Congressional Voting Records

112th Congress, 1st  Session

January 2011 — December 2011

A Special Report on Legislation
Vital to American Retirees

published by:

Alliance for Retired Americans

This past year saw a new Congress come to Washington. Almost immediately, many went to work on attack- ing our core retiree programs, Social Security and Medicare. In addition to congressional actions, these pro- grams came under scrutiny early in the year by the national Fiscal Commission. Although it was unable to reach final recommendations, a majority of the commission supported a plan that would cut the Social Secu- rity COLA, raise the retirement age, and make seniors pay more for Medicare benefits. A congressional Super Committee later in the year also was unable to make any final recommendations, but it, too, considered some of these misguided proposals.

The 2010 Affordable Care Act created positive change for retirees and older Americans. Beginning in 2011, the Medicare Part D doughnut began to close. Co-payments and deductibles have been eliminated for Medicare covered preventive screenings as well as for an annual wellness checkup. Medicare Advantage overpayments to insurance companies are ending and thus extending the financial health of the Medicare Trust Fund. Millions of pre-Medicare retirees now have help in affording health care. Yet many in Congress voted to repeal these provisions as well as to privatize Medicare and create a voucher-like system in its place.

Social Security remains the bedrock of retirement security. While Americans have lost $13 trillion in wealth during the economic recession, Social Security’s guaranteed benefits never stopped arriving each month. Yet, many in Congress voted to cut benefits. We still must remain on guard against efforts to privatize and cut the Social Security and Medicare programs. We must continue to remind all Americans that they are programs that benefit all generations, not just retirees.

It is up to us to advocate for those issues on which older Americans depend for a respectable quality of life in retirement.

This Voting Record reflects how committed our elected representatives are to retirees and older Americans. Use it to educate yourself on where your elected representatives stand. Get active today and help create an America that protects the health and economic security of seniors, strengthens families and builds safe and thriving communities.

Barbara J. Easterling Ruben Burks Edward F. Coyle
President Secretary-Treasurer Executive Director

 

How To Read This Record

Democrat (D) Republican (R) Independent  (I)

✓       Voted With Alliance Policy     ✗        Voted Against Alliance Policy

?          Did Not Vote

The number  before each name  indicates Congressional District.

100%      Best Score Possible

Alliance for Retired Americans
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www.retiredamericans.org

 

SENATE VOTES

 The following is a list of ten  key  votes selected as representative of the  votes of critical importance to retirees taken by the  U.S. Senate:

1  Health Care Repeal

Senator McConnell, R-KY, moved that the Senate repeal the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The health care law included several pro-retiree provisions including the elimination of co-pays and deductibles for preventive care screenings and an annual wellness checkup beginning in 2011. The law also included the closing of the Part D doughnut hole coverage gap, the phasing out of overpayments to Medicare Advantage insurance companies, and incentives for employ- ers to maintain early retiree health care coverage. The motion failed 47-51. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. S. 223, Roll Call No. 9, February 2, 2011.

2  Seniors Programs Cuts

The Senate debated a spending bill that would have severely cut