Joint Resolution.)

    Resolution of Inquiry — A resolution usually simple rather than concurrent calling on the president or the head of an executive agency to provide specific information or papers to one or both houses.

    Resolution of Ratification — The Senate vehicle for agreeing to a treaty. The constitutionally mandated vote of two-thirds of the senators present and voting applies to the adoption of this resolution. However, it may also contain amendments, reservations, declarations, or understandings that the Senate had previously added to it by majority vote.

    Revenue Legislation — Measures that levy new taxes or tariffs or change existing ones. Under Article I, Section 7, clause 1 of the Constitution, the House of Representatives originates federal revenue measures, but the Senate can propose amendments to them. The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee have jurisdiction over such measures, with a few minor exceptions.

    Revise and Extend One's Remarks — A unanimous consent request to publish in the Congressional Record a statement a member did not deliver on the floor, a longer statement than the one made on the floor, or miscellaneous extraneous material.

    Revolving Fund— A trust fund or account whose income remains available to finance its continuing operations without any fiscal year limitation.

    Rider— Congressional slang for an amendment unrelated or extraneous to the subject matter of the measure to which it is attached. Riders often contain proposals that are less likely to become law on their own merits as separate bills, either because of opposition in the committee of jurisdiction, resistance in the other house, or the probability of a presidential veto. Riders are more common in the Senate.

    Roll Call— A call of the roll to determine whether a quorum is present, to establish a quorum, or to vote on a question. Usually, the House uses its electronic voting system for a roll call. The Senate does not have an electronic voting system; its roll is always called by a clerk.

    Rule— (1) A permanent regulation that a house adopts to govern its conduct of business, its procedures, its internal organization, behavior of its members, regulation of its facilities, duties of an officer, or some other subject it chooses to govern in that form. (2) In the House, a privileged simple resolution reported by the Rules Committee that provides methods and conditions for floor consideration of a measure or, rarely, several measures.

    Rule Twenty-Two— A common reference to the Senate's cloture rule. (See Cloture.)

    Second-Degree Amendment— An amendment to an amendment in the first degree. It is usually a perfecting amendment.

    Section— A subdivision of a bill or statute. By law, a section must be numbered and, as nearly as possible, contain “a single proposition of enactment.”

    Select or Special Committee— A committee established by a resolution in either house for a special purpose and, usually, for a limited time. Most select and special committees are assigned specific investigations or studies but are not authorized to report measures to their chambers.

    Secretary of the Senate— The chief financial, administrative, and legislative officer of the Senate. Elected by resolution or order of the Senate, the secretary is invariably the candidate of the majority party and usually chosen by the majority leader. In the absence of the vice president and pending the election of a president pro tempore, the secretary presides over the Senate. The secretary is subject to policy direction and oversight by the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. The secretary manages a wide range of functions that support the administrative operations of the Senate as an organization as well as those functions necessary to its legislative process, including record keeping, document management, certifications, housekeeping services, administration of oaths, and lobbyist registrations. The secretary is responsible for accounting for all funds appropriated to the Senate and conducts audits of Senate financial activities. On a semiannual basis the secretary issues the Report of the Secretary of the Senate, a compilation of Senate expenditures.

    Senate — The house of Congress in which each state is represented by two senators; each senator has one vote. Article V of the Constitution declares that “No State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.” The Constitution also gives the Senate equal legislative power with the House of Representatives. Although the Senate is prohibited from originating revenue measures, and as a matter of practice it does not originate appropriation measures, it can amend both. Only the Senate can give or withhold consent to treaties and nominations from the president. It also acts as a court to try impeachments by the House and elects the vice president when no candidate receives a majority of the electoral votes. It is often referred to as “the upper body,” but not by members of the House.

    Senate Manual— The handbook of the Senate's standing rules and orders and the laws and other regulations that apply to the Senate, usually published once each Congress.

    Senator — A duly sworn elected or appointed member of the Senate. The Constitution requires that a senator be at least thirty years old, a citizen of the United States for at least nine years, and an inhabitant of the state from which he or she is elected. Senators are usually elected in even-numbered years to six-year terms that begin the following January. When a vacancy occurs before the end of a term, the state governor can appoint a replacement to fill the position until a successor is chosen at the state's next general election or, if specified under state law, the next feasible date for such an election, to serve the remainder of the term. Until the Seventeenth Amendment was ratified in 1913, senators were chosen by their state legislatures.

    Senatorial Courtesy — The Senate's practice of declining to confirm a presidential nominee for an office in the state of a senator of the president's party unless that senator approves.

    Seniority — The priority, precedence, or status accorded members according to the length of their continuous service in a house or on a committee.

    Seniority Loss — A type of punishment that reduces a member's seniority on his or her committees, including the loss of chairmanships. Party caucuses in both houses have occasionally imposed such punishment on their members, for example, for publicly supporting candidates of the other party.

    Seniority Rule — The customary practice, rather than a rule, of assigning the chairmanship of a committee to the majority party member who has served on the committee for the longest continuous period of time.

    Seniority System — A collection of long-standing customary practices under which members with longer continuous service than their colleagues in their house or on their committees receive various kinds of preferential treatment. Although some of the practices are no longer as rigidly observed as in the past, they still pervade the organization and procedures of Congress.

    Sequestration — A procedure for canceling budgetary resources—that is, money available for obligation or spending—to enforce budget limitations established in law. Sequestered funds are no longer available for obligation or expenditure.

    Sergeant at Arms — The officer in each house responsible for maintaining order, security, and decorum in its wing of the Capitol, including the chamber and its galleries. Although elected by their respective houses, both sergeants at arms are invariably the candidates of the majority party.

    Session— (1) The annual series of meetings of a Congress. Under the Constitution, Congress must assemble at least once a year at noon on Jan. 3 unless it appoints a different day by law. (2) The special meetings of Congress or of one house convened by the president, called a special session. (3) A house is said to be in session during the period of a day when it is meeting.

    Severability (or Separability) Clause— Language stating that if any particular provisions of a measure are declared invalid by the courts the remaining provisions shall remain in effect.

    Sine Die— Without fixing a day for a future meeting. An adjournment sine die signifies the end of an annual or special session of Congress.

    Slip Law— The first official publication of a measure that has become law. It is published separately in unbound, single-sheet form or pamphlet form. A slip law usually is available two or three days after the date of the law's enactment.

    Speaker— The presiding officer of the House of Representatives and the leader of its majority party. The Speaker is selected by the majority party and formally elected by the House at the beginning of each Congress. Although the Constitution does not require the Speaker to be a member of the House, in fact, all Speakers have been members.

    Speaker Pro Tempore— A member of the House who is designated as the temporary presiding officer by the Speaker or elected by the House to that position during the Speaker's absence.

    Speaker's Vote— The Speaker is not required to vote, and the Speaker's name is not called on a roll-call vote unless so requested. Usually, the Speaker votes either to create a tie vote, and thereby defeat a proposal, or to break a tie in favor of a proposal. Occasionally, the Speaker also votes to emphasize the importance of a matter.

    Special Session— A session of Congress convened by the president, under his constitutional authority, after Congress has adjourned sine die at the end of a regular session. (See Adjournment Sine Die; Session.)

    Spending Authority— The technical term for backdoor spending. The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 defines it as borrowing authority, contract authority, and entitlement authority for which appropriation acts do not provide budget authority in advance. Under the Budget Act, legislation that provides new spending authority may not be considered unless it provides that the authority shall be effective only to the extent or in such amounts as provided in an appropriation act.

    Spending Cap— The statutory limit for a fiscal year on the amount of new budget authority and outlays allowed for discretionary spending. The Budget Enforcement Act of 1997 requires a sequester if the cap is exceeded.

    Split Referral — A measure divided into two or more parts, with each part referred to a different committee.

    Sponsor— The principal proponent and introducer of a measure or an amendment.

    Staff Director— The most frequently used title for the head of staff of a committee or subcommittee. On some committees, that person is called chief of staff, clerk, chief clerk, chief counsel, general counsel, or executive director. The head of a committee's minority staff is usually called minority staff director.

    Standing Committee— A permanent committee established by a House or Senate standing rule or standing order. The rule also describes the subject areas on which the committee may report bills and resolutions and conduct oversight. Most introduced measures must be referred to one or more standing committees according to their jurisdictions.

    Standing Order— A continuing regulation or directive that has the force and effect of a rule but is not incorporated into the standing rules. The Senate's numerous standing orders, such as its standing rules, continue from Congress to Congress unless changed or the order states otherwise. The House uses relatively few standing orders, and those it adopts expire at the end of a session of Congress.

    Standing Rules— The rules of the Senate that continue from one Congress to the next and the rules of the House of Representatives that it adopts at the beginning of each new Congress.

    Standing Vote— An alternative and informal term for a division vote, during which members in favor of a proposal and then members opposed stand and are counted by the chair.

    Star Print— A reprint of a bill, resolution, amendment, or committee report correcting technical or substantive errors in a previous printing; so called because of the small black star that appears on the front page or cover.

    State of the Union Message— A presidential message to Congress under the constitutional directive that the president shall “from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Customarily, the president sends an annual State of the Union message to Congress, usually late in January.

    Statutes at Large— A chronological arrangement of the laws enacted in each session of Congress. Though indexed, the laws are not arranged by subject matter, nor is there an indication of how they affect or change previously enacted laws. The volumes are numbered by Congress, and the laws are cited by their volume and page number. The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Act, for example, appears as 99 Stat. 1037.

    Straw Vote Prohibition— Under a House precedent, a member who has the floor during debate may not conduct a straw vote or otherwise ask for a show of support for a proposition. Only the chair may put a question to a vote.

    Strike from the Record— Expunge objectionable remarks from the Congressional Record, after a member's words have been taken down on a point of order.

    Strike the Last Word— (See Pro Forma Amendment.)

    Subcommittee— A panel of committee members assigned a portion of the committee's jurisdiction or other functions. On legislative committees, subcommittees hold hearings, mark up legislation, and report measures to their full committee for further action; they cannot report directly to the chamber. A subcommittee's party composition usually reflects the ratio on its parent committee.

    Subpoena Power— The authority granted to committees by the rules of their respective houses to issue legal orders requiring individuals to appear and testify, or to produce documents pertinent to the committee's functions, or both. Persons who do not comply with subpoenas can be cited for contempt of Congress and prosecuted.

    Subsidy— Generally, a payment or benefit made by the federal government for which no current repayment is required. Subsidy payments may be designed to support the conduct of an economic enterprise or activity, such as ship operations, or to support certain market prices, as in the case of farm subsidies.

    Sunset Legislation— A term sometimes applied to laws authorizing the existence of agencies or programs that expire annually or at the end of some other specified period of time. One of the purposes of setting specific expiration dates for agencies and programs is to encourage the committees with jurisdiction over them to determine whether they should be continued or terminated.

    Sunshine Rules— Rules requiring open committee hearings and business meetings, including markup sessions, in both houses, and also open conference committee meetings. However, all may be closed under certain circumstances and using certain procedures required by the rules.

    Supermajority— A term sometimes used for a vote on a matter that requires approval by more than a simple majority of those members present and voting; also referred to as extraordinary majority.

    Supplemental Appropriation Bill— A measure providing appropriations for use in the current fiscal year, in addition to those already provided in annual general appropriation bills. Supplemental appropriations are often for unforeseen emergencies.

    Suspension of the Rules (House)— An expeditious procedure for passing relatively noncontroversial or emergency measures by a two-thirds vote of those members voting, a quorum being present.

    Suspension of the Rules (Senate)— A procedure to set aside one or more of the Senate's rules; it is used infrequently, and then most often to suspend the rule banning legislative amendments to appropriation bills.

    Task Force— A title sometimes given to a panel of members assigned to a special project, study, or investigation. Ordinarily, these groups do not have authority to report measures to their respective houses.

    Tax Expenditure — Loosely, a tax exemption or advantage, sometimes called an incentive or loophole; technically, a loss of governmental tax revenue attributable to some provision of federal tax laws that allows a special exclusion, exemption, or deduction from gross income or that provides a special credit, preferential tax rate, or deferral of tax liability.

    Televised Proceedings — Television and radio coverage of the floor proceedings of the House of Representatives have been available since 1979 and of the Senate since 1986. They are broadcast over a coaxial cable system to all congressional offices and to some congressional agencies on channels reserved for that purpose. Coverage is also available free of charge to commercial and public television and radio broadcasters. C-SPAN carries gavel-to-gavel coverage of both houses. (See C-SPAN.)

    Teller Vote — A voting procedure, formerly used in the House, in which members cast their votes by passing through the center aisle to be counted, but not recorded by name, by a member from each party appointed by the chair. The House deleted the procedure from its rules in 1993, but during floor discussion of the deletion a leading member stated that a teller vote would still be available in the event of a breakdown of the electronic voting system.

    Third-Degree Amendment — An amendment to a second-degree amendment. Both houses prohibit such amendments.

    Third Reading — A required reading to a chamber of a bill or joint resolution by title only before the vote on passage. In modern practice, it has merely become a pro forma step.

    Three-Day Rule — (1) In the House, a measure cannot be considered until the third calendar day on which the committee report has been available. (2) In the House, a conference report cannot be considered until the third calendar day on which its text has been available in the Congressional Record. (3) In the House, a general appropriation bill cannot be considered until the third calendar day on which printed hearings on the bill have been available. (4) In the Senate, when a committee votes to report a measure, a committee member is entitled to three calendar days within which to submit separate views for inclusion in the committee report. (In House committees, a member is entitled to two calendar days for this purpose, after the day on which the committee votes to report.) (5) In both houses, a majority of a committee's members may call a special meeting of the committee if its chairman fails to do so within three calendar days after three or more of the members, acting jointly, formally request such a meeting. In calculating such periods, the House omits holiday and weekend days on which it does not meet. The Senate makes no such exclusion.

    Tie Vote — When the votes for and against a proposition are equal, it loses. The president of the Senate—the constitutional role of the vice president—may cast a vote only to break a tie. Because the Speaker is invariably a member of the House, the Speaker is entitled to vote but usually does not. The Speaker may choose to do so to break, or create, a tie vote.

    Title — (1) A major subdivision of a bill or act, designated by a roman numeral and usually containing legislative provisions on the same general subject. Titles are sometimes divided into subtitles as well as sections. (2) The official name of a bill or act, also called a caption or long title. (3) Some bills also have short titles that appear in the sentence immediately following the enacting clause. (4) Popular titles are the unofficial names given to some bills or acts by common usage. For example, the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 (short title) is almost invariably referred to as Gramm-Rudman (popular title). In other cases, significant legislation is popularly referred to by its title number (see definition (1) above). For example, the federal legislation that requires equality of funding for women's and men's sports in educational institutions that receive federal funds is popularly called Title IX.

    Track System — An occasional Senate practice that expedites legislation by dividing a day's session into two or more specific time periods, commonly called tracks, each reserved for consideration of a different measure.

    Transfer Payment — A federal government payment to which individuals or organizations are entitled under law and for which no goods or services are required in return. Payments include welfare and Social Security benefits, unemployment insurance, government pensions, and veterans benefits.

    Treaty — A formal document containing an agreement between two or more sovereign nations. The Constitution authorizes the president to make treaties, but the president must submit them to the Senate for its approval by a two-thirds vote of the senators present. Under the Senate's rules, that vote actually occurs on a resolution of ratification. Although the Constitution does not give the House a direct role in approving treaties, that body has sometimes insisted that a revenue treaty is an invasion of its prerogatives. In any case, the House may significantly affect the application of a treaty by its equal role in enacting legislation to implement the treaty.

    Trust Funds — Special accounts in the Treasury that receive earmarked taxes or other kinds of revenue collections, such as user fees, and from which payments are made for special purposes or to recipients who meet the requirements of the trust funds as established by law. Of the more than 150 federal government trust funds, several finance major entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare, and retired federal employees' pensions. Others fund infrastructure construction and improvements, such as highways and airports.

    Unanimous Consent — Without an objection by any member. A unanimous consent request asks permission, explicitly or implicitly, to set aside one or more rules. Both houses and their committees frequently use such requests to expedite their proceedings.

    Uncontrollable Expenditures — A frequently used term for federal expenditures that are mandatory under existing law and therefore cannot be controlled by the president or Congress without a change in the existing law. Uncontrollable expenditures include spending required under entitlement programs and also fixed costs, such as interest on the public debt and outlays to pay for prior-year obligations. In recent years, uncontrollables have accounted for approximately three-quarters of federal spending in each fiscal year.

    Unfunded Mandate — Generally, any provision in federal law or regulation that imposes a duty or obligation on a state or local government or private sector entity without providing the necessary funds to comply. The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 amended the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 to provide a mechanism for the control of new unfunded mandates.

    Union Calendar — A calendar of the House of Representatives for bills and resolutions favorably reported by committees that raise revenue or directly or indirectly appropriate money or property. In addition to appropriation bills, measures that authorize expenditures are also placed on this calendar. The calendar's full title is the Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union.

    Upper Body — A common reference to the Senate, but not used by members of the House.

    U.S. Code— Popular title for the United States Code: Containing the General and Permanent Laws of the United States in Force on … It is a consolidation and partial codification of the general and permanent laws of the United States arranged by subject under fifty titles. The first six titles deal with general or political subjects, the other forty-four with subjects ranging from agriculture to war, alphabetically arranged. A supplement is published after each session of Congress, and the entire Code is revised every six years.

    User Fee — A fee charged to users of goods or services provided by the federal government. When Congress levies or authorizes such fees, it determines whether the revenues should go into the general collections of the Treasury or be available for expenditure by the agency that provides the goods or services.

    Veto — The president's disapproval of a legislative measure passed by Congress. The president returns the measure to the house in which it originated without his signature but with a veto message stating his objections to it. When Congress is in session, the president must veto a bill within ten days, excluding Sundays, after the president has received it; otherwise it becomes law without his signature. The ten-day clock begins to run at midnight following his receipt of the bill. (See also Committee Veto; Item Veto; Line Item Veto Act of 1996; Override a Veto; Pocket Veto.)

    Voice Vote — A method of voting in which members who favor a question answer aye in chorus, after which those opposed answer no in chorus, and the chair decides which position prevails.

    Voting — Members vote in three ways on the floor: (1) by shouting “aye” or “no” on voice votes; (2) by standing for or against on division votes; and (3) on recorded votes (including the yeas and nays), by answering “aye” or “no” when their names are called or, in the House, by recording their votes through the electronic voting system.

    War Powers Resolution of 1973 — An act that requires the president “in every possible instance” to consult Congress before committing U.S. forces to ongoing or imminent hostilities. If the president commits forces to a combat situation without congressional consultation, the president must notify Congress within forty-eight hours. Unless Congress declares war or otherwise authorizes the operation to continue, the forces must be withdrawn within sixty or ninety days, depending on certain conditions. No president has ever acknowledged the constitutionality of the resolution.

    Well — The sunken, level, open space between members' seats and the podium at the front of each chamber. House members usually address their chamber from their party's lectern in the well on its side of the aisle. Senators usually speak at their assigned desks.

    Whip — The majority or minority party member in each house who acts as assistant leader, helps plan and marshal support for party strategies, encourages party discipline, and advises his or her leader on how colleagues intend to vote on the floor.

    Yeas and Nays — A vote in which members usually respond “aye” or “no” (despite the official title of the vote) on a question when their names are called in alphabetical order. The Constitution requires the yeas and nays when a demand for it is supported by one-fifth of the members present, and it also requires an automatic yea-and-nay vote on overriding a veto. Senate precedents require the support of at least one-fifth of a quorum, a minimum of eleven members with the present membership of 100.

    Appendix

    The Legislative Process in Brief

    Note: Parliamentary terms used below are defined in the glossary.

    Introduction of Bills

    A House member (including the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico and nonvoting delegates of the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa) may introduce any one of several types of bills and resolutions at any time the House is in session by handing it to the clerk of the House or placing it in a box called the hopper. A senator usually introduces a measure by presenting it, along with a formal statement, to a clerk at the presiding officer's desk.

    As the usual next step in either the House or Senate, the bill is numbered, referred to the appropriate committee, labeled with the sponsor's name and sent to the Government Printing Office (GPO) so that copies can be made for subsequent study and action. House and Senate bills may be jointly sponsored and carry several lawmakers' names. Print and electronic versions of the bill are available to the public. A bill written in the executive branch and proposed as an administration measure usually is introduced by the chairman of the congressional committee that has jurisdiction, as a courtesy to the White House.

    Bills—Prefixed with HR in the House, S in the Senate, followed by a number. Used as the form for most legislation, whether general or special, public or private.

    Joint Resolutions—Designated H J Res or S J Res. Subject to the same procedure as bills, with the exception of a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution. The latter must be approved by two-thirds of both houses and is thereupon sent directly to the administrator of general services for submission to the states for ratification instead of being presented to the president for his approval.

    Concurrent Resolutions—Designated H Con Res or S Con Res. Used for matters affecting the operations of both houses. These resolutions do not become law.

    Resolutions—Designated H Res or S Res. Used for a matter concerning the operation of either house alone and adopted only by the chamber in which it originates.

    Committee Action

    With few exceptions, bills are referred to the appropriate standing committees. The job of referral formally is the responsibility of the Speaker of the House and the presiding officer of the Senate, but this task usually is carried out on their behalf by the parliamentarians of the House and Senate. Precedent, statute and the jurisdictional mandates of the committees as set forth in the rules of the House and Senate determine which committees receive what kinds of bills. Bills are technically considered “read for the first time” when referred to House committees.

    When a bill reaches a committee it is placed on the committee's calendar. Failure of a committee to act on a bill is equivalent to killing it and most fall by the legislative roadside. The measure can be withdrawn from the committee's purview by a discharge petition signed by a majority of the House membership on House bills, or, for example, by adoption of a special resolution in the Senate. Discharge attempts rarely succeed and the Senate procedure is rarely used.

    The first committee action taken on a bill may be a request for comment on it by interested agencies of the government. The committee chairman may assign the bill to a subcommittee for study and hearings, or it may be considered by the full committee. Hearings may be public, closed (executive session), or both. A subcommittee, after considering a bill, reports to the full committee its recommendations for action and any proposed amendments.

    The full committee then votes on its recommendation to the House or Senate. This procedure is called “ordering a bill reported.” Occasionally a committee may order a bill reported unfavorably; most of the time a report, submitted by the chairman of the committee to the House or Senate, calls for favorable action on the measure since the committee can effectively “kill” a bill by simply failing to take any action.

    After the bill is reported, the committee chairman instructs the staff to prepare a written report. The report describes the purposes and scope of the bill, explains the committee revisions, notes proposed changes in existing law and, usually, includes the views of the executive branch agencies consulted. Often committee members opposing a measure issue dissenting minority statements that are included in the report.

    Usually, the committee “marks up” or proposes amendments to the bill. If they are substantial and the measure is complicated, the committee may order a “clean bill” introduced, which will embody the proposed amendments. The original bill then is put aside and the clean bill, with a new number, is reported to the floor.

    The chamber must approve, alter or reject the committee amendments before the bill itself can be put to a vote.

    Floor Action

    After a bill is reported back to the house where it originated, it is placed on the calendar.

    There are four legislative calendars in the House, issued in one cumulative calendar titled Calendars of the United States House of Representatives and History of Legislation. The House calendars are:

    The Union Calendar to which are referred bills raising revenues, general appropriations bills, and any measures directly or indirectly appropriating money or property. It is the Calendar of the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union.

    The House Calendar to which are referred bills of public character not raising revenue or appropriating money.

    The Private Calendar to which are referred bills for relief in the nature of claims against the United States or private immigration bills that are passed without debate when the Private Calendar is called the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

    The Discharge Calendar to which are referred motions to discharge committees when the necessary signatures are signed to a discharge petition.

    There is only one legislative calendar in the Senate and one “executive calendar” for treaties and nominations submitted to the Senate.

    Debate

    A bill is brought to debate by varying procedures. In the Senate the majority leader, in consultation with the minority leader and others, schedules the bills that will be taken up for debate. If it is urgent or important it can be taken up in the Senate either by unanimous consent or by a motion agreed to by majority vote.

    In the House, precedence is granted if a special rule is obtained from the Rules Committee. A request for a special rule usually is made by the chairman of the committee that favorably reported the bill. The request is considered by the Rules Committee in the same fashion that other committees consider legislative measures. The committee proposes a resolution providing for the consideration of the bill. The Rules Committee reports the resolution to the House where it is debated and voted on in the same fashion as regular bills.

    The resolutions providing special rules are important because they specify how long the bill may be debated and whether it may be amended from the floor. If floor amendments are banned, the bill is considered under a “closed rule.”

    When a bill is debated under an “open rule,” germane amendments may be offered from the floor. Committee amendments always are taken up first but may be changed, as may all amendments up to the second degree; that is, an amendment to an amendment to an amendment is not in order.

    Duration of debate in the House depends on whether the bill is under discussion by the House proper or before the House when it is sitting as the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union. In the former, the amount of time for debate occurs under the one-hour rule, which allows members to hold the floor for one hour each. In practice, the members first recognized to speak move the previous question after an hour, which the House almost always approves and which ends further debate. In the Committee of the Whole the amount of time specified in the special rule for general debate is equally divided between proponents and opponents. At the end of general debate, the bill is often read section by section for amendment if it is considered under an open rule. Debate on an amendment is limited to five minutes for each side; this is called the “five-minute rule.” In practice, amendments regularly are debated more than ten minutes, with members gaining the floor by offering pro forma amendments or obtaining unanimous consent to speak longer than five minutes.

    Senate debate usually is unlimited. It can be halted or limited only by unanimous consent, by certain laws, by adoption of a motion to table, or by “cloture,” which requires a three-fifths majority of the entire Senate except for proposed changes in the Senate rules. The latter requires a two-thirds vote.

    The House considers almost all important bills within a parliamentary framework known as the Committee of the Whole. It is not a committee as the word usually is understood; it is the full House meeting under another name for the purpose of speeding action on legislation. Technically, the House sits as the Committee of the Whole when it considers any tax measure or bill dealing with public appropriations. Upon adoption of a special rule, the Speaker declares the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole and appoints a member of the majority party to serve as the chairman. Instead of the required quorum of 218 for the House, the rules of that chamber permit the Committee of the Whole to meet when a quorum of 100 members is present on the floor and to amend and act on bills. When the Committee of the Whole has concluded consideration of a bill for amendment, it “rises,” the Speaker returns as the presiding officer of the House and the member appointed chairman of the Committee of the Whole reports the action of the committee and its recommendations. The Committee of the Whole cannot pass a bill; instead it reports the measure to the full House with whatever amendment it has adopted. The full House then may pass or reject the bill—or, on occasion, recommit the bill to committee. Amendments adopted in the Committee of the Whole may be put to a second vote in the full House.

    Votes

    Voting on bills may occur repeatedly before they are finally approved or rejected. The House votes on the rule for the bill and on various amendments to the bill. Voting on amendments often is a more illuminating test of a bill's support than is the final tally. Sometimes members approve final passage of bills after vigorously supporting amendments that, if adopted, would have scuttled the legislation.

    The Senate has three different methods of voting: an untabulated voice vote, a standing vote (called a division), and a recorded roll call to which members answer “yea” or “nay” when their names are called. The House also employs voice and standing votes, but since January 1973 yeas and nays have been recorded by an electronic voting device, eliminating the need for time-consuming roll calls.

    After amendments to a bill have been voted on, it is “read for the third time.” Then a vote may be taken on a motion to recommit the bill or joint resolution to committee. If carried, which rarely occurs, this vote is usually a death blow to the bill. Rejection of the motion to recommit is followed by a vote on final passage of the bill. The final vote is followed by a pro forma motion to reconsider, which is automatically laid on the table. With that, the bill has been formally passed by the chamber.

    Action in Second Chamber

    After a bill is passed it is sent to the other chamber. This body may then take one of several steps. It may pass the bill as is— accepting the other chamber's language. It may send the bill to committee for scrutiny or alteration, or reject the entire bill, advising the other house of its actions. Or it simply may ignore the bill submitted while it continues work on its own version of the proposed legislation. Frequently, one chamber may approve a version of a bill that is greatly at variance with the version already passed by the other house, and then substitute its contents for the language of the other, retaining only the latter's bill number.

    Often the second chamber makes only minor changes. If these are readily agreed to by the other house, the bill then is routed to the president. However, if the opposite chamber significantly alters the bill submitted to it, the measure usually is “sent to conference.” The chamber that has possession of the “papers” (engrossed bill, engrossed amendments, messages of transmittal) requests a conference, and the other chamber may agree to it. If the second chamber does not agree, the bill dies, unless other parliamentary actions take place. For example, a senator could reoffer the rejected bill as a nonrelevant amendment to another measure. If both chambers agreed to the nonrelevant amendment, the president could sign the legislative package into law.

    Conference Action

    A conference works out conflicting House and Senate versions of a legislative bill. The conferees usually are senior members from the committees that managed the legislation who are appointed by the presiding officers of the two houses. Under this arrangement the conferees of one house have the duty of trying to maintain their chamber's position in the face of amending actions by the conferees (also referred to as “managers”) of the other house.

    The number of conferees from each chamber may vary from single to double or even triple digits depending on the length or complexity of the bill and the number of committees involved. But a majority vote controls the action of each group so that a large representation does not give one chamber a voting advantage over the other chamber's conferees.

    Theoretically, conferees are not allowed to write new legislation in reconciling the two versions before them, but this curb sometimes is bypassed. Many bills have been put into acceptable compromise form only after new language was provided by the conferees. Frequently the ironing out of difficulties takes days or even weeks. Conferences on complex and controversial bills sometimes are particularly drawn out.

    As a conference proceeds, conferees reconcile differences between the versions, but generally they grant concessions only insofar as they remain sure that the chamber they represent will accept the compromises. Occasionally, uncertainty over how either house will react, or the positive refusal of a chamber to back down on a disputed amendment, results in an impasse, and the bills die in conference even though each was approved by its sponsoring chamber.

    When the conferees have reached agreement, they prepare a conference report embodying their recommendations (compromises) and a joint explanatory statement. The report, in document form, must be submitted to each house. The conference report must be approved by each house. Consequently, approval of the report is approval of the compromise bill. In the order of voting on conference reports, the chamber that asked for a conference yields to the other chamber the opportunity to vote first.

    Final Action

    After a bill has been passed by both the House and Senate in identical form, all of the original papers are sent to the enrolling clerk of the chamber in which the bill originated. He then prepares an enrolled bill, which is printed on parchment paper.

    When this bill has been certified as correct by the secretary of the Senate or the clerk of the House, depending on which chamber originated the bill, it is signed first (no matter whether it originated in the Senate or House) by the Speaker of the House and then by the president of the Senate. It is next sent to the White House to await action.

    If the president approves the bill, he signs it, dates it and usually writes the word “approved” on the document. If he does not sign it within 10 days (Sundays excepted) and Congress is in session, the bill becomes law without his signature.

    If Congress adjourns sine die at the end of the second session the president can pocket veto a bill and it dies without Congress having the opportunity to override.

    A president vetoes a bill by refusing to sign it and, before the 10-day period expires, returning it to Congress with a message stating his reasons. The message is sent to the chamber that originated the bill. If no action is taken on the message, the bill dies. Congress, however, can attempt to override the president's veto and enact the bill, “the objections of the president to the contrary notwithstanding.” Overriding a veto requires a two-thirds vote of those present in each chamber, who must number a quorum and vote by roll call.

    If the president's veto is overridden by a two-thirds vote in both houses, the bill becomes law. Otherwise it is dead.

    When bills are passed finally and signed, or passed over a veto, they are given law numbers in numerical order as they become law. There are two series of numbers, one for public and one for private laws, starting at the number “1” for each two-year term of Congress. They are then identified by law number and by Congress—for example, Private Law 10, 109th Congress; Public Law 33, 109th Congress (or PL 109-33).

    Appendix

    Key Votes

    2005 Key Votes
    Senate

    1. Class Action Suits

    For six years, business interests lobbied for restrictions on class action lawsuits, only to be thwarted by opponents in the Senate. But the 2004 elections, which increased the number of Republicans in that chamber from fifty-one to fifty-five, showed that elections matter and can change public policy. (Story, p. 695)

    When the new Congress convened in 2005, GOP leaders moved quickly to a class action bill to give federal courts jurisdiction over cases involving at least 100 plaintiffs if at least $5 million was at stake and two-thirds of the plaintiffs lived in different states.

    Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., who was contemplating running for president in 2008, wanted an early victory to demonstrate his political influence and leadership. He had pulled the class action bill from the Senate floor in 2004 when a cloture motion fell sixteen votes short of cutting off debate. Frist had help from enough Democrats to prevent opponents from filibustering or using parliamentary delays to stop passage of the bill, as they had before.

    Five Democratic amendments to the bill were defeated by wide margins. Supporters argued that adopting any of the amendments would derail the Senate compromise on the bill and complicate House passage. Democratic leaders were resigned to passage of the bill, but contended it would be the “high-water mark” for Republican efforts to limit certain types of lawsuits, such as establishing an asbestos trust fund and limiting damage awards in medical malpractice suits. Those two bills did not get enough support to reach the Senate floor, but legislation to shield gun manufacturers and dealers from being sued when third parties misuse their products was cleared by Congress later in the year.

    Without strong opposition from their leadership, eighteen Democrats voted for the class action measure. No Republican voted against it. The bill was passed Feb. 10, 72–26: R 53–0; D 18–26; I 1–0. The House easily cleared the measure the next week, giving President George W. Bush his first major legislative accomplishment of his second term. (Vote, p. 923)

    Democratic supporters included Sen. Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, home of retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has been the defendant in major class action suits. Another key supporter was Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., whose home state is headquarters to many insurance companies.

    In the aftermath of the vote, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, a vocal opponent of the measure and a major source of campaign funds for Democratic candidates, increased its outreach efforts to Republican lawmakers.

    2. Bankruptcy Law Overhaul

    With an increased majority in the Senate and several Democratic defections, Senate Republican leaders were able to defeat a controversial amendment that had become the critical obstacle to enacting a bankruptcy overhaul bill. The defeat of the amendment by Democrat Charles E. Schumer of New York, which would have prevented violent protesters from avoiding fines by filing for bankruptcy protection, all but guaranteed a victory for the banking and credit card industries and their congressional supporters, who had pushed for eight years to revamp the bankruptcy code.

    The Senate passed the bill, 74–25, on March 10. The House followed on April 14 by a 302–126 vote. (Story, p. 142)

    Approval was not expected if Schumer had prevailed. House Republican leaders had made clear they would not take up the Senate-passed bankruptcy bill if it included the amendment. In earlier versions, the amendment had specifically targeted antiabortion protesters. In 2002 negotiations between Schumer and a group of House Republicans resulted in the language being changed to include all violent protesters, but the amendment was still anathema to conservative Republicans.

    The belief of bankruptcy reform advocates that the Schumer amendment could stop the legislation was not unfounded. During the 106th Congress, President Bill Clinton pocket vetoed a bankruptcy overhaul measure after the Schumer language was dropped from the bill. The amendment continued to plague overhaul advocates in the 107th and 108th Congresses. In 2004 Senate GOP leaders refused to bring the bill to the floor rather than risk having the language adopted.

    Aware of the potential implications, Senate GOP leaders aggressively pressured their members to vote against the amendment. This time, Senate Republicans had more factors working in their favor. The most important was control of fifty-five seats in the chamber. That gave them greater leeway to allow some moderate caucus members to vote for the amendment while still ensuring its defeat.

    Republicans also could rely on the support of conservative Democrats who opposed abortion rights and did not want to vote for a provision aimed at punishing abortion protesters. Finally, the influence of the credit card and finance industries was substantial. Industry groups reported donating $29.5 million to federal candidates during the eight years it took to enact the bankruptcy overhaul.

    Schumer called on the Senate not to “protect those who use violence,” telling his colleagues that a vote against his proposal was a vote “against the rule of law.” He stressed that the language would apply to any violent protester, not just those who oppose abortion rights. “If violent atheists burn down a church, it would apply to them,” Schumer told his colleagues.

    Senate Republicans said the amendment was unnecessary and, more immediately, that it would once again prevent Congress from overhauling federal bankruptcy laws.

    Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., characterized the amendment as the “most perfect example of a poison pill” he had ever seen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, argued that bankruptcy courts made clear they would not allow debtors to escape fines and judgments for willful, violent actions.

    Republican efforts were enough to kill the amendment. The Senate March 8 voted against it 46–53: R 4–51; D 41–2; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 923)

    3. Confirmation of Judge Priscilla Owen

    Texas Supreme Court justice Priscilla Owen was among the first candidates for the federal bench that President George W. Bush submitted in 2001, but her nomination languished for more than four years before the Senate voted to confirm her in May 2005.

    Owen was perhaps the most ideologically controversial of the ten appellate court nominees whom Democrats filibustered in the Republican-controlled Senate in the 108th Congress. Her opponents argued that she would be hostile to abortion rights as a federal judge. Bush renominated Owen and six of the other previously filibustered candidates in February. Still, the Senate Democratic caucus opposed an up-or-down vote until a group of senators—seven Republicans and seven Democrats—brokered a deal on judicial nominations in May, agreeing not to oppose cloture on the nomination. (Story, pp. 712, 820)

    A potential showdown over judicial nominations escalated in January, when Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., went to the Senate floor on the first day of the 109th Congress to warn that he would not tolerate further Democratic filibusters of appellate court nominees. For the first few months of the year, Frist repeatedly threatened to execute an esoteric procedural gambit, dubbed the “nuclear option,” to end minority filibusters of judicial nominees.

    Frist and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., exchanged half-hearted proposals and rhetorical potshots, to no avail. Finally, Frist scheduled a vote on cloture, which would cut off debate and lead to a vote on Owen's nomination, for May 24.

    Frist went before a battery of cameras outside the chamber May 23 to announce that if the cloture vote fell short of the sixty-vote threshold for the motion to succeed, Vice President Dick Cheney would preside over the Senate while Frist made a point of order that there should be a finite amount of debate time for an appellate or a Supreme Court nominee. If Cheney upheld Frist's point of order and Democrats challenged the ruling, a simple majority was all Republicans would need to sustain Cheney's ruling.

    Later that day, the group that became known as the “gang of 14” emerged from the Capitol Hill office of Arizona Republican John McCain with the deal that thwarted Frist, but also guaranteed the confirmation of Owen and several other contentious nominees. The fourteen senators also agreed that judicial nominees should be filibustered only under “extraordinary circumstances,” a term that was left to each group member to define.

    The cloture vote on Owen the next day demonstrated that the fourteen senators had defused what had promised to be a dramatic parliamentary showdown on judicial nominations, effectively taking control of the issue away from Senate leaders. The Senate agreed to the motion to invoke cloture on an 81–18 vote, which easily exceeded the sixty votes needed: R 55–0; D 26–17; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 923)

    Owen was confirmed the next day with the support of only two Democrats. But the fact that more than half the Democrats had voted to limit debate was a sign of their relief that the “gang of 14” had given the Senate a way to back away from a showdown over rules that could have fundamentally undermined the power of the minority party in the chamber.

    4. Confirmation of John R. Bolton as U.N. Ambassador

    John R. Bolton's nomination was in trouble from the moment President George W. Bush announced him as his pick for the top job at the United Nations. Viewed as abrasive, confrontational, and willing to run roughshod over his peers at the State Department while he was an undersecretary of state, Bolton faced serious opposition from Democrats and some moderate Republicans. (Story, p. 280)

    Several former colleagues testified against Bolton during his confirmation hearings. In public testimony, former State Department official Carl Ford Jr. provided the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with a damaging portrait of the nominee, describing him as a “quintessential kiss-up, kick down sort of guy.” Bolton's nomination emerged from the committee in May “without recommendation”—not an outright rejection, but a cautionary message that the nominee would have trouble winning approval from the full Senate.

    Democrats threatened to filibuster the Bolton nomination as it headed to the Senate floor. In public and private testimony, Bolton's critics accused him of verbally abusing subordinates and trying to manipulate intelligence appraised by State Department analysts regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. In an attempt to end debate, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., made a motion to invoke cloture, which requires sixty votes.

    But on May 26 the Senate rejected the motion 56–42: R 53–1; D 3–40; I 0–1. That was a major setback for the Bush administration and a blow to Bolton, who had routinely criticized the United Nations and vowed to push for changes at the institution. (Vote, p. 923)

    The cloture vote showed that Democrats were prepared to obstruct Bush's nominees and reflected the tenuous hold Republicans had on their majority in the Senate. Several moderate Republicans, such as Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, George V. Voinovich of Ohio, and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, remained undecided on Bolton throughout the nomination process, making it that much harder for Frist to bring home a victory for Bush on the controversial nomination.

    Democrats contended that Bolton was unworthy of going to the United Nations to represent the U.S. government. They said they would allow a vote only if the White House released a series of intelligence documents showing how Bolton had handled information regarding Syria's weapons programs. Bolton was also accused of requesting National Security Agency intercepts so he could snoop on subordinates at the State Department.

    The White House was not forthcoming with the documents, and Democrats refused to budge. The Senate held a second cloture vote June 20, but the result was so apparent that many senators skipped the vote, and cloture failed by even more votes than it did the first time, 54–38.

    None of the Senate's parliamentary delays ended up mattering in the end. Bush bypassed the Senate and installed Bolton at the United Nations with a recess appointment on the first day of the August recess. Bolton has been working at the United Nations for five months. His recess appointment expired at the end of the 109th Congress in January. Bush, acknowledging the depth of opposition, did not renominate Bolton at the beginning of the new Congress.

    5. Global Warming Policy

    From 1997, when the Senate voted 95–0 to condemn the international global warming agreement signed in Kyoto, Japan, through 2004 Congress resisted every effort to set mandatory limits on emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that were widely blamed for contributing to worldwide climate change.

    The Bush administration and, for the most part, Congress argued that the Kyoto accord would damage the U.S. economy while not requiring similar pollution controls from developing nations that were projected to emit more greenhouse gases than the United States. There also remained a core of lawmakers who rejected the premise of global warming, led by Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chairman James M. Inhofe, R-Okla., who called climate change theories “phony science” and a “hoax.”

    An attempt in 2005 by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., to mandate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2010 actually lost ground, winning just thirty-eight votes in favor, down from forty-three votes in 2003. (Story, p. 495)

    In a change from past practice, however, the Senate went on record for the first time ever as recognizing that climate change was a significant problem and endorsing the need for mandatory emission limits. While largely symbolic, the action, in support of a resolution offered by Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., signaled a shift in political attitudes.

    McCain and Lieberman offered their proposal in June to a comprehensive energy bill (HR 6). Their plan, which they had promoted for several years, would establish a domestic cap-and-trade model similar to the Kyoto approach. Such market-based programs cap overall pollution while allowing businesses to buy and sell permits in order to meet their obligations.

    In a bid to attract more votes in 2005, senators embraced nuclear energy as an energy source that emitted no greenhouse gases. The tactic backfired, angering environmentalists and losing the support of several liberal Democrats who had supported the legislation in 2003. The Senate did approve 66–29 a separate amendment by Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., to offer economic incentives for businesses to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The voluntary approach appealed to many Republicans, but critics derided it as inadequate.

    Bingaman sought to bridge the gap between the McCain-Lieberman proposal to mandate a reduction in emissions and the laissez-faire model advanced by Hagel. He proposed tying emissions caps to economic growth and allowing the government to sell more permits to companies that failed to meet the targets once the market price for credits reached a certain level. This “safety valve” would give businesses economic certainty, but would allow emissions to rise in the future, albeit at a slower rate.

    As the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Bingaman had a cooperative relationship with the panel's GOP chairman, fellow New Mexican Pete V. Domenici, and the two discussed the idea of jointly offering Bingaman's plan as an amendment to the energy bill. Domenici eventually backed off, saying he feared splitting Republicans, alienating the White House, and jeopardizing the energy bill's prospects. But Domenici agreed to hold hearings on the idea and to support an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that climate change is a problem and endorsing mandatory, market-based measures to “slow, stop, and reverse” emissions.

    Inhofe moved to table Bingaman's resolution, thereby presenting the fundamental question of whether global warming was true and illustrating the shifting sentiments on the issue among some Republican senators.

    “Climate change is here,” said Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, who voted against the McCain-Lieberman amendment. “I am confident that we can draft a bill that will own up to our obligations to our children and our grandchildren and at the same time have dates that are practical.” Domenici, who also had voted against McCain-Lieberman, expressed his conviction that the science showed that global warming was occurring and must be addressed.

    Bingaman's resolution was adopted by voice vote June 22, after the Senate rejected Inhofe's motion to table the proposal 44–53; R 42–12; D 2–40; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 923)

    In addition to the six Republicans who had voted for McCain-Lieberman, six more Republicans voted against the attempt to kill Bingaman's resolution. With that vote, fifty-three became a magic number in the Senate's global warming debate, offering a new baseline for potential support and a list of lawmakers who would, in principle, support climate change legislation. It also laid the groundwork for Bingaman, backed by Domenici, to pursue an alternative to the McCain-Lieberman plan in 2006.

    6. Central American Trade Liberalization

    President W. Bush made expansion of trade with Western Hemisphere countries a hallmark of his administration from his first election in 2000. In 2004, after several fits and starts, his administration secured an agreement to relax trade barriers between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. A parallel agreement was reached with the Dominican Republic. (Story, p. 202)

    The Constitution gives Congress explicit authority for trade pacts, but for several decades lawmakers allowed the president to negotiate agreements that are then sent to Congress for approval on up-or-down votes. Because no amendments are allowed in committee or on the floor, the White House often had to make side promises to lawmakers to win their votes on trade agreements.

    That was the case with the Central American agreement, also known as CAFTA, in 2005. The name evoked echoes the 1993 North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, which many members of the House and Senate thought had not been as beneficial for the United States as promised.

    Following NAFTA, trade agreements became an increasingly tough sell on Capitol Hill, and CAFTA was the first in more than a decade with low-wage countries that interest groups, especially organized labor, believed were taking U.S. jobs. As a result, supporters of the Central American pact decided to press for a vote first in the Senate, where its prospects were considered better than the House. Because House Republican leaders were uncertain they had the votes to win in that chamber, it was hoped that a Senate vote to pass a bill implementing the agreement would give the House an incentive to do the same.

    Trade votes are generally easier in the Senate because senators have more diverse constituencies and the luxury of a six-year term to explain an unpopular vote. But even the Senate was reluctant to pass the CAFTA implementing bill (S 1307) and agreed to do so only after several weeks of administration efforts to address senators' concerns about sugar imports, labor rights in Central America, and general uneasiness about the effects of globalization. When the Senate finally voted late in the evening of June 30, as Congress was trying to stop work for its July Fourth recess, the agreement was approved by the close tally of 54–45: R 43–12; D 10–33; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 923)

    The closeness of the vote illustrated a shift in sentiment among lawmakers of both parties on trade issues, especially among Democrats.

    The Senate vote had the desired effect of pushing the House to approve the pact, although that chamber came close to rejecting it also. The Senate had to vote again to clear the separate House-passed bill (HR 3045). The July 28 vote was almost identical to the early tally—55–45.

    7. Energy Policy Overhaul

    In the culmination of a four-year debate on energy policy, the Senate in 2005 agreed to compromise legislation (HR 6) that followed the outlines of the energy plan President George W. Bush proposed not long after taking office in 2001 but without the centerpiece of his proposal: drilling for oil and gas in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). That proved too difficult for Republican leaders to force through.

    Negotiators also dropped from the final bill liability protection for companies that make the fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), an issue that prevented passage for two consecutive years. (Story, p. 447)

    The vote showed the broad support for energy legislation once ANWR and MTBE were set aside. More than half of the Senate's Democrats supported the final conference version, with only six Republicans opposed to it. The Senate easily cleared the measure July 29, 74–26: R 49–6; D 25–19; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 923)

    The bill was a mixed success for the Bush administration and GOP leaders who were intent on increasing domestic production of oil, gas, and nuclear power to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign fuels. Opening the coastal plain of ANWR to energy exploration had been the main feature of Bush's energy plan but a rallying point for environmentalists trying to protect one of the nation's most pristine and remote wilderness areas. Dropping the provision was a GOP defeat.

    Under pressure to deliver a bill, Republican leaders—particularly in the House—also had to give up on a contentious liability waiver for MTBE makers that had blocked final action on the bill in the Senate for two years.

    The chemical, used at low levels since 1979, became more prevalent when refiners had to meet fuel standards established under the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments to reduce smog. But the additive had since been found to contaminate groundwater in some areas, including the Northeast and West Coast. Lawmakers from those areas worried that giving liability protection for manufacturers might leave states responsible for cleaning up MTBE in the ground.

    The new energy law included tax incentives for both traditional and alternative energy producers. It authorized $14.6 billion in tax breaks and credits between 2005 and 2015, including $2.8 billion for fossil fuel production; $2.7 billion to extend the renewable electricity production credit; $1.6 billion for investments in plants designed to use cleaner-burning coal; $1.3 billion for conservation and energy efficiency; and $1.3 billion for alternative-fuel motor vehicles and fuels.

    The legislation also made important changes in the regulation of electricity markets, including repeal of the 1935 Public Utility Holding Company Act that restricted some large power companies to certain geographic areas and lines of business. Lawmakers decided that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would be better able to examine electric utility books and to block mergers.

    8. Gun Industry Liability Shield

    A top priority of the National Rifle Association (NRA) was legislation to protect gun makers and dealers from being sued for death and injuries from use of firearms. The NRA was backed by business groups seeking to limit liability lawsuits for their own products. The legislation had stalled in the Senate because of Democratic opposition.

    In 2005 Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., wanted to avoid a replay of a similar bill's fate in 2004 when Republicans halted action on the entire measure rather than allow it to pass with three amendments attached by Democrats, including renewal of a ban on assault weapons.

    When the new bill (S 397) reached the floor in July, Frist filed a succession of amendments—a legislative procedure known as “filling the amendment tree”—that allowed him to control amendments that could be brought up for debate. He allowed consideration only of those proposals he thought were harmless or easy to defeat on the floor, thus thwarting Democratic efforts to add gun control language. (Story, p. 699)

    Republicans easily defeated Democratic amendments to allow individuals, but not municipalities, to sue gun makers; preserved the right of police officers or minors injured by firearms to sue for damages; and blocked the sale of so-called cop-killer bullets. Instead, the Senate adopted a Republican alternative amendment requiring a study of a uniform standard for testing projectiles against body armor and increasing the penalties for violent or drug-trafficking crimes in which the perpetrator uses or possesses armor-piercing ammunition.

    The Senate adopted only one Democratic amendment, by Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, to require that child safety locks be sold with all handguns.

    The final vote on July 29 was a victory for GOP leaders, who had promised to pass the legislation before the August recess, and showed the power of the gun rights lobby led by the NRA. The vote was 65–31: R 50–2; D 14–29; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 923)

    The fourteen Democrats who voted for the bill were all from states with large rural areas where hunting was popular. Independent James M. Jeffords of Vermont also voted for the legislation, while two Republicans—Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Mike DeWine of Ohio—voted against it.

    The House cleared the bill 283–144 in October.

    9. Surface Transportation Spending

    For the second straight year, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., in 2005 had to contain open defiance within his caucus at the administration's transportation spending policy. Even fiscal conservatives such as James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma, chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, who chaired the Finance Committee, wanted to spend more on highway programs than was acceptable to the administration. (Story, p. 407)

    The long impasse and the vote accepting the eventual compromise showed the enduring power of public works projects for members of Congress, irrespective of their party. Frist was able to claim a victory of sorts for fiscal responsibility because the final conference version of the bill (HR 3) exceeded the administration's request by just $2.5 billion. But the administration had made the task easier at the beginning of 2005 by increasing its request from $256 billion to $284 billion. Also, the bill included an $8.5 billion rescission of prior contract authority that was to become available at the end of fiscal 2009, boosting the available total contract authority at that point and increasing the cost of the bill to $295 billion. The authorization was good through fiscal 2009 and was retroactive to fiscal 2004.

    Frist attempted to set the parameters early by saying that he stood by the administration's $284 billion request and threatening to bar anything more expensive from coming to the floor. But Inhofe said the nation's legitimate transportation needs required far more money and that transportation was one of the few areas where he, as a conservative, felt increased federal spending was justified. His committee sent to the floor a $284 billion package, but supported amending it to increase the authorization to $295 billion.

    Grassley put together a package of tax changes and measures designed to crack down on fuel fraud that supporters claimed fully paid for the additional spending, a proposal quickly attacked by fiscal conservatives as insufficient. Grassley's proposals also drew a veto threat from the White House and warnings from House Republican leaders that they would not survive conference negotiations.

    Those negotiations were predictably difficult. The Senate took a different approach from the House in determining how much highway money each state would receive and in resolving longstanding complaints from the states that collect significantly more in gasoline taxes than they receive back from the government for transportation projects. The final bill was nearly the same as the Senate approach, guaranteeing each state a bonus to ensure by fiscal 2008 a return of at least 92 cents on each dollar contributed to the Highway Trust Fund.

    The House adopted the conference report 412–8 on July 29 and sent it to the Senate. A little more than an hour later, the Senate cleared the measure 91–4: R 48–4; D 42–0; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 923)

    10. Confirmation Of John G. Roberts Jr. as Chief Justice

    After President George W. Bush took office in 2001, conservative and liberal activists alike braced for a major Senate battle over his first Supreme Court nominee. But by the time the nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. to succeed William H. Rehnquist as chief justice reached the Senate floor in September 2005, there was no suspense about the outcome. (Stories, pp. 727, 728, 729)

    Roberts, an accomplished appellate lawyer and federal appeals court judge, was originally nominated to replace centrist Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who announced her retirement July 1 contingent on her successor's confirmation. After Rehnquist died Sept. 3, Bush instead nominated Roberts to succeed the chief justice.

    Roberts performed brilliantly in his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. Given that, and the fact that he was to replace the conservative Rehnquist, many Democrats chose not to heed the urging of liberal activists to vote against him.

    The vote on Roberts marked a turning point in the judicial nomination war that had raged in the Senate since 2003. The filibuster-proof tally was a clear sign that many Senate Democrats lacked the appetite to oppose Bush's pick for the high court for ideological reasons.

    Still, the Sept. 29 vote was historic, infused with more than a little sense of drama. It was the first Senate action on a chief justice nominee since 1986. Many senators had never voted on a Supreme Court nominee; the last high court vacancy occurred in 1994. In recognition of the rarity of the moment, senators voted from their desks as the roll was called, rather than by their usual method of casting their votes in the well. Jane Roberts, the nominee's wife, watched from the gallery.

    Twenty-two Democrats and Independent James M. Jeffords of Vermont joined all Republicans to support Roberts. The vote was 78–22: R 55–0; D 22–22; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 923)

    11. Treatment of Military Detainees

    No proposal caused more waves in Congress in the fall of 2005 than legislation championed by John McCain, R-Ariz., to regulate the treatment of enemy combatants captured and detained by U.S. military forces or law enforcement officers. The proposal resulted in the delay of two major defense bills, a veto threat, and frequent personal visits and phone calls to key lawmakers by Vice President Dick Cheney. The White House repeatedly told lawmakers they must not pass any legislation that would tie the president's hands in the war on terror. (Story, pp. 366, 724, 764.)

    The Republican-controlled Senate responded, but not with the outcome the White House wanted. On Oct. 5, the Senate adopted McCain's amendment 90–9: R 46–9; D 43–0; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 923)

    With such strong bipartisan support, the vote was the most direct slap to the administration on the moral conduct of the war on terrorism since it began four years ago. After a string of prison abuse scandals and questions over the legal rights of detainees, lawmakers agreed with McCain that the policy on handling military detainees should be decided by Congress.

    McCain's amendment, adopted as part of the fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill (HR 2863), banned cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of detainees. It also required military interrogators to use an Army field manual when trying to extract intelligence from suspects. The field manual, under revision at the time of the vote, outlined specific interrogation techniques that complied with the Geneva Conventions. President George W. Bush has argued that the Geneva standards applied to state-sponsored, uniformed soldiers, but not to terrorists.

    McCain, who as a Navy flier during the Vietnam War was shot down, captured, and tortured for five and a half years, told his colleagues that banning the abuse of suspected terrorists was necessary. “They don't deserve our sympathy. But this isn't about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies.” Terrorists do not adhere to anti-torture treaties, McCain said, “but “we're better than them, and we are the stronger for our faith.”

    A member of the Armed Services Committee, McCain initially proposed the language as an amendment to the fiscal 2006 defense authorization bill (S 1042), which was on the Senate floor in July. But Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., pulled the authorization bill, citing more than 200 pending amendments. Frist said debate would take too long, and the Senate turned its attention to legislation that would shield gun makers from liability lawsuits. McCain, however, insisted that his proposal was the primary reason the bill was pulled.

    In October, McCain sought to attach the detainee requirements to the must-pass defense appropriations bill. Frist was among the Republicans who voted in favor of the antiabuse proposal. McCain subsequently won voice vote approval to add the language to the defense authorization bill as well.

    After the House expressed strong support for the amendment in mid-December, Bush backed away from his veto threat. The amendment, with a relatively minor change, was cleared as part of both defense bills.

    12. Redirection of Lawmakers' Earmarks

    The Senate was embarrassed in 2005 by news coverage of its multimillion-dollar appropriations for “bridges to nowhere” on the coast of Alaska, but not enough to threaten the congressional tradition of members earmarking federal projects and programs for their own states. Not long after Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, included the bridge projects at Ketchikan and Anchorage in a highway authorization bill someone noticed that they would connect to lightly settled areas—the Ketchikan bridge would link the town to an island with fifty residents and Ketchikan's airport—and dubbed them bridges to nowhere. (Story, pp. 74, 414.)

    Freshman Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, a staunch fiscal conservative, decided to take action when the fiscal 2006 Transportation-Treasury-Housing appropriations bill came to the Senate floor. “What I am here to tell you is that the rumble against spending is getting louder. People are fed up,” Coburn told his colleagues. “All across the country, Americans are rising up against government overspending.” Coburn proposed removing the $454 million for the bridges and spending it instead to reconstruct a Mississippi River bridge in New Orleans damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

    Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, former chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was incensed at this challenge to the earmark system. “This amendment is an offense to me,” Stevens thundered. “It is not only an offense to me, it is a threat to every person in my state…. It is wrong to do this to any state.”

    If Coburn's amendment were adopted, then money might be shifted from one state to another at will. “I will put the Senate on notice—and I don't kid people,” Stevens said later. “If the Senate decides to discriminate against our state and take money only from our state, I will resign from this body. This is not the Senate I came to. This is not the Senate I devoted thirty-seven years to. If one senator can decide he will take all the money from one state to solve a problem of another, that is not a union. That is not equality and is not treating my state the way I have seen it treated for thirty-seven years.”

    The Senate agreed, and the Oct. 20 vote was a lopsided 15–82: R 11–43; D 4–38; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 923)

    Although the amendment was defeated, it had at least in part the effect Coburn wanted. Media attention to the Alaska bridges increased the pressure on Congress to do something about them. Conferees on the appropriations bill quietly removed the specific funding for the two bridges as part of the final agreement. Instead, the conference report redirected the money to a general fund that the state of Alaska could spend on transportation projects at its discretion.

    This achieved two goals: enabling Coburn and those who campaigned against such projects to declare a victory, while also allowing Stevens and his Alaskan colleagues to save face by keeping the money in their state.

    But there was nothing in the final bill that would prevent the state from simply deciding to allocate money to the two bridges.

    13. Conduct of the War in Iraq

    More than any legislation passed since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Senate vote Nov. 15, 2005, sent a strong message to President George W. Bush that Republicans were losing patience with his “stay the course” argument and were watching the decline in public support for the war with increasing wariness as the 2006 midterm elections approached. The vote also represented Congress' most forceful assertion since the war began that it has authority equal to the administration's in overseeing the conduct of the conflict.

    The vote was on an amendment to the fiscal 2006 defense authorization bill (S 1042), offered by Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and John W. Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Its stated purpose was “to clarify and recommend changes to the policy of the United States on Iraq and to require reports on certain matters related to Iraq.” (Story, pp. 270, 303.)

    The amendment, which was included in the final bill, required the Bush administration to set a schedule for meeting preconditions for a pullout of U.S. troops from Iraq, such as the training of Iraqi security forces. It required quarterly reports to Congress, in which the administration would define the criteria for success in Iraq, including details on the number of Iraqi battalions that must be able to fight independently before U.S. troops can withdraw.

    In addition, in nonbinding “sense of the Senate” language, the amendment declared 2006 as the year that Iraqis should take the lead on their security. It called on the administration to tell Iraqi leaders to make the compromises necessary for political progress, and to explain to the American people what the president has called his “strategy for success.” The Senate adopted the amendment 79–19: R 41–13; D 37–6; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 923)

    Previous legislation had required the administration to provide Congress with reports on its progress in Iraq. The 2005 action required the White House to describe—in unclassified reports available to the public—how conditions in Iraq related to goals for withdrawing U.S. troops. The measure also required classified reports for lawmakers.

    The GOP proposal was nearly identical to a Democratic plan sponsored by Carl Levin of Michigan, ranking member on Armed Services. The only significant difference was that Republicans rejected Democratic language that called for “estimated dates for the phased redeployment of the United States Armed Forces from Iraq.” On Nov. 15, Republicans defeated Levin's version of the amendment 40–58.

    14. USA Patriot Act Reauthorization

    Throughout 2005 a small band of Senate Republicans worked closely with their Democratic colleagues to increase restrictions on surveillance powers granted to the executive branch under the 2001 antiterrorism law known at the Patriot Act. But when it became clear that GOP leaders in the House and Senate, working with the White House, would not go far enough to satisfy critics' concerns about civil liberties protections, a nearly unanimous bloc of Democrats stuck with the small group of Republicans and refused to end a filibuster of the conference report on a bill (HR 3199) to reauthorize sixteen provisions of the law that were set to expire Dec. 31. (Story, p. 222)

    On Dec. 16, two days after the House adopted the conference report on HR 3199, the Senate defeated a motion to invoke cloture, or limit debate, on the report. The action forced President George W. Bush and GOP leaders to do something they vowed they would never do: accept a short-term extension of the law to give negotiators more time to resolve their differences.

    The vote illustrated that four years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the mood of lawmakers had shifted toward recognizing public concerns about civil liberties and the extent of police powers exercised in the fight against terrorism. The vote was taken on the same day The New York Times reported that Bush had authorized warrantless monitoring of international phone calls placed by U.S. citizens.

    The motion to invoke cloture and limit debate on the conference report fell eight votes short of the sixty required for it to succeed. The vote was 52–47: R 50–5; D 2–41; I 0–1. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., switched his vote to “no” in a procedural tactic so he could move to reconsider the vote later. (Vote, p. 923)

    Republicans John E. Sununu of New Hampshire, Larry E. Craig of Idaho, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska joined forty-one Democrats and the Senate's single independent, James M. Jeffords of Vermont, in voting against cloture. Two Democrats—Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Tim Johnson of South Dakota—voted with the Republicans.

    15. Cuts in Mandatory Spending

    Clearing the $38.8 billion budget reconciliation package (S 1932) for fiscal 2006 was a top priority for President George W. Bush and Republican leaders of both chambers in late 2005. The only obstacle as the Senate entered the final day of the session was adoption of the conference report. The spending-cut measure survived, more or less intact, when Vice President Dick Cheney cut short a trip to the Middle East to cast a tie-breaking vote.

    But Democrats spoiled Republican hopes for a pre-adjournment victory on a package of savings from entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and student loans, the first since 1997. The measure was sent back to the House where final action was put off until 2006. (Story, pp. 81, 535.)

    The key vote came on a motion by Judd Gregg, R-N.H., to concur in House amendments on the conference report with a Senate amendment of its own to change programs that would result in a net savings of $38.8 billion over five years. Compared to the original conference agreement, the Senate amendment removed two reporting requirements and a third dealing with Medicaid liability treatment for hospitals. The Senate adopted a motion to concur in the House version of the bill, with its own amendment that amounted to the original conference agreement minus the three stricken provisions. The motion was agreed to with Cheney casting a “yea” vote to break a tie vote of 50–50: R 50–5; D 0–44; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 923)

    The three provisions were deleted before the final Senate vote on the measure Dec. 21 when Kent Conrad, D-N.D., invoked the so-called Byrd Rule, named after Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va. That rule prohibited the inclusion of items in a reconciliation bill that have only an incidental budgetary effect, and sixty votes were required to override the rule. An attempt by Gregg, chairman of the Budget Committee, to waive the rule—and preserve the conference agreement without change—failed on a 52–48 vote.

    But more important, once the Byrd Rule was invoked, the conference report was no longer valid for floor action, and the Senate therefore had to amend the bill and return it to the House, which would then have to accept the Senate's changes in order to clear the measure for the president. Of the three provisions the one that was controversial would have granted hospitals immunity from malpractice lawsuits if they chose not to treat Medicaid recipients who could not afford co-payments. Two other provisions were technical ones.

    Although the language of the conference agreement was largely unchanged when it got over to the House, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., insisted on a roll-call vote. Because most House members had already headed home for the holidays, Republican leaders had little choice but to put off the vote on the slightly altered package until early 2006.

    16. Oil Drilling in Alaska

    Legislation enacted in 1980, PL 96-487, left it up to Congress, not the White House, to decide whether to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas development. Lawmakers rejected ANWR drilling measures over the next several years, until a Republican-led Congress included a provision in a 1995 budget-saving measure to allow energy development in the area. President Bill Clinton vetoed the bill, and a decade later the fight over developing ANWR—fueled by record gasoline prices—was as fierce as ever. (Story, p. 474)

    In recent years leading up to 2005, the Senate consistently blocked ANWR drilling efforts. But Republican gains in the November 2004 election provided additional votes needed to keep an ANWR provision in the fiscal 2006 budget resolution (H Con Res 95). A Democratic attempt to delete it was defeated 49–51 in March. That allowed Republicans to include ANWR drilling in a budget savings bill (S 1932) that was subject to special rules in the Senate. Those rules protected a budget reconciliation bill from a filibuster, which means supporters need only fifty votes to prevail, rather than the sixty needed to overcome a filibuster.

    But in 2005, ANWR supporters ran into difficulty in the House where moderates insisted the language be stripped out of that chamber's version of the reconciliation bill. House GOP leaders said they could not get enough votes for the conference report on the bill if the ANWR provision were included.

    As a result, Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who had been promoting ANWR drilling for decades, agreed to include the provision in the separate conference report on the fiscal 2006 defense spending bill (HR 2863). That measure, which provided $453.5 billion for military spending, including $50 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, was considered legislation Congress had to clear before adjourning for the year.

    In a bid to ensure that the ANWR provision would stick, Stevens tied billions of dollars in expected revenue from ANWR to additional hurricane relief and homeland security programs. He dared Democrats, in effect, to vote against funding for the troops and other popular spending items. The House adopted the conference report 308–106 on Dec. 19.

    Many senators, though, were furious with the treatment given the appropriations bill in conference, where it gained not only the ANWR language but a number of other provisions as well. Because it was no longer protected by Senate budget rules, the ANWR language was now vulnerable to a filibuster and Democrats made it clear they would not accept it. Facing this opposition, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., scheduled a vote to invoke cloture, or limit debate, on the measure.

    The motion came up four votes short of the sixty required for it to succeed. The Dec. 21 vote was 56–44: R 52–3; D 4–40; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 923)

    All but four Democrats—Hawaiians Daniel K. Akaka and Daniel K. Inouye, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska—voted against cloture. They were joined by Republicans Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Mike DeWine of Ohio, as well as Frist, who changed his vote to “no” at the last minute to preserve the option of seeking reconsideration of the vote.

    After an hours-long quorum call, during which leaders worked off the floor to come up with a way to complete work on the defense bill, Frist announced a deal in which the Senate would clear the measure, but would also pass a separate enrolling resolution (S Con Res 74) under which the ANWR language would be removed from the bill. After adopting the resolution 48–45 the Senate cleared the spending bill 93–0 on Dec. 21. President George W. Bush signed the appropriations bill—without ANWR leasing language—Dec. 30.

    2005 Senate Brief Descriptions

    1. S 5. Class Action Overhaul/Passage. Passage of the bill to give federal courts jurisdiction over class action cases involving at least 100 plaintiffs if at least $5 million was at stake and two-thirds of the plaintiffs lived in different states. The bill required judges to review all noncash settlements, such as coupons for goods and services, and limit attorney's fees paid in such settlements. Passed 72–26: R 53–0; D 18–26; I 1–0. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Feb. 10, 2005.

    2. S 256. Bankruptcy Overhaul/Violent Protesters. Schumer, D-N.Y., amendment to prohibit violent protesters, such as antiabortion activists, from escaping court-ordered fines or judgments by filing for bankruptcy protection. The amendment barred such debtors from discharging debts, such as damages, court fines, penalties, citations or attorney fees, incurred from acts of violence or potential acts of violence. Rejected 46–53: R 4–51; D 41–2; I 1–0. March 8, 2005.

    3. Owen Nomination/Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on President George W. Bush's nomination of Priscilla R. Owen of Texas to be a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Motion agreed to 81–18: R 55–0; D 26–17; I 0–1. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. May 24, 2005.

    4. Bolton Nomination/Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on President George W. Bush's nomination of John R. Bolton of Maryland to be the permanent U.S. representative to the United Nations. Motion rejected 56–42: R 53–1; D 3–40; I 0–1. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 26, 2005.

    5. HR 6. Energy Policy/Climate Change. Inhofe, R-Okla., motion to table (kill) the Bingaman, D-N.M., amendment to express the sense of the Senate that Congress should enact a national program of mandatory, market-based limits and incentives on greenhouse gas emissions that slow, stop, and reverse their growth at a rate that would not harm the economy, and would encourage comparable action by other nations. Motion rejected 44–53: R 42–12; D 2–40; I 0–1. (Subsequently, the amendment was adopted by voice vote.) A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 22, 2005.

    6. S 1307. Central American Free-Trade Agreement/Passage. Passage of the bill to implement a free-trade agreement between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and a separate pact with the Dominican Republic. S 1307 eliminated customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations within ten days. Passed 54–45: R 43–12; D 10–33; I 1–0. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 30, 2005.

    7. HR 6. Energy Policy/Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the bill to overhaul the nation's energy policy and provide for $14.6 billion in energy-related tax incentives. It allowed lawsuits involving the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) to be moved to a federal district court and required refiners to annually use 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012. Adopted 74–26: R 49–6; D 25–19; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 29, 2005.

    8. S 397. Gun Liability/Passage. Passage of the bill to bar certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, and importers of firearms and ammunition; principally those lawsuits aimed at making them liable for gun violence. The bill also protected trade groups and dismissed all legal action against gun makers. Passed 65–31: R 50–2; D 14–29; I 1–0. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 29, 2005.

    9. HR3 Surface Transportation Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the bill to bring the total authorization for federal highway, mass transit, safety, and research programs, including fiscal 2004 funding, to $286.5 billion through 2009. The bill increased the rate of return to states on their Highway Trust Fund contributions to 92 percent by fiscal 2008. It made the Transportation Department the lead agency in the environmental review process for transportation projects. Adopted 91–4: R 48–4; D 42–0; I 1–0. July 29, 2005.

    10. Roberts Nomination to Supreme Court. Confirmation of President George W. Bush's nomination of John G. Roberts Jr. of Maryland to be chief justice of the United States. Confirmed 78–22: R 55–0; D 22–22; I 1–0. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 29, 2005.

    11. Interrogation Techniques, Torture. McCain, R-Ariz., amendment to establish the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation as the uniform standard for interrogating persons detained by the Department of Defense and to prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of any prisoner detained by the U.S. government. Adopted 90–9: R 46–9; D 43–0; I 1–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Oct. 5, 2005.

    12. HR 3058. Bridge Funding. Coburn, R-Okla., amendment to the fiscal 2006 transportation spending bill to transfer $125 million in funding from the Ketchikan-Gravina and Knik Arm bridge projects in Alaska to the reconstruction of the Twin Spans Bridge connecting New Orleans and Slidell, La. It placed remaining Alaska bridge funds into a general highway fund for Alaska. Rejected 15–82: R 11–43; D 4–38; I 0–1. Oct. 20, 2005.

    13. S 1042. Iraq Withdrawal. Warner, R-Va., amendment to require the president to submit an unclassified report to Congress ninety days after enactment of the fiscal 2006 defense authorization bill (S 1042) and every three months thereafter on U.S. policy and operations in Iraq. It also states that 2006 should be a period of significant transition to Iraqi sovereignty; that U.S. forces should not remain in Iraq any longer than necessary; and that the administration needs to explain to Congress and the American public the strategy for the completion of the Iraq mission. Adopted 79–19: R 41–13; D 37–6; I 1–0. Nov. 15, 2005.

    14. HR 3199. Patriot Act Reauthorization/Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the conference report on the bill to reauthorize the law known as the Patriot Act, and make permanent fourteen of the sixteen provisions of the act set to expire at the end of the year, and extend for four years the two provisions on access to business and other records and “roving” wiretaps. Motion rejected 52–47: R 50–5; D 2–41; I 0–1. Three- fifths of the total Senate (sixty votes) was required to invoke cloture. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Dec. 16, 2005.

    15. S 1932. Budget Reconciliation. Gregg, R-N.H., motion to concur in the House amendment with a Senate amendment on the bill that would make changes to various programs for a net savings of $38.8 billion over five years. The Senate amendment removed two reporting requirements and language that granted hospitals immunity from malpractice lawsuits if they chose not to treat Medicaid recipients who could not afford co-payments. Motion agreed to 50–50: R 50–5; D 0–44; I 0–1. Vice President Dick Cheney cast a “yea” vote to break the tie A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Dec. 21, 2005.

    16. HR 2863. Defense Appropriations Cloture, ANWR Drilling. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the conference report on the bill to appropriate $453.5 billion for defense spending in fiscal 2006, including $50 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also allowed oil and gas leasing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Motion rejected 56–44: R 52–3; D 4–40; I 0–1. Sixty votes were required to invoke cloture. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Dec. 21, 2005.

    House

    1. Immigration Policy Changes

    Immigration emerged early in 2005 as one of the year's biggest issues. Supporters of tighter borders won an early victory when House Judiciary Committee chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., revived provisions dropped from intelligence overhaul legislation at the end of the 108th Congress and pushed them through to enactment.

    Forty-two House Democrats backed the measure, which showed that even with Republicans split on some aspects of the immigration debate the goal of securing the border was attractive to both parties. (Story, pp. 686, 711.)

    To pass the bill (HR 418), which included new requirements for persons seeking driver's licenses and state ID cards, Republicans set aside issues of states' rights in favor of the higher priority of homeland security.

    The driver's license and other provisions were included in intelligence overhaul legislation in the 108th Congress but were dropped in conference. Sensenbrenner was the only House conferee not to sign the conference agreement. He won assurances that the provisions would be among the first items of business in the 109th Congress, either as a stand-alone bill or attached to another measure.

    The immigration bill included language giving the secretary of homeland security the power to preempt state and federal laws if necessary to construct physical barriers and roads to curb illegal border crossings. The provision was intended to push completion of a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border near San Diego.

    Critics said the provision was wildly out of proportion to the problem. The preemption applied to any local, state, or federal laws—whether governing child labor, competition for federal contracts, or environmental protection—that would impede physical barriers to curb illegal border crossings. An attempt by Sam Farr, D-Calif., to remove the provision was rejected 179–243.

    Some members, echoing the concerns of state governors, argued that the driver's license requirement was an unfunded mandate and would draw states into the expensive role of enforcing immigration laws.

    But concerns for national security and anger over the leaky southern border prevailed. The House Feb. 10 passed Sensenbrenner's bill 261–161: R 219–8; D 42–152; I 0–1. Most of the measure was subsequently incorporated into the fiscal 2005 emergency supplemental appropriations bill, which President George W. Bush signed into law in May. (Vote, p. 932)

    2. Terri Schiavo Litigation

    Three days into Congress's spring recess in 2005, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., summoned members back to Washington for a vote that would become symbolic in the continuing struggle between social conservatives and liberals and libertarians. It also stoked public dissatisfaction with Congress.

    In 1990 a Florida woman, Terri Schiavo, suffered severe brain damage after her heart briefly stopped. Doctors declared her to be in a persistent vegetative state, and her husband, Michael Schiavo, tried to stop life support, saying it was in accordance with her wishes.

    But Terri Schiavo did not have a living will, a document outlining her treatment preferences. A legal battle ensued between Michael Schiavo and his wife's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, who believed she might recover. After various Florida courts considered and rejected the Schindlers' arguments over a seven-year span, Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed March 18. (Stories, pp. 551, 862.)

    But the case had become a cause célèbre for social conservatives. They argued that Schiavo, much like a fetus, was a person with a “right to life” but incapable of speaking for herself and deserving of the government's protection. Republicans, seeing an opportunity to support an important part of the party's base, brought Congress into the controversy. As Schiavo's condition began to deteriorate after removal of her feeding tube, the Senate passed a bill (S 686) to give the Schindlers access to federal courts for a final consideration of their daughter's case. The Senate passed the bill by voice vote March 20.

    A handful of House Democrats, opposed to congressional intervention in matters they believed were family concerns, objected to a voice vote on the bill in that chamber. Republican leaders called members back to town for a roll call vote the morning of March 21.

    President George W. Bush, expecting that the House would clear the bill, returned to Washington from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, to sign it, bringing public attention to the controversy.

    As the vote neared its conclusion, Republican members clapped when the tally reached 218—a quorum, that ensured enough members were present to pass the bill. The bill was considered under suspension of the rules, which required a two-thirds majority (174) for approval. The final tally was 203–58: R 156–5; D 47–53; I 0–0. Many Democrats, wary of the 2004 elections in which social issues such as gay marriage were perceived to have played an important role, voted for the bill while expressing discomfort with the precedent it set. (Vote, p. 932)

    Bush signed the bill into law an hour later, but the Republicans' effort came to naught. Schiavo's case quickly went to the Supreme Court, which on March 24 declined to hear the appeal. She died a week later.

    GOP leaders faced an unexpected political backlash. Senate majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., had questioned Schiavo's diagnosis on the Senate floor after watching a videotape of her apparently responding to “visual stimuli” such as a floating balloon, but an autopsy confirmed that she was not only severely brain-damaged but also blind.

    Various polls showed that most Americans, including a majority of Republicans, disapproved of Congress's action in the case.

    3. House Ethics Regulations

    In an unusual retreat in the face of Democratic criticism, House Republicans on April 27, 2005, voted to reverse three changes in ethics rules they had pushed through on the opening day of the session. The changes had been made to help lawmakers such as Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who had been admonished three times by the ethics committee in the previous Congress. But it was the growing number of questions about DeLay's conduct, and the political damage it might cause his party, that led Republicans to reverse their decision. (Story, p. 815)

    The short-lived rules changes specified that any complaint against a House member would die after forty-five days unless the committee had voted by then to proceed with an investigation. Previously, the ethics panel, known formally as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, had to make a decision on a complaint for it to either expire or proceed.

    The House in January also gave members who were the object of an investigation the right to respond to the committee's conclusions before a decision was made final or publicly announced. Republicans said they devised this change to prevent the ethics committee from catching a member off-guard with an admonishment or other punishment.

    A third change codified what had been an occasional practice of permitting one attorney to represent multiple members involved in an ethics case. Democrats on the committee wanted to prohibit such a move, saying it allowed the subject of a complaint to collaborate with witnesses via a single attorney and made it impossible for the panel to properly investigate a charge.

    Democrats condemned the changes as soon as they were made in January, but Republicans largely ignored their objections. Then, in March, Democrats on the evenly divided ethics committee refused to vote for a proposed set of procedural rules for the 109th Congress, leaving the panel in procedural limbo and unable to conduct investigations.

    The committee's ranking Democrat, Alan B. Mollohan of West Virginia, had meanwhile gathered 208 co-sponsors, including three Republicans, for a resolution (H Res 131) to reverse the three ethics rule changes. Mollohan threatened to file a discharge petition that, if he could get 218 signatures, would bring his resolution directly to the floor.

    At that point, Republican leaders decided the ethics impasse and bad publicity were not worth the fight. At a conference meeting with rank-and-file members the morning of April 27, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., defended the rules changes as “fair for all members,” but said, “We need to move the ethics process forward.” Republicans leaving the conference said Hastert told them the best course of action would be to reverse the rules changes.

    Almost all of them ultimately agreed. Many said they simply followed the direction of Hastert, who told them it was time to end the stalemate. Other Republicans said they had come to oppose some or all of the rules changes.

    The House adopted the rules changes by a vote of 406–20: R 208–20; D 197–0; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 932)

    The vote was one of the first of a series of strategic victories for Democrats. On June 30, they forced Republicans on the ethics committee to retreat once again on disputed staffing issues. Democrats prevailed in an effort to hire only nonpartisan professionals to work on the committee.

    4. Federal Stem Cell Research

    Republican moderates in 2005 held House majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to a promise that he would hold a vote before summer on a bill (HR 810) by Michael N. Castle, R-Del., to expand the number of stem cell lines available to federally funded researchers by allowing them to work on lines derived from surplus embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics. (Story, p. 542)

    An executive order issued by President George W. Bush on Aug. 21, 2001, allowed federally funded scientists to conduct research only on stem cell lines that existed before that date. The National Institutes of Health estimated twenty-two such lines were viable for research, though they were contaminated and probably would not be usable for medical treatments.

    Supporters of the bill campaigned among their colleagues, stressing that days-old embryos, which have the ability to morph into almost any other kind of cell in the body, showed much promise to cure diseases such as Parkinson's and some cancers.

    In an effort to derail the legislation, GOP leaders and conservatives who opposed the research because it required the destruction of an embryo, backed an alternative bill (HR 2520) by Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J. Smith's bill encouraged the use of stem cells, sometimes referred to as “adult stem cells,” taken from umbilical cords after birth. Stem cells found in umbilical cord blood were less elastic because they come from specific tissue and were used mainly in treating blood disorders. House leaders hoped Smith's bill would enable members who faced pressure from their constituents to cast a “pro–stem cell” vote without relaxing Bush's restrictions on research using embryos.

    Supporters of Castle's bill said they did not oppose Smith's measure, but contended that it did not address the need for funding research on embryonic cells. The moderate Republican Main Street Partnership launched a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign in support of Castle's bill that highlighted former first lady Nancy Reagan's support for embryonic research.

    The floor debate May 24 demonstrated the emotion and personal experiences that influenced members' votes and led many Republicans to disregard their leadership to support Castle's bill.

    Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, noted that his antiabortion voting record stood at 100 percent until 2005, but said he backed the embryonic stem cell bill because of his father, who has diabetes, and a brother, who had liver cancer. Antiabortion Democrat Jim Langevin of Rhode Island, who was paralyzed as a teenager, and Lane Evans, D-Ill., who had Parkinson's disease, made personal pleas to allow federal funding for embryonic research.

    Opponents made equally emotional appeals. Twenty-one children were escorted around the Capitol to illustrate the use of surplus embryos to help infertile couples. The youths were born to mothers from surplus frozen embryos donated by other couples. “The best one can say about embryonic stem cell research is it is a scientific exploration into the potential benefits of killing human beings,” said DeLay, who along with the rest of the House GOP leadership voted against Castle's bill.

    Although Bush had reiterated his veto threat, Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said leaders wanted members to vote their consciences. When the vote was finished, fifty Republicans had broken with their leadership. The House passed Castle's bill 238–194: R 50–180; D 187–14; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 932)

    The tally fell short of the 290 votes that would be needed to override a veto if all members of the House were present and voting, but supporters expressed hope that a compromise could be reached. Although the Senate did not take up the Castle bill in the first session, the cord blood bill was subsequently cleared.

    5. Limits on Federal Search Powers

    Weeks before the House took up legislation in 2005 to reauthorize expiring provisions of the Patriot Act, a group of Republicans joined every House Democrat save one in making a bold—though ultimately symbolic—gesture toward limiting one of the law's most contentious provisions. Section 215 of the Patriot Act allowed FBI investigators to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents and other items)” as part of a terrorism investigation once they get a warrant from a top-secret court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). (Story, p. 236)

    The section was one of sixteen provisions of the antiterrorism law that were scheduled to expire at the end of 2005. The White House pressed Congress to make all sixteen permanent as part of a bill reauthorizing the act.

    Civil liberties advocates, the American Conservative Union, librarians, doctors, business groups, gun rights advocates, and former Georgia GOP Rep. Bob Barr (1995–2003) spent much of the year lobbying hard to keep the provision out of the Patriot Act reauthorization or, short of that, to exempt certain records and minimize access.

    On June 15, the administration's effort suffered a bipartisan blow during House debate on the fiscal 2006 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill (HR 2862). Not waiting for the Patriot Act debate, Vermont independent Bernard Sanders offered an amendment to bar use of money in the bill to seek a FISA court order to seize library circulation records, library patron lists, book sales records, or bookseller customer lists.

    Defying a White House veto threat, 38 Republicans and 199 Democrats supported Sanders, pushing his amendment to approval by a vote of 238–187: R 38–186; D 199–1; I 1–0. Dan Boren of Oklahoma was the only Democrat to vote against the amendment. (Vote, p. 932)

    Sanders won more votes than he had with a similar amendment the previous year, when he lost 210–210. He noted that the 2004 amendment had drawn some opposition from members who did not like the fact that it would have barred FBI access to library Internet records. Sanders dropped that provision in the 2005 version.

    The vote was perceived as a snub to the White House and a small victory for those arguing for more balance between the need to find terrorists and the desire to protect civil liberties. “A number of conservatives voted conservatively today, and ‘conservative' means limited government,” said Sanders, one of the most liberal members of the House, who pumped his arm in the air to applause as he left the chamber.

    The provision was short-lived. When the House passed a bill (HR 3199) in July to renew the sixteen expiring Patriotic Act provisions, the power to seize library and bookstore records was intact. It survived in conference, though the provision was one of two that were accorded a four-year extension; the rest were made permanent.

    Nevertheless, the vote on Sanders' amendment suggested that reauthorizing the Patriot Act would be controversial.

    6. Military Sales to China

    The intense, last-minute lobbying around legislation than start as a noncontroversial bill to tighten sanctions on illegal arms sales to China highlighted Congress' continued dilemma on China policy: how to punish the Asian nation's anticompetitive business practices and arms trade while not jeopardizing U.S. commerce with it.

    The bill (HR 3100) was designed to discourage European countries from lifting their embargoes on military trade with China. “The bill is not intended to be punitive; its primary purpose is deterrence,” said Henry J. Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the International Relations Committee and the bill's sponsor. It required the administration to annually report the names of countries that permit trade in military material with China and required an export license before any U.S. company could send military goods to such countries. The president could apply a range of sanctions against countries selling arms to China, including denying licenses for “dual use” goods—those that have both civilian and potential military applications—barring their participation in research projects or prohibiting them from owning U.S. defense companies.

    Both Republicans and Democrats initially supported the legislation, and House leaders brought it to the floor under a suspension of the rules, a procedure used for noncontroversial bills that required a two-thirds vote for passage. Just two weeks earlier, the House had overwhelmingly adopted an amendment and a resolution expressing concern that the China National Offshore Oil Corp. Ltd. was trying to buy Unocal, a U.S. oil company, for $18.5 billion. (Sales to China, p. 296; Unocal, p. 241)

    But House leaders underestimated the opposition from the defense industry, which had companies and manufacturing plants in many congressional districts. Defense manufacturers said the bill punished companies for selling dual-use products to China. Defense contractors such as Boeing Co. did not want to be punished for selling aircraft parts to commercial companies in China if those parts ended up on military jets.

    When the roll call began July 14, the bill appeared headed for easy passage. But Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., the chairman of the Small Business Committee, was at work on the floor, trying to persuade his colleagues to change their votes.

    Manzullo, whose district includes aircraft and machine parts manufacturers, worked both sides of the aisle, telling members that the legislation was a bad deal. He circulated a flyer drawn up by defense contractors saying “passage of this bill means that Boeing and other aircraft manufacturers will sell fewer planes overseas.”

    In rapid sequence, dozens of lawmakers, worried that the bill could unintentionally punish defense contractors who do business with European companies that in turn sell to China, began to change their votes. What had been scheduled as a five-minute vote was held open for twenty-three minutes, but the measure failed to get the necessary two-thirds majority. The vote was 215–203: R 118–106; D 96–97; 1–0. (Vote, p. 932)

    A revised version of the measure was later attached to the State Department authorization bill (HR 2601) passed by the House in July. The amended version would still monitor European governments or companies that sell military hardware or technology to China, but would punish U.S. companies only if they knew their products would ultimately be used for military purposes. The bill went no further.

    7. Central American Trade Liberalization

    Hours before leaving for a month-long recess in August 2005, the House voted to pass a bill implementing a free-trade accord between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, plus a parallel agreement with the Dominican Republic. (Story, p. 202)

    The vote on the Central American accord, or CAFTA, was a referendum on U.S. trade policy, and a test both of President George W. Bush's power and GOP party loyalty amid growing congressional partisanship and skepticism on trade.

    Although the bill (HR 3045) was a marquee piece for the president's trade agenda, it took all of the wiles of then–Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, to twist enough arms to eke out a two-vote victory margin. The close vote suggested that GOP members were increasingly wary about trade pacts, carefully weighing the potential impact on their districts with the goals and desires of the president. Bush even made a rare appearance before the House Republican Conference the morning of the vote, and several members of the cabinet spent part of the day on Capitol Hill helping to convince reluctant lawmakers.

    Democratic support for CAFTA was almost nonexistent. Analysts saw that as evidence of a backlash Democrats felt after a large number from their party supported NAFTA, the North American Free-Trade Agreement, in 1993.

    The Senate acted first to give momentum to the House, but even there the vote was a relatively close 54–45. (Senate key vote, p. 917)

    The voting began in the House shortly after 11 p.m. on July 27 and did not end until well after midnight when the bill passed 217–215: R 202–27; D 15–187; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 932)

    Almost until the end, a small but vital bloc of Republicans remained concerned that beleaguered domestic textile and apparel makers would be wiped out by imports of Chinese-made goods that they said could slip into the United States duty-free under CAFTA.

    The administration had argued vigorously that, if anything, CAFTA would strengthen the bond between U.S. textile mills and Central American apparel factories. Just the same, U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman promised to go back into the accord later to amend three textile provisions to prevent circumvention by the Chinese, winning over a handful of textile state members just days before the vote.

    Additional maneuvering was required even as debate got under way. Robert B. Aderholt, R-Ala., received a letter from Portman and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez pledging administration help to protect sock makers from import surges possible under CAFTA and other trade pacts, support for an application by the Hosiery Technology Center for a Commerce Department export grant, and a commitment to work with the Pentagon to encourage purchase of U.S.-made socks only.

    Another trouble spot was the concern that a modest increase in sugar imports permitted by CAFTA would undermine domestic producers and cost U.S. jobs. An administration proposal to use commodity swaps to contain additional sugar imports for the remaining two years of the current farm bill and to undertake a study of government initiatives to spur production of ethanol made from sugar helped win the votes of Dave Camp, R-Mich., Adam H. Putnam, R-Fla., and Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., among others. But Mark Foley, R-Fla., and several Louisiana lawmakers remained skeptical. Foley called his eventual decision to vote for the CAFTA bill a “gut wrencher.”

    One final issue involved demonstrating more resolve in countering unfair trade practices by China. Phil English, R-Pa., pressed for floor action on a bill (HR 3283) to strengthen U.S. enforcement of trade rules against China. He estimated that as many as ten Republicans agreed to vote for CAFTA after the House passed the China bill earlier in the day.

    A half-hour after the nominal fifteen-minute roll call vote on the CAFTA bill began, the count froze at 214–211 in favor. Eight Republicans who had either expressed opposition to CAFTA or said they were reluctant to support it had not cast their votes. About midnight, DeLay and GOP leaders persuaded Robin Hayes of North Carolina to switch his vote from no to yes. DeLay then persuaded two of the hesitant Republicans to vote for the trade agreement and allowed the rest to cast last-minute votes against it.

    Only 15 Democrats voted yes, a sharp contrast to the 102 Democrats who had supported President Bill Clinton on the 1993 NAFTA vote. Democrats' opposition was based in part on their concerns that the CAFTA agreement was a lost opportunity to improve on the NAFTA model and raise labor and environmental standards in developing countries. But Republicans claimed that those “no” votes were simply a partisan effort to weaken Bush.

    8. Energy Policy Conference Report

    It took four years, but record fuel prices gave Congress the motivation in 2005 to pass energy legislation similar to proposals from President George W. Bush in 2001. The final bill (HR 6) emphasized greater production of domestic energy, a central element of the Bush proposal. But to get the bill through the Senate, the White House had to forgo the centerpiece of its energy plan, drilling for oil and natural gas in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). In addition, House Republican leaders gave up one of their top priorities: liability protection for the oil companies that made the fuel additive MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), which has been found to contaminate some groundwater. (Story, p. 447)

    For two years running, MTBE liability had blocked final action on an energy bill as House members from oil-producing states, led by then–Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, demanded that it be included, while a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans demanded that it be dropped.

    Although the administration lost on energy exploration in the Alaska wilderness, it was successful in reducing the cost of tax breaks and other incentives in the legislation to about half those sought by GOP congressional leaders in past years.

    In one of the most significant energy votes in decades, the House adopted the conference report on the omnibus energy bill July 28 by a vote of 275–156: R 200–31; D 75–124; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 932; Senate key vote on energy, p. 918)

    The House had passed other energy bills several times dating back to 2001 only to see them bog down in the Senate, where sponsors had trouble winning the sixty votes necessary to beat filibuster threats from senators upset by what they considered a bias in the legislation toward energy companies.

    But in 2005 DeLay and fellow Texas Republican Joe L. Barton, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, dropped their insistence that the bill include liability relief for the makers of MTBE, which has been used since the 1970s but became more prevalent after federal clean fuel requirements in the early 1990s. Like ethanol, MTBE was used to make gasoline burn more completely, helping to lower harmful tailpipe emissions. But it also has been found to contaminate groundwater where it has leaked from storage tanks. Some lawmakers, including northeastern Republicans, worried that the liability protection would leave their states to pay for the cleanup.

    Unlike previous years, House leaders also won support for the measure by holding down the cost of its tax incentives, which in past years had exceeded $30 billion. That had been a point of criticism from fiscal conservatives and the White House in 2005. The conference agreement provided $14.6 billion in tax breaks and credits between 2005 and 2015.

    To help deliver the bill, House Republicans agreed to drop language to open ANWR to energy exploration. GOP leaders shifted the provision to other legislation, first a spending-cut package (S 1932) and later a Defense appropriations bill (HR 2863), but those maneuvers also failed.

    9. Surface Transportation Spending

    It took more than two years and four congressional sessions, but the House on July 29, 2005, adopted the conference report on a bill (HR 3) reauthorizing the nation's highway and public transit programs. The House and Senate had reached the conference stage on a six-year reauthorization bill in 2004, but the negotiators could not get beyond disputes among members over how to divide up highway money, and with the White House over the total cost of the bill (Story, p. 40 7).

    In 2005 Congress finally settled for less money than it wanted; the Bush administration settled for more. The agreement gave a larger share of highway funds to fast-growing states, mainly in the South and Southwest, that argued they had been shortchanged by the previous highway law. In another victory for those states, the House agreed to deduct from each state's formula highway funds any money it received for earmarked projects—a blow to influential lawmakers, such as Don Young, R-Alaska, the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who were adroit at getting such projects for their states.

    The final $286.5 billion bill contained more than 5,100 earmarks, reflecting the perennial popularity of highway spending among lawmakers. While the overwhelming majority were for road projects, some were for museums and other amenities not related to traffic. Watchdog groups and fiscal conservatives used the bill and the vote as symbols of the inability of either Republicans or Democrats to exercise self-restraint when it came to home-state public works projects.

    President Bush had for two years demanded that Congress authorize no more than $256 billion for surface transportation programs, while lawmakers were thinking more in the range of $319 billion to as much as $375 billion. The administration made a more realistic deal early in 2005 when it lifted its bottom-line demand to $284 billion—close to the compromise amount conferees had been negotiating in 2004 and just $2.5 billion away from the final figure.

    Befitting the tortuous path the legislation had followed since the previous surface transportation law expired in September 2003, the final days of negotiations featured marathon sessions to draft language and frustrating snags that developed each time the bill drew close to final action.

    Only eight dissidents were prepared to vote against the conference report when it reached the House floor July 29. Six of them were members of the Republican Study Committee, a group of fiscal and social conservatives frustrated with GOP leaders and the White House over spending issues. The House adopted the conference report and sent it to the Senate by a vote of 412–8: R 217–8; D 194–0; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 932)

    10. Endangered Species Policy Rewrite

    Congress in 2005 attempted to resolve long-simmering controversy over the application and reach of the Endangered Species Act, which environmentalists had championed for years and land owners had continually attacked. A bill to revise the act was passed in the House, but went no further. (Story, p. 481)

    Rep. Richard W. Pombo, R-Calif., had been fighting environmentalists for years over the law, arguing that it harmed private property owners while doing little to aid the recovery of threatened animal and plant species. In 2005 Pombo changed course somewhat and found a new, albeit limited, source of support among Democrats, many of them from western states where the endangered species program had faced considerable opposition. As a result, Pombo persuaded the House to pass the most extensive changes to the species protection program since the law was last reauthorized in 1988.

    As chairman of the House Resources Committee, Pombo spent several months negotiating with committee Democrats before releasing a detailed bill (HR 3824) in September. The bipartisan effort paid off Sept. 22, when eight Democrats joined all but two Republicans to approve the bill in committee.

    The bill required the use of peer-reviewed science in federal regulatory decisions and required compensation for landowners affected by federal conservation efforts. It also eliminated a requirement that the government designate and protect critical habitat within a year of listing a species as endangered. Instead, the government would have to come up with a recovery plan, keeping in mind habitat and cost.

    Opponents of the bill argued that the recovery plans might not be enforceable on private landowners or other government agencies. Environmental groups, which for years have sued the government for failing to designate critical habitat as required under existing law, said habitat protection was a critical component of any long-term recovery plan. They declared the bill a frontal assault on a landmark law that, despite its problems, has kept alive most of the species it aimed to protect.

    Democrats attracted some bipartisan support for a substitute amendment that emphasized recovery planning on federal lands, while promoting technical assistance and grants for private property owners who cooperate on federal conservation programs. Twenty-nine Republicans joined Democrats on the vote but the amendment failed 206–216.

    Pombo succeeded in offsetting the Republican votes he lost with support by thirty-six Democrats, many from western and midwestern states. The bill passed Sept. 29, 229–193: R 193–34; D 36–158; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 932)

    The bill did not advance in the Senate. It was sent to an Environment and Public Works subcommittee chaired by Lincoln Chafee, a Rhode Island Republican who often sides with Democrats on environmental issues.

    11. Treatment of Military Detainees

    In an overwhelming vote Dec. 14, 2005, the House demonstrated its support for a proposal by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to ban the use of torture on prisoners held in U.S. custody. The timing of the vote and the compelling margin of victory appeared to force President George W. Bush to back away from his months-long opposition to McCain's initiative. (Story, pp. 336, 724, 764)

    The president's compromise with McCain ended an internecine battle in Republican ranks over how to respond to reports of abuse that had tarnished America's image and complicated efforts to win the war of ideas against radical Islamic terrorists. The political conflict in Washington pitted the president against lawmakers who ordinarily stood with him, including McCain, who was a victim of torture in Vietnam and the man Bush had defeated for the Republican nomination in the hard-fought primaries of 2000.

    McCain's amendment banned “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment of detainees, and made an Army field manual on interrogations the standard for Defense Department handling of prisoners. McCain had won a 90–9 vote in early October to attach the language to the Senate version of the spending bill. For good measure, the Senate agreed by voice vote in early November to add it to the defense authorization bill (HR 1815) as well. (Senate key vote, p. 919)

    The House was voting on a “motion to instruct” its conferees on the fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill (HR 2863) to retain McCain's provision. Such motions are not binding, but the force of this one was undeniable. In a House where Republicans typically move in lockstep, more than 100 of them defied the president on the torture vote. The motion was agreed to 308–122: R 107–121; D 200–1; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 932)

    Bush was so opposed to the amendment that he threatened to veto the two military bills in the middle of a war. Bush dispatched Vice President Dick Cheney to try to persuade McCain to create an exemption for the CIA, but the lobbying campaign backfired. It created the impression that the administration was in favor of torture, or at least opposed to Congress passing a law against it.

    National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley soon replaced Cheney in the talks with McCain, and Bush spoke with the senator about the amendment on several occasions. Meanwhile, McCain negotiated with Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who sided with the administration and had his own ideas on changes he thought could improve McCain's amendment in the defense authorization bill.

    With all of those talks, described by one aide as “a three-ring circus,” going nowhere, the two massive defense bills were stalled going into December. On Dec. 14, House Republican leaders finally named conferees on the appropriations bill, clearing the way for John P. Murtha, D-Pa., to offer his motion to instruct the conferees.

    The day after the highly publicized House vote, Bush invited McCain and Sen. John W. Warner, R-Va., to the White House to announce a compromise on the detainee amendment. McCain had not budged on his provision, but he agreed to additional language allowing U.S. interrogators—whether they work for the Defense Department, the CIA, the FBI, or a contractor—to have the same legal protections that U.S. military personnel are accorded.

    The language was cleared as part of both the defense spending and defense authorization bills.

    12. Cuts in Mandatory Spending

    At the start of 2005, Republican leaders vowed to slow the growth of mandatory entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and student loans for the first time since 1997, and the House brought them close to achieving their goal. Despite having no Democratic support, they put themselves in position to clear a $38.8 billion savings package (S 1932) in early 2006. (Story, pp. 81, 535)

    The effort was hanging in the balance in the pre-dawn hours of Dec. 19. House and Senate negotiators had labored into the night to reconcile a $35 billion Senate plan and a far different $50 billion House package. A deal was announced, then altered, as new objections arose and leaders sought to ensure they had enough support before a final vote.

    Negotiations had been stalled for days because of an impasse over efforts to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling. House Republican moderates vowed to oppose any bill with the ANWR provision, and Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, a member of the conference committee, vowed to oppose any bill without it.

    Stevens relented during a final weekend of negotiations once House and Senate leaders agreed to try to enact the ANWR provisions by attaching them to the fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill (HR 2863) instead, a plan that ultimately failed. On the evening of Dec. 18, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., announced that conferees had agreed on a $41.6 billion budget savings package. But after midnight, Hastert and Senate negotiators had to shrink the package to $38.8 billion to secure the votes of Ohio lawmakers who threatened to scuttle the overall deal unless oxygen tank manufacturers, including a major Ohio company, were protected from planned cuts to Medicare. The 774-page conference report was filed well after midnight. The vote came shortly after 6 a.m. on Dec. 19, with a number of lawmakers in both parties already having left town for the winter recess.

    But with the backing of enough moderates, GOP leaders managed a 212–206 victory: R 212–9; D 0–196; I 0–1. The vote turned out to be largely devoid of suspense, even though all of the Democrats who showed up voted no. (Vote, p. 932)

    House leaders had won a narrower 217–215 vote shortly before 2 a.m. Nov. 18 on their original package, which contained deeper cuts and fewer spending plums.

    The final vote was a triumph for the House leadership team, which overcame months of doubt about its ability to deliver votes for the budget package in the face of the criminal indictment of former majority leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, low poll ratings, carping by some moderates, and unusually united Democratic opposition.

    Yet the victory came at a cost, with House leaders unable to deliver on the $45 billion savings goal they had announced for the conference report. House and Senate moderates had forced leaders to abandon plans to cut off 250,000 recipients from food stamps and to shrink cuts planned for child support enforcement and welfare. Meanwhile, House leaders refused to go along with a Senate plan to eliminate a $10 billion subsidy for companies included as part of the new Medicare drug benefit. The Senate cut had prompted a veto threat.

    Alongside the budget cuts came a number of sweeteners to win votes, including $7.3 billion to prevent doctors from receiving a 4.4 percent Medicare pay cut, $2.1 billion to extend Medicaid to hurricane victims, $1 billion to continue a milk subsidy for two years, $1 billion in home heating subsidies for the poor, and $1.5 billion for digital television converters for analog televisions.

    The bill did not clear, however. A procedural maneuver by Senate Democrats required an additional vote in the House. House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., refused a quick voice vote before the holidays, saying she wanted to force a vote “in the light of day.”

    Democrats and their allies vowed to renew pressure on House GOP moderates who supported the conference report to change their minds. Still, after a long night of waiting and deal making, GOP leaders declared victory.

    2005 House Brief Descriptions

    1. HR 418. Immigration Bill Passage. Passage of the bill to tighten national standards for state driver's licenses and identity cards, make it more difficult for foreign nationals to claim asylum, and authorize the completion of a security fence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Passed 261–161: R 219–8; D 42–152; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Feb. 10, 2005.

    2. S 686. Schiavo Medical Care Passage. Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill to give the parents of Theresa Marie Schiavo, a severely brain-damaged Florida woman, the right to file a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida alleging that Schiavo's rights related to life-sustaining medical treatment had been violated under the Constitution or federal law. Motion agreed to, thus clearing the bill for the president, 203–58: R 156–5; D 47–53; I 0–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (174 in this case) was required for passage under suspension of the rules. March 21, 2005.

    3. H Res 240. House Rules Changes. Approval of a resolution repealing three changes to House rules, made at the beginning of the 109th Congress in January, dealing with ethics committee procedures, including a rule that allowed the automatic dismissal of an ethics complaint that is not disposed of by the committee within forty-five days. Adopted 406–20: R 208–20; D 197–0; I 1–0. April 27, 2005.

    4. HR 810. Stem Cell Research. Passage of the bill to allow the use of federal funds in research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from surplus embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics if donors give their consent and are not paid for the embryos. The bill authorized the Health and Human Services Department to conduct and support research involving human embryonic stem cells that meet certain criteria, regardless of when the stem cells were derived from a human embryo. Passed 238–194: R 50–180; D 187–14; I 1–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 24, 2005.

    5. HR 2862. Surveillance of Library Records. Sanders, I-Vt., amendment to the fiscal 2006 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill to prohibit the use of funds to make an application under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to acquire library circulation records, library patron lists, bookseller sales records, or bookseller customer lists. Adopted 238–187: R 38–186; D 199–1; I 1–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 15, 2005.

    6. HR 3100. Military Sales to China. Hyde, R-Ill., motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill to require the president to report to Congress 180 days after the bill's enactment, and yearly thereafter, identifying European or other entities that have exported any arms or dual-use technology to China for military use since Jan. 1, 2005. Motion rejected 215–203: R 118–106; D 96–97; I 1–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (279 in this case) was required for passage under suspension of the rules. July 14, 2005.

    7. HR 3045. Central American Free-Trade Agreement. Passage of the bill to implement a free-trade agreement between the United States and Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua and a separate pact with the Dominican Republic. HR 3045 also eliminated customs duties on all originating goods traded among the participating nations within ten days. Passed 217–215: R 202–27; D 15–187; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 28, 2005.

    8. HR6. Energy Policy Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on legislation to overhaul the nation's energy policy and provide for $14.6 billion in energy-related tax incentives. Included were provisions allowing lawsuits involving the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether to be moved to a federal district court, requiring refiners to annually use 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012, granting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction over reliability standards for electricity transmission networks, and extending daylight-saving time by one month. Adopted 275–156: R 200–31; D 75–124; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 28, 2005.

    9. HR 3. Surface Transportation Reauthorization Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on legislation to bring total authorization for federal highway, mass transit, safety, and research programs, including fiscal 2004 funding, to $286.5 billion through 2009. The bill increased the rate of return to states on their Highway Trust Fund contributions to 92 percent by fiscal 2008 and made the Transportation Department the lead agency in the environmental review process for transportation projects. Adopted 412–8: R 217–8; D 194–0; I 1–0. July 29, 2005.

    10. HR 3824. Endangered Species Act Overhaul Passage. Passage of the bill to overhaul and reauthorize the Endangered Species Act through 2010. The legislation replaced the critical habitat designation with expanded authority to develop recovery plans for species. It also required the Interior Department to reimburse landowners who were not allowed to develop their land because of protections for endangered species, and it authorized grants for private landowners to protect endangered species. Passed 229–193: R 193–34; D 36–158; I 0–1. Sept. 29, 2005.

    11. HR 2863. Intelligence Interrogation Methods. Murtha, D-Pa., motion to instruct House conferees on the fiscal 2006 defense appropriations bill to include Senate-passed language to establish the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation as the uniform standard for interrogating persons detained by the Department of Defense, and prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment of any prisoner detained by the U.S. government. Motion agreed to 308–122: R 107–121; D 200–1; I 1–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Dec. 14, 2005.

    12. S 1932. Budget Reconciliation Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the bill to make changes to programs for a net savings of $38.8 billion over five years. The total included savings of roughly $12.7 billion from the student loan program, $1.5 billion from aid to states to enforce child support payments, and $4.8 billion from Medicaid. The bill provided $2.1 billion in hurricane assistance, authorized an additional $1 billion for low-income energy assistance, and provided $7.3 billion to avoid a scheduled Medicare reimbursement cut to physicians. Adopted 212–206: R 212–9; D 0–196; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Dec. 19, 2005.

    2006 Key Votes
    Senate

    1. Confirmation of Samuel A. Alito Jr. to Supreme Court

    Federal appeals court judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. was President George W. Bush's third choice to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. He also was the nominee who drew the most opposition from liberal activists. (Story, pp. 727, 728, 729)

    Bush nominated Alito on Oct. 31, 2005, to replace O'Connor, who was retiring. John G. Roberts Jr. had been Bush's original choice to succeed her, but after Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died in September 2005, the president nominated Roberts to fill that seat. Bush withdrew his second choice, White House counsel Harriet Miers, after his socially conservative supporters protested that they could not be sure her rulings coincide with their views.

    Although the White House wanted a vote on Alito in 2005, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., did not schedule confirmation hearings until Jan. 9, 2006. Democrats challenged the nomination on numerous fronts during Alito's five-day hearing, but he carefully avoided giving opponents grounds they could use to derail his nomination.

    Republicans wanted the committee vote on Alito in time to schedule a floor vote on the nomination by Bush's State of the Union address Jan. 31. But Democratic resistance delayed the panel's vote until Jan. 24. On that day, the Judiciary Committee approved Alito 10–8, an unusually close outcome for a Supreme Court nomination.

    As Democrats began lining up against Alito, Republicans warned that they would remember that opposition the next time a Democratic president nominated a Supreme Court justice. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., tried to schedule a confirmation vote Jan. 27. But Massachusetts Democrats John Kerry and Edward M. Kennedy mounted a futile last-minute bid to filibuster the nomination. On Jan. 26, Frist filed a cloture petition. On Jan. 30, the Senate voted 72–25 to invoke cloture, easily surpassing the sixty-vote threshold needed to limit debate. Nineteen Democrats voted against the attempted filibuster.

    The next day, senators sat at their desks for the confirmation vote, rising one by one as their names were called rather than milling around the chamber as they normally do during votes. Alito was confirmed by a vote of 58–42: R 54–1; D 4–40; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 943)

    Alito was confirmed by the second-closest margin in modern times. Only four of the Senate's forty-four Democrats voted for Alito. Rhode Island senator Lincoln Chafee was the one Republican to vote against him. Vermont Independent James M. Jeffords also voted no.

    2. Asbestos Compensation Fund

    For years, legislation to create a $140 billion trust fund to compensate victims of asbestos exposure faced strong opposition on both sides of the aisle and from a variety of competing special-interest groups.

    Nonetheless, Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., agreed to bring the measure (S 852) to the Senate floor in February and set aside two weeks for its consideration as a favor to Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman who had made its passage a personal priority.

    But even Specter's perseverance could not overcome the concerns of senators in both parties. Many Democrats and labor unions complained that the fund was not large enough to compensate victims adequately. Many conservative lawmakers feared that taxpayers would ultimately foot the bill if the fund became insolvent. One of those uneasy conservatives, Nevada Republican John Ensign, raised the budget point of order based on a prohibition against legislation that would authorize more than $5 billion in spending during any ten-year period starting in 2016, which the asbestos bill would have done (Story, p. 703).

    Specter struggled to persuade senators to waive the point of order. “The fact is, there's no federal money, so there's no substantive merit to the point of order,” he said in a floor speech before the vote. “Give us the benefit of the doubt.”

    But ten GOP senators, including Budget Committee chairman Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, joined thirty Democrats in voting against waiving the point of order. Several other Republicans who voted to waive it, including Judiciary Committee members John Cornyn of Texas and Jon Kyl of Arizona, made clear that they still had deep misgivings about the underlying legislation.

    As a result, senators who backed Specter's bill fell one vote short of the sixty required to waive the point of order. The final vote was 58–41: R 44–11; D 13–30; I 1–0. Frist initially voted for the bill but switched to “no” so that he could move to reconsider the motion. Daniel K. Inouye, D-Hawaii, missed the vote because his wife was undergoing medical treatment. (Vote, p. 943)

    After the vote, Frist pulled the measure from the Senate floor, effectively ending its chances of being enacted in the 109th Congress. Frist later said the bill would not return to the Senate floor unless backers of the bill lined up enough supporters to overcome budget points of order or filibuster attempts.

    3. Antiterrorism Law Reauthorization

    In October 2001, just weeks after terrorists flew hijacked commercial airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field, Congress rallied behind President George W. Bush and passed a law commonly known as the USA PATRIOT Act that gave the Justice Department extraordinary surveillance powers.

    Four years later, when the time came to renew sixteen provisions of the law that were set to expire Dec. 31, 2005, the bipartisan spirit of 2001 had faded. For some members, the priority had become recalibrating the balance between the pursuit of terrorists and preserving the basic civil liberties guaranteed to all citizens.

    In the House, the markup and subsequent passage of legislation to extend the sixteen provisions (HR 3199) turned partisan, with Judiciary chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., instructing Republicans to vote down most Democratic efforts to change the bill.

    In the Senate, a handful of Republicans shared concerns raised by Democrats and an unusual band of civil liberties advocates on the left and right, who were aligned with business groups, medical practitioners, gun rights advocates, and librarians. Consequently, Senate Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., presided over a more cordial markup and produced a bipartisan bill (S 1389).

    Both bills proposed making fourteen provisions permanent, but they disagreed on the two most contentious provisions. One, often referred to as the “library provision,” gave the FBI access to business records; the other allows law enforcement to attach wiretaps to multiple devices. The House version included ten-year sunsets for both; the Senate bill had four-year limits. When the conference began, Sensenbrenner pressed Senate Republicans to accept a deal favored by the Justice Department to extend the two provisions for seven years.

    Despite some concerns, Specter tentatively agreed, and the bill seemed headed for completion in late November. But a bipartisan group of six senators threatened to block action unless several changes were made to increase civil liberties protection. A decision to accept four-year sunsets for the two provisions did not mollify them.

    Although the House adopted the conference report in December 2005, the six senators—Republicans Larry E. Craig of Idaho, John E. Sununu of New Hampshire, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Democrats Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Ken Salazar of Colorado, and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois—led a filibuster that prevented the Senate from clearing the bill.

    Sununu subsequently met with White House and Justice Department officials and in February won support for three changes to provisions dealing with records seizures. The changes allowed recipients of a business records request to challenge a gag order under relatively restricted circumstances; removed a requirement that recipients of national security letters, which do not require court approval, disclose the name of their attorneys; and included a clarification that libraries operating in traditional roles and not as Internet service providers are not subject to national security letters (Story, p. 222).

    The majority of senators seemed satisfied, and the reauthorization cleared March 2 by a vote of 89–10: R 55–0; D 34–9; I 0–1. The House cleared Sununu's changes in a separate measure, and Bush signed the reauthorization and Sununu's bill a week later. (Vote, p. 943)

    4. Tax Cut Reconciliation

    Extending tax breaks on dividends and capital gains originally enacted in 2003 was a priority for President George W. Bush and Republican leaders in both chambers. GOP leaders intended to pass the extensions as part of a reconciliation bill, which would be protected from a filibuster under Senate rules.

    Although the House passed a two-year extension of the investment breaks as the centerpiece of its tax reconciliation bill in 2005, the Senate version did not include either provision. It was built instead around provisions aimed at shielding some 20 million middle-class taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax (AMT), tax provisions intended to ensure that wealthy individuals could not escape tax liability. Senate Finance chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, supported lower rates on capital gains and dividends, but he could not overcome the opposition of Democrats and GOP moderates on the panel. (Story, p. 89)

    Once the bill reached conference, the tax writers were confronted with the problem of combining the costly House and Senate priorities into a single bill without exceeding a ceiling of $70 billion set by the fiscal 2006 budget resolution (H Con Res 95). The capital gains and dividends provisions were estimated to cost $20.6 billion over five years, but $50.8 billion over ten years. The AMT “patch” was expected to cost $33.9 billion over five years, with no additional cost over ten years.

    For House Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., the simplest solution was to put the AMT patch in a separate bill on the assumption that it was popular enough that it would pass in the Senate without reconciliation protection. But Grassley warned that he could not get fifty-one votes in the Senate for the investment tax breaks unless the package also carried the AMT provision.

    The conferees managed to fit both into the final bill (HR 4297), but Grassley had to give up one of his main priorities: Senate provisions to extend a variety of popular expiring tax breaks, such as the research credit and deductions for education expenses. Grassley agreed only after securing a promise from Thomas that the so-called extenders would be enacted separately.

    To help keep the net cost within the $70 billion limit, the conferees also agreed to eliminate in 2010 the income cap on taxpayers who could convert standard individual retirement accounts (IRAs) into Roth IRAs. That provision was expected to increase federal revenue in the short run, but cut it by a potentially much larger amount in years beyond the ten-year window when the same taxpayers take tax-free withdrawals from their Roth IRAs.

    All but three Democrats voted against the conference report, which they attacked as fiscally irresponsible and of benefit primarily to the rich. GOP leaders lost three of their own caucus, but without the ability to filibuster, the opponents were easily defeated. The vote on May 11 was 55–44: R 51–3; D 3–40; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 943)

    Grassley worked doggedly for the remainder of the session to clear the package of tax extensions that he had had to drop from the reconciliation bill, succeeding only on the final day of the session, when Congress cleared the tax breaks as part of a tax and trade package (HR 6111).

    5. Immigration Policy Changes

    Few issues divided Republicans in the 109th Congress more than efforts to change the nation's immigration policies. House Republicans favored an enforcement-first policy and passed legislation in 2005 focusing on that approach. But a sizable group of Senate Republicans, along with most Democrats, sided with President George W. Bush in favoring a broader effort that combined some aspects of the House enforcement and security bill with an economic plan that included legalizing millions of illegal immigrants and opening new channels for guest workers. (Story, pp. 686, 711)

    The Senate Judiciary Committee held six markups in March 2006 before sending a bill (S 2611) to Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., that contained core elements of bipartisan legislation (S 1033) sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. Some Senate Republicans, however, including Frist, remained uneasy about a provision that would offer a path to citizenship for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. A solution came from Republican senators Mel Martinez of Florida and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who brokered a compromise that limited “earned citizenship” to those who could demonstrate that they had been in the country for at least two years.

    Frist was optimistic that in early April his chamber could debate, amend, and pass the Judiciary bill, sponsored by Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. Frist and Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., stood together with a large bipartisan group to declare a “huge breakthrough” April 6. But in the days that followed, the two leaders could not reach agreement on amendments, and the Senate adjourned for the two-week spring recess with nothing to show for its efforts.

    Even so, the immigration debate resonated outside Washington, occupying hours on talk radio and cable television programs and prompting mass demonstrations in several major cities. Bush, who had kept a low profile on the issue during the early part of the year, summoned a bipartisan group of senators to the White House on April 25 to try to break the impasse. The president pressed for a compromise in a May 15 prime-time address from the Oval Office, and McCain and other prominent Republicans pledged to join Democrats in defeating amendments that would alter the scope of Specter's bill.

    McCain delivered as promised, starting May 16, when a bipartisan group voted down an amendment by Georgia Republican Johnny Isakson to delay the guest worker program and path to citizenship until the secretary of homeland security certified in writing that the borders were secure and new detention facilities were operational. That was followed by a rare spectacle of up-or-down votes on a wide range of amendments from senators of both parties, and an old-fashioned, freewheeling debate that culminated May 25 with passage of the bill 62–36: R 23–32; D 38–4; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 943)

    The vote was a victory for the president, but it turned out to be his only win on an issue he had turned into a personal mission. Despite the willingness of most Senate Republicans to follow Bush's lead on immigration overhaul, the House GOP held steadfast against it and even organized nationwide forums to lobby against the Senate bill.

    6. Permanent Repeal of Estate Tax

    Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., had promised a vote in spring 2006 on a top priority for the Republicans' conservative base: a permanent repeal of the estate tax. The House easily passed a repeal bill (HR 8) in April 2005, as it had done several times before. But Frist held off bringing the measure to the Senate floor for more than a year, unable to line up the sixty votes needed to avert a filibuster. All of the earlier House bills had died in the Senate, where they came under fire from most Democrats.

    The estate tax was declining annually under 2001 tax law changes enacted in 2001 at the behest of President George W. Bush. It was scheduled to be completely eliminated in 2010, but after that one year, it would revert to pre-2001 law, with rates up to 55 percent on assets in excess of $1 million if nothing was changed. The reversion occurred because of parliamentary procedures Congress used in 2001 that precluded a permanent elimination of the levy.

    Acting on appeals from conservatives, Frist scheduled a vote for early June on a motion to limit debate and proceed to the repeal bill. The cloture motion, held June 8, fell three votes short. The tally was 57–41: R 53–2; D 4–38; I 0–1. The two Republican opponents were Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and George V. Voinovich of Ohio. Four Democrats—ranking Finance Committee member Max Baucus of Montana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Bill Nelson of Florida—voted for cloture. (Story, p. 96; vote, p. 943)

    Before the vote, Republican allies insisted that the leadership not allow Democrats a political escape route by permitting compromise language to reach the floor. But lawmakers were already talking about alternatives. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., was negotiating with Baucus on a compromise to raise exemption limits to $5 million per individual and $10 million per couple after 2010 and reduce the tax rates on remaining assets to 15 percent, the same rate applicable to capital gains.

    Frist kept trying, but he was never able to get more than 57 votes for cloture. He first tried to build support for a House-passed compromise (HR 5638) that would have permanently scaled back the tax. Lacking the votes, he did not bring it to the floor.

    Then he worked with House leaders to combine a permanent reduction with other provisions, including a package of popular tax break extensions, an increase in the minimum wage, and some sweeteners aimed at potential swing votes. Democrats did not take the bait. An Aug. 3 vote on a motion to proceed to the new bill (HR 5970) was defeated by the same margin as on June 8. Frist then changed his vote, producing a 56–42 tally, to reserve the right to resurrect it once again. He never did.

    7. Conduct of the War in Iraq

    The Senate in 2006 considered an amendment containing nonbinding language urging President George W. Bush to start withdrawing some U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year; how to proceed thereafter was left open. The amendment was drafted by Democrats Carl Levin of Michigan and Jack Reed of Rhode Island. It attracted the support of most Democrats and one Republican: moderate Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. But it was rejected with the help of six Democratic senators, including Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut. The tally on June 22 was 39–60: R 1–54; D 37–6; I 1–0. (Story, pp. 270, 303; vote, p. 943)

    “Beginning the phased redeployment of American troops in 2006 would send a clear message to Iraqis,” Levin said. “You, the Iraqis, must now decide whether you want a civil war or a nation.”

    The Levin-Reed proposal was seen as a more palatable version of a proposal by John Kerry, D-Mass., that would have mandated the withdrawal of most U.S. forces from Iraq by July 2007, with the exception of those needed to train Iraqi troops, protect Americans, and target terrorists. Kerry's plan was rejected 13–86. Taken together, however, the two amendments marked the first time since the war began in 2003 that congressional critics dared to challenge administration policy in Iraq, a reflection of the public's growing disenchantment with the war and the way it was being run.

    Democrats played down the party divisions that the votes exposed, saying the two amendments were written to send essentially the same message to three important audiences. To the Iraqis, they said, the message was that the U.S. military commitment to their country was not open-ended and that they had to stand up for themselves faster. To insurgents and terrorists in Iraq, the Democratic signal was that their main reason for fighting—the presence of U.S. forces—would soon be gone. To voters back home, the message was that Democrats cared about the war's toll and had a solution.

    Republicans assailed the Democrats, charging that the amendments would tell allies and foes alike that America lacked the resolve to see the war through and prevent Iraq from descending further into chaos. Senate majority whip Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., branded Democrats as the party of “cut and run” or, in the case of the Levin-Reed measure, “cut and jog.”

    Senate Republicans also warned that any requirement for withdrawal would embolden America's enemies in Iraq and elsewhere. “I cannot imagine saying that America will not have the stamina to stand up and fight and win a war at all costs for the freedom of future generations,” said Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. “That is the message we would send to our enemies.”

    They also argued that the Iraqi security forces were not ready to hold the society together without U.S. help. “I believe such a move would be a significant step on the road to disaster,” said John McCain of Arizona, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

    Several Democratic senators eyeing White House runs in 2008 backed the Levin-Reed proposal, including Kerry, Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Evan Bayh of Indiana, and Barack Obama of Illinois.

    8. Flag-Burning Constitutional Amendment

    Six years after last considering a similar measure, the Senate in June 2006 took up a proposed constitutional amendment to prevent physical desecration to the American flag, with supporters and opponents both expecting it to receive 66 votes. The problem for supporters was that a constitutional amendment requires 67 backers, two-thirds of those present, provided that all 100 senators show up. (Story, p. 709)

    The House had passed a companion measure (H J Res 10) by a vote of 286–130 in 2005. But two-thirds of both chambers must support an amendment before it can go to the states for ratification.

    The chief sponsor of the Senate resolution, Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, said he was confident that he could pick up the necessary votes. “This amendment is, pure and simple, a restoration of the Constitution to what it was before unelected jurists changed it in a 5–4 decision,” Hatch said.

    The amendment was prompted by a pair of 5–4 Supreme Court rulings in 1989 and 1990 that found flag burning to be a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. Supporters of the resolution said it was necessary to send a message to the judiciary that the Supreme Court decisions usurped the will of the American people and Congress when it comes to treatment of the flag.

    But Majority Whip Mitch McConnell of Kentucky made clear that he opposed the measure out of concern for its potential impact on freedom of expression.

    On the Democratic side, McConnell's counterpart, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, led the opposition, because Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada supported the proposed amendment. Still, Reid said, the Senate should be focusing on “more important issues,” such as health care and gas prices. Other Democrats decried Senate consideration of the resolution as a political ploy in advance of the November midterm election.

    When the amendment reached the floor shortly before the Fourth of July, the predictions on the vote count proved correct. The amendment fell one vote short of the sixty-seven needed. It was rejected 66–34: R 52–3; D 14–30; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 943)

    Hatch took some solace in the fact that the amendment attracted more supporters than in 2000, when it fell four votes short.

    9. Federal Emergency Management Agency Restructuring

    The future of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was extensively debated in Congress and elsewhere after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in late August 2005. The agency's response to the hurricane, immediately after it hit and in the months that followed, was roundly criticized as too little, too late. Many lawmakers called for revamping the structure and responsibilities of the agency. A split developed in both chambers between those who wanted to keep it in the Homeland Security Department and those who wanted to move it. (Story, p. 236)

    The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, in a report in spring 2006, recommended that the agency be replaced with a new entity responsible for preparedness as well as response to disasters. But the panel did not recommend that the agency's responsibilities be removed from Homeland Security.

    Committee chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, offered an amendment in July to the $32.8 billion fiscal 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bill (HR 5441) that followed the recommendations of her panel's report. The amendment, which contained provisions from a bill (S 3595) that Collins had introduced in June, called for adding preparedness functions to the agency's mission and renaming it the U.S. Emergency Management Authority.

    Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Daniel K. Akaka of Hawaii strongly opposed the Collins measure in floor debate and offered an alternative amendment to give FEMA independent, cabinet-level status, with the agency director reporting directly to the president. The proposal was rejected 32–66.

    The Senate on July 11 adopted the Collins amendment 87–11: R 51–2; D 36–8; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 943)

    The vote in effect endorsed retaining emergency and disaster responsibilities in the Homeland Security Department, ending the debate not only in the Senate but also in the House, which approved the conference report on the spending bill with the Collins amendment largely intact.

    10. Stem Cell Research Funding

    Ever since President George W. Bush issued restrictions confining federal spending on embryonic research to stem cell lines known to exist before Aug. 9, 2001, there had been pressure for Congress to reverse the policy. Scientists said embryonic stem cells showed promise for curing many diseases, but they also argued there were not enough stem cell lines eligible for funding under Bush's policy and that some of them were contaminated and unusable. (Story, p. 542)

    Many conservatives opposed such research because it resulted in the destruction of the embryos from which the cells are derived, an action they considered tantamount to abortion. However, even some antiabortion Republicans, such as Sens. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, support the research because of its potential to save lives.

    A showdown in the Senate on embryonic research had been looming for a year before the vote.

    The House passed a bill (HR 810) to lift Bush's restrictions in May 2005, after moderate Republicans pressured their leaders to allow a vote. The Senate did not immediately consider the legislation because at the time Senate majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., supported Bush's policy.

    But on July 29, 2005, Frist publicly broke with Bush on the issue, announcing that his position had shifted and that he believed “the president's policy should be modified.” His change of mind cleared the way for the vote, which became three votes, a year later.

    Along with the contentious measure that was at the heart of the debate, Frist brought to the floor a pair of bills intended to shield opponents of embryonic stem cell research from political fallout. One (S 2754) encouraged research into ways to obtain stem cells that did not destroy embryos. The other (S 3504) prohibited so-called fetal farms, hypothetical institutions—both sides agreed none existed—that might create embryos strictly for research purposes. The bill also barred the collection of embryos from pregnancies intended only for research.

    The fetal farm bill later cleared the House and became law. The bill encouraging research that did not destroy embryos was defeated in the House.

    Under an agreement Frist made with Democrats, all three bills required sixty votes for passage and could not be amended. The bill to lift Bush's restrictions passed on July 18 by 63–37: R 19–36; D 43–1; I 1–0. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the only Democrat opposed. (Vote, p. 943)

    The bill did not pass in the Senate with the sixty-seven votes required to override a Bush veto, which came the next day. In addition, a House vote to override it fell short by fifty-one votes.

    11. Establishment of Military Tribunals

    The Supreme Court's decision in June 2006 that President George W. Bush had overstepped his authority by setting up military tribunals to try terrorism suspects led to a debate in Congress over the framework for such trials and the legal rights of those detained by the government in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Subsequent negotiations would have far-reaching implications for civil liberties and for efforts to combat terrorism.

    Bush wanted as much leeway as possible from Congress to pursue suspected terrorists. He asked for legislation to authorize the tribunals, broaden the definition of people who could be detained as enemy combatants, and allow him to define how the United States would treat prisoners under the Geneva Conventions. Bush also wanted to deny noncitizens held at Guantánamo any right to challenge their detentions through writs of habeas corpus, an issue the administration thought had been settled but the Supreme Court did not. (Story, pp. 364, 366)

    Although Bush's popularity was sinking because of the Iraq war and he was losing his leverage with Congress, even some opposition Democrats were reluctant to challenge such counterterrorism legislation. The most effective opposition came instead from a trio of senior Republicans in the Senate—John W. Warner of Virginia, John McCain of Arizona, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—upset by Bush's plan to change prisoner treatment under the Geneva Conventions.

    An eventual compromise bill (S 3930) limited Bush's ability to define prisoner treatment and dropped the use of secret evidence by military tribunals. But Bush got most of what he wanted, including authority for the tribunals themselves, an expanded definition of enemy combatants, and a denial of habeas corpus for detainees.

    Before the vote on Sept. 28, Bush met with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill to solidify their support. In fact, only one deserted him: Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who was running for reelection in a heavily Democratic state and later lost his seat in the voting.

    Bush and his GOP allies were able to win, and avoid a filibuster, because a dozen Democrats supported the compromise bill. Some, such as New Jersey's Robert Menendez, said they thought it was better to pass imperfect legislation than to allow terrorism suspects to go free.

    Six of the twelve, including Menendez, were running for reelection, and all six won. After defeating amendments that would have denied Bush some authority, the Senate on Sept. 28 passed the measure 65–34: R 53–1; D 12–32; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 943)

    The House cleared the bill 270–150 the next day, showing the continuing power of the terrorism issue, regardless of Bush's troubles.

    12. Parental Notification of Abortion

    After the Senate passed its version of parental notification legislation (S 403) in late July 2006 by a filibuster-proof sixty- five-vote majority, it appeared opponents of abortion rights would score another victory in their campaign to incrementally restrict access to abortion services. (Story, p. 549)

    But although Democratic opponents of the bill could not muster forty-one votes for a filibuster, they could—and did—use a procedural roadblock to a conference with the House. Senate majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., vowed to overcome the obstacle to a conference when the Senate returned from its August recess, but he decided to spend September on national security issues instead.

    The House responded by taking up the Senate-passed bill in late September. Rather than clearing it, the House substituted modified text of its own, a broader measure (HR 748) regarding parental notification requirements for abortion providers. It retained the Senate language on incest victims.

    The House-passed version also changed the definition of abortions covered under the legislation to exclude ectopic pregnancies, in which a fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus. The amended version applied to people transporting minors across state lines to another country or an American Indian reservation.

    On Sept. 27, the day after the House passed the modified Senate bill, Sen. Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah, engineered a procedural vote on Frist's behalf. Bennett called up the modified Senate bill and filed two inconsequential amendments to “fill the amendment tree” to prevent other lawmakers from proposing changes. Bennett then filed a petition to invoke cloture, or limit debate, on a motion to concur with the House amendment.

    Activists on both sides of the issue swung into action to try to round up enough lawmakers for their side. Neither the sponsor of the bill, Republican John Ensign of Nevada, nor one of its leading opponents, Democrat Barbara Boxer of California, could predict whether cloture would be invoked.

    The Sept. 29 cloture question was the decisive vote in determining whether Congress would send the legislation to President George W. Bush. Ultimately, the changes made by the House—particularly its provisions on parental notification by abortion providers, which were not in the original Senate bill—were enough to cause eight of the fourteen Democrats who in July voted for Ensign's bill to vote in September against limiting debate. The motion did not garner the required three-fifths of the total Senate, sixty votes, and was rejected 57–42: R 51–4; D 6–37; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 943)

    2006 Senate Brief Descriptions

    1. Alito Nomination Confirmation. Confirmation of President George W. Bush's nomination of Samuel A. Alito Jr. of New Jersey to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Confirmed 58–42: R 54–1; D 4–40; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Jan. 31, 2006.

    2. S 852. Asbestos Trust Fund. Specter, R-Pa., motion to waive the Budget Act with respect to the Ensign, R-Nev., point of order against the bill to establish a $140 billion trust fund to compensate victims of asbestos exposure. Motion rejected 58–41: R 44–11; D 13–30; I 1–0. A three-fifths majority vote (sixty) of the total Senate is required to waive the Budget Act. (Subsequently, the chair upheld the point of order, and the bill was recommitted to the Judiciary Committee.) Feb. 14, 2006.

    3. HR 3199. “USA Patriot Act” Reauthorization Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the bill to make permanent fourteen of the sixteen provisions of the 2001 antiterrorism law known as the Patriot Act, set to expire March 10, and extend for four years the provisions on access to business and other records and on “roving” wiretaps. Adopted 89–10: R 55–0; D 34–9; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. March 2, 2006.

    4. HR4297. Tax Reconciliation Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the bill to extend about $70 billion in tax cuts over a five-year period. Reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends would be extended through 2010. The bill extended through 2009 a tax provision that allowed small businesses to write off up to $100,000 in depreciable assets in the year they are made. It extended and increased alternative minimum tax exemption amounts for 2006. Adopted 54–44: R 51–3; D 3–40; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 11, 2006.

    5. S 2611. Immigration Overhaul. Passage of the bill to overhaul U.S. immigration policies and offer a path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants in the country. In major provisions, the bill required persons in the United States less than two years to return to their native countries and go through normal channels if they wanted to return; created a guest worker program to accommodate an additional 200,000 immigrants a year; and authorized increased border security and enforcement provisions, including a requirement that businesses verify documents of all prospective employees through an electronic system managed by the Department of Homeland Security. Passed 62–36: R 23–32; D 38–4; I 1–0. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 25, 2006.

    6. HR 8. Estate Tax Permanent Repeal Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to a bill that would permanently repeal the estate tax. Motion rejected 57–41: R 53–2; D 4–38; I 0–1. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) votes were required to invoke cloture. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 8, 2006.

    7. S 2766. Iraq Troop Withdrawal. Levin, D-Mich., amendment to express the sense of Congress that the president should begin phased redeployment of U.S. troops from Iraq starting in 2006 and should submit to Congress by the end of 2006 a plan with estimated dates for continued phased withdrawal. Rejected 39–60: R 1–54; D 37–6; I 1–0. June 22, 2006.

    8. S J Res 12. Flag Desecration Constitutional Amendment. Passage of the joint resolution to propose a constitutional amendment that would grant Congress the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the U.S. flag. Rejected 66–34: R 52–3; D 14–30; I 0–1. A two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting (sixty-seven in this case) is required to pass a joint resolution proposing a constitutional amendment. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 27, 2006.

    9. HR 5441. FEMA Overhaul. Collins, R-Maine, amendment to amend the 2002 Homeland Security Act to replace the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a new U.S. Emergency Management Authority within the Homeland Security Department. The amendment required the agency administrator to have at least five years of executive and management experience with significant experience in crisis management or a related field and specified that the person would report directly to the Homeland Security secretary and be the president's principal adviser on emergency preparedness and response. Adopted 87–11: R 51–2; D 36–8; I 0–1. July 11, 2006.

    10. HR 810. Embryonic Stem Cell Research Passage. Passage of the bill to allow the use of federal funds in research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from surplus embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics, but only if donors give their consent and are not paid for the embryos. The bill required HHS to conduct and support research involving human embryonic stem cells that met certain criteria, regardless of when stem cells were derived from a human embryo. Passed 63–37: R 19–36; D 43–1; I 1–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 18, 2006.

    11. S 3930. Military Tribunals Passage. Passage of the bill to authorize military tribunals to try detainees designated as alien unlawful enemy combatants. Cases in which the accused was found guilty would be reviewed by a new Court of Military Commission Review. The bill barred habeas corpus appeals for detainees retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001. The bill also barred the use of evidence obtained through torture; it allowed the use of some coerced testimony and evidence seized without a warrant. Classified evidence would not be disclosed if it would be detrimental to national security. Passed 65–34: R 53–1; D 12–32; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 28, 2006.

    12. S 403. Parental Notification Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to concur in the House amendment on the bill to make it a federal crime to take a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion in order to circumvent state parental notification and consent laws. Motion rejected 57–42: R 51–4; D 6–37; I 0–1. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 29, 2006.

    House

    1. Lobbying Rules

    A year of bribery and lobbying scandals forced reluctant Republican House leaders to take up a lobbying bill in 2006 that critics say fell short of cracking down on the abuses that led to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff and other scandals. (Story, pp. 816, 830)

    The key vote in the debate over lobbying reform came May 3, as the House passed a package of ethics and lobbying disclosure changes (HR 4975) on a 217–213 vote: R 209–20; D 8–192; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 950)

    The roll call came as one disgraced Republican, former representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham of California, sat in prison after pleading guilty to accepting bribes and another GOP House member, Bob Ney of Ohio, was under criminal investigation for his affiliation with Abramoff. Ney would eventually plead guilty to federal conspiracy charges and resign from the House, but the scaled-down lobbying bill sparked by Abramoff's illegal activities went nowhere after the House passed it.

    The May 3 vote was emblematic of the slow reaction of House leaders to a variety of scandals that endangered the GOP's control of Congress. The vote also showed fractures in both caucuses, as twenty mostly moderate Republicans voted against the legislation because they believed that it was not tough enough, while eight mostly southern, moderate Democrats voted for the bill, angering Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who wanted desperately to pin a loss on the struggling GOP majority.

    The struggle by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., to keep his caucus unified on a major political corruption issue may have been a portent of things to come, as Republicans later took a beating in the November election. But even Pelosi ran into trouble, as moderates in her caucus showed that they were willing to break ranks with the liberal leadership even if it cost the party a legislative victory. The bill would not have passed without the eight Democratic supporters.

    The lobbying overhaul bill was widely criticized by government watchdog groups because it did not suspend privately funded travel and did not bar lawmakers from accepting meals from lobbyists. The legislation contained a campaign finance provision that would have essentially killed “527” advocacy groups such as MoveOn.org and the Club for Growth—regulated under Section 527 of the IRS code—because it would have barred them from spending unlimited sums of money on individual campaigns. Democrats said the amendment was designed to make the bill unpalatable, and it was the main reason the legislation never made it to a conference with the Senate.

    In a separate vote Sept. 14, the House passed a resolution (H Res 1000) that ended up being the only formal response to the lobbying scandals. The resolution would require disclosure of the sponsors of earmarks in appropriations bills, a move designed to bring more transparency to the spending process.

    2. Tax Cut Reconciliation

    After months of stop-and-go negotiations, Republicans in 2006 agreed on a compromise package of tax benefits that satisfied the priorities of both chambers and gave President George W. Bush a long-sought victory. The reconciliation bill promised to reduce taxes by a net $70 billion over five years, mainly by extending tax breaks enacted in Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax laws. (Story, p. 89)

    The two chambers passed significantly different versions of the measure in late 2005. The House bill had as its centerpiece an extension through 2010 of the capital gains and dividends tax cuts that were part of the 2003 tax cut law. It did not include a priority for many Democrats: short-term provisions to shield millions of middle-class taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which was designed to focus on the wealthy.

    Because the AMT “patch” had bipartisan support, it did not need the special protection reserved for reconciliation bills, which are not subject to filibuster in the Senate. House Ways and Means chairman Bill Thomas, R-Calif., preferred to use the reconciliation process for more controversial provisions, such as the capital gains and dividends reductions.

    The Senate version contained a one-year extension of the AMT patch and a substantial list of extensions for expiring provisions. In conference, Senate Finance chairman Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, said he could not obtain fifty-one votes in his chamber for a bill with the investment tax breaks unless it also carried the AMT provisions.

    Thomas agreed to include the AMT provision in the final bill (HR 4297); to ensure that the resulting package did not exceed the $70 billion five-year cost cap set in the fiscal 2005 budget resolution (H Con Res 95), Grassley had to give up most of the so-called tax extenders.

    With Bush and House Republicans' top priority—the capital gains and dividends provisions—secured, the House adopted the conference report May 10 on a largely party-line vote of 244–185: R 229–2; D 15–182; I 0–1. Only fifteen Democrats voted for the measure; only two Republicans voted against it. (Vote, p. 950)

    3. Broadband Network Neutrality

    The House vote June 8, 2006, on an amendment by Massachusetts Democrat Edward J. Markey to prevent broadband providers from giving priority to selected Internet traffic was the culmination of months of wrangling over the most contentious element of legislation intended to update the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The House firmly rejected the effort to enact strong “net neutrality” protections that would require broadband providers to treat similar types of Internet traffic equally. The battle over Markey's amendment also complicated the outlook for the Senate's companion telecom bill, which ultimately stalled amid a similar fight. (Story, p. 435)

    The House vote was a significant victory for the big phone and cable companies, which were seeking more control over the traffic flowing across their high-speed lines. It was a defeat for Internet giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo, which argued that strong net neutrality protections were needed to prevent broadband operators from abusing their monopoly power.

    The push for strong net neutrality rules grew out of fears that phone and cable companies such as Verizon Communications and Comcast would use their control over the nation's broadband networks to discriminate against content that did not originate from their Web sites.

    Those fears escalated when executives at SBC Communications (which later became AT&T) and BellSouth began talking about charging Internet companies—particularly those that provide online video, games, and other services that require a lot of bandwidth—a premium for reliable access by customers. Internet companies called it a shakedown; the broadband companies said they needed the flexibility to control traffic and keep networks running smoothly.

    In August 2005 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established four network neutrality principles that allowed consumers to access all lawful Internet content and services. Those principles became the heart of net neutrality language in the House telecom bill (HR 5252) sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe L. Barton, R-Texas. But the Republican proposal ran into opposition from committee Democrats because it did not bar broadband providers from favoring their own online traffic or striking business deals with Internet companies to guarantee fast, reliable access to customers.

    Led by Markey, the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Democrats pushed for stronger net neutrality protections that would require broadband providers to give similar treatment to similar types of Internet traffic, including competitors' traffic. They said such protections would safeguard the open, egalitarian nature of the Internet, preserve free speech in cyberspace and prevent phone and cable companies from picking winners and losers online. As Barton's bill moved through committee, the fight for stronger net neutrality protections became the rallying cry for an unlikely alliance of consumer watchdogs, big Internet companies, and advocacy groups ranging from MoveOn.org on the left to the Christian Coalition on the right.

    But Barton and other Republicans beat back those efforts with the support of the phone and cable companies. Beyond arguing for more power over Internet traffic, they warned that strong net neutrality rules would amount to unnecessary regulation, leaving the broadband industry with little incentive to invest in new high-speed lines. That reasoning prevailed in the Energy and Commerce Committee, leading to the defeat of net neutrality amendments by Markey and other Democrats during subcommittee and committee markups.

    Net neutrality proponents got a boost in May, when Judiciary Committee chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., crossed party lines to move a measure similar to Markey's proposal through his own panel after losing a bid to mark up Barton's bill. Sensenbrenner, who insisted that net neutrality legislation fit under his panel's jurisdiction—as an antitrust and competition issue—wanted to offer his measure as an amendment to the broader telecom bill when it went to the House floor in June.

    Faced with two very similar proposals—Markey's measure and Sensenbrenner's version—the Rules Committee allowed a vote only on Markey's. It also limited debate on the entire topic of net neutrality to under an hour. On June 8, the House defeated Markey's amendment 152–269: R 11–211; D 140–58; I 1–0. (Vote, p. 950)

    The House then passed Barton's bill 321–101.

    4. Conduct of the War in Iraq

    On June 16, 2006, as Democrats grew more vocal in their criticism of the administration's policy in Iraq and debate continued over whether to set dates for U.S. troop withdrawals, the House adopted a resolution that Republicans had introduced as a test of loyalty to the war. (Story, pp. 270, 303)

    The nonbinding resolution (H Res 861) honored Americans killed, wounded, or engaged in the war on terrorism at home and abroad, including first responders and service members, as well as coalition partners, naming Iraqis and Afghans in particular. The resolution also declared that setting an “arbitrary date” to withdraw troops from or redeploy them to Iraq was “not in the national security interest” and expressed commitment to completing the mission, described as a “sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq.” It concluded by declaring the United States' determination to prevail in “the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.”

    The House adopted the resolution 256–153 with the support of forty-two Democrats: R 214–3; D 42–149; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 950)

    At the time, Republicans saw the vote as a successful response to calls for withdrawal, although the issue came back to haunt them in November when the public's increasingly negative view of the war helped to deny Republicans control of both chambers. The vote on the resolution came to be seen more as a rejection of the idea of a timed pull-out than a vote in favor of the war.

    Democrats complained vigorously that the House rule for the vote barred them from offering amendments, and they objected to the fact that the document linked Iraq to the war on terrorism. But they did not introduce a competing version, prompting Republicans to charge them with papering over their intraparty differences on the war.

    Only three Republicans opposed the resolution: John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. of Tennessee, Jim Leach of Iowa, and Ron Paul of Texas. Leach, the moderate of the group, lost his seat in November. Ed Case of Hawaii was the only Democrat to vote. He, too, did not return to Congress when he unsuccessfully challenged fellow incumbent Democrat Daniel K. Akaka for one of the state's Senate seats.

    5. Bilingual Assistance

    Leaders in both parties expected smooth enactment of a bill to extend expiring provisions of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act when they gathered on the steps of the Capitol to introduce the measure (HR 9) in spring 2006.

    But passage proved difficult in the House, where rank-and-file Republicans were unhappy over indications that their leaders planned to hold a vote on renewing the law without giving them a chance to offer amendments. A group of southern Republicans wanted to modify a requirement that jurisdictions with a history of discrimination get advanced permission, or preclearance, from the Justice Department before adopting any changes in their election laws. The group's members said the provision was outdated and did not reflect the strides that their states had made since 1965.

    What sparked the greatest unease, however, was a requirement added in 1975 for bilingual ballots and other assistance in jurisdictions that have significant numbers of voters with limited English-language skills. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 466 jurisdictions in thirty-one states were required to provide such assistance. The first hint of trouble occurred at the House Judiciary Committee markup of the bill in May, when nine Republicans broke with Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., and voted in favor of an amendment by Steve King, R-Iowa, to sunset the bilingual language assistance requirement. The amendment was defeated, but King said he would offer it on the House floor. (Story, p. 696)

    In an election year, Republican leaders wanted to avoid another vote that could risk alienating Latinos so soon after GOP support of border control and asylum restrictions (HR 4437) that many minority voters considered harsh. GOP leaders repeatedly delayed floor action on the bill in hopes of sidestepping votes on the amendments.

    Finally, however, they gave in and agreed to allow votes on amendments to let the bilingual requirements expire, revise the formula for requiring preclearance, provide a mechanism for states to get off the preclearance list, and sunset the provisions after ten years instead of twenty-five. The House rejected King's proposal July 13 by a vote of 185–238: R 181–44; D 4–193; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 950)

    The vote represented the high-water mark of GOP opposition to extending the Voting Rights Act: None of the other three amendments received as many votes. It also was the strongest rebuke for Sensenbrenner, who in the waning months of his six-year tenure as chairman had to watch as seventeen of the twenty-two Republicans on his committee voted for the King amendment and against his position. The House passed the bill 390–33. Seeing the House amendments' fate, Senate critics of the law did not try to make changes to the bill. President George W. Bush signed the measure into law on July 27.

    6. Stem Cell Research Funding

    On Aug. 9, 2001, President George W. Bush announced that the federal government would fund research using stem cells only from lines that had existed before that date. It was an attempt to balance demands for expanded federal research into embryonic stem cells, which were believed to hold promise as a cure for many diseases, with the antiabortion concerns of conservatives who form the base of the Republican Party.

    The National Institutes of Health estimated that twenty-two lines were viable for research, although they probably were not usable for medical treatment. For the next five years, lawmakers tried to pass legislation to expand the number of stem cell lines available to federally funded researchers by allowing them to work on lines derived from surplus embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics. The debate carried ethical implications: because such research involves the destruction of embryos, some conservatives consider it tantamount to abortion.

    In May 2005, the House passed a bill (HR 810) that would have lifted the restrictions on federal funding for the research. More than a year later, an impasse in the Senate had been broken and the bill had enough support to clear. (Senate stem cell vote, p. 940)

    But Bush had long made clear that he would veto the bill if it arrived on his desk. Knowing this, the Senate cleared the House bill July 18. The next day, Bush vetoed the bill and, in a vote hours later, a House attempt to override the veto was defeated. (Story, p. 940)

    It was the first time that Bush used the veto in the five years and six months of his presidency. He said he exercised that power with this particular bill to protect a “moral boundary” for society. (Veto message text, p. 1056)

    The House override vote showed that few lawmakers had changed their opinions on the issue in the year since the bill had passed. The 2005 vote was 238–194, with some abortion opponents supporting it. The vote to override Bush's veto, which required two-thirds of lawmakers present and voting in both chambers, fell to 235–193: R 51–179; D 183–14; I 1–0. Supporters needed 286 votes to set up a vote in the Senate. (Vote, p. 950)

    Three Republicans voted differently for the override than they did for the original bill: Dave Reichert of Washington and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania voted against the bill but then voted to override Bush's veto, and C.W. Bill Young of Florida voted for the bill but against the override. No Democrats changed their positions, although four who had voted for the bill were absent for the override vote.

    7. U.S.-Indian Nuclear Energy Pact

    On the Iraq War and other foreign policies dealing with the war on terrorism, the 109th Congress largely deferred to President George W. Bush. But on Bush's 2006 legislative proposal to permit the U.S. sale of civilian nuclear technology to India, lawmakers were not so quick to acquiesce. Although many lawmakers approved of the historic deal with India, Republicans and Democrats in the House insisted on a number of changes in the legislation to give Congress a bigger role. (Story, pp. 277, 311)

    Republican Henry J. Hyde of Illinois, the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, instructed aides to amass as big a majority as possible for this crucial piece of legislation, which represented a matter of presidential power. Most Democrats signed on, agreeing that the opportunity to build a strategic alliance with India as a counterweight to China trumped India's development of nuclear weapons outside the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

    But the inclination to support the agreement did not prevent Hyde and the committee's ranking Democrat, Tom Lantos of California, from criticizing the executive branch's efforts to cut Congress out of a final deal with India. The pair rewrote the legislation to add extensive congressional oversight, including a congressional vote on any subsequent treaty. Bush wanted the deal so badly that he did not stand in their way.

    An overwhelming majority in the House supported the measure (HR 5682) on the vote, giving Bush a major foreign policy victory at a time when the public was losing confidence in his leadership because of the war in Iraq. The vote was 359–68: R 219–9; D 140–58; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 950)

    The split in the Democratic vote reflected divisions between those who agreed with Bush on the strategic importance of the agreement and those who saw it as a dangerous precedent. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., who co-chaired the House Bipartisan Task Force on Nonproliferation, was one of the most vehement opponents of the legislation, which he saw as an invitation to countries such as Iran to ignore international calls to halt their nuclear programs.

    The legislation followed a similar path in the Senate, where it passed Nov. 16 by a margin of 85–12, with all of the “nays” coming from Democrats. On Dec. 8, the House overwhelmingly adopted the conference report on the bill; the Senate cleared it the next day.

    8. Pension Law Changes

    Struggling to achieve a legislative victory on a long-stalled but important issue during an election year, Republican leaders in 2006 decided that going back to the basics was the only way to pass a pension overhaul. The result was the introduction and passage on the same day of a bill hastily cobbled together from the wreckage of months of negotiations aimed at strengthening the nation's pension laws. The bill restructured the way that companies fund their pension plans, measure their liabilities, and pay a federal agency to assume ultimate responsibility for the plans. (Story, pp. 654, 658)

    Buoyed by seventy-six Democrats who defied fierce lobbying by their leadership to vote against the bill, the GOP plan succeeded in the hours before the House left for its August recess. Less than a week later, the Senate cleared it.

    The last-minute maneuvering underscored the tumultuous nature of the pension debate. Lawmakers had been walking a fine line, seeking to ensure that companies meet their retirement promises to workers without creating rules so onerous that companies would subsequently dump their plans. Also, they needed to shore up funding for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insured private pension plans. The PBGC had reported large deficits in recent years amid a number of sizable bankruptcy filings in the airline, steel, and auto-parts industries.

    The House and Senate each had passed overhaul bills in late 2005 (HR 2830, S 1783), but conference negotiations got off to a rocky start in 2006 and stalled. The legislation was a target of intense lobbying from corporations, led by the airline industry. Negotiations over industry-specific relief for the airlines slowed the process. But the final deadlock was over whether to attach some extensions of popular tax breaks. Matters came to a focus the evening of July 27, when House Republicans refused to attend a meeting with their Senate counterparts to sign a conference report that included some of the tax break extensions.

    House GOP leaders preferred to use the tax provisions to win support for a separate bill to reduce the estate tax. As a result, together with their Senate counterparts they agreed to put most of the pension conference agreement into a separate bill (HR 4).

    With a combination of incentives and punishments, the bill required companies to fully fund their pension plans but gave them a number of years to make up for underfunding. It permanently raised the premium that companies pay to the PBGC, and it instituted a penalty fee if a company dumped its plan on the agency while operating under bankruptcy protection and then emerged from financial difficulties.

    Democrats were angered at being excluded. Their leadership urged the caucus to oppose the legislation, saying it favored corporate over employee interests.

    Lawmakers from Texas, home to American Airlines and Continental Airlines, also criticized language in the bill giving rivals Delta and Northwest more time to make up for plan underfunding and a more favorable interest rate to calculate plan liabilities.

    But those concerns were not enough to derail HR 4 when it came to the House floor. Just before midnight on July 28, the bill passed, 279–131: R 203–16; D 76–114; I 0–1. Of the sixteen Republicans who voted against the bill, fifteen were from Texas. (Vote, p. 950)

    The Senate vote, less than a week later, was a formality. After just twenty minutes of debate, the chamber voted 93–5 to clear the legislation.

    9. Border Security

    The House and Senate appeared deadlocked on a broad new immigration policy during the 109th Congress. By May 2006, both chambers had passed contrasting bills (HR 4437, S 2611), and House Republicans—who had focused solely on enforcement and border security—dismissed major portions of the bipartisan Senate legislation as being too lenient toward millions of illegal immigrants. Rather than go to conference and work on a compromise, House GOP leaders embarked on a summer of field hearings throughout the nation and derided the Senate bill as the work of Democrats—even though it was the approach President George W. Bush favored.

    When Congress returned for a final legislative month just weeks before the midterm election, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., announced that he would seek a handful of targeted security measures that would resonate with Republican voters. The first came on Sept. 13, when Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter T. King, R-N.Y., presented a border security fence bill (HR 6061). In addition to a physical barrier, the measure also called for a “virtual fence” of sensors, cameras, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other surveillance technology. The bill passed the next day 283–138: R 219–6; D 64–131; I 0–1. (Story, p. 679; Vote, p. 950)

    The process was far from smooth in the other chamber. A sizable group of Senate Republicans and most Democrats continued to push for the broader policy that included a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants. Bush met privately at the Capitol with House Republicans to say he would sign the fence bill but still wanted a “comprehensive” solution similar to the measure the Senate passed.

    But with election day near, many Senate Republicans who voted for the comprehensive bill acknowledged the need to demonstrate that they were serious about border security. Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., took the House fence bill to the Senate floor the week of Sept. 18. It became entangled with a wide range of other security authorization and spending measures in play during the final weeks of September, and Senate Democrats criticized the measure as a political vehicle. But in the final hours before adjourning for the midterm election, senators voted Sept. 28 to invoke cloture, or cut off debate by a vote of 71–28 and cleared the measure 80–19 the next day.

    10. Parental Notification of Abortion

    When Senate Democrats in late July 2006 put up a procedural roadblock to a conference on parental notification legislation (S 403, HR 748), House Republican leaders were left to decide its fate. The legislation made it a federal crime to take a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion in order to circumvent state parental notification and consent laws. It provided an exception when an abortion was necessary to save the life of the minor. Physicians who perform an abortion on an out-of-state minor were required to provide at least twenty-four hours' notice to the minor's parents. (Story, p. 549)

    Senate Republicans devoted all of September to national security issues, leaving them no time to force a conference with a series of procedural votes. The Senate-passed bill tracked the House measure's provisions on criminalizing the transportation of minors across state lines, but it did not include a House section on parental notification to provide for criminal and civil penalties for doctors who did not comply with its requirements.

    After the Senate passed its version in July on a 65–34 vote and Democrats blocked a conference, the House could have cleared the Senate bill for President George W. Bush's signature and codified several new restrictions on access to abortion services.

    Instead, House Republicans decided to send a message. They called up the Senate bill Sept. 26 under a rule that allowed them to substitute modified text from the House bill on the parental notification requirements for abortion providers. House GOP leaders retained Senate-passed language related to incest victims. They also revised the bill so it would apply to transporting minors across state lines to another country or a Native American reservation. No other amendments could be offered on the House floor.

    The House action was significant because it determined the fate of the legislation. By changing the Senate bill in a way that made it unacceptable to several Senate Democratic allies, backers of the bill ensured that it would not be enacted into law.

    GOP supporters of the bill said it was necessary to create a safeguard for minors. “As a mother of two young ladies, I want to know what is going on with my girls on something as significant and as medically life-altering as an abortion,” said Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, sponsor of the House bill.

    Democrats argued against not only the legislation but against the GOP decision to engineer a floor debate that did not allow for other amendments. “This is a bad bill, and it is a bad process under which it is coming to the floor,” said Massachusetts Democrat Jim McGovern. “I don't care what you believe on the issue of choice.”

    House lawmakers passed the amended Senate bill Sept. 26 on a 264–153 vote: R 215–9; D 49–143; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 950)

    Later the same week, proponents of the bill failed to obtain the required sixty votes in the Senate to limit debate on a motion to concur in the House amendment.

    11. Surveillance Oversight

    Lawmakers in both parties in 2006 searched for a legislative response after the New York Times revealed in December 2005 that President George W. Bush had authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct warrantless surveillance of communications between U.S. citizens and terrorist suspects abroad. The program operated outside a 1978 law, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), that required intelligence agencies to seek a warrant from a special court before they could eavesdrop on communications involving U.S. citizens or residents. (Story, pp. 231, 249, 251)

    The most visible effort came in the Senate, where Judiciary chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., held high-profile hearings and negotiated with the White House to develop a bill that would provide a legal framework for the NSA program.

    However, the only bill to reach the floor in either chamber was a House measure sponsored by Heather A. Wilson, R-N.M. House Republican leaders decided to bring the bill to a vote in September, a month they had dedicated to national security issues as a way of highlighting political differences with Democrats in advance of the midterm election. Supporters got a further impetus to push for speedy passage when a federal judge in August ruled that the NSA program was unconstitutional.

    Although Bush asserted that he had authority as commander in chief to conduct such surveillance, he, too, was pushing Congress to give a stamp of approval to his program.

    The bill would have authorized expanded warrantless surveillance for fixed, renewable periods both before an “imminent attack”—a proviso added to accommodate administration concerns—and after an attack. The president would have been required to notify the congressional Intelligence committees and the secret federal court established under FISA; the chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence committees would have been allowed to share the substance of the administration's reports on electronic surveillance with all members of the committees.

    The bill pitted most Democrats and some libertarian Republicans against most Republicans and some moderate Democrats. A bipartisan team of opponents—Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif.; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Jane Harman, D-Calif.; and Bob Inglis, R-S.C.—drafted a substitute amendment that would have required a FISA court order for domestic surveillance of Americans and streamlined the process for seeking such warrants. They argued that by operating outside FISA, the NSA program jeopardized the civil liberties of average citizens who might be subjected to warrantless surveillance.

    But GOP leaders blocked all amendments from floor consideration. Supporters of Wilson's bill argued that it included safeguards for civil liberties because it required additional congressional notification about how the program was being used. The measure passed 232–191: R 214–13; D 18–177; I 0–1. (Vote, p. 950)

    A motion by Schiff, Flake, Harman, and Inglis to return the bill to committee and substitute their version was defeated 221–202. The Senate never took up NSA legislation, which died at the end of the 109th Congress.

    12. Property Rights Legal Challenges

    A bill to streamline access to federal courts for property owners challenging land-use regulations by state and local governments passed the House in September 2006 but was not acted on by the Senate. The bill, which allowed plaintiffs to take their lawsuits directly to federal court rather than to first go through the state court system, was a priority for developers. House Republican leaders scheduled the measure (HR 4772) for floor action in September in the wake of two 2005 Supreme Court decisions, Kelo v. City of New London and San Remo Hotel LP v. City and County of San Francisco, both of which addressed property rights issues. (Story, p. 707)

    The House passed the bill Sept. 29 by 231–181: R 194–25; D 37–155; I 0–1.(Vote, p. 950)

    Although the Senate did not act on the measure, the House vote showed that conservative GOP congressional leaders were willing to confront the Supreme Court on some issues, even though over the previous year two conservative justices took seats for a net gain of one in the Court's philosophical division. One of the new justices replaced an equally conservative member, but the other replaced a moderate who often voted with more liberal members.

    House Republicans seized on the publicity surrounding the Kelo case, involving Connecticut's power of eminent domain, to build momentum for the land-use bill sponsored by Ohio Republican Steve Chabot. But the bill was aimed squarely at San Remo, and at another Court decision, from 1985. In San Remo, the Court ruled 9–0 that property owners cannot bring a claim alleging an uncompensated taking of property in federal court after state courts have ruled on the claim. In the 1985 case, Williamson Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank, v. Hamilton Bank, the Court ruled that property owners had to pursue such claims in state courts before going to a federal court. (Kelo and San Remo decisions, p. 774)

    Chabot's bill would have allowed private landowners who wished to challenge a state's or local government's taking of their land to file a claim directly with a federal court only when a violation of a federal constitutional right was alleged.

    House Republican leaders initially scheduled the measure for consideration Sept. 26 under suspension of the rules, a procedure that bars amendments, limits debate, and requires a two-thirds majority. But the motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill was rejected 234–172. The tally was thirty-seven votes short of the threshold for passage. House majority leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, promptly engineered floor consideration later that week, under a rule that did not allow for amendments.

    2006 House Brief Descriptions

    1. HR 4975. Lobbying and Ethics Overhaul Passage. Passage of the bill to revise lobbying and ethics rules for lobbyists and members of Congress. The bill prohibited privately funded travel by House members and their staff for the rest of the 109th Congress unless the ethics committee certified that a proposed trip complied with House rules and standards; denied pension benefits to House members convicted after enactment of crimes related to their official positions; barred the House from considering an appropriations bill unless the accompanying report listed the earmarks in the bill or report along with the name of the member requesting the earmark; required lobbyists to file quarterly reports. Passed 217–213: R 209–20; D 8–192; I 0–1. May 3, 2006.

    2. HR4297. Tax Reconciliation Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the bill to extend about $70 billion in tax cuts over a five-year period, including extending reduced tax rates on capital gains and dividends through 2010; extending through 2009 a tax provision that allowed small businesses to write off up to $100,000 in depreciable assets in the year they are made; and extending and increasing alternative minimum tax exemption amounts for 2006. Adopted 244–185: R 229–2; D 15–182; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 10, 2006.

    3. HR 5252. Network Neutrality. Markey, D-Mass., amendment to establish network neutrality requirements for broadband providers, including the duty to not block, impair, degrade, or discriminate against lawful content, applications, or services; to operate its network in a nondiscriminatory manner; and to offer equal prioritization to all data of a particular type if it offers priority to one provider. Rejected 152–269: R 11–211; D 140–58; I 1–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 8, 2006.

    4. H Res 861. Iraq War Resolution. Adoption of the resolution to declare that it was not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for withdrawal or redeployment of U.S. armed forces from Iraq and that affirmed the U.S. commitment to establishing democracy in Iraq. Adopted 256–153: R 214–3; D 42–149; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 16, 2006.

    5. HR 9. Voting Rights Act Bilingual Voting Assistance. King, R-Iowa, amendment to strike a provision in the bill to reauthorize, for twenty-five years, the requirement that states provide bilingual voting assistance as well as the use of American Community Survey census data. Rejected 185–238: R 181–44; D 4–193; I 0–1. July 13, 2006.

    6. HR 810. Embryonic Stem Cell Research Veto Override. Passage, over President George W. Bush's July 19, 2006, veto, of the bill to allow the use of federal funds in research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from surplus embryos at in vitro fertilization clinics, but only if donors give their consent and are not paid for the embryos. Rejected 235–193: R 51–179; D 183–14; I 1–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (286 in the House) was required to override a veto. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 19, 2006.

    7. HR 5682. United States-India Nuclear Agreements Passage. Passage of the bill to permit the president to waive certain provisions of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to seek congressional approval for civilian nuclear cooperation agreements with India if the president makes certain determinations, including that India would provide the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency with a plan to separate civilian and military nuclear facilities and programs. The bill required a joint resolution of approval by Congress for a nuclear cooperation agreement with India to enforce the agreement. Passed 359–68: R 219–9; D 140–58; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in favor of the president's position. July 26, 2006.

    8. HR 4. Pension Overhaul Passage. Passage of the bill to rewrite federal pension requirements, including establishing a new premium that employers that terminate their plans pay the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; changing the formula for determining whether a pension plan is fully funded; and requiring employers to meet a 100 percent funding target. Passed 279–131: R 203–16; D 76–114; I 0–1. July 28, 2006.

    9. HR 6061. Border Fencing Passage. Passage of the bill to authorize the construction of about 700 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border. The bill required a study of implementing security systems along the U.S.-Canadian border and directed the agency to evaluate the ability of personnel to stop fleeing vehicles at the border. Passed 283–138: R 219–6; D 64–131; I 0–1. Sept. 14, 2006.

    10. S 403. Parental Notification/Passage. Passage of the bill to make it a federal crime to take a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion in order to circumvent state parental notification and consent laws. It provided an exception when an abortion is necessary to save the life of the minor. Physicians who perform an abortion on an out-of-state minor were required to provide at least twenty-four hours' notice to the minor's parents. Passed 264–153: R 215–9; D 49–143; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 26, 2006.

    11. HR 5825. Warrantless Electronic Surveillance Passage. Passage of the bill to authorize electronic surveillance of communications by suspected terrorists for specified periods without first obtaining approval from the secret FISA court, allowing warrantless surveillance for up to ninety days if an armed or terrorist attack against the United States has occurred or if there is an “imminent threat.” Passed 232–191: R 214–13; D 18–177; I 0–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 28, 2006.

    12. HR 4772. Eminent Domain Passage. Passage of the bill to ensure access to federal courts for those who are challenging government attempts to take their property under eminent domain. It allowed private landowners who want to challenge a state's or local government's “taking” of their land to file a claim directly with a federal court when only federal claims are alleged. Passed 231–181: R 194–25; D 37–155; I 0–1. Sept. 29, 2006.

    2007 Key Votes
    Senate

    1. Minimum Wage Increase

    The Senate in early 2007 overwhelmingly passed a bill (HR 2) to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over two years and provide $8.3 billion in small-business tax incentives. Although the House was first to pass a minimum wage increase, it was this Senate vote that paved the way for the plan to become law. (Story, pp. 661, 664)

    The House voted on a wage-only bill, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., urged the Senate to do the same. But the Democrats' majority in the Senate was too slim for the leadership to follow the House's lead. Because getting the sixty votes necessary to overcome an expected Republican filibuster would be impossible without some kind of accompanying tax-incentive package, Finance chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., put together $8.3 billion in small-business tax breaks that could be added to the House's wage bill. Backed by Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., the strategy worked, bringing all but three Republicans on board for the first increase in the minimum wage in a decade.

    At that point, House Ways and Means chairman Charles B. Rangel, D-N.Y., went to work on his own, smaller tax package, acknowledging that one would be necessary for the wage increase to be cleared. Almost four months later, Congress included the wage increase, along with $4.9 billion in tax breaks aimed at reducing its effect on businesses, in the war supplemental that President George W. Bush signed into law.

    The Senate passed HR 2 on Feb. 1 by a vote of 94–3: R 45–3; D 47–0; I 2–0. (Vote, p. 959)

    2. U.S. Attorney Appointments

    By a convincing 94–2 margin, the Senate in March 2006 passed legislation that repealed the authority of the U.S. attorney general to make indefinite interim appointments of U.S. attorneys and reinstated a 120-day limit on the tenure of appointed attorneys.

    The purpose of this bill was to roll back a provision that had been included in the antiterrorism law (PL 109-177) the Republican-led Congress wrote in 2005 and cleared in 2006. The provision had allowed the attorney general to appoint U.S. attorneys who could serve indefinitely without Senate action. By the start of the 110th Congress, it had become the center of controversy over the Justice Department's dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys in 2006 and the role White House officials played in the firings. (Story, p. 721)

    The 94–2 vote showed not only a broad, bipartisan consensus in the Senate that the provision should be overturned but also a unified dissatisfaction over the way the Justice Department handled the hiring and firing of federal prosecutors and over the leadership in general of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

    The House, following the Senate's lead, voted 306–114 to send the bill to President George W. Bush, who signed it June 14. In August, after months of acrimonious interaction with the Senate over the attorney firings and other issues that came to light, Gonzales announced that he would resign as attorney general. He left Sept. 17. The Senate approval on the key vote came March 20 by a vote of 94–2: R 46–2; D 46–0; I 2–0. (Vote, p. 959)

    3. Immigration Overhaul

    The Senate's refusal on June 28, 2007, to stop a filibuster on legislation to overhaul U.S. immigration laws brought an end to President George W. Bush's long effort to win a comprehensive overhaul of immigration policy. The legislation provided for a temporary guest worker program and instituted new border security measures. (Story, pp. 686, 711)

    The cloture failure on S 1639, which did not even get a simple majority, demonstrated that lawmakers remained deeply divided over whether immigration law should focus exclusively on law enforcement or combine a crackdown on illegal immigrants with temporary visas for guest workers and a path to citizenship for some immigrants.

    The issue divided liberals and aroused grassroots conservatives who were a core GOP constituency. The same splits blocked attempts to clear a comprehensive immigration bill in the 109th Congress.

    The June 28 vote was the fourth time in less than a month that backers of the immigration legislation were unable to muster the sixty votes needed to surmount opposition from conservative Republicans and a mixed group of liberals and Democrats from GOP-leaning states. The effort had picked up only one new vote since June 7, when three attempts to limit debate on an earlier version of the bill (S 1348) were rejected.

    Going into the June 28 vote, supporters thought they were only a handful of votes away from sixty and that they had a couple of potential backers that would give them the total needed. But that proved a vain hope when Alaska Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Ted Stevens cast “no” votes together. Shortly after that, Kansas Republican Sam Brownback, who had cast an early “yes,” switched his vote. From there, it was clearly a lopsided vote. The Senate rejected the motion to invoke cloture by a vote of 46–53: R 12–37; D 33–15; I 1–1, well under the sixty votes needed. (Vote, p. 959)

    The legislation was the product of a “grand bargain” involving the White House and about a dozen senators from both parties. It would have allowed millions of illegal immigrants to stay in the country, receive legal status, and ultimately earn citizenship. It also provided $4.4 billion in mandatory spending for border security and enforcement and created a temporary guest worker program. But the fragile compromise suited almost no one entirely, and in the end it was overwhelmed by doubts from all sides. Sixteen of the senators who voted against cloture—ten Republicans and six Democrats—had supported a broad immigration bill in the 109th Congress.

    4. Lobby and Ethics Overhaul

    Senate Democrats in August 2007 cleared a bill overhauling congressional lobbying and ethics rules for members and their staffs and changing some Senate rules, thereby making good on a campaign promise to change what they called the “culture of corruption” on Capitol Hill under the Republican majority.

    Democrats had symbolically given the measure the designation of S 1, to emphasize its political importance in winning the 2006 elections. The vote took place nineteen months after former lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to corruption charges that had ignited a call for improvements in the legislative process. (Story, p. 830)

    The measure was designed primarily to give the public more information about the work of lobbyists and their political fundraising efforts, while limiting the ability of members and staff to move between congressional positions and Washington lobbying jobs. Embedded in it were some Senate rules changes, which meant it would need a two-thirds majority to break a filibuster.

    The Senate originally passed the bill in January, but progress halted as Jim DeMint, R-S.C., blocked efforts by Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to set up a House-Senate conference. DeMint wanted guarantees that language he had written making it easier to identify and challenge member earmarks would be in the conference version of the bill. To circumvent DeMint's opposition, Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., decided in late July to use a different procedure to finish the package. They worked out a compromise version informally and then had the House call up and pass an amended version of the measure, which the Senate cleared Aug. 2 by agreeing to a motion to concur in the House amendment 83–14: R 34–14; D 47–0; I 2–0. A two-thirds majority vote of those present and voting (sixty-five in this case) was required to adopt a motion proposing a change in Senate rules. (Vote, p. 959)

    5. Foreign Surveillance Policy

    With a vote on Aug. 3, 2007, senators sent a signal to House Democrats that they should join them in going along, at least temporarily, with a White House plan to fill gaps in the law governing terrorist surveillance and that they should try to address a broader bill later in the year. The vote also foreshadowed problems Democrats would have in coming up with a unified position on the issue. (Story, p. 249)

    At issue was passage of a six-month bill (S 1927) to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to expand the authority of the U.S. attorney general and the director of national intelligence to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign targets, whether or not the target was in communication with someone in the United States.

    Senate Republicans introduced this bill Aug. 1—five days before the scheduled start of the summer recess—in response to intensifying pressure by the administration to quickly pass a change to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, PL 95-511. The White House and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said they were limited under the 1978 law in their ability to monitor some suspect communications. They hinted at the potential for terrorism activity during the summer recess if Congress did not produce an immediate revision to the law.

    Democrats spent days trying to negotiate changes to the plan being advanced by the White House, but in the end they were able to secure only the promise that it could be kept short-term, with an expiration date six months from enactment.

    Sixteen Senate Democrats, and one independent who usually caucused with them, voted in favor of this Republican bill, mostly out of discontent over their own party leaders' attempt to come up with a viable solution to the problems with the FISA bill. Some Democrats voted for both the Republican bill and a measure (S 2011) sponsored by Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, with the hope that one would reach a sixty-vote threshold. The Levin bill was defeated 43–45 just after the Senate had passed the GOP measure, which barely achieved the required majority of sixty votes that had been set by leaders.

    Unable to pass their own FISA bill, House Democrats reluctantly agreed to take up and clear the Senate's bill. The temporary law was due to expire in February 2008. The Senate passed S 1927 on Aug. 3 by a vote of 60–28: R 43–0; D 16–27; I 1–1. By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for passage of the bill to sixty votes. (Vote, p. 959)

    6. District of Columbia Representation

    The District of Columbia once again lost a bid to have full voting representation in the House of Representatives when the Senate in September refused to invoke cloture on a bill (S 1257) to increase House membership to 437 by granting a seat to the District and an additional seat to Utah. (Story, pp. 820, 836)

    The Senate's refusal to allow this bill to proceed, despite passage in the House, killed the measure for the year and for the rest of the 110th Congress. The one member who was absent for the vote, Democrat Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, issued a statement opposing the measure because of constitutional concerns, which meant supporters were even further from success than the vote total suggested. The vote on cloture, on Sept. 18, was 57–42: R 8–41; D 47–1; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. (Vote, p. 959)

    7. Habeas Corpus for Detainees

    An amendment to the fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill (HR 1585) to restore habeas corpus rights to enemy combatants under U.S. detention, as well as to those awaiting military reviews to determine their legal status, failed when the Senate in September refused to invoke cloture on a filibuster. (Story, pp. 399, 400)

    By refusing to limit debate on the amendment, the Senate avoided having to vote on whether suspected terrorists held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, had the right to contest their incarceration in U.S. courts. The effect was to leave to the Supreme Court a determination of the legality of language in a 2006 law on military commissions (PL 109-366) that denied detainees such rights.

    Under the 2006 law, no court could consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus—essentially a legal challenge to imprisonment—from any detainee who was regarded as an enemy combatant or who was awaiting such a determination. The amendment, offered by Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, would have repealed that provision.

    Supporters, including Specter and Judiciary chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., claimed an increased number of senators for their side; Specter got forty-eight votes when he tried to keep the language out of the military detainee act in 2006. But the need to get sixty votes to invoke cloture still proved an insurmountable obstacle.

    During its next term, the Supreme Court was to consider a case that questioned whether Congress exceeded its constitutional limits in denying the courts the right to hear petitions for habeas corpus from military detainees. (Court decision, p. 730)

    The Senate's action rejecting cloture on Specter's amendment came on Sept. 19 by a vote of 56–43: R 6–42; D 49–0; I 1–1. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. (Vote, p. 959)

    8. Troop Deployment in Iraq

    Attempts by Senate Democrats to put constraints on President George W. Bush's conduct of the war in Iraq repeatedly fell short of the sixty votes needed to overcome a filibuster. But after lawmakers returned from their August 2007 recess, opponents of the war thought they had a chance with an amendment to the annual defense authorization bill (HR 1585) sponsored by Virginia Democrat Jim Webb that was designed to be supportive of the troops and disruptive of the war effort. (Story, pp. 303, 309)

    A former marine and a Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan, Webb proposed requiring that active-duty troops be given as much time outside a war zone as they had in Iraq or Afghanistan. National Guard forces would get three years between deployments. Both supporters and critics of the proposal said it could reduce the number of troops available to fight in either country.

    Webb had offered a similar amendment in July that was rejected, winning fifty-six of the needed sixty votes. However, the equation changed when South Dakota Democrat Tim Johnson returned to the chamber following an eight-month absence due to illness. In addition, several Republicans were considered potential supporters of the amendment in September to supplement the handful that had joined Webb before the recess. But supporters were disappointed when none of the potential additional GOP votes materialized and when Republican John W. Warner of Virginia—also a former Navy secretary—switched from supporting the amendment to opposing it.

    Webb's amendment again won only fifty-six votes; its rejection was the high-water mark for Iraq War opponents in the Senate and their efforts to alter the administration's military policies. The Senate rejected Webb's amendment on Sept. 19 56–44: R 6–43; D 49–0; I 1–1. By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for adoption of the amendment to sixty votes. (Vote, p. 959)

    9. Water Projects Authorization

    Overriding a presidential veto in Congress is difficult under most circumstances. One exception to that general rule came in 2007 when the legislators rejected President George W. Bush's Nov. 2 veto of a bill to authorize $23.2 billion for flood control, navigation, and environmental restoration projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. (Story, p. 500)

    The bill (HRS 1495) authorized more than 900 water-related projects. It demonstrated that, on both sides of the aisle, the politics of approving funds for home districts outweighed the politics of supporting the president. Supporters of the bill easily managed the two-thirds majority needed to pass it, and most of the “no” votes came from typically anti-earmark senators. The override vote came on Nov. 8, 2007, and easily surpassed the two-thirds majority needed, sixty-two in this case: 79–14: R 34–12; D 43–2; I 2–0. The Senate vote enacted the bill into law. (Vote, p. 959)

    10. Mukasey Nomination

    By a relatively narrow vote of 53–40 the Senate Nov. 8, 2007, confirmed President George W. Bush's nomination of Michael Mukasey of New York to be U.S. attorney general. (Story, pp. 680, 871)

    That vote put Mukasey, a former federal judge, at the helm of the Justice Department, replacing Alberto R. Gonzales. But the margin was the lowest level of support in a recorded vote for an attorney general nominee since 1952. Even Gonzales, whose relationship with the Senate was contentious from the start, received a slightly stronger endorsement when he was confirmed in 2005. Sixty senators backed Gonzales's confirmation; fifty-three voted for Mukasey.

    Moreover, the Mukasey vote, with the support of only six Democrats, also foreshadowed a continuation of the skepticism that Gonzales faced from the Senate. Of the ten Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, eight voted against confirmation. The Nov. 8 vote was 53–40: R 46–0; D 6–39; I 1–1. (Vote, p. 959)

    11. Farm Assistance Reauthorization

    The Senate in late 2007 rejected an amendment to the vast farm bill that would have set lower limits than written in the legislation on the amount of government aid farms could receive. The defeat of this amendment, made easier because leaders required a higher threshold than a simple majority for its adoption, ended any effort to redraw the government's policy regarding subsidies to farmers, especially large corporate producers. (Story, p. 514)

    The amendment sparked the most intense regional battle during debate over the Senate's farm bill, drawing stiff opposition from southern senators, who said it would wreak havoc on cotton and rice operations that relied heavily on subsidies to support the high cost of producing those crops. About a dozen members worked behind the scenes to build opposition to the amendment. Because Senate leaders set a sixty-vote requirement for the amendment to succeed, the opposition from the South was enough to keep supporters from reaching that target. Leaders delayed the vote so the members who were running for president could return to Washington for it. All but one, John McCain, R-Ariz., made it back, and they all voted for the amendment.

    But it was not enough. Eleven Democrats joined thirty-one Republicans and Independent Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut in voting against it.

    Amendment sponsor Byron L. Dorgan, D-N.D., decried the decision to set a sixty-vote majority: “We got fifty-six votes,” Dorgan said. “That shows most members of the Senate want real subsidy reform.” His amendment to HR 2419 was rejected on Dec. 13: 56–43: R 17–31; D 38–11; I 1–1. By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for adoption of the amendment to sixty votes. (Vote, p. 959)

    12. Energy Policy Overhaul

    In another of many votes in 2007 requiring a supermajority for approval, the Senate in December refused—by one vote—to halt a filibuster on a bill (HR 6) to overhaul federal energy programs with an emphasis on fuel conservation that included a $21.8 billion package of tax incentives, offset in part by eliminating or reducing $13 billion in subsidies for major oil and gas companies. (Story, p. 484)

    The issue of cutting subsidies for oil and gas companies had divided Republicans and Democrats all year, culminating in the especially close December vote, which favored the GOP's preferences. Despite persistent wooing and attempts at deal-making by bill writers, Republicans held firm and ensured that the president would not be sent an energy policy bill that contained a tax package he opposed.

    After coming just short of success, 59–40, sponsors removed the tax package from the bill, which the Senate then passed 86–8 and the House soon cleared.

    The first key vote on the energy tax package came in June, on a cloture motion on adding a $32.1 billion plan to the overall bill. The official tally was 57–36, as ten Republicans joined all Democrats, except Mary L. Landrieu of oil- and gas-rich Louisiana, in supporting cloture.

    At one point during the summer, Finance chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said he had as many as sixty-four votes for another energy tax measure, but the bill did not come back to the floor until Dec. 7. That cloture vote failed 53–42. But that total was misleading, because the measure included a renewable-electricity standard opposed even by some Democrats, such as Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia.

    In the Dec. 13 vote, the pressure was on Baucus and his supporters to find enough Republican support. They tried offering inducements, such as an expansion of the tax credit for energy-efficient residential heaters to include wood pellet stoves, aimed at Republicans John E. Sununu and Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, and John Thune of South Dakota.

    Thune did vote for the measure, but Sununu and Gregg cast the votes that ensured that supporters would not get a majority of sixty. “That happened to be a provision that I supported,” Sununu said of the wood-stove credit. “But something like that, you know, you've got to look at an entire piece of legislation, and I think getting something that's bipartisan, that can get signed into law this year, is extremely, extremely important.” The Dec. 13 vote was 59–40: R 9–39; D 48–1; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) is required to invoke cloture. (Vote, p. 959)

    13. Iraq War Funding

    In a lopsided vote in December 2007, the Senate—including nearly all Republicans and many Democrats—flatly rejected the demand of a majority of House Democrats that Congress refuse to provide money to conduct military activities in Iraq. The decision involved an amendment to the fiscal 2008 omnibus spending bill that replaced $31 billion in funding for the war in Afghanistan with $70 billion to fund the war in Iraq as well as in Afghanistan. (Story, pp. 303, 308)

    An unsuccessful, yearlong effort by the new congressional Democratic majority to bring the Iraq War to an end came down to the final days of the session. Democratic leaders knew they were unlikely to prevail, but they decided to force a vote. As part of an omnibus spending bill that financed all aspects of the federal government, except for routine activities of the Defense Department, the House voted to allocate $31 billion for military activities in Afghanistan and to bar use of that money in Iraq.

    An overwhelming majority of the Senate refused to follow the House's lead and voted to substitute a $70 billion unrestricted appropriation for Iraq and Afghanistan. All but one Republican and twenty-one of forty-four Democrats who participated in the vote supported the substitute amendment. The Senate's action became the last word on Iraq funding for the calendar year because the House voted to go along the following day. But the $70 billion was barely a third of the amount sought by President George W. Bush for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars for fiscal 2008, which meant the issue would return in 2008.

    The Senate rejection of the House's approach came on Dec. 18 on HR 2764, an omnibus appropriations bill, by a vote of 70–25: R 48–1; D 21–23; I 1–1. By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for the motion to concur to sixty votes. (Vote, p. 959)

    2007 Senate Brief Descriptions

    1. HR 2. Minimum Wage Increase Passage. Passage of the bill to raise the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over two years and provide $8.3 billion in small-business tax incentives, including extending the work opportunity tax credit for five years and the small-business expensing deduction through 2010. Passed 94–3: R 45–3; D 47–0; I 2–0. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Feb. 1, 2007.

    2. S 214. U.S. Attorney Appointments Passage. Passage of the bill to repeal the authority of the U.S. attorney general to make indefinite interim appointments of U.S. attorneys and to reinstate a 120-day limit on the tenure of appointed attorneys. If the post remained vacant after that, the chief judge of the relevant federal district court would have the authority to appoint a temporary attorney until the vacancy was filled. Passed 94–2: R 46–2; D 46–0; I 2–0. March 20, 2007.

    3. S 1639. Immigration Overhaul Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the bill to overhaul U.S. immigration policies, provide for a temporary guest worker program, and institute new border security measures, including an electronic verification system. Motion rejected 46–53: R 12–37; D 33–15; I 1–1. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) is required to invoke cloture. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 28, 2007.

    4. S 1. Ethics and Lobbying Overhaul. Reid, D-Nev., motion to concur in the House amendment to the bill to overhaul congressional lobbying and ethics rules for members and their staffs and require the disclosure of “bundled” campaign contributions that exceed $15,000 in a six-month period, require former senators to wait two years before becoming lobbyists, require quarterly disclosure reports on lobbying activities, and restrict members' and candidates' travel on private planes. Motion agreed to (thus clearing the bill for the president) 83–14: R 34–14; D 47–0; I 2–0. Aug. 2, 2007.

    5. S 1927. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Revisions Passage. Passage of the bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 to expand the authority of the U.S. attorney general and the director of national intelligence to conduct surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists without a court warrant. The bill required the administration within 120 days of enactment to provide the FISA court with a description of the procedures used to determine whether the intelligence acquisition being conducted without a warrant was directed at foreign targets overseas. As amended, the legislation would expire after six months. Passed 60–28: R 43–0; D 16–27; I 1–1. (By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for passage of the bill to sixty votes.) A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Aug. 3, 2007.

    6. S 1257. District of Columbia Voting Rights Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill to increase the membership of the House of Representatives to 437, by granting a seat to the District of Columbia and an additional seat to Utah. Motion rejected 57–42: R 8–41; D 47–1; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 18, 2007.

    7. HR 1585. Fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Specter, R-Pa., amendment to the Levin, D-Mich., substitute. The Specter amendment would restore habeas corpus rights to enemy combatants under U.S. detention, as well as to those awaiting military reviews to determine their legal status. Motion rejected 56–43: R 6–42; D 49–0; I 1–1. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 19, 2007.

    8. HR 1585. Fiscal 2008 Defense Authorization Troop Deployments. Webb, D-Va., amendment to require active-duty forces to be guaranteed as much time at home as they served while deployed. National Guard and reservists would be guaranteed three years at home between deployments. Rejected 56–44: R 6–43; D 49–0; I 1–1. (By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for adoption of the amendment to sixty votes.) A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 19, 2007.

    9. HR 1495. Water Resources Development Veto Override. Passage, over President George W. Bush's Nov. 2, 2007, veto, of the bill to authorize $23.2 billion for more than 900 water resource development projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, navigation, beach erosion control, and environmental restoration. Passed (thus enacted into law) 79–14: R 34–12; D 43–2; I 2–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (sixty-two for the Senate) of both chambers was required to override a veto. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Nov. 8, 2007.

    10. Mukasey Confirmation as Attorney General. Confirmation of President George W. Bush's nomination of Michael Mukasey of New York to be U.S. attorney general. Confirmed 53–40: R 46–0; D 6–39; I 1–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Nov. 8, 2007.

    11. HR 2419. Farm Bill Reauthorization Commodity Payments. Dorgan, D-N.D., amendment to cap annual farm payments that any one individual or entity may receive at $250,000 per year, and to limit the amount that farms could receive during any crop year under specific programs to $40,000 for direct and fixed payments, $60,000 for countercyclical and average crop revenue payments, and $150,000 for marketing loan gains and loan deficiency payments. Rejected 56–43: R 17–31; D 38–11; I 1–1. (By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for adoption to sixty votes. The Dorgan amendment was later withdrawn.) Dec. 13, 2007.

    12. HR 6. Energy Policy Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment with an additional amendment to the bill to require new Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks, and require the production and use of 36 billion gallons of biofuels by 2022. It directed the Energy Department to set new energy efficiency standards. The additional amendment increased to $21.8 billion a package of tax incentives that would be offset in part by eliminating or reducing $13 billion in subsidies for major oil and gas companies. Motion rejected 59–40: R 9–39; D 48–1; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) is required to invoke cloture. Dec. 13, 2007.

    13. HR 2764. Fiscal 2008 Omnibus Appropriations. McConnell, R-Ky., motion to concur in the House amendment to the Senate amendment to the bill with an amendment that would replace the $31 billion in funding for the war in Afghanistan, as approved in the House version, with $70 billion that the Defense Department could use to conduct the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq without restrictions. Motion agreed to 70–25: R 48–1; D 21–23; I 1–1. (By unanimous consent, the Senate agreed to raise the majority requirement for the motion to concur to sixty votes.) Dec. 18, 2007.

    House

    1. Budget Process Rules Changes

    As one of its first pieces of business in the new year, the House approved pay-as-you-go rules requiring offsets to any new entitlement spending or tax cuts, and requiring legislation and conference reports to be accompanied by a list of earmarks and targeted tax or trade benefits and their sponsors. (Story, p. 118)

    The vote, by a substantial margin and including considerable Republican support, was held on the second day of the 110th Congress. The action represented the new Democratic majority's intent to distinguish itself from Republican predecessors by promoting fiscal discipline and responsibility. It set in motion House rules that dictated much of the legislative process throughout the year. Because of the pay-as-you-go provisions, writers of legislation on issues such as energy policy, farm subsidies, and federal student loans were forced to add revenue-raising offsets, often in the form of targeted tax increases, to their bills.

    However, when it came to efforts to block an expansion of the alternative minimum tax (AMT), which threatened to reach an additional 21 million middle-class taxpayers, House Democrats acceded to political reality, abandoning their pay-as-you-go principle and accepting an AMT “patch,” with its addition of $50 billion to the budget deficit.

    The new rules on earmarks added an unprecedented level of transparency to the appropriations process—and to the workloads of appropriators and their staffs—but in the end had little effect on the amount of money specified for special projects. The House vote on the requirement (H Res 6) on Jan. 5 was 280–152: R 48–152; D 232–0. (Vote, p. 966)

    2. Minimum Wage Increase

    The House, newly under Democratic control at the beginning of the 110th Congress in 2007, moved swiftly to pass a signature goal of the party: an increase in the minimum wage by $2.10 an hour over two years, from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. (Story, p. 664)

    This was the first House vote on a “clean” minimum wage bill—one that addressed only that issue—since the last time the hourly wage was increased in 1996. Passing a minimum wage increase was one of the Democrats' campaign promises, and leaders included the vote in their “first 100 hours agenda.” To quickly pass their priority bills at the opening of the 110th Congress, Democrats barred amendments. Even so, eighty-two Republicans joined in support of this bill.

    In the end, though, Senate Democrats added a large package of tax incentives to the bill to gain enough Republican support in that chamber. That stalled the legislation until spring, when it was enacted as part of an emergency war spending bill, although that bill was vetoed. (See next key vote on war appropriations.)

    The House passed HR 2 on Jan. 10 by a vote of 315–116: R 82–116; D 233–0. (Vote, p. 966)

    3. War Appropriations and Troop Withdrawal

    The House in April 2007 adopted the conference report on a bill to provide $124.2 billion in fiscal 2007 emergency funding for military operations as well as set a goal for redeployment of most U.S. combat troops in Iraq by the end of March 2008 if the president could certify that the Iraq government was meeting benchmarks and by the end of 2007 if he could not. (Story, pp. 303, 308)

    The vote showed clearly that House Democrats would not be able to override any veto of legislation that included language dictating a change in Iraq War policy. The conference report on the supplemental bill was the result of negotiation with Senate leaders who knew they would be unable to get enough Republican support to clear a tougher version passed by the House. As a result, under the conference report the bill contained a nonbinding “goal” for troop redeployment—softer language than the binding targets for withdrawal in the original House measure. Conferees also added to the bill a $2.10 increase in the hourly minimum wage that had been approved separately. (House key vote 2 and Senate key vote 1)

    Nonetheless, leaders gained no support among Republicans, with Wayne T. Gilchrest of Maryland and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina—both of whom voted for the original bill—as the only two GOP “yes” votes. Only one Democrat moved from the “no” column to “yes” on the conference report. That was Diane Watson of California, a liberal from Los Angeles, who said she cast the vote in honor of her friend Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., who had died of cancer the previous weekend. Millender-McDonald “would have cast her vote yes,” Watson said.

    It was Watson's vote that gave the Democrats the 218 needed to guarantee adoption of the conference report, but an insurmountable gap still remained between that tally and the 284 that was needed to override the veto when that vote was taken May 2. On the override vote, Democratic leaders gained the support of seven antiwar liberals from their party, but Gilchrest and Jones continued to be the only GOP “yes” votes. By the end of the year, the most votes the Democrats had mustered in favor of legislation to change Iraq War policy was 223, on a stand-alone bill (HR 2956) that passed July 12. The House vote on the conference report on HR 1591 on April 25 was 218–208: R 2–195; D 216–13. (Vote, p. 966)

    4. Faith-Based Hiring in Head Start

    An effort by House Republicans to add faith-based language to a Head Start reauthorization bill failed in May 2007 in the face of nearly unanimous Democratic opposition. The central element of the GOP proposal was language to permit faith-based providers to take religion into account when hiring. (Story, p. 586)

    This vote against the GOP move not only paved the way for the first reauthorization of Head Start since 1998, it also demonstrated that the new Democratic majority would not allow social conservatism to dictate their approach to legislation.

    In the 108th and 109th Congresses, Republican bills to reauthorize Head Start contained provisions to allow faith-based providers of the early-childhood program to take religion into account when hiring workers. But strong Democratic opposition to that plan, on the grounds that it was discriminatory, stalled the legislation. With Democrats in the majority in the Congress, bill writers produced an authorization measure that did not include such language. Luis Fortuño, Puerto Rico's Republican resident commissioner, wanted to offer an amendment to add a faith-based hiring provision, but Democrats wrote a rule for debate that did not allow it. As a result, Republicans instead called for a motion to recommit the bill to the Education and Labor Committee with instructions to add the language, a procedural device that sometimes worked for the minority in lieu of amendments. But the House rejected it, and the issue, for the first time in five years, was put to rest. The key vote on May 2 rejecting the recommittal was 195–222: R 191–2; D 4–220. (Vote, p. 966)

    5. 2008 Budget Resolution

    For the first time since 1994, Democrats in May 2007 were able to put their party's mark on spending levels. That came through adoption of a conference report on a fiscal 2008 budget resolution that allowed up to $954.1 billion in discretionary spending for fiscal 2008, plus $145.2 billion in emergency spending for defense operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It called for $21.3 billion more in spending than President George W. Bush had requested. By voting to accept this level, House Democrats (no Republicans voted for the conference report) also voted to start a budgetary tug-of-war with the White House that continued for the rest of the year. At the same time, the discretionary cap agreed to by House and Senate negotiators was slightly smaller than in the original House budget resolution, signaling some realization among Democrats that they would need to be cautious when it came to spending. The House adopted the conference report on S Con Res 21 on May 17, 214–209: R 0–196; D 214–13. (Story, p. 108; Vote, p. 966)

    6. Mexico City Policy on Abortion

    The House in June 2007 rejected an amendment to eliminate from the fiscal 2008 State-foreign operations appropriations bill a provision to modify the 1984 “Mexico City” policy on abortion by allowing the United States to provide contraceptives, but no monetary assistance, for family planning groups to distribute in developing countries. (Story, p. 314)

    The House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations had added the provision, sponsored by Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., during its markup of the bill, but by the time the bill reached the floor, abortion opponents had stirred up strong opposition to it. The Mexico City policy—created by President Ronald Reagan, rescinded by President Bill Clinton, and reinstituted by President George W. Bush—barred the federal government from providing funds to international family planning groups that performed or promoted abortion. Antiabortion groups protested that the Lowey language would violate the policy by aiding these organizations; Lowey and Democratic leaders insisted that it would provide only contraceptives, such as condoms, but no financial aid.

    Some of those concerned about the language were antiabortion Democrats, such as Jim Langevin of Rhode Island and Henry Cuellar of Texas. To mollify those party members and ensure that the provision stayed in the bill, Lowey offered an amendment to clarify that the provision would not provide funds to family planning groups normally barred from receiving money under the Mexico City policy. Her amendment was adopted 223–201 with twenty-four Democrats voting against it. A number of undecided Democrats backed the amendment, including Langevin and Cuellar.

    Adoption of the Lowey amendment made it more palatable for conservative Democrats to vote against an amendment by Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J., and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., to strike the subcommittee language from the bill. The tally on the Smith-Stupak amendment was 205–218—a mirror of the previous vote.

    Not since Bush became president in 2001 had Democrats had a chance to address the issue of aiding international family planning groups, and the ability to send a message of change was important to House leaders.

    However, the vote also showed how careful the new Democratic leadership, with an eye toward retaining its majority in 2008, wanted to be in handling the broad issue of abortion. The Lowey amendment opened the door ever so slightly to reducing the impact of the twenty-four-year-old Mexico City policy, but it did not come close to reversing it, as some members preferred and as the Senate did in its legislation.

    In the end, with a veto threat hanging over the provision, appropriators decided to drop any reference to changing abortion policy when they cleared the State–foreign operations measure as part of an omnibus spending package. The key vote to reject the Smith amendment to HR 2764 came on June 21, 205–218: R 180–12; D 25–206. (Vote, p. 966)

    7. Foreign Surveillance Policy

    A House vote in August 2007 to clear of a six-month bill amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978 showed the limits Democrats faced in trying to fight President George W. Bush on issues of national security. The legislation expanded the authority of the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign targets, whether or not the target was communicating with someone in the United States. (Story, p. 249)

    Just a few days before the House and Senate were scheduled to recess for the August break, President Bush, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, and Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell suddenly altered their demand for an expansion of the executive branch's authority to eavesdrop without a warrant on foreign targets, whether or not the target was communicating with someone in the United States. They said the change was necessary to prevent a possibly imminent terrorist attack from occurring. During discussion of the bill, House minority leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, revealed in July that a FISA court ruling had limited the government's ability to spy on foreign-to-foreign communications that were routed through the United States.

    In response to the president's urgent call for action, House Democrats tried to pass a narrower expansion of the White House's powers of surveillance. That bill did not pass, and with their legislative time dwindling and the pressure from Bush intensifying, Democrats reluctantly agreed to give the president the changes he had sought. The key vote on the bill, S 1926, on Aug. 4 was 227–183: R 186–2; D 41–181. (Vote, p. 966)

    8. Children's Health Insurance

    The House failed in October 2007 to override President George W. Bush's veto of a bill to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at nearly $60 billion over five years, expanding the program by $35 billion. To offset the cost of the expansion, the legislation (HR 976) increased the tax on cigarettes by 61 cents, to $1 per pack, and raised taxes on other tobacco products. (Story, pp. 558, 561)

    This vote showed that Democrats would not be able to enact such an expansion of CHIP under President Bush. The House passed the bill Sept. 25 with the support of 265 members, but Democrats were never able to persuade enough Republicans to join them to reach the number necessary to override Bush's veto. By the end of the year, Democrats had given up on expanding the program and instead passed an extension of CHIP, with enough money to maintain only current enrollment. The extension was set to expire at the end of March 2009, two months after the next president was inaugurated. The key vote to override, which failed, came on Oct. 18: 273–156: R 44–154; D 229–2. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (286 in this case) of both chambers was required to override a veto. (Vote, p. 966)

    9. Water Projects Authorization

    In contrast to the failed veto override of the children's health bill (see key vote 8) the House had no qualms about rejecting President George W. Bush's veto of a bill to authorize $23.2 billion for more than 900 flood control, navigation, and environmental restoration projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. (Story, p. 500)

    The vote to pass a measure authorizing billions of dollars for home-state water projects over Bush's veto showed the power of federal spending to House members of both parties. It was the first successful veto override of Bush's presidency to that time. Bush objected that the measure was fiscally irresponsible and overly broad in scope, but with large majorities in both parties agreeing to override, the vote served as proof that local concerns outweighed GOP efforts to remain loyal to the president and Democratic concerns over budget policy. The vote came on Nov. 6, 361–54: R 138–54; D 223–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (277 in this case) was required to override a veto. (Vote, p. 966)

    10. Job Discrimination Policy

    Despite Republican opposition, the House in November 2007 easily passed a bill (HR 3685) to prohibit job discrimination on the basis of an individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation. In approving the legislation, House Democrats agreed to expand the reach of federal civil rights protections to include homosexuality, heterosexuality, and bisexuality. (Story, p. 670)

    GOP members objected to the bill as unnecessary and too broad, but the measure had the support of a widespread coalition of business interests, many of which were already implementing similar protections in their workplaces. At the same time, the vote demonstrated that Democratic leaders were reluctant to take a traditionally liberal issue too far.

    With Republicans ready to pounce on the issue in floor debate, leaders gave Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., the option of dropping her amendment to add members of the transgender community to the list of protected individuals. That move drew the rage of the gay and lesbian community, but leaders—including openly gay Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts—worried that those opposed to the underlying legislation could use the transgender issue as “a weapon to defeat the whole bill.” Baldwin opted to withdraw the amendment, losing the votes of some Democrats who insisted that the bill cover all aspects of sexual orientation but ensuring passage of the legislation itself. The Senate did not take up the bill. The House vote on passage on Nov. 7 was 235–184: R 35–159; D 200–25. (Vote, p. 966)

    11. Peru Free-Trade Agreement

    Both parties came together in 2007 to easily pass a bill to implement a free-trade agreement (HR 3688) between the United States and Peru that was designed to reduce most tariffs on trade between the two countries and require Peru to strengthen its labor and environmental protection standards. (Story, p. 209)

    Soon after Democrats took control of the 110th Congress, Charles B. Rangel of New York and other House leaders told the Bush administration they would consider several pending trade agreements only if the administration required significant new labor and environmental protections as integral elements of the accords. The White House agreed and heralded a new era of bipartisan cooperation on trade.

    The Peru accord was one of four negotiated during 2007 under so-called fast-track rules, which required expedited consideration of the agreements in Congress. Those rules expired June 30. House passage of the implementing legislation was evidence that the administration's position was widely acceptable, at least in this one case. Among Democrats, 109 out of 225 voted to pass the implementing bill. The vote Nov. 8 was 285–132: R 176–16; D 109–116. (Vote, p. 966)

    12. Mortgage Industry Overhaul

    Without a dissenting vote, Democrats pushed through legislation in November 2007 to rewrite the nation's mortgage lending laws by bringing mortgage brokers under a nationwide licensing registry, establishing minimum standards for home loans, and prohibiting brokers from steering consumers into mortgages they were unlikely to be able to repay. They were joined by sixty-four Republicans to easily pass the bill, HR 3915, 291–127: R 64–127; D 227–0. (Story, p. 640; Vote, p. 966)

    With this vote, House Democrats took the first major legislative step in response to the crisis in the subprime mortgage market that devastated the housing industry and the economy in 2007.

    13. Fiscal 2008 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations

    Barely a week after overriding President George W. Bush's veto of a water projects bill (see key vote 9) the House was unable to muster the two-thirds margin needed to reverse the president's rejection of legislation to appropriate $150.7 billion in fiscal 2008 for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, as well as related agencies. The vote came on Nov. 15. (Story, pp. 112, 114)

    Although the attempt to override the president's veto was only two votes short of the needed two-thirds majority, it had become clear that the Democrats could not win their battle with Bush over adding $21.3 billion to his requested limit of $932.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for fiscal 2008. After this vote, some discussion of a compromise with the White House ensued, but in the end House Democrats conceded defeat and gave the president the bottom line he had sought from the beginning.

    The key vote was 277–141: R 51–141; D 226–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (279 in this case) was required to override a veto. (Vote, p. 966)

    14. Energy Policy Overhaul

    Late in the session, on Dec. 18, the House cleared a bill that overhauled federal energy programs with an emphasis on fuel conservation. It required new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks by 2020 and required that 36 billion gallons of biofuels be used in the United States by 2022. (Story, p. 484)

    This vote culminated an arduous year-long battle by sending to President George W. Bush the first statutory increase in CAFE standards in thirty-two years. The key vote was 314–100: R 95–96; D 219–4. (Vote, p. 967)

    15. Alternative Minimum Tax Adjustment

    House Democrats in December 2007 reluctantly accepted a reality they had been trying to avoid all year: the only way to prevent the alternative minimum tax (AMT) from hitting millions of additional middle-income taxpayers was to abandon the pay-as-you-go budget rules they adopted at the beginning of the year. To do so the chamber cleared legislation (HR 3996) to provide a one-year adjustment to exempt an additional 21 million taxpayers from paying the ATM on income from 2007. (Story, pp. 91, 118)

    At the same time, they accepted the narrowest of tax measures possible, acknowledging that they would have to put off a broad overhaul of the AMT, as well as the extension of billions of dollars in popular tax breaks for businesses and individuals that expired on Dec. 31.

    But by clearing the Senate's version of a one-year fix, lawmakers were able to go back to their districts and boast that they prevented some millions of constituents from paying higher taxes on their 2007 incomes. Many of those likely to have been hit lived in Democratic-leaning states such as New York, California, and Massachusetts.

    Even so, the vote was politically and ideologically painful for many Democrats. Throughout the year, on issues from energy policy to farm programs, they had worked diligently to find offsets for new spending. But this time the amount—about $50 billion—was too large, and resistance in the Senate was too great, and House Democrats had to walk away from that fight.

    The vote was especially difficult for members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, who had made pay-as-you-go budget rules a top priority. They were pitted against representatives from high-tax states, who were hard-pressed to vote against the patch. It also was a tough vote for members of the Democratic leadership team, most of whom voted against the bill.

    The House voted Dec. 19 to clear HR 3996 by agreeing to accept the Senate's version of the legislation 352–64: R 195–0; D 157–64. The bill was considered under suspension of the rules, which required a two-thirds majority of those present and voting (278 in this case) for passage. (Vote, p. 967)

    16. Fiscal 2008 Omnibus Spending Bill

    As its last major act of 2007 the House Dec. 19 cleared an omnibus appropriations bill for fiscal 2008 bill that provided $473.5 billion in discretionary spending, not counting emergency appropriations, for all federal departments and agencies for which regular spending bills had not been enacted. The measure incorporated eleven appropriations bills: agriculture; Commerce-Justice-science; energy-water; financial services; Homeland Security; Interior-environment; labor-HHS-Education; the legislative branch; military construction-VA; State–foreign operations; and Transportation-HUD. The bill also contained $11.2 billion in emergency funding for veterans programs, border security, nutrition aid, and drought relief, and $70 billion for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Story, pp. 111, 112, 314)

    The vote sent to President George W. Bush the omnibus spending measure that financed all aspects of the federal government, except for routine activities of the Defense Department. The $70 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan was just a portion of the almost $200 billion the president wanted in war funding, but was still far more than House Democrats wanted to allocate. A previous House-passed version of the omnibus had included $31 billion only for operations in Afghanistan, and barred use of that money in Iraq.

    The Senate—Republicans in particular—balked at the House approach, however, and voted 70–25 on Dec. 18 to replace the $31 billion appropriation with $70 billion that was designated without restriction for Iraq and Afghanistan. That put House Democrats in the untenable position of insisting on their approach—risking ending the session without providing full-year appropriations for most federal activities and limiting their ability to influence spending priorities for nondefense programs—or allowing the Senate, House Republicans, and the president to prevail. In the final roll call of the year, the House cleared the bill as amended by the Senate, with almost all Republicans and a third of the Democrats voting “yes.” The vote was 272–142: R 194–1; D 78–141. (Vote, p. 967)

    2007 House Brief Descriptions

    1. H Res 6. House Rules Adoption. Adoption of Title IV of the resolution that would set the rules for the 110th Congress. The title would require legislation and conference reports to be accompanied by a list of earmarks and targeted tax or trade benefits, and their sponsors. Members would have to provide information about the recipient and purpose of an earmark. It would create new budget points of order, including pay-as-you-go rules, which would require offsets to any new entitlement spending or tax cuts. Adopted 280–152: R 48–152; D 232–0. Jan. 5, 2007.

    2. HR 2. Minimum Wage Increase Passage. Passage of the bill to increase the federal minimum wage by $2.10 over two years to $7.25 an hour. The bill also would extend federal minimum wage requirements to the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Passed 315–116: R 82–116; D 233–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Jan. 10, 2007.

    3. HR1591. War Appropriations and Troop Withdrawal. Adoption of the fiscal 2007 supplemental appropriations conference report on the bill to provide $124.2 billion in fiscal 2007 emergency funding, as well as set a goal of redeploying most U.S. combat troops in Iraq by the end of March 2008, if the president can certify the Iraq government is meeting benchmarks, and by the end of 2007 if he cannot. The measure provided $95.5 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, $6.8 billion for hurricane recovery and relief, $3.5 billion in crop and livestock disaster assistance, and $2.25 billion for homeland security antiterrorism programs. It also raised the minimum wage to $7.25 per hour over two years and provided $4.8 billion in small business tax incentives. Adopted 218–208: R 2–195; D 216–13. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. April 25, 2007.

    4. HR 1429. Head Start Reauthorization McKeon, R-Calif., motion to recommit the bill to the Education and Labor Committee with instructions that it be immediately reported back with language to permit faith-based Head Start providers to take religion into account when hiring employees for their Head Start program. It also clarified that faith-based organizations would not have to remove “religious art, icons, scripture or other symbols” in order to be eligible for Head Start programs. Motion rejected 195–222: R 191–2; D 4–220. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 2, 2007.

    5. S Con Res 21. Fiscal 2008 Budget Resolution Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the concurrent resolution to allow up to $954.1 billion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2008, plus $145.2 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The discretionary total included $503.8 billion for defense, not counting the war money. Nondefense programs received $450.8 billion, plus $2 billion in advanced fiscal 2009 funding. The resolution assumed $1.8 trillion in mandatory outlays and included reconciliation instructions to cut $750 million from mandatory programs in 2007 through 2012. It reinstated pay-as-you-go rules in the Senate and established a “trigger” mechanism in the House that could block tax cuts if a projected fiscal 2012 surplus did not materialize. Adopted 214–209: R 0–196; D 214–13. May 17, 2007

    6. HR 2764. Mexico City Policy—Donated Contraceptives. Smith, R-N.J., amendment to strike language in the bill to clarify that no contract or grant to provide donated contraceptives in developing countries would be denied to any nongovernmental organization solely on the basis of the Mexico City policy, which barred U.S. aid to international family planning organizations that performed or promoted abortions, even if they use their own funds to do so. Rejected 205–218: R 180–12; D 25–206 (ND 18–158, SD 7–48). A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 21, 2007

    7. S 1927. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Revisions Passage. Passage of the bill to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) to expand the authority of the attorney general and the director of national intelligence to conduct surveillance of suspected foreign terrorists without a court warrant. Within 120 days of enactment, the administration was required to provide the FISA court with a description of the procedures it used to determine whether the intelligence acquisition being conducted without a warrant was directed at foreign targets overseas. The bill specified the authority would terminate after six months. Passed 227–183: R 186–2; D 41–181. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Aug. 4, 2007.

    8. HR 976. Children's Health Insurance Veto Override. Passage over President George W. Bush's Oct. 3, 2007, veto, of the bill to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance Program at nearly $60 billion over five years, expanding the program by $35 billion, and increasing the tax on cigarettes by 61 cents to $1 per pack and raising taxes on other tobacco products to offset the cost of the expansion. The bill provided coverage to pregnant women and dental coverage to children enrolled in the program. Rejected 273–156: R 44–154; D 229–2. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (286 in this case) was required to override a veto. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Oct. 18, 2007.

    9. HR1495. Water Resources Development Veto Override. Passage, over President George W. Bush's Nov. 2, 2007, veto, of the bill to authorize $23.2 billion for more than 900 water resource development projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers for flood control, navigation, beach erosion control, and environmental restoration. The bill required independent peer review for certain projects that exceed $45 million. Passed 361–54: R 138–54; D 223–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (277 in this case) was required to override a veto. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Nov. 6, 2007.

    10. HR 3685. Employee Non-Discrimination Passage. Passage of the bill to prohibit job discrimination on the basis of an individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation. It defined sexual orientation as heterosexuality, homosexuality, or bisexuality. The legislation exempted religious organizations and specified that the bill would not alter the federal definition of marriage as being between a man and woman. Passed 235–184: R 35–159; D 200–25 (ND 161–10, SD 39–15). A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Nov. 7, 2007.

    11. HR 3688. U.S.-Peru Free Trade Agreement. Passage of the bill to implement a free-trade agreement between the United States and Peru. The agreement would reduce most tariffs and duties on goods traded between the two countries, increase protections for intellectual property, and require Peru to take steps to strengthen its labor and environmental enforcement standards. Passed 285–132: R 176–16; D 109–116. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Nov. 8, 2007.

    12. HR 3915. Mortgage Lending Overhaul Passage. Passage of the bill to create a nationwide system to require licensing and registration of individual mortgage brokers and bank employees who originate mortgages. It required the Housing and Urban Development Department to establish a backup licensing system for loan originators in states that do not have a system that meets the minimum standards set in the bill. It established minimum standards for home loans, expanded certain limits on high-cost mortgages, and prohibited brokers from steering consumers to mortgages they are unlikely to be able to repay. Passed 291–127: R 64–127; D 227–0. Nov. 15, 2007.

    13. HR 3043. Fiscal 2008 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Veto Override. Passage, over President George W. Bush's Nov. 13, 2007, veto, of the bill to appropriate $150.7 billion in fiscal 2008 for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and for related agencies. Rejected 277–141: R 51–141; D 226–0. A two–thirds majority of those present and voting (279 in this case) was required to override a veto. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. Nov. 15, 2007.

    14. HR 6. Energy Policy. Dingell, D-Mich., motion to concur in a Senate amendment to require new corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks and require 36 billion gallons of biofuels to be used by 2022. Motion agreed to 314–100: R 95–96; D 219–4. Dec. 18, 2007.

    15. HR 3996. Alternative Minimum Tax Adjustment Passage. Rangel, D-N.Y., motion to suspend the rules and concur in the Senate amendment to the bill to provide a one-year adjustment to exempt an additional 21 million taxpayers from paying the alternative minimum tax on income from 2007. Motion agreed to 352–64: R 195–0; D 157–64. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (278 in this case) was required for passage under suspension of the rules. Dec. 19, 2007.

    16. HR 2764. Fiscal 2008 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. Obey, D-Wis., motion to concur in Senate amendments to provide $473.5 billion in discretionary spending in fiscal 2008 for all federal departments and agencies whose regular fiscal 2008 spending bills had not been enacted: Agriculture, Commerce-Justice-Science, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Homeland Security, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-VA, State–Foreign Operations, and Transportation-HUD. The total included $11.2 billion in emergency funding for veterans programs and provided $70 billion for military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Motion agreed to 272–142: R 194–1; D 78–141. Dec. 19, 2007.

    2008 Key Votes
    Senate

    1. Economic Stimulus

    Early in 2008, the Senate passed legislation to help stimulate the economy through a tax refund to most taxpayers of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples. This vote took place after a four-day standoff in the Senate about the reach and cost of the package. The week before, the Finance Committee had put together a measure that included not only the rebates at the core of the House-passed bill but also extended unemployment benefits and tax breaks for renewable-energy initiatives. (Story, p. 151)

    The Senate at first rejected cloture on an amendment to substitute the Finance Committee language for the House measure. When that failed, the Senate moved on to pass a less sweeping measure the next day.

    The final measure was a compromise between the two chambers and did include some provisions sought by the Finance panel, such as expanding eligibility for the rebates to include low-income senior citizens, disabled veterans, and survivors of veterans. Veterans' groups and the AARP lobbied heavily for those changes.

    Republicans had initially opposed changing the House bill at all and had urged senators to coalesce behind the original language that Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. negotiated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and house minority leader John A. Boehner, R-Ohio. But Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R–Ky., ultimately pushed for the expanded package. The Senate passed HR 5140 on Feb. 7 by a vote of 81–16: R 33–16; D 46–0; I 2–0. (Vote, p. 975)

    Because the bill did not include the unemployment or renewable-energy provisions, which would have been opposed in the House and the White House, Senate passage pushed the legislation quickly to enactment. The House cleared it the same day, and the president signed it the next week.

    2. Genetic Discrimination Ban

    The House had passed legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of genetic information by a wide margin in April 2007, but it languished for a year in the Senate, where leaders could not bring it up because of a hold on the measure by Tom Coburn, R-Okla. When a block of time unexpectedly opened up on the Senate floor in April 2008, leaders and bill sponsors—who had worked for thirteen years to ban the use of genetic-screening results in employment or insurance coverage decisions—began intense negotiations with Coburn and the White House.

    They worked for a week, revising language on details in the bill that were causing concern, and on April 22, Coburn dropped his hold. Once the deal was reached, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to send the amended version back to the House, where it cleared a week later. (Story, p. 717)

    The Senate passed HR 493 on April 24 by a vote of 95–0: R 46–0; D 47–0; I 2–0. (Vote, p. 975)

    3. Farm Bill Reauthorization

    In May the Senate cleared a massive agriculture bill that reauthorized federal farm and nutrition programs for five years. The vote completed an eighteen-month effort to extend the nation's farm programs, significantly increasing nutrition spending and continuing to preserve crop subsidies. The size of Senate support for the conference report on the bill, along with a similar level of backing in the House, showed a clear split with the White House when it came to the issue of agricultural assistance.

    The Senate cleared the reauthorization on May 15 by adopting a conference report on the bill (HR 2419) by a vote of 81–15: R 35–13; D 44–2; I 2–0. (Story, pp. 514, 522 Vote, p. 975)

    President George W. Bush said the bill did not do enough to trim subsidies, reduce the cost of farm programs, or address trade complaints by other nations about unfair U.S. agriculture subsidies. But Senate Republicans, by an almost three-to-one ratio, rejected the president's position, with thirty-five GOP members voting to clear the measure. When Bush vetoed the legislation, the same thirty-five Republicans voted to override, thus enacting HR 2419 into law a week later.

    4. Climate Change

    The Senate in June refused to invoke cloture on legislation (S 3036) to cap greenhouse gas emissions and set up a trading system for companies to buy and sell emissions allowances. With this vote, the Senate's long-touted debate on global warming fizzled before it got started, as partisan jousting over judicial nominations and other issues overtook the issue. (Story, p. 495)

    The vote was on an amendment to a climate change bill offered by California Democrat Barbara Boxer that was to serve as the base legislation for the climate change debate. Although passage was never expected, supporters had hoped to get the Senate on the record on several amendments that could help shape a climate change bill in the next Congress. Instead, the Senate never addressed issues that were considered critical to any future legislation, such as the role of nuclear power or whether to preempt more stringent action at the state level.

    The Senate opened the week by voting 74–14 to bring up the bill. But Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., were at odds all week over how to move forward with amendments to the bill. Reid had suggested that five amendments should be offered on each side; Republicans wanted dozens more. Also, McConnell said he was protesting the way the majority party had handled confirmation of appellate court nominees.

    GOP senators filibustered to prevent the Senate from proceeding to Boxer's amendment. The vote to cut off debate fell so far short of the sixty needed that Reid did not keep open the option of reconsidering it, as he usually did when he intended to try again. The bill never came back to the floor.

    The Senate on June 6 rejected a motion to invoke cloture on the Boxer amendment on S 3036. The vote was 48–36: R 7–32; D 39–4; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. (Vote, p. 975)

    5. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance

    An attempt in July to allow lawsuits against companies that had participated in the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program fell flat by a huge margin of thirty-four votes when senators rejected an amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act reauthorization. (Story, p. 251)

    The defeat of the amendment, offered by Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., as well as two subsequent efforts to amend the bill (HR 6304), was the final attempt in the 110th Congress to confront President George W. Bush over electronic surveillance laws. Democrats decided to drop the issue until a new administration took office.

    Democrats voting in favor of the amendment included Barack Obama of Illinois, the party's presumed nominee for president, who earlier pledged to join a filibuster of any bill that provided retroactive legal immunity. But he also voted to clear the measure, noting compromises that had been made on the legislation as well as the need to ensure intelligence gathering. Senators opposing the amendment had decided that a commitment to electronic surveillance outweighed concern over granting legal immunity to the companies that had helped the government with its controversial spying program.

    The Senate rejected Dodd's amendment to HR 6304 on July 9 by a vote of 32–66: R 0–48; D 31–17; I 1–1. (Vote, p. 975)

    6. Medicare Physicians' Pay

    The Senate by a comfortable margin invoked cloture and halted a filibuster on legislation (HR 6331) to prevent a scheduled 10.6 percent cut in pay rates for doctors who participated in Medicare. (Story, p. 571)

    The vote in July cleared the way for a controversial Medicare bill to pass and showed there would be enough support to override an expected veto, sending President George W. Bush one of the strongest rebukes of his presidency.

    The vote was on a motion to invoke cloture to proceed to the measure, the second such effort to move the bill in the Senate in fewer than two weeks. On the first attempt, on June 26, the motion fell just short of the sixty votes needed to succeed. In that instance, thirty-nine Republicans voted against the bill.

    Congress left the next day for the July Fourth recess, during which the July 1 deadline for acting on the physician rate cut was due to pass. But the administration announced it would not apply the cut immediately, instead holding doctors' claims for 10 business days—until July 15—to give Congress more time to pass a bill. In the meantime, Senate Democrats hoped doctors' groups such as the American Medical Association could put enough pressure on vulnerable Republicans that the bill could pass when they returned from recess.

    The second vote to invoke cloture came on July 9. It was successful 69–30: R 18–30; D 49–0; I 2–0, more than enough to override a veto. One vote in support came from Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., who missed the earlier vote while undergoing treatment for brain cancer. This time Kennedy returned to the chamber in a dramatic entrance, accompanied by his son, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, D-R.I., as well as John Kerry, his Democratic colleague from Massachusetts. (Vote, p. 975)

    Nine Republicans who had voted against the June 26 cloture motion had changed their minds in the two weeks, including three—Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and John Cornyn of Texas—who were running for reelection

    Immediately after the cloture motion succeeded, the Senate cleared the bill by voice vote. Six days later, Bush vetoed the legislation and both chambers voted to override it. The Senate vote to override was 70–26.

    7. Mortgage Relief

    In one of its major actions to combat the rapidly collapsing housing industry, the Senate in July cleared legislation (HR 3221) to let the Treasury Department extend new credit to and buy stock in mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to help homeowners with loans they could no longer afford. (Story, p. 630)

    It was the second of three significant legislative efforts during the year to prevent an economic slowdown from becoming much worse, but the Senate had to overcome objections from conservatives. The legislation was intended to help homeowners facing foreclosure while also giving the administration authority to salvage mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were facing bankruptcy.

    The House and Senate had tried for months to agree on the bill to create a $300 billion trust fund in the Federal Housing Administration to help lenders refinance troubled mortgages, give money to local governments to rehabilitate foreclosed properties, and impose a new regulatory structure on Fannie and Freddie. As the two chambers got closer, however, the administration of President George W. Bush maintained its vigorous opposition to elements of the bill. In addition, for a time some Republican senators tried to use the measure to advance energy tax breaks.

    A Senate vote to send the bill to the president became possible only after Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. decided that the survival of Fannie and Freddie was in doubt, as investors pushed down their share prices to improbably low levels. Paulson asked for authority to inject capital into the two companies and potentially to take them over, which eventually he was forced to do. He persuaded lawmakers to grant him the authority, and the administration dropped its veto threat over the mortgage relief provisions. After the House voted to pass the revised version of the measure, the Senate overwhelmingly went along during a rare Saturday session. That came on July 26 when the Senate cleared HR 3221 by a vote of 72–13: R 27–13; D 43–0; I 2–0. (Vote, p. 975)

    8. U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement

    The Senate on Oct. 1 cleared legislation (HR 7081) to approve the United States' nuclear cooperation agreement with India. This action gave President George W. Bush one of his most significant foreign policy victories of his two terms in office. (Story, p. 311)

    The vote gave approval to a landmark agreement that allowed nuclear trade between India and the United States and brought India's civilian, but not military, reactors under international oversight. The deal was important because, as a country that had tested nuclear weapons but not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, India had been gradually excluded from the global nuclear industry for more than three decades.

    The Senate cleared HR 7081 on Oct. 1 by a vote of 86–13: R 49–0; D 36–12; I 1–1. (Vote, p. 975)

    9. Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)

    In one of its most important votes of the 110th Congress, the Senate on Oct. 1 passed, by a wide margin, legislation authorizing the Troubled Asset Relief Program. TARP, as it was thereafter known, authorized $700 billion to buy a vast array of largely worthless mortgages—toxic assets as they were called—held by banks and other financial institutions that were at the center of the economic crises that began in 2007 and threatened to turn into a collapse as bad as the Great Depression of the 1930s. The law also authorized the government to provide guarantees for troubled assets in return for premiums paid by the companies involved, and authorized the government to take equity stakes in companies participating in the asset purchase program. (Story, p. 154)

    The Oct. 1 passage vote on HR 1424 was 74–25: R 34–15; D 39–9; I 1–1. (Vote, p. 975)

    After the House unexpectedly voted down the original version of the bill Sept. 29, in the face of outraged protests from constituents furious over a Wall Street bailout, an action that sent the stock market plunging to its worst one-day decline ever, Senate leaders took control of the issue, combining the core provisions of the financial industry bailout with a measure to extend expiring tax credits, create incentives for the use of renewable energy, and require parity from insurers in the handling of mental health benefits. They announced their decision Sept. 30 and scheduled the vote for the next evening.

    Although Senate passage was expected, the event was filled with high drama seldom seen in Congress. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., ordered the Senate to remain seated during the roll call. One by one, with the chamber otherwise silent, each member shouted out his or her vote. The only senator absent that nigh, and the only member of Congress to not vote on passage of the bill, was Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, who was recovering from treatment for a brain tumor.

    Eight Republican senators who were in tight races voted for the bill. Four of those—John E. Sununu of New Hampshire, Gordon H. Smith of Oregon, Ted Stevens of Alaska, and Norm Coleman of Minnesota—lost their seats. Of the nine Democrats who voted against the bill, only Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana was in a tough fight back home, and she won reelection Nov. 4.

    10. Auto Industry Bailout

    In one of its last acts in 2008, the Senate refused to come to the aid of the nation's three deeply ailing auto manufacturers: General Motors, Chrysler, and Ford Motor. On Dec. 11, senators refused to invoke cloture to end a filibuster against debating legislation allowing the Treasury Department to provide up to $14 billion in loans to domestic automakers, who, in return, would have been required to submit restructuring plans by March 31, 2009. (Story, p. 159)

    The Senate vote that ended debate on an automaker rescue package showed that Republican lawmakers had reached a point of “bailout fatigue” after a year in which they were asked by the Bush administration and their congressional leaders to approve billions of dollars in aid for the mortgage industry and for financial services companies.

    With at least two of the companies facing bankruptcy, President George W. Bush stepped in to provide funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to keep the automakers afloat until the 111th Congress could consider legislation in 2009.

    The Senate's action on Dec. 11 came when it rejected cloture on a bill (HR 7005) that was to be the vehicle for the auto industry bailout. The vote of was 52–35: R 10–31; D 40–4; I 2–0, eight votes short of the sixty needed. (Vote, p. 975)

    2008 Senate Brief Descriptions

    1. HR 5140. Economic Stimulus Passage. Passage of the bill to provide tax refunds for most taxpayers of $300 to $600 for individuals and $600 to $1,200 for couples, with a phase-out for individuals with adjusted gross incomes above $75,000 and couples at $150,000. The bill also provided businesses a 50 percent depreciation for certain equipment purchased in 2008 and increased to $250,000 the amount small businesses could expense in the year items were purchased. It also raised the size of mortgage loans the Federal Housing Administration could insure and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could purchase. Passed 81–16: R 33–16; D 46–0; I 2–0. A “yea” was a vote in favor of the president's position. Feb. 7, 2008.

    2. HR 493. Genetic Information Discrimination Passage. Passage of the bill to prohibit insurance companies, employers, employment agencies, and labor unions from discriminating on the basis of genetic information. It barred health plans from requiring genetic testing and from adjusting premiums or base enrollment decisions on genetic information. Passed 95–0: R 46–0; D 47–0; I 2–0. April 24, 2008.

    3. HR 2419. Farm Programs Reauthorization Conference Report. Adoption of the conference report on the bill to reauthorize federal farm and nutrition programs for five years, including crop subsidies and food stamps, as well as conservation, rural development, and agricultural trade programs. HR 2419 authorized a $10.4 billion increase for nutrition programs and cut direct payment subsidies overall by $313 million. The bill also required country-of-origin labels for all meat by September 2008. Adopted 81–15: R 35–13; D 44–2; I 2–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 15, 2008.

    4. S 3036. Climate Change Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Boxer, D-Calif., substitute amendment to cap greenhouse gas emissions nationwide and set up a trading system for companies to buy and sell emission allowances. Motion rejected 48–36: R 7–32; D 39–4; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 6, 2008.

    5. HR 6304. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Liability. Dodd, D-Conn., amendment to delete provisions providing retroactive immunity from civil liability to telecommunications companies that participated in the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program. Rejected 32–66: R 0–48; D 31–17; I 1–1. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 9, 2008.

    6. HR 6331. Medicare Physician Payments Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on legislation to prevent a 10.6 percent cut in Medicare physician payments scheduled to take effect July 1, 2008, by holding payments at current rates for eighteen months. HR 6331 gave doctors a 1.1 percent increase in 2009 and provided $16.6 billion over ten years for changes to Medicare beneficiary programs. Motion agreed to 69–30: R 18–30; D 49–0; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 9, 2008.

    7. HR 3221. Mortgage Relief. Reid, D-Nev., motion to concur in House amendments to legislation to extend new credit and buy stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and create an independent regulator for the two mortgage giants and the Federal Home Loan Bank System. It also included a $7,500 tax credit for some first-time homebuyers, higher loan limits for FHA-backed loans, a standard tax deduction for property taxes, revenue-raisers to offset part of the costs; authorized $3.9 billion in grants to states and localities to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed properties; and increased the federal debt limit to $10.6 trillion. Motion agreed to, clearing the bill for the president, 72–13: R 27–13; D 43–0; I 2–0. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 26, 2008.

    8. HR 7081. U.S.-India Nuclear Agreement Passage. Passage of the bill to grant congressional approval to the U.S.-India nuclear cooperation agreement. HR 7081 allowed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to issue licenses for transfers of nuclear-related goods and services once the president determined and certified to Congress that certain actions had occurred, including that India had provided the International Atomic Energy Agency with a credible plan to separate civilian and military nuclear facilities, materials, and programs. Passed 86–13: R 49–0; D 36–12; I 1–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Oct. 1, 2008.

    9. HR 1424. Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) Passage. Passage of the bill providing the Treasury Department with $700 billion to buy certain mortgage assets. The bill required the Treasury to create a program to insure mortgage assets, provided for congressional oversight, and limited compensation for executives of companies whose troubled assets were purchased. It also temporarily increased federal deposit insurance to $250,000 per bank account, extended dozens of expired or expiring tax provisions, provided a one-year adjustment to the alternative minimum tax, and required private insurance plans to put mental health benefits on par with other medical benefits. Passed 74–25: R 34–15; D 39–9; I 1–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Oct. 1, 2008.

    10. HR 7005. Automobile Industry Loan Program Cloture. Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the motion to proceed to a bill on the alternative minimum tax, which was to serve as the vehicle for an emergency loan package for domestic automakers. Motion rejected 52–35: R 10–31; D 40–4; I 2–0. Three-fifths of the total Senate (sixty) was required to invoke cloture. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Dec. 11, 2008.

    House

    1. Economic Stimulus

    In one of its earliest actions to counter the economic recession that was growing deeper by the month, the House in early February cleared a stimulus bill that authorized payments of $600 to $1,200 for most American taxpayers. The payments were designed as tax refunds. (Story, p. 151)

    The vote to clear the bill, HR 5140, took place just two weeks after the announcement of a deal between House leaders and the administration of President George W. Bush to write the legislation. Senate Democrats had hoped to broaden the legislation to include unemployment benefits and energy tax incentives and did expand the tax refund to add low-income senior citizens and veterans, but the final bill was largely as it had been originally designed.

    The fact that it moved so quickly through Congress, and that it was a rare example of accord between the two parties and between the legislative and executive branches, showed how seriously elected officials were starting to take the economic downturn that had begun with the popping of a housing bubble that had been expanding for much of the 2000s decade. The nation lost jobs in January for the first time in more than four years, and consumer spending slowed sharply in December, according to reports by the Labor and Commerce departments that had been released the week before the final House vote.

    By the end of the year, the economy's slump dominated the nation's attention and was an important factor in the election of Barack Obama as president and the expansion of Democratic majorities in Congress. The House vote clearing the legislation came on Feb. 7 by a vote of 380–34: R 165–28; D 215–6. (Vote, p. 982)

    2. Colombia Trade

    House Democrats, with only negligible Republican support, changed the chambers rules in April to remove an existing requirement that trade deals with other nations be moved through under a fast-track procedure that assured an up-or-down vote quickly. The rules change applied to a trade agreement with Columbia that many Democrats adamantly opposed. In spite of warnings from House leaders, President George W. Bush sent the agreement to Congress, in effect daring the legislators to turn it down. (Story, p. 211)

    This vote allowed House Democrats to sidestep a showdown with Bush over trade. The Columbia deal negotiated under fast-track procedures would have required Congress to vote within days of receiving the agreement and without possibility of amendment.

    The fast-track procedure had been used repeatedly over the years for trade agreements both large and small, and Congress had never before rejected a trade pact. The opposition to the Colombia agreement was seen as sufficiently large that House leaders did not want to take the chance on the pact being rejected outright and sending a signal to the world that the United States was backing away from general support for opening trade between countries.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asked President Bush to withhold sending Congress legislation to implement the agreement until changes could be made that would satisfy opponents. Many Democrats were concerned about the violence against labor union officials in Colombia, and they also wanted an expansion of benefits for U.S. workers who lost their jobs because of increasing international trade.

    Bush, however, sent the implementing bill to Capitol Hill on April 8, which started the clock ticking on a potential vote. House Democratic leaders immediately introduced a resolution to change House rules and suspend fast-track procedures for the Colombia deal. That resolution was adopted on a near-party-line vote, putting action on the Colombia agreement on hold. House leaders declined for the rest of the year to say when they might restore the fast-track process or when the Colombia trade pact might be considered. The House vote to change its rules (H Res 1092) came on April 10 by a vote of 224–195: R 6–185; D 218–10. (Vote, p. 982)

    3. Iraq Troop Withdrawal

    Congressional Democrats repeatedly tried—without success— to force President George W. Bush to end U.S. involvement in the Iraq war. One such attempt came in May 2008 on a proposal to amend a war supplemental appropriations bill with language to require a troop withdrawal from Iraq within thirty days of enactment. (Story, pp. 387, 388)

    Just as they had done on several occasions in 2007, Democratic leaders decided to use a procedure that involved passing the supplemental through a series of votes on motions to concur that would allow lawmakers to tailor their votes on aspects of the measure without having to cast a single up-or-down vote on the bill. They planned votes on three amendments to the underlying measure, which in this case was the military construction appropriations bill that had been left over from 2007. One of the three amendments was for money to operate the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; the second was to appropriate funds for domestic projects; and the third contained various conditions on U.S. war policy in Iraq, including a requirement that redeployment from Iraq begin within thirty days of enactment, with a “goal” of withdrawing most troops by December 2009. Splitting the measure into these three distinct parts allowed antiwar Democrats to vote against funding for military operations in Iraq and in favor of troop withdrawal. Conversely, it allowed Democrats from typically conservative districts to cast votes that were more in line with their constituents' viewpoints.

    At the same time, House leaders and members casting those votes were well aware of the politics in the Senate, where the slim majority held by Democrats meant it would be unlikely that such troop withdrawal requirements could survive in a final bill.

    Because efforts to dictate such terms in Iraq had failed repeatedly in the first session of the 110th Congress, and because other issues, such as the economy, were rising in priority, this was the only significant House vote on troop withdrawal in 2008. In fact, several of the Democrats' staunchest antiwar members—such as Maxine Waters and Lynn Woolsey, both of California—voted in favor of the troop withdrawal language, even though it was not as strong as they would have liked. They routinely voted against such language in 2007 because they wanted to see a more definitive deadline for withdrawal.

    In this case the House on May 15 agreed to a motion to accept language ordering a troop draw-down and an end date for U.S. fighting. The amendment also included other provisions including one to prohibit interrogation techniques not authorized in the Army Field Manual. The language was added to HR 2642, the military construction bill, by a vote of 227–196: R 8–183; D 219–13. (Vote, p. 982)

    4. Farm Bill Reauthorization

    In one of the few instances of successfully challenging George W. Bush's use of the veto, Congress in May overrode the president's rejection of legislation to reauthorize federal farm and nutrition programs for five years. (Story, pp. 514, 522)

    With this vote, the second veto override in the Bush presidency, lawmakers showed that the generations-old affinity for financial assistance for farmers continued, despite push-back from the White House. Among other complaints with the legislation, Bush wanted a much lower income cap on eligibility requirements for payments than the final bill provided.

    Congress ended up double-stamping this sentiment with a second override less than a month later, after it turned out the first version of the bill Bush vetoed had been erroneously incomplete through a technical error. Lawmakers hastily put together a new measure (HR 6124) correcting the error, and Bush vetoed it June 18. Both chambers voted that same day to override the second veto, enacting the bill into law. This vote on the corrected measure was nearly identical to the first farm bill override: 317–109.

    The 2008 key vote on the farm bill came on the first veto, which showed that Congress was determined to enact the legislation into law. On that vote, May 21, the House overrode Bush's veto of the first bill (HR 2419) by a vote of 316–108: R 100–94; D 216–14. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (283 in this case) was required to override a veto. (Vote, p. 982)

    5. Amtrak Reauthorization

    Congress in 2008 reauthorized the national rail passenger system, Amtrak, for five years. The legislation, always controversial, authorized $14.4 billion for Amtrak. (Story, p. 431)

    House Democrats set the stage with a key vote in June that would lead to the biggest federal intervention in passenger rail since 1997. To win over enough Republicans to override a possible veto from President George W. Bush, House leaders agreed to insert language to promote private development of a high-speed rail line from New York to Washington—even though Democrats had long resisted such a move. That provision had the potential to stall the bill in the Senate, home to many Amtrak fans but few supporters of privatizing the railroad. However, the rising price of gasoline at the pump during the summer put pressure on lawmakers to reauthorize the only nationwide passenger rail line. The provisions from the House bill, for the most part, survived House-Senate negotiations. The president chose not to press his earlier veto threat, and a similar Amtrak reauthorization (HR 2095), with rail-safety provisions attached to it, cleared Congress on Oct. 1.

    The House passage vote on HR 6003 came on June 11, 311–104: R 87–104; D 224–0. (Vote, p. 982)

    6. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance

    With a vote in June 2008, House Democrats essentially gave up a long-running and spirited fight against giving the administration of President George W. Bush unfettered power to spy on certain groups. This came on passage of a bill (HR 6304) to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to include warrantless spying on foreign targets who might be communicating with people in the United States and to provide for the likely dismissal of lawsuits against companies that assisted in the warrantless surveillance program. (Story, p. 251)

    Democratic leaders had taken this battle to the brink in February by allowing provisions in a law enacted the previous August to expire. However, there were enough safety nets in place in that law to keep it effectively in force until August 2008.

    But as that date drew closer—along with the November election—Democrats began to feel pressure from the White House and Republicans to move the legislation. House leaders drew up a new version of the bill that included some concessions to Democrats, such as a provision to strengthen the original law's statement that FISA was the only means by which the executive branch could conduct foreign intelligence-related surveillance.

    Many Democrats, despite their initial opposition, decided to vote for the measure because of the growing political pressures associated with the issue. This was particularly true in the House, where opposition to retroactive legal immunity for the telecommunications companies and expanded spying authority for Bush was stronger than it had been in the Senate. The House had resisted the president on that issue previously.

    When a group of House Democrats, the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition who favored an earlier Senate bill, began to agitate for an end to the fight, leaders inched toward the administration's position. Some Democrats said privately that they feared election troubles if they did not pass something that the president would sign because Republicans could use the issue to attack them as weak on national security. Democratic party leaders, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, voted for HR 6304 when it passed on June 20, 293–129: R 188–1; D 105–128. (Vote, p. 982)

    7. Medicare Physicians' Pay

    With election-year considerations weighing heavily on their minds, two-thirds of the House Republicans bucked their leadership and supported legislation to prevent a scheduled 10.6 percent cut in pay rates for doctors who participated in Medicare, giving Democrats more than enough backing to ensure that a threatened presidential veto could be overcome. The lopsided vote in the House on the bill (HR 6331) suddenly and unexpectedly gave the measure impetus in the Senate, where it had languished in the face of steadfast opposition. (Story, p. 571)

    Both parties had offered proposals to block the scheduled July 1 cut in Medicare payments to physicians. But Republicans and the White House objected to the offsetting cuts that House Democrats wanted to keep the legislation revenue-neutral.

    House GOP leaders had urged their caucus to vote against the bill. Instead, at least a dozen Republicans changed their votes from “nay” to “yea” as the votes were tallied. The July Fourth recess was scheduled for the next week, and lawmakers wanted to be able to go home and tell physicians and patients that they did something to keep doctors from leaving Medicare.

    The House passed HR 6331 on June 24, 355–59: R 129–59; D 226–0. (Vote, p. 982)

    8. Mortgage Relief

    A stalled effort to grant relief to homeowners facing foreclosure came to life in mid-July, when Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. abruptly asked Congress for the tools necessary to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the nation's two mortgage giants whose share prices were plummeting as investors feared that the entire home loan market would collapse. (Story, p. 630)

    The administration of President George W. Bush had strongly objected to elements of the mortgage relief bill. But when the Fannie and Freddie bailout provisions were added to it, the White House reversed course and endorsed enactment. That gave congressional Democrats an opening, and with support from some Republicans, the House passed the measure.

    The legislation (HR 3221), which allowed the Treasury Department to extend new credit to and buy stock in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to help homeowners with loans they could not afford, was approved by the House July 23 on a vote of 272–152: R 45–149; D 227–3. (Vote, p. 982)

    9. Global Aids Reauthorization

    Congress in 2008 authorized a significant expansion of efforts to improve health around the world when it cleared a bill to authorize $48 billion over five years for programs to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria overseas. The bill represented a bipartisan compromise started by Tom Lantos, D-Calif. (1981–2008), and completed in February by Howard L. Berman, also of California, who took over the Foreign Affairs Committee after Lantos died. (Story, p. 312)

    Many Republicans, including President George W. Bush and some fiscal conservatives, signed on to the large funding boost ($18 billion more than the administration had sought), and in exchange bill writers largely avoided the social-policy debates that had surrounded the program since it was created in 2003. The House cleared the bill (HR 5501) on July 24 303–115: R 75–114; D 228–1. (Vote, p. 982)

    10. Regulation of Tobacco Products

    After more than a decade of trying, supporters of legislation to give the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate tobacco products not only managed to push a bill through the House but did so by a margin large enough to override a threatened presidential veto. However, because the House acted on the measure just before the August recess, the chances of getting it through the Senate before a planned adjournment in October were slim. As a result, supporters on that side of the Capitol did not bring it up for a vote, preferring to wait until the 111th Congress when Democrats hoped they would have larger majorities. The House passed the bill (HR 1108) on July 30 by a vote of 326–102: R 96–99; D 230–3. (Story, p. 575; Vote, p. 982)

    11. Mental Health Parity

    Congress in September passed legislation (HR 6983) to require insurers to treat mental illness the same as other medical issues, an action that showed a significant increase in support for mental health parity since a March vote on an earlier version (HR 1424). In that effort, 145 Republicans voted against the measure. After the March vote, supporters—led by Patrick J. Kennedy, D-R.I., and Jim Ramstad, R-Minn., in the House and Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M., and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., in the Senate—spent the summer working out a compromise that could pass in both chambers and be signed by the president. (Story, p. 569)

    Enactment was a priority for these four, two of whom (Ramstad and Domenici) were retiring, and one of whom (Edward Kennedy, the father of Patrick) was seriously ill. They all had confronted forms of mental illness or addiction themselves or with family members and had fought for such legislation for more than a decade. A 1997 parity law that was much more limited was scheduled to expire in December.

    The compromise version (HR 6983) was less stringent on insurers than the previous House-passed measure and closer to a bill (S 558) the Senate had passed in 2007. Leaders brought the compromise to the floor as a free-standing bill in late September, and Republican support for it was triple that of the March vote. The degree of support garnered by the compromise encouraged congressional leaders to include the parity language in a broad financial markets bailout bill that needed help wherever backers could find it.

    The House passed HR 6983 on Sept. 23 by a vote of 376–47: R 143–47; D 233–0. The bill was considered under suspension of the rules, thereby requiring a two–thirds majority of those present and voting (282 in this case) for passage. (Vote, p. 982)

    12. Troubled Asset Relief Program

    In one of the most important financial votes of the 110th Congress, the House on Sept. 29 rejected legislation (HR 3997) to make available to the Treasury Department up to $700 billion to buy certain mortgage-related assets under a plan called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). The vote against the proposal was 205–228: R 65–133; D 140–95. It came in the midst of growing alarm over the meltdown in the housing market and the rapidly advancing worldwide recession. It sent the stock market plunging to a record one-day drop. (Story, p. 154;Vote, p. 982)

    With this vote, most House members had to make a difficult choice between the wishes of their party leaders and the demands of their constituents. The election was five weeks away. Voters were objecting loudly and angrily to President George W. Bush's plan to buy up the toxic mortgage-related assets of a financial industry in deep trouble, calling it an unjustified Wall Street bailout while Main Street business and taxpayers were suffering. Two-thirds of the Republican caucus and 40 percent of Democrats voted against the measure, despite warnings from the Treasury secretary, the Federal Reserve chairman, and House leaders that the bailout, unprecedented in size and intent, was necessary to prevent the economy from falling into the worst slump since the Great Depression.

    The vote was scheduled for the early afternoon of Sept. 29, about thirty-six hours after the deal producing the legislation was worked out between congressional leaders and the administration. While it was assumed that the vote would be close, leaders thought they could eke out passage.

    But as the fifteen-minute clock on the vote wound down, it became clear that the numbers were not as solid as leaders had thought. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., begged members of the Congressional Black Caucus—who wanted the bill to more directly address the needs of poor people—to switch their votes. Minority Leader John A. Boehner's team had tried to persuade reluctant Republicans to fall in line with the leadership, but in the end, most GOP lawmakers voted against the bill. After holding the vote open for about thirty extra minutes, Pelosi conceded defeat and signaled the roll call to a close.

    Usually, the effects of a House vote are not felt for months or even years, not until a law is enacted or until voters make known their own opinion of their representative's actions in the polling booth. The repercussions of this vote, however, were immediate. Stunned traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange watched the televised vote, and as the bill went down to defeat, the value of shares plummeted. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 777 points, the largest one-day point drop in the 112-year history of the stock index. Pelosi blamed Boehner, R-Ohio, for not coming through with the necessary GOP votes; Boehner said a prevote partisan speech by Pelosi riled members of his caucus and led them to allow the bill to fail.

    After the House vote, and the stunned reaction of lawmakers to the stock market plunge sunk in, Senate leaders took control of the issue, quickly producing a new version of the measure that cleared by the end of the week.

    A breakdown of the House vote showed broad and varied opposition to the legislation. Most members of the conservative Republican Study Committee voted against the bill and against the president. Members of specific Democratic groups—the fiscally conservative “Blue Dogs,” the Hispanic and black caucuses, the Progressives, and New Democrats—split their votes almost evenly. Most members who were in highly competitive reelection races—nineteen Republicans and seventeen Democrats—voted against the bill. Members of the leadership in both parties held together and voted for the measure.

    13. Troubled Asset Relief Program.

    Just four days after rejecting legislation to give the Treasury Department $700 billion to assist the ailing mortgage market, legislators turned around and approved essentially the same program. On Oct. 3 the House cleared HR 1424 by a vote of 263–171: R 91–108; D 172–63. (See key vote 12, above)

    The October action came after the stock market plunged 777 points in a few hours following the House's Sept. 29 rejection of the bill to create the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The replacement legislation also allowed the Treasury to use up to $700 billion to buy troubled mortgage-related assets but in addition included the extension of expiring tax credits, a one-year patch to the alternative minimum tax, and a requirement that insurers treat mental health issues the same as other medical issues (which served as the underlying bill—HR 1424—that was used for the second mortgage bailout effort). (Story, p. 151; Vote, p. 982)

    In clearing this bill the House gave the government unprecedented power to insert itself into the nation's financial markets in order to avert a credit crisis that had the potential to devastate the economy for months or years to come. For this vote, thirty-three Democrats and twenty-five Republicans who had opposed the earlier bill switched positions and voted in support.

    Several members who switched cited the new elements in the Senate-revised package and fresh signs that the economy was under stress. Another fluid dynamic was public opinion. While most lawmakers reported hearing overwhelming opposition to the plan before the Sept. 29 vote, the stock market's plunge afterward appeared to rattle constituents worried about the effect the crisis was having on their retirement savings, particularly stock-based mutual funds and 401(k) plans. Business lobbyists also mobilized, warning that they had increasing difficulty getting credit to finance their day-to-day operations.

    Four Republicans who voted to clear the bill—Joe Knollenberg of Michigan, John R. “Randy” Kuhl Jr. of New York, Jon Porter of Nevada, and Christopher Shays of Connecticut—were defeated Nov. 4. Knollenberg and Kuhl had voted against the original bill and had switched sides for the second vote. One Democratic supporter of the bill, Tim Mahoney of Florida, lost his reelection effort, but he had been embroiled in a sex scandal, which election analysts said hurt him at the polls.

    14. Auto Industry Bailout

    The House, but not the Senate, in late 2008 passed legislation to allow the Treasury to provide up to $14 billion in loans to domestic automakers, which, in return, would be required to submit restructuring plans by March 31, 2009. (Story, p. 159)

    For weeks before this vote, Democratic leaders and President George W. Bush were at odds over who would be responsible for a bailout package for the three major domestic automakers: General Motors, Ford Motor, and Chrysler. Democrats wanted the administration to use money from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program created in the financial services bailout law (See key votes 12 and 13, above)

    Bush wanted Congress to use an existing Energy Department loan program that had been aimed at helping automakers shift to the production of more fuel-efficient vehicles.

    Negotiations seemed at a standstill until Dec. 5, when, hours after the Labor Department announced that the economy had lost 553,000 jobs in November, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., changed her mind and agreed to the administration's solution. In a scene that had already played out several times over the year, lawmakers and White House officials worked through the weekend to produce a bill, and the House passed it without much trouble Dec. 10. The House vote on the bill (HR 7321) was 237–170: R 32–150; D 205–20. (Vote, p. 982)

    As with previous votes to help out certain sectors of the U.S. economy, Republicans were reluctant to go along with the plan, despite Bush's support of it, and it was GOP opposition that killed the effort in the Senate.

    2008 House Brief Descriptions

    1. HR 5140. Economic Stimulus. Rangel, D-N.Y., motion to concur in the Senate amendment to provide tax refunds to most Americans as an economic stimulus to counteract the recession then underway. The amounts were to be $300 to $600 for individuals and $600 to $1,200 for couples. Families were to receive $300 for each child under seventeen. HR 5140 also provided businesses new depreciation benefits for equipment and raised the size of mortgage loans the Federal Housing Administration could insure and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could purchase. Motion agreed to (thus clearing the bill for the president) 380–34: R 165–28; D 215–6. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Feb. 7, 2008.

    2. H Res 1092. Colombia Trade. Adoption of the resolution amending House rules to suspend “fast-track” requirements for considering a bill (HR 5724) to implement a U.S.-Colombia free-trade agreement. Adopted 224–195: R 6–185; D 218–10. April 10, 2008.

    3. HR 2642. Iraq Troop Withdrawal. Require U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin within thirty days of the bill's enactment with a goal of completing the withdrawal of combat troops by December 2009, require Congress to authorize any agreement between the U.S. and the Iraqi government committing U.S. forces, prohibit any combat unit not assessed as fully mission-capable from deploying to Iraq, limit deployment time (subject to a presidential waiver), and prohibit interrogation techniques not authorized in the Army Field Manual. (The vote came on a motion by David Obey, D-Wis., to concur in the Senate amendments with a House amendment to the appropriations bill for military construction.) Motion agreed to 227–196: R 8–183; D 219–13. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 15, 2008.

    4. HR 2419. Farm Bill Veto Override. Passage, over President George W. Bush's May 21, 2008, veto, of legislation to reauthorize federal farm and nutrition programs for five years, including crop subsidies and food stamps, as well as conservation and rural development. HR 2419 authorized a $10.4 billion increase for nutrition programs, offset by extending customs user fees. It reduced payment subsidies overall by $313 million, in part by reducing the percentage of acres for which a farmer can collect payments. Passed 316–108: R 100–94; D 216–14. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (283 in this case for the House) was required to override a veto. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. May 21, 2008.

    5. HR 6003. Amtrak Reauthorization. Passage of the bill to authorize $14.4 billion for Amtrak over five years, including $3 billion for operating assistance, $4.2 billion for capital grants, and $1.7 billion for Amtrak to pay down debts. The bill authorized grants for capital costs in certain high-congestion corridors and required changes in Amtrak's management, operations, and general policy regarding intercity passenger rail service. Passed 311–104: R 87–104; D 224–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 11, 2008.

    6. HR 6304. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance. Passage of the bill to overhaul the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) governing electronic surveillance of foreign terrorism suspects. The bill allowed investigations of up to one year through surveillance of individuals who were not U.S. persons and who were reasonably believed to be outside the United States, subject to approval by the FISA court. Warrantless surveillance was allowed as long as it did not intentionally target U.S. persons or persons located within the United States. Passed 293–129: R 188–1; D 105–128. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 20, 2008.

    7. HR 6331. Medicare Physician Payments. Passage of the bill to prevent a 10.6 percent cut in payments to physicians treating Medicare patients, scheduled for July 1, and to provide an additional $16.6 billion over ten years for changes to Medicare beneficiary programs. Passed 355–59: R 129–59; D 226–0. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. June 24, 2008.

    8. HR 3221. Mortgage Relief, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. Frank, D-Mass., amendment to grant authority to the Treasury Department to extend new credit to and buy stock in housing mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and to create an independent regulator for the companies and the Federal Home Loan Bank System. The amendment also overhauled the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and allowed it to insure up to $300 billion worth of new, refinanced loans for struggling mortgage borrowers, and included a $7,500 tax credit for some first-time homebuyers, higher loan limits for FHA-backed loans, a standard tax deduction for property taxes, and revenue-raisers to offset part of the costs. Accepted 272–152: R 45–149; D 227–3. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 23, 2008.

    9. HR 5501. Global HIV and AIDS Authorization. Berman, D-Calif., motion to concur in the Senate amendment to the bill to authorize $48 billion from fiscal 2009 through 2013 for programs under the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief used to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria overseas. The bill replaced existing requirements that one-third of all HIV prevention funding go to abstinence education with balanced funding for abstinence, fidelity, and condom programs, and also authorized $2 billion for Native American health and clean water and law enforcement programs. Motion agreed to (thus clearing the bill for the president) 303–115: R 75–114; D 228–1. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 24, 2008.

    10. HR 1108. Tobacco Products Regulation. Dingell, D-Mich., motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill to authorize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to regulate tobacco products. The FDA was authorized to restrict sales and distribution, including advertising and promotion, if it determined that it was necessary to protect public health. Motion agreed to 326–102: R 96–99; D 230–3. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (286 in this case) was required for passage under suspension of the rules. A “nay” was a vote in support of the president's position. July 30, 2008.

    11. HR 6983. Mental Health Parity. Pallone, D-N.J., motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill to require health insurers that cover mental illness to do so on a par with physical illness, including equal standards on co-payments, deductibles, number of doctor visits, days in the hospital and financial limits on coverage, but specified that the standards would not have to be upheld if they increase coverage costs by more than 2 percent during the first year of enactment and more than 1 percent in subsequent years. Employers with fewer than fifty employees were exempted. Motion agreed to 376–47: R 143–47; D 233–0. A two-thirds majority of those present and voting (282 in this case) was required for passage under suspension of the rules. Sept. 23, 2008.

    12. HR 3997 Troubled Asset Relief Program. Frank, D-Mass., motion to concur, with changes, in Senate amendments to the bill to allow the Treasury to use up to $700 billion, in installments, to buy certain mortgage assets. Motion rejected 205–228: R 65–133; D 140–95. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Sept. 29, 2008.

    13. HR 1424. Troubled Asset Relief Program. Frank, D-Mass., motion to concur in the Senate amendments to the bill to allow the Treasury Department to use up to $700 billion to buy certain mortgage assets believed to be of little or no value that threatened to bankrupt many of the nation's largest financial institution. The bill required the Treasury Department to create a program to insure mortgage assets, provided for congressional oversight, and limited compensation for executives of companies whose troubled assets were purchased. It temporarily increased federal deposit insurance to $250,000 per bank account. Motion agreed to (thus clearing the bill for the president) 263–171: R 91–108; D 172–63. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Oct. 3, 2008.

    14. HR 7321. Automobile Industry Loan Program. Passage of the bill to allow up to $14 billion in loans to eligible domestic automakers and require presidentially appointed administrators to bring together auto companies, unions, creditors, and others to negotiate long-term restructuring plans by March 31, 2009. Passed 237–170: R 32–150; D 205–20. A “yea” was a vote in support of the president's position. Dec. 10, 2008.

    Appendix

    Congress and Its Members

    Senate Membership in the 109th Congress

    Lineup as of Jan. 3, 2005: Republicans, 55; Democrats, 44; Independent, 1

    • Richard C. Shelby (R)
    • Jeff Sessions (R)
    • Ted Stevens (R)
    • Lisa Murkowski (R)
    • John McCain (R)
    • Jon Kyl (R)
    • Blanche Lincoln (D)
    • Mark Pryor (D)
    • Dianne Feinstein (D)
    • Barbara Boxer (D)
    • Wayne Allard (R)
    • Ken Salazar (D)
    • Christopher J. Dodd (D)
    • Joseph I. Lieberman (D)
    • Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D)
    • Thomas R. Carper (D)
    • Bill Nelson (D)
    • Mel Martinez (R)
    • Saxby Chambliss (R)
    • Johnny Isakson (R)
    • Daniel K. Inouye (D)
    • Daniel K. Akaka (D)
    • Larry E. Craig (R)
    • Michael D. Crapo (R)
    • Richard J. Durbin (D)
    • Barack Obama (D)
    • Richard G. Lugar (R)
    • Evan Bayh (D)
    • Charles E. Grassley (R)
    • Tom Harkin (D)
    • Sam Brownback (R)
    • Pat Roberts (R)
    • Mitch McConnell (R)
    • Jim Bunning (R)
    • Mary L. Landrieu (D)
    • David Vitter (R)
    • Olympia J. Snowe (R)
    • Susan Collins (R)
    • Paul S. Sarbanes (D)
    • Barbara A. Mikulski (D)
    • Edward M. Kennedy (D)
    • John F. Kerry (D)
    • Carl Levin (D)
    • Deborah Stabenow (D)
    • Mark Dayton (D)
    • Norm Coleman (R)
    • Thad Cochran (R)
    • Trent Lott (R)
    • Christopher S. Bond (R)
    • Jim Talent (R)
    • Max Baucus (D)
    • Conrad Burns (R)
    • Chuck Hagel (R)
    • Ben Nelson (D)
    • Harry Reid (D)
    • John Ensign (R)
    • Judd Gregg (R)
    • John E. Sununu (R)
    • Frank R. Lautenberg (D)
    • Jon Corzine (D)
    • Pete V. Domenici (R)
    • Jeff Bingaman (D)
    • Charles E. Schumer (D)
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton (D)
    • Elizabeth Dole (R)
    • Robert M. Burr (R)
    • Kent Conrad (D)
    • Byron L. Dorgan (D)
    • Mike DeWine (R)
    • George V. Voinovich (R)
    • James M. Inhofe (R)
    • Tom Coburn (R)
    • Ron Wyden (D)
    • Gordon H. Smith (R)
    • Arlen Specter (R)
    • Rick Santorum (R)
    • Jack Reed (D)
    • Lincoln Chafee (R)
    • Lindsey Graham (R)
    • Jim DeMint (R)
    • Tim Johnson (D)
    • John Thune (R)
    • Bill Frist (R)
    • Lamar Alexander (R)
    • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
    • John Cornyn (R)
    • Orrin G. Hatch (R)
    • Robert F. Bennett (R)
    • Patrick J. Leahy (D)
    • James M. Jeffords (I)
    • John W. Warner (R)
    • George F. Allen (R)
    • Patty Murray (D)
    • Maria Cantwell (D)
    • Robert C. Byrd (D)
    • John D. Rockefeller IV (D)
    • Herb Kohl (D)
    • Russell D. Feingold (D)
    • Craig Thomas (R)
    • Michael B. Enzi (R)
    House Membership in the 109th Congress

    Lineup as of Jan. 3, 2005: Republicans, 232; Democrats, 201; Independent, 1, Vacancy, 1

    • Jo Bonner (R)
    • Terry Everett (R)
    • Mike D. Rogers (R)
    • Robert B. Aderholt (R)
    • Robert E. “Bud” Cramer (D)
    • Spencer Bachus (R)
    • Artur Davis (D)
    • AL Don Young (R)
    • Rick Renzi (R)
    • Trent Franks (R)
    • John Shadegg (R)
    • Ed Pastor (D)
    • J.D. Hayworth (R)
    • Jeff Flake (R)
    • Raul M. Grijalva (D)
    • Jim Kolbe (R)
    • Marion Berry (D)
    • Vic Snyder (D)
    • John Boozman (R)
    • Mike Ross (D)
    • Mike Thompson (D)
    • Wally Herger (R)
    • Dan Lungren (R)
    • John T. Doolittle (R)
    • Robert T. Matsui (D)
    • (died Jan. 1, 2005)
    • Doris Matsui (D)
    • (sworn in March 10, 2005)
    • Lynn Woolsey (D)
    • George Miller (D)
    • Nancy Pelosi (D)
    • Barbara Lee (D)
    • Ellen O. Tauscher (D)
    • Richard W. Pombo (R)
    • Tom Lantos (D)
    • Pete Stark (D)
    • Anna G. Eshoo (D)
    • Michael M. Honda (D)
    • Zoe Lofgren (D)
    • Sam Farr (D)
    • Dennis Cardoza (D)
    • George P. Radanovich (R)
    • Jim Costa (D)
    • Devin Nunes (R)
    • Bill Thomas (R)
    • Lois Capps (D)
    • Elton Gallegly (R)
    • Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R)
    • David Dreier (R)
    • Brad Sherman (D)
    • Howard L. Berman (D)
    • Adam B. Schiff (D)
    • Henry A. Waxman (D)
    • Xavier Becerra (D)
    • Hilda L. Solis (D)
    • Diane Watson (D)
    • Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)
    • Maxine Waters (D)
    • Jane Harman (D)
    • Juanita Millender-McDonald (D)
    • Grace F. Napolitano (D)
    • Linda T. Sanchez (D)
    • Ed Royce (R)
    • Jerry Lewis (R)
    • Gary G. Miller (R)
    • Joe Baca (D)
    • Ken Calvert (R)
    • Mary Bono (R)
    • Dana Rohrabacher (R)
    • Loretta Sanchez (D)
    • Christopher Cox (R)
    • (resigned Aug. 2, 2005)
    • John Campbell (R)
    • (sworn in Dec. 7, 2005)
    • Darrell Issa (R)
    • Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R)
    • (resigned Dec. 1, 2005)
    • Brian P. Bilbray (R)
    • (sworn in June 13, 2006)
    • Bob Filner (D)
    • Duncan Hunter (R)
    • Susan A. Davis (D)
    • Diana DeGette (D)
    • Mark Udall (D)
    • John Salazar (D)
    • Marilyn Musgrave (R)
    • Joel Hefley (R)
    • Tom Tancredo (R)
    • Bob Beauprez (R)
    • John B. Larson (D)
    • Rob Simmons (R)
    • Rosa DeLauro (D)
    • Christopher Shays (R)
    • Nancy L. Johnson (R)
    • AL Michael Castle (R)
    • Jeff Miller (R)
    • Allen Boyd (D)
    • Corrine Brown (D)
    • Ander Crenshaw (R)
    • Ginny Brown-Waite (R)
    • Cliff Stearns (R)
    • John L. Mica (R)
    • Ric Keller (R)
    • Michael Bilirakis (R)
    • C.W. Bill Young (R)
    • Jim Davis (D)
    • Adam H. Putnam (R)
    • Katherine Harris (R)
    • Connie Mack (R)
    • Dave Weldon (R)
    • Mark Foley (R)
    • (resigned Sept. 29, 2006)
    • Kendrick B. Meek (D)
    • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)
    • Robert Wexler (D)
    • Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D)
    • Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R)
    • E. Clay Shaw Jr. (R)
    • Alcee L. Hastings (D)
    • Tom Feeney (R)
    • Mario Diaz-Balart (R)
    • Jack Kingston (R)
    • Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D)
    • Jim Marshall (D)
    • Cynthia A. McKinney (D)
    • John Lewis (D)
    • Tom Price (R)
    • John Linder (R)
    • Lynn Westmoreland (R)
    • Charlie Norwood (R)
    • Nathan Deal (R)
    • Phil Gingrey (R)
    • John Barrow (R)
    • David Scott (D)
    • Neil Abercrombie (D)
    • Ed Case (D)
    • C.L. “Butch” Otter (R)
    • Mike Simpson (R)
    • Bobby L. Rush (D)
    • Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D)
    • William O. Lipinski (D)
    • Luis V. Gutierrez (D)
    • Rahm Emanuel (D)
    • Henry J. Hyde (R)
    • Danny K. Davis (D)
    • Melissa Bean (D)
    • Jan Schakowsky (D)
    • Mark Steven Kirk (R)
    • Jerry Weller (R)
    • Jerry F. Costello (D)
    • Judy Biggert (R)
    • J. Dennis Hastert (R)
    • Timothy V. Johnson (R)
    • Donald Manzullo (R)
    • Lane Evans (D)
    • Ray LaHood (R)
    • John Shimkus (R)
    • Peter J. Visclosky (D)
    • Chris Chocola (R)
    • Mark Souder (R)
    • Steve Buyer (R)
    • Dan Burton (R)
    • Mike Pence (R)
    • Julia Carson (D)
    • John Hostettler (R)
    • Mike Sodrel (R)
    • Jim Nussle (R)
    • Jim Leach (R)
    • Leonard L. Boswell (D)
    • Tom Latham (R)
    • Steve King (R)
    • Jerry Moran (R)
    • Jim Ryun (R)
    • Dennis Moore (D)
    • Todd Tiahrt (R)
    • Edward Whitfield (R)
    • Ron Lewis (R)
    • Anne M. Northup (R)
    • Geoff Davis (R)
    • Harold Rogers (R)
    • Ben Chandler (D)
    • Bobby Jindal (R)
    • William J. Jefferson (D)
    • Charlie Melancon (D)
    • Jim McCrery (R)
    • Rodney Alexander (D)
    • Richard H. Baker (R)
    • Charles Boustany Jr. (R)
    • Tom Allen (D)
    • Michael H. Michaud (D)
    • Wayne T. Gilchrest (R)
    • C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D)
    • Benjamin L. Cardin (D)
    • Albert R. Wynn (D)
    • Steny H. Hoyer (D)
    • Roscoe G. Bartlett (R)
    • Elijah E. Cummings (D)
    • Chris Van Hollen (D)
    • John W. Olver (D)
    • Richard E. Neal (D)
    • Jim McGovern (D)
    • Barney Frank (D)
    • Martin T. Meehan (D)
    • John F. Tierney (D)
    • Edward J. Markey (D)
    • Michael E. Capuano (D)
    • Stephen L. Lynch (D)
    • William Delahunt (D)
    • Bart Stupak (D)
    • Peter Hoekstra (R)
    • Vernon J. Ehlers (R)
    • Dave Camp (R)
    • Dale E. Kildee (D)
    • Fred Upton (R)
    • Joe Schwarz (R)
    • Mike Rogers (R)
    • Joe Knollenberg (R)
    • Candice S. Miller (R)
    • Thaddeus McCotter (R)
    • Sander M. Levin (D)
    • Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D)
    • John Conyers Jr. (D)
    • John D. Dingell (D)
    • Gil Gutknecht (R)
    • John Kline (R)
    • Jim Ramstad (R)
    • Betty McCollum (D)
    • Martin Olav Sabo (D)
    • Mark Kennedy (R)
    • Collin C. Peterson (D)
    • James L. Oberstar (D)
    • Roger Wicker (R)
    • Bennie Thompson (D)
    • Charles W. “Chip” Pickering Jr. (R)
    • Gene Taylor (D)
    • William Lacy Clay (D)
    • Todd Akin (R)
    • Russ Carnahan (D)
    • Ike Skelton (D)
    • Emanuel Cleaver II (D)
    • Sam Graves (R)
    • Roy Blunt (R)
    • Jo Ann Emerson (R)
    • Kenny Hulshof (R)
    • AL Denny Rehberg (R)
    • Jeff Fortenberry (R)
    • Lee Terry (R)
    • Tom Osborne (R)
    • Shelley Berkley (D)
    • Jim Gibbons (R)
    • Jon Porter (R)
    • Jeb Bradley (R)
    • Charles Bass (R)
    • Robert E. Andrews (D)
    • Frank A. LoBiondo (R)
    • H. James Saxton (R)
    • Christopher H. Smith (R)
    • Scott Garrett (R)
    • Frank Pallone Jr. (D)
    • Mike Ferguson (R)
    • Bill Pascrell Jr. (D)
    • Steven R. Rothman (D)
    • Donald M. Payne (D)
    • Rodney Frelinghuysen (R)
    • Rush D. Holt (D)
    • Robert Menendez (D)
    • (resigned Jan. 16, 2006)
    • Albio Sires (D)
    • (sworn in Nov. 13, 2006)
    • Heather A. Wilson (R)
    • Steve Pearce (R)
    • Tom Udall (D)
    • Timothy H. Bishop (D)
    • Steve Israel (D)
    • Peter T. King (R)
    • Carolyn McCarthy (D)
    • Gary L. Ackerman (D)
    • Gregory W. Meeks (D)
    • Joseph Crowley (D)
    • Jerrold Nadler (D)
    • Anthony Weiner (D)
    • Edolphus Towns (D)
    • Major R. Owens (D)
    • Nydia M. Velázquez (D)
    • Vito J. Fossella (R)
    • Carolyn B. Maloney (D)
    • Charles B. Rangel (D)
    • Jose E. Serrano (D)
    • Eliot L. Engel (D)
    • Nita M. Lowey (D)
    • Sue W. Kelly (R)
    • John E. Sweeney (R)
    • Michael R. McNulty (D)
    • Maurice D. Hinchey (D)
    • John M. McHugh (R)
    • Sherwood Boehlert (R)
    • James T. Walsh (R)
    • Thomas M. Reynolds (R)
    • Brian Higgins (D)
    • Louise M. Slaughter (D)
    • John R. “Randy” Kuhl Jr. (R)
    • G.K. Butterfield (D)
    • Bob Etheridge (D)
    • Walter B. Jones (R)
    • David E. Price (D)
    • Virginia Foxx (R)
    • Howard Coble (R)
    • Mike McIntyre (D)
    • Robin Hayes (R)
    • Sue Myrick (R)
    • Patrick T. McHenry (R)
    • Charles H. Taylor (R)
    • Melvin Watt (D)
    • Brad Miller (D)
    • AL Earl Pomeroy (D)
    • Steve Chabot (R)
    • Rob Portman (R)
    • (resigned April 29, 2005)
    • Jean Schmidt (R)
    • (sworn in Sept. 6, 2005)
    • Michael R. Turner (R)
    • Michael G. Oxley (R)
    • Paul E. Gillmor (R)
    • Ted Strickland (D)
    • David L. Hobson (R)
    • John A. Boehner (R)
    • Marcy Kaptur (D)
    • Dennis J. Kucinich (D)
    • Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D)
    • Pat Tiberi (R)
    • Sherrod Brown (D)
    • Steven C. LaTourette (R)
    • Deborah Pryce (R)
    • Ralph Regula (R)
    • Tim Ryan (D)
    • Bob Ney (R)
    • (resigned Nov. 3, 2006)
    • John Sullivan (R)
    • Dan Boren (D)
    • Frank D. Lucas (R)
    • Tom Cole (R)
    • Ernest Istook (R)
    • David Wu (D)
    • Greg Walden (R)
    • Earl Blumenauer (D)
    • Peter A. DeFazio (D)
    • Darlene Hooley (D)
    • Robert A. Brady (D)
    • Chaka Fattah (D)
    • Phil English (R)
    • Melissa A. Hart (R)
    • John E. Peterson (R)
    • Jim Gerlach (R)
    • Curt Weldon (R)
    • Michael G. Fitzpatrick (R)
    • Bill Shuster (R)
    • Don Sherwood (R)
    • Paul E. Kanjorski (D)
    • John P. Murtha (D)
    • Allyson Y. Schwartz (D)
    • Mike Doyle (D)
    • Charlie Dent (R)
    • Joe Pitts (R)
    • Tim Holden (D)
    • Tim Murphy (R)
    • Todd R. Platts (R)
    • Patrick J. Kennedy (D)
    • Jim Langevin (D)
    • Henry E. Brown Jr. (R)
    • Joe Wilson (R)
    • J. Gresham Barrett (R)
    • Bob Inglis (R)
    • John M. Spratt Jr. (D)
    • James E. Clyburn (D)
    • AL Stephanie Herseth (D)
    • William L. Jenkins (R)
    • John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. (R)
    • Zach Wamp (R)
    • Lincoln Davis (D)
    • Jim Cooper (D)
    • Bart Gordon (D)
    • Marsha Blackburn (R)
    • John Tanner (D)
    • Harold E. Ford Jr. (D)
    • Louie Gohmert (R)
    • Ted Poe (R)
    • Sam Johnson (R)
    • Ralph M. Hall (R)
    • Jeb Hensarling (R)
    • Joe L. Barton (R)
    • John Culberson (R)
    • Kevin Brady (R)
    • Al Green (D)
    • Michael McCaul (R)
    • K. Michel Conway (R)
    • Kay Granger (R)
    • William M. “Mac” Thornberry (R)
    • Ron Paul (R)
    • Ruben Hinojosa (D)
    • Silvestre Reyes (D)
    • Chet Edwards (R)
    • Sheila Jackson-Lee (D)
    • Randy Neugebauer (R)
    • Charlie Gonzalez (D)
    • Lamar Smith (R)
    • Tom DeLay (R)
    • (resigned June 9, 2006)
    • Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R)
    • (sworn in Nov. 13, 2006)
    • Henry Bonilla (R)
    • Kenny Marchant (R)
    • Lloyd Doggett (D)
    • Michael C. Burgess (R)
    • Solomon P. Ortiz (D)
    • Henry Cuellar (D)
    • Gene Green (D)
    • Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)
    • John Carter (R)
    • Pete Sessions (R)
    • Rob Bishop (R)
    • Jim Matheson (D)
    • Christopher B. Cannon (R)
    • AL Sanders Bernard (I)
    • Jo Ann Davis (R)
    • Thelma Drake (R)
    • Robert C. Scott (D)
    • J. Randy Forbes (R)
    • Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R)
    • Robert W. Goodlatte (R)
    • Eric Cantor (R)
    • James P. Moran (D)
    • Rick C. Boucher (D)
    • Frank R. Wolf (R)
    • Thomas M. Davis III (R)
    • Jay Inslee (D)
    • Rick Larsen (D)
    • Brian Baird (D)
    • Richard “Doc” Hastings (R)
    • Cathy McMorris (R)
    • Norm Dicks (D)
    • Jim McDermott (D)
    • Dave Reichert (R)
    • Adam Smith (D)
    • Alan B. Mollohan (D)
    • Shelley Moore Capito (R)
    • Nick J. Rahall II (D)
    • Paul D. Ryan (R)
    • Tammy Baldwin (D)
    • Ron Kind (D)
    • Gwen Moore (D)
    • F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R)
    • Tom Petri (R)
    • David R. Obey (D)
    • Mark Green (R)
    • AL Cubin Barbara (R)

    note: Changes that occurred during 2005 and 2006 are noted following the names of individuals who did not serve their full terms. Members of the 109th Congress also included delegates Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, D-American Samoa; Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia; Madeleine Z. Bordallo, D-Guam; Donna M.C. Christian, D-Virgin Islands; and resident commissioner Luis Fortuno, R-Puerto Rico.

    Membership Changes, 109th and 110th Congresses
    109th Congress

    110th Congress

    Senate Membership in the 110th Congress

    Lineup as of Jan. 3, 2007: Democrats, 49; Republicans, 49; Independents, 2

    • Richard C. Shelby (R)
    • Jeff Sessions (R)
    • Ted Stevens (R)
    • Lisa Murkowski (R)
    • John McCain (R)
    • Jon Kyl (R)
    • Blanche Lincoln (D)
    • Mark Pryor (D)
    • Dianne Feinstein (D)
    • Barbara Boxer (D)
    • Wayne Allard (R)
    • Ken Salazar (D)
    • Christopher J. Dodd (D)
    • Joseph I. Lieberman (I)
    • Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D)
    • Thomas R. Carper (D)
    • Bill Nelson (D)
    • Mel Martinez (R)
    • Saxby Chambliss (R)
    • Johnny Isakson (R)
    • Daniel K. Inouye (D)
    • Daniel K. Akaka (D)
    • Larry E. Craig (R)
    • Michael D. Crapo (R)
    • Richard J. Durbin (D)
    • Barack Obama (D)
    • Richard G. Lugar (R)
    • Evan Bayh (D)
    • Charles E. Grassley (R)
    • Tom Harkin (D)
    • Sam Brownback (R)
    • Pat Roberts (R)
    • Mitch McConnell (R)
    • Jim Bunning (R)
    • Mary L. Landrieu (D)
    • David Vitter (R)
    • Olympia J. Snowe (R)
    • Susan Collins (R)
    • Barbara A. Mikulski (D)
    • Benjamin L. Cardin (D)
    • Edward M. Kennedy (D)
    • John F. Kerry (D)
    • Carl Levin (D)
    • Deborah Stabenow (D)
    • Norm Coleman (R)
    • Amy Klobuchar (D)
    • Thad Cochran (R)
    • Trent Lott (R)
    • Christopher S. Bond (R)
    • Claire McCaskill (D)
    • Max Baucus (D)
    • Jon Tester (D)
    • Chuck Hagel (R)
    • Ben Nelson (D)
    • Harry Reid (D)
    • John Ensign (R)
    • Judd Gregg (R)
    • John E. Sununu (R)
    • Frank R. Lautenberg (D)
    • Robert Menendez (D)
    • Pete V. Domenici (R)
    • Jeff Bingaman (D)
    • Charles E. Schumer (D)
    • Hillary Rodham Clinton (D)
    • Elizabeth Dole (R)
    • Robert M. Burr (R)
    • Kent Conrad (D)
    • Byron L. Dorgan (D)
    • George V. Voinovich (R)
    • Sherrod Brown (D)
    • James M. Inhofe (R)
    • Tom Coburn (R)
    • Ron Wyden (D)
    • Gordon H. Smith (R)
    • Arlen Specter (R)
    • Bob Casey (D)
    • Jack Reed (D)
    • Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
    • Lindsey Graham (R)
    • Jim DeMint (R)
    • Tim Johnson (D)
    • John Thune (R)
    • Lamar Alexander (R)
    • Bob Corker (R)
    • Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
    • John Cornyn (R)
    • Orrin G. Hatch (R)
    • Robert F. Bennett (R)
    • Patrick J. Leahy (D)
    • Bernard Sanders (I)
    • John W. Warner (R)
    • Jim Webb (D)
    • Patty Murray (D)
    • Maria Cantwell (D)
    • Robert C. Byrd (D)
    • John D. Rockefeller IV (D)
    • Herb Kohl (D)
    • Russell D. Feingold (D)
    • Craig Thomas (R)
    • Michael B. Enzi (R)
    House Membership in the 110th Congress

    Lineup as of Jan. 3, 2007: Democrats, 233; Republicans, 202

    • Jo Bonner (R)
    • Terry Everett (R)
    • Mike D. Rogers (R)
    • Robert B. Aderholt (R)
    • Robert E. “Bud” Cramer (D)
    • Spencer Bachus (R)
    • Artur Davis (D)
    • AL Don Young (R)
    • Rick Renzi (R)
    • Trent Franks (R)
    • John Shadegg (R)
    • Ed Pastor (D)
    • Harry E. Mitchell (D)
    • Jeff Flake (R)
    • Raul M. Grijalva (D)
    • Gabrielle Giffords (D)
    • Marion Berry (D)
    • Vic Snyder (D)
    • John Boozman (R)
    • Mike Ross (D)
    • Mike Thompson (D)
    • Wally Herger (R)
    • Dan Lungren (R)
    • John T. Doolittle (R)
    • Doris Matsui (D)
    • (sworn in March 10, 2005)
    • Lynn Woolsey (D)
    • George Miller (D)
    • Nancy Pelosi (D)
    • Barbara Lee (D)
    • Ellen O. Tauscher (D)
    • Jerry McNeney (D)
    • Tom Lantos (D)
    • (died Feb. 11, 2008)
    • Jackie Speier (D)
    • (sworn in April 10, 2008)
    • Pete Stark (D)
    • Anna G. Eshoo (D)
    • Michael M. Honda (D)
    • Zoe Lofgren (D)
    • Sam Farr (D)
    • Dennis Cardoza (D)
    • George P. Radanovich (R)
    • Jim Costa (D)
    • Devin Nunes (R)
    • Kevin McCarthy (R)
    • Lois Capps (D)
    • Elton Gallegly (R)
    • Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R)
    • David Dreier (R)
    • Brad Sherman (D)
    • Howard L. Berman (D)
    • Adam B. Schiff (D)
    • Henry A. Waxman (D)
    • Xavier Becerra (D)
    • Hilda L. Solis (D)
    • Diane Watson (D)
    • Lucille Roybal-Allard (D)
    • Maxine Waters (D)
    • Jane Harman (D)
    • Juanita Millender-McDonald (D)
    • (died April 22, 2007)
    • Laura Richardson (D)
    • (sworn in Sept. 4, 2007)
    • Grace F. Napolitano (D)
    • Linda T. Sanchez (D)
    • Ed Royce (R)
    • Jerry Lewis (R)
    • Gary G. Miller (R)
    • Joe Baca (D)
    • Ken Calvert (R)
    • Mary Bono (R)
    • Dana Rohrabacher (R)
    • Loretta Sanchez (D)
    • John Campbell (R)
    • Darrell Issa (R)
    • Brian P. Bilbray (R)
    • Bob Filner (D)
    • Duncan Hunter (R)
    • Susan A. Davis (D)
    • Diana DeGette (D)
    • Mark Udall (D)
    • John Salazar (D)
    • Marilyn Musgrave (R)
    • Doug Lamborn (R)
    • Tom Tancredo (R)
    • Ed Perlmutter (D)
    • John B. Larson (D)
    • Joe Courtney (D)
    • Rosa DeLauro (D)
    • Christopher Shays (R)
    • Christopher S. Murphy (D)
    • AL Michael Castle (R)
    • Jeff Miller (R)
    • Allen Boyd (D)
    • Corrine Brown (D)
    • Ander Crenshaw (R)
    • Ginny Brown-Waite (R)
    • Cliff Stearns (R)
    • John L. Mica (R)
    • Ric Keller (R)
    • Gus Bilirakis (R)
    • C.W. Bill Young (R)
    • Kathy Castor (D)
    • Adam H. Putnam (R)
    • Vern Buchanan (R)
    • Connie Mack (R)
    • Dave Weldon (R)
    • Tim Mahoney (D)
    • Kendrick B. Meek (D)
    • Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R)
    • Robert Wexler (D)
    • Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D)
    • Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R)
    • Ron Klein (D)
    • Alcee L. Hastings (D)
    • Tom Feeney (R)
    • Mario Diaz-Balart (R)
    • Jack Kingston (R)
    • Sanford D. Bishop Jr. (D)
    • Lynn Westmoreland (R)
    • Hank Johnson (D)
    • John Lewis (D)
    • Tom Price (R)
    • John Linder (R)
    • Jim Marshall (R)
    • Nathan Deal (R)
    • Charlie Norwood (R)
    • (died Feb. 13, 2007)
    • Paul Broun (R)
    • (sworn in July 25, 2007)
    • Phil Gingrey (R)
    • John Barrow (R)
    • David Scott (D)
    • Neil Abercrombie (D)
    • Mazie K. Hirono (D)
    • Bill Sali (R)
    • Mike Simpson (R)
    • Bobby L. Rush (D)
    • Jesse L. Jackson Jr. (D)
    • William O. Lipinski (D)
    • Luis V. Gutierrez (D)
    • Rahm Emanuel (D)
    • Peter Roskam (R)
    • Danny K. Davis (D)
    • Melissa Bean (D)
    • Jan Schakowsky (D)
    • Mark Steven Kirk (R)
    • Jerry Weller (R)
    • Jerry F. Costello (D)
    • Judy Biggert (R)
    • J. Dennis Hastert (R)
    • (resigned Nov. 26, 2007)
    • Bill Foster (D)
    • (sworn in March 11, 2008)
    • Timothy V. Johnson (R)
    • Donald Manzullo (R)
    • Phil Hare (D)
    • Ray LaHood (R)
    • John Shimkus (R)
    • Peter J. Visclosky (D)
    • Joe Donnelly (D)
    • Mark Souder (R)
    • Steve Buyer (R)
    • Dan Burton (R)
    • Mike Pence (R)
    • Julia Carson (D)
    • (died Dec. 15, 2007)
    • Andre Carson (R)
    • (sworn in March 13, 2008)
    • Brad Ellsworth (D)
    • Baron P. Hill (D)
    • Bruce Braley (D)
    • Dave Loebsack (D)
    • Leonard L. Boswell (D)
    • Tom Latham (R)
    • Steve King (R)
    • Nancy Boyda (D)
    • Jerry Moran (R)
    • Dennis Moore (D)
    • Todd Tiahrt (R)
    • Edward Whitfield (R)
    • Ron Lewis (R)
    • John Yarmuth (D)
    • Geoff Davis (R)
    • Harold Rogers (R)
    • Ben Chandler (D)
    • Bobby Jindal (R)
    • (resigned Jan. 14, 2008)
    • Steve Scalise (R)
    • (sworn in May 7, 2008)
    • William J. Jefferson (D)
    • Charlie Melancon (D)
    • Jim McCrery (R)
    • Rodney Alexander (D)
    • Richard H. Baker (R)
    • (resigned Feb. 2, 2008)
    • Don Cazayoux (D)
    • (sworn in May 6, 2008)
    • Charles Boustany Jr. (R)
    • Tom Allen (D)
    • Michael H. Michaud (D)
    • Wayne T. Gilchrest (R)
    • C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D)
    • John Sarbanes (D)
    • Albert R. Wynn (D)
    • (resigned May 31, 2008)
    • Donna Edwards (D)
    • (sworn in June 19, 2008)
    • Steny H. Hoyer (D)
    • Roscoe G. Bartlett (R)
    • Elijah E. Cummings (D)
    • Chris Van Hollen (D)
    • John W. Olver (D)
    • Richard E. Neal (D)
    • Jim McGovern (D)
    • Barney Frank (D)
    • Martin T. Meehan (D)
    • (resigned July 1, 2007)
    • Niki Tsongas (D)
    • (sworn in Oct. 18, 2007)
    • John F. Tierney (D)
    • Edward J. Markey (D)
    • Michael E. Capuano (D)
    • Stephen L. Lynch (D)
    • William Delahunt (D)
    • Bart Stupak (D)
    • Peter Hoekstra (R)
    • Vernon J. Ehlers (R)
    • Dave Camp (R)
    • Dale E. Kildee (D)
    • Fred Upton (R)
    • Tim Walberg (R)
    • Mike Rogers (R)
    • Joe Knollenberg (R)
    • Candice S. Miller (R)
    • Thaddeus McCotter (R)
    • Sander M. Levin (D)
    • Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D)
    • John Conyers Jr. (D)
    • John D. Dingell (D)
    • Tim Walz (D)
    • John Kline (R)
    • Jim Ramstad (R)
    • Betty McCollum (D)
    • Keith Ellison (D)
    • Michele Bachmann (R)
    • Collin C. Peterson (D)
    • James L. Oberstar (D)
    • Roger Wicker (R)
    • (resigned Dec. 31, 2007)
    • Travis W. Childers (D)
    • (sworn in May 21, 2008)
    • Bennie Thompson (D)
    • Charles W. “Chip” Pickering Jr. (R)
    • Gene Taylor (D)
    • William Lacy Clay (D)
    • Todd Akin (R)
    • Russ Carnahan (D)
    • Ike Skelton (D)
    • Emanuel Cleaver II (D)
    • Sam Graves (R)
    • Roy Blunt (R)
    • Jo Ann Emerson (R)
    • Kenny Hulshof (R)
    • AL Denny Rehberg (R)
    • Jeff Fortenberry (R)
    • Lee Terry (R)
    • Adrian Smith (R)
    • Shelley Berkley (D)
    • Dean Heller (R)
    • Jon Porter (R)
    • Carol Shea-Porter (D)
    • Paul W. Hodes (D)
    • Robert E. Andrews (D)
    • Frank A. LoBiondo (R)
    • H. James Saxton (R)
    • Christopher H. Smith (R)
    • Scott Garrett (R)
    • Frank Pallone Jr. (D)
    • Mike Ferguson (R)
    • Bill Pascrell Jr. (D)
    • Steven R. Rothman (D)
    • Donald M. Payne (D)
    • Rodney Frelinghuysen (R)
    • Rush D. Holt (D)
    • Albio Sires (D)
    • Heather A. Wilson (R)
    • Steve Pearce (R)
    • Tom Udall (D)
    • Timothy H. Bishop (D)
    • Steve Israel (D)
    • Peter T. King (R)
    • Carolyn McCarthy (D)
    • Gary L. Ackerman (D)
    • Gregory W. Meeks (D)
    • Joseph Crowley (D)
    • Jerrold Nadler (D)
    • Anthony Weiner (D)
    • Edolphus Towns (D)
    • Yvette D. Clarke (D)
    • Nydia M. Velázquez (D)
    • Vito J. Fossella (R)
    • Carolyn B. Maloney (D)
    • Charles B. Rangel (D)
    • Jose E. Serrano (D)
    • Eliot L. Engel (D)
    • Nita M. Lowey (D)
    • John Hall
    • Kirsten Gillibrand (D)
    • Michael R. McNulty (D)
    • Maurice D. Hinchey (D)
    • John M. McHugh (R)
    • Michael Arcuri (D)
    • James T. Walsh (R)
    • Thomas M. Reynolds (R)
    • Brian Higgins (D)
    • Louise M. Slaughter (D)
    • John R. “Randy” Kuhl Jr. (R)
    • G.K. Butterfield (D)
    • Bob Etheridge (D)
    • Walter B. Jones (R)
    • David E. Price (D)
    • Virginia Foxx (R)
    • Howard Coble (R)
    • Mike McIntyre (D)
    • Robin Hayes (R)
    • Sue Myrick (R)
    • Patrick T. McHenry (R)
    • Heath Shuler (D)
    • Melvin Watt (D)
    • Brad Miller (D)
    • AL Earl Pomeroy (D)
    • Steve Chabot (R)
    • Jean Schmidt (R)
    • Michael R. Turner (R)
    • Jim Jordan (R)
    • Paul E. Gillmor (R)
    • (died Sept. 5, 2007)
    • Bob Latta (R)
    • (sworn in Dec. 13, 2007)
    • Charlie Wilson (D)
    • David L. Hobson (R)
    • John A. Boehner (R)
    • Marcy Kaptur (D)
    • Dennis J. Kucinich (D)
    • Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D)
    • (died Aug. 20, 2008)
    • Marcia Fudge (D)
    • (sworn in Nov. 19, 2008)
    • Pat Tiberi (R)
    • Betty Sutton (D)
    • Steven C. LaTourette (R)
    • Deborah Pryce (R)
    • Ralph Regula (R)
    • Tim Ryan (D)
    • Zack Space (D)
    • John Sullivan (R)
    • Dan Boren (D)
    • Frank D. Lucas (R)
    • Tom Cole (R)
    • Mary Fallin (R)
    • David Wu (D)
    • Greg Walden (R)
    • Earl Blumenauer (D)
    • Peter A. DeFazio (D)
    • Darlene Hooley (D)
    • Robert A. Brady (D)
    • Chaka Fattah (D)
    • Phil English (R)
    • Jason Altmire (D)
    • John E. Peterson (R)
    • Jim Gerlach (R)
    • Joe Sestak (D)
    • Patrick J. Murphy (R)
    • Bill Shuster (R)
    • Christopher Carney (D)
    • Paul E. Kanjorski (D)
    • John P. Murtha (D)
    • Allyson Y. Schwartz (D)
    • Mike Doyle (D)
    • Charlie Dent (R)
    • Joe Pitts (R)
    • Tim Holden (D)
    • Tim Murphy (R)
    • Todd R. Platts (R)
    • Patrick J. Kennedy (D)
    • Jim Langevin (D)
    • Henry E. Brown Jr. (R)
    • Joe Wilson (R)
    • J. Gresham Barrett (R)
    • Bob Inglis (R)
    • John M. Spratt Jr. (D)
    • James E. Clyburn (D)
    • AL Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D)
    • David Davis (R)
    • John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. (R)
    • Zach Wamp (R)
    • Lincoln Davis (D)
    • Jim Cooper (D)
    • Bart Gordon (D)
    • Marsha Blackburn (R)
    • John Tanner (D)
    • Steve Cohen (D)
    • Louie Gohmert (R)
    • Ted Poe (R)
    • Sam Johnson (R)
    • Ralph M. Hall (R)
    • Jeb Hensarling (R)
    • Joe L. Barton (R)
    • John Culberson (R)
    • Kevin Brady (R)
    • Al Green (D)
    • Michael McCaul (R)
    • K. Michel Conway (R)
    • Kay Granger (R)
    • William M. “Mac” Thornberry (R)
    • Ron Paul (R)
    • Ruben Hinojosa (D)
    • Silvestre Reyes (D)
    • Chet Edwards (R)
    • Sheila Jackson-Lee (D)
    • Randy Neugebauer (R)
    • Charlie Gonzalez (D)
    • Lamar Smith (R)
    • Nick Lampson (D)
    • Ciro D. Rodriguez (D)
    • Kenny Marchant (R)
    • Lloyd Doggett (D)
    • Michael C. Burgess (R)
    • Solomon P. Ortiz (D)
    • Henry Cuellar (D)
    • Gene Green (D)
    • Eddie Bernice Johnson (D)
    • John Carter (R)
    • Pete Sessions (R)
    • Rob Bishop (R)
    • Jim Matheson (D)
    • Christopher B. Cannon (R)
    • AL Peter Welch (D)
    • Jo Ann Davis (R)
    • (died Oct. 6, 2007)
    • Rob Wittman (R)
    • (sworn in Dec. 13, 2007)
    • Thelma Drake (R)
    • Robert C. Scott (D)
    • J. Randy Forbes (R)
    • Virgil H. Goode Jr. (R)
    • Robert W. Goodlatte (R)
    • Eric Cantor (R)
    • James P. Moran (D)
    • Rick C. Boucher (D)
    • Frank R. Wolf (R)
    • Thomas M. Davis III (R)
    • Jay Inslee (D)
    • Rick Larsen (D)
    • Brian Baird (D)
    • Richard “Doc” Hastings (R)
    • Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R)
    • Norm Dicks (D)
    • Jim McDermott (D)
    • Dave Reichert (R)
    • Adam Smith (D)
    • Alan B. Mollohan (D)
    • Shelley Moore Capito (R)
    • Nick J. Rahall II (D)
    • Paul D. Ryan (R)
    • Tammy Baldwin (D)
    • Ron Kind (D)
    • Gwen Moore (D)
    • F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R)
    • Tom Petri (R)
    • David R. Obey (D)
    • Steve Kagen (D)
    • AL Barbara Cubin (R)

    notes: Changes that occurred during 2007 and 2008 are noted following the names of individuals who did not serve their full terms. Members of the 110th Congress also included delegates Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, D-American Samoa; Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-District of Columbia; Madeleine Z. Bordallo, D-Guam; Donna M.C. Christian, D-Virgin Islands; and resident commissioner Luis Fortuno, R-Puerto Rico.

    Members of Congress, 2005–2009

    The names in this list include, alphabetically, all senators, representatives, resident commissioners, and territorial delegates who served in the 109th and 110th Congresses—from Jan. 3, 2005, to Jan. 3, 2009.

    The material is organized as follows: name; relationship to other members and presidents and vice presidents (the political party and state of the relation are the same as the member unless noted otherwise); party, state (of service); date of birth; date of death (if applicable); congressional service; service as president, vice president, member of the cabinet or Supreme Court, governor, Speaker of the House, president pro tempore of the Senate, majority leader, minority leader, and chairman of the Democratic or Republican National Committee.

    If the member changed parties during his or her congressional service, the party designation appearing after the member's name is that which applied at the end of such service and further information is included in the entry. Where the service date is left open, the member continued to serve in the 111th Congress (as of Jan. 4, 2009).

    Dates of service are inclusive, starting in year of service and ending when service ends. Under the Constitution, terms of service since 1934 have been from Jan. 3 to Jan. 3. In actual practice, members have been sworn in on other dates at the beginning of a Congress. The exact date is shown (where available) if a member began or ended his or her service in midterm.

    The major sources for the following list were Congressional Quarterly's Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774–1996; America Votes series; the CQ Almanac; American Political Leaders 1789–2005; CQ Weekly magazine and online database.

    In the list, D stands for Democrat; R, Republican; and I, Independent.

    A

    Abercrombie, Neil (D-Hawaii) June 26, 1938–; House Sept. 23, 1986–1987, 1991–.

    Ackerman, Gary L. (D-N.Y.) Nov. 19, 1942–; House March 1, 1983–.

    Aderholt, Robert (R-Ala.) July 22, 1965–; House 1997–.

    Akaka, Daniel K. (D-Hawaii) Sept. 11, 1924–; House 1977–May 16, 1990; Senate May 16, 1990–.

    Akin, Todd (R-Mo.) July 5, 1947–; House 2001–.

    Alexander, Lamar (R-Tenn.) July 3, 1940–; Senate 2003–; Gov. 1979–1987.

    Alexander, Rodney (R-La.) Dec. 5, 1946–; House 2003–(2003–Aug. 9, 2004 Democrat).

    Allard, Wayne (R-Colo.) Dec. 2, 1943–; House 1991–1997; Senate 1997–2009.

    Allen, George F. (R-Va.) March 18, 1952–; House 1991–1993; Senate 2001–2007; Gov. 1994–1998.

    Allen, Thomas H. (D-Maine) April 18, 1945–; House 1997–2009.

    Altmire, Jason (D-Pa.) March 7, 1968–; House 2007–.

    Andrews, Robert E. (D-N.J.) Aug. 4, 1957–; House 1990–.

    Arcuri, Michel (D-N.Y.) June 11, 1959–; House 2007–.

    B

    Baca, Joe (D-Calif.) Jan. 23, 1947–; House Nov. 16, 1999–.

    Bachmann, Michele (R-Minn.) April 6, 1956–; House 2007–.

    Bachus, Spencer (R-Ala.) Dec. 28, 1947–; House 1993–.

    Baird, Brian (D-Wash.) March 7, 1956–; House 1999–.

    Baker, Richard H. (R-La.) May 22, 1948–; House 1987–Feb. 2, 2008.

    Baldwin, Tammy (D-Wis.) Feb. 11, 1962–; House 1999–.

    Barrasso, John (R-Wyo.) July 21, 1952–; Senate June 25, 2007–.

    Barrett, J. Gresham (R-S.C.) Feb. 14, 1961–; House 2003–.

    Barrow, John (D-Ga.) Oct. 31 1955–; House 2005–.

    Bartlett, Roscoe G. (R-Md.) June 3, 1926–; House 1993–.

    Barton, Joe L. (R-Texas) Sept. 15, 1949–; House 1985–.

    Bass, Charles (son of Perkins Bass) (R-N.H.) Jan. 8, 1952–; House 1995–2007.

    Baucus, Max (D-Mont.) Dec. 11, 1941–; House 1975–Dec. 14, 1978; Senate Dec. 15, 1978–.

    Bayh, Evan (son of Birch Bayh) (D-Ind.) Dec. 26, 1955–; Senate 1999–; Gov. 1989–1997.

    Bean, Melissa (D-Ill.) Jan. 22, 1962–; House 2005–.

    Beauprez, Bob (R-Colo.) Sept. 22, 1948–; House 2003–2007.

    Becerra, Xavier (D-Calif.) Jan. 26, 1958–; House 1993–.

    Bennett, Robert F. (R-Utah) (son of Wallace F. Bennett) Sept. 18, 1933–; Senate 1993–.

    Berkley, Shelley (D-Nev.) Jan. 21, 1951–; House 1999–.

    Berman, Howard L. (D-Calif.) April 15, 1941–; House 1983–.

    Berry, Marion (D-Ark.) Aug. 27, 1942–; House 1997–.

    Biden, Joseph R. Jr. (D-Del.) Nov. 20, 1942–; Senate 1973–.

    Biggert, Judy (R-Ill.) Aug. 15, 1937–; House 1999–.

    Bilbray, Brian P. (nephew of James Hubert Bilbray) (R-Calif.) Jan. 28, 1951–; House 1995–2001; June 13, 2006–.

    Bilirakis, Gus (son of Michael Bilirakis) (R-Fla.) Feb. 8, 1963–; House 2007–.

    Bilirakis, Michael (father of Gus Bilirakis) (R-Fla.) July 16, 1930–; House 1983–2007.

    Bingaman, Jeff (D-N.M.) Oct. 3, 1943–; Senate 1983–.

    Bishop, Rob (R-Utah) July 13, 1951–; House 2003–.

    Bishop, Sanford D. Jr. (D-Ga.) Feb. 4, 1947–; House 1993–.

    Bishop, Timothy H. (D-N.Y.) June 1, 1950–; House 2003–.

    Blackburn, Marsha (R-Tenn.) June 6, 1952–; House 2003–.

    Blumenauer, Earl (D-Ore.) Aug. 16, 1949–; House May 30, 1996–.

    Blunt, Roy (R-Mo.) Jan. 10, 1950–; House 1997–.

    Boehlert, Sherwood (R-N.Y.) Sept. 28, 1936–; House 1983–2007.

    Boehner, John A. (R-Ohio) Nov. 17, 1949–; House 1991–; House majority leader 2006–2007; minority leader 2007–.

    Bond, Christopher S. (R-Mo.) March 6, 1939–; Senate 1987–.

    Bonilla, Henry (R-Texas) Jan. 2, 1954–; House 1993–2007.

    Bonner, Jo (R-Ala.) Nov. 19, 1959–; House 2003–.

    Bono-Mack, Mary (R-Calif.) (widow of Sonny Bono) Oct. 24, 1961; House April 21, 1998–.

    Boozman, John (R-Ark.) Dec. 10, 1950–; House Nov. 29, 2001–.

    Bordallo, Madeleine Z. (D-Guam) May 31, 1933–; House (Delegate) 2003–.

    Boren, Dan (D-Okla.) (son of David L. Boren) Aug. 2, 1973–; House 2005–.

    Boswell, Leonard L. (D-Iowa) Jan. 10, 1934–; House 1997–.

    Boucher, Rick (D-Va.) Aug. 1, 1946–; House 1983–.

    Boustany, Charles Jr. (R-La.) Feb. 21, 1956–; House 2005–.

    Boxer, Barbara (D-Calif.) Nov. 11, 1940–; House 1983–1993; Senate 1993–.

    Boyd, Allen (D-Fla.) June 6, 1945–; House 1997–.

    Boyda, Nancy (D-Kan.) Aug. 2, 1955–; House 2007–2009.

    Bradley, Jeb (R-N.H.) Oct. 20, 1952–; House 2003–2007.

    Brady, Kevin (R-Texas) April 11, 1955–; House 1997–.

    Brady, Robert A. (D-Pa.) April 7, 1945–; House May 28, 1998–.

    Braley, Bruce (D-Iowa) Oct. 30, 1957–; House 2007–.

    Broun, Paul (D-Ga.) May 14, 1946–; House July 25, 2007–.

    Brown, Corrine (D-Fla.) Nov. 11, 1946–; House 1993–.

    Brown, Henry E. Jr. (R-S.C.) Dec. 20, 1935–; House 2001–.

    Brown, Sherrod (D-Ohio) Nov. 9, 1952–; House 1993–2007; Senate 2007–.

    Brownback, Sam (R-Kan.) Sept. 12, 1956–; House 1995–Nov. 6, 1996; Senate Nov. 27, 1996–.

    Brown-Waite, Ginny (R-Fla.) Oct. 5, 1943–; House 2003–.

    Buchanan, Vern (R-Fla.) May 8, 1951–; House 2007–.

    Bunning, Jim (R-Ky.) Oct. 23, 1931–; House 1987–1999; Senate 1999–.

    Burgess, Michael (R-Texas) Dec. 23, 1950–; House 2003–.

    Burns, Conrad (R-Mont.) Jan. 25, 1935–; Senate 1989–2007.

    Burr, Richard M. (R-N.C.) Nov. 30, 1955–; House 1995–2005; Senate 2005–.

    Burton, Dan (R-Ind.) June 21, 1938–; House 1983–.

    Butterfield, G.K. (D-N.C.) April 27, 1947–; House July 21, 2004–.

    Buyer, Steve (R-Ind.) Nov. 26, 1958–; House 1993–; Gov. 1971–1975.

    Byrd, Robert C. (D-W.Va.) Nov. 20, 1917–; House 1953–1959; Senate 1959–; Senate minority leader, 1981–1987; Senate majority leader 1977–1981, 1987–1989; pres. pro tempore 1989–1995, June 6, 2001–2003, 2007–.

    C

    Calvert, Ken (R-Calif.) June 8, 1953–; House 1993–.

    Camp, Dave (R-Mich.) July 9, 1953–; House 1991–.

    Campbell, John (R-Calif.) July 19, 1955–; House Dec. 7, 2005–.

    Cannon, Christopher B. (R-Utah) Oct. 20, 1950–; House 1997–.

    Cantor, Eric I. (R-Va.) June 6, 1963–; House 2001–.

    Cantwell, Maria (D-Wash.) Oct. 13, 1958–; House 1993–1994; Senate 2001–.

    Capito, Shelley Moore (R-W.Va.) (daughter of Arch A. Moore Jr.) Nov. 26, 1953–; Houses 2001–.

    Capps, Lois D. (D-Calif.) (widow of Rep. Walter Capps) Jan. 10, 1938–; House March 17, 1998–.

    Capuano, Michael D. (D-Mass.) Jan. 9, 1952–; House 1999–.

    Cardin, Benjamin L. (D-Md.) Oct. 5, 1943–; House 1987–2007; Senate 2007–.

    Cardoza, Dennis (D-Calif.) March 31, 1959–; House 2003–.

    Carnahan, Russ (D-Mo.) (son of Jean Carnahan; grandson of A.S.J. Carnahan) July 10, 1958–; House 2005–.

    Carney, Christopher (D-Pa.) March 2, 1959–; House 2007–.

    Carper, Thomas R. (D-Del.) Jan. 23, 1947–; House 1983–1993; Senate 2001–; Gov. 1993–2001.

    Carson, Andre (D-Ind.) (grandson of Julia M. Carson) Oct. 16, 1974–; House March 13, 2008–.

    Carson, Julia M. (D-Ind.) (grandmother of Andre Carson) July 8, 1938–Dec. 15, 2007; House 1997–Dec. 15, 2007.

    Carter, John (R-Texas) Nov. 6, 1941–; House 2003–.

    Case, Ed (D-Hawaii) Sept. 27, 1952–; House Nov. 30, 2002–2007.

    Casey, Bob (D-Pa.) April 13, 1960–; Senate 2007–.

    Castle, Michael N. (R-Del.) July 2, 1939–; House 1993–.

    Castor, Kathy (D-Fla.) Aug. 20, 1966–; House 2007–.

    Cazayoux, Don (D-La.) June 17, 1964–; House May 6, 2008–.

    Chabot, Steve (R-Ohio) Jan. 22, 1953–; House 1995–.

    Chafee, Lincoln (R-R.I.) (son of John H. Chafee) March 26, 1953–; Senate Nov. 4, 1999–2007.

    Chambliss, Saxby (R-Ga.) Nov. 10, 1943–; House 1995–2003; Senate 2003–.

    Chandler, Ben (D-Ky.) Sept. 12, 1959–; House Feb. 24, 2004–.

    Childers, Travis W. (D-Miss.) March 29, 1958–; House May 21, 2008–.

    Chocola, Chris (R-Ind.) Feb. 24, 1962–; House 2003–2007.

    Christensen, Donna M.C. (D-Virgin Is.) Sept. 19, 1945–; House (Delegate) 1997–.

    Clark, Yvette D. (D-N.Y.) Nov. 21, 1964–; House 2007–.

    Clay, William Lacy Jr. (son of William L. Clay) (D-Mo.) July 27, 1956–; House 2001–.

    Cleaver,Emanuel, II (D-Mo.) Oct. 26, 1944–; House 2005–.

    Clinton, Hillary Rodham (D-N.Y.) (wife of President Bill Clinton) Oct. 26, 1947–; first lady 1993–2001; Senate 2001–2009.

    Clyburn, James E. (D-S.C.) July 21, 1940–; House 1993–.

    Coble, Howard (R-N.C.) March 18, 1931–; House 1985–.

    Cochran, Thad (R-Miss.) Dec. 7, 1937–; House 1973–Dec. 26, 1978; Senate Dec. 27, 1978–.

    C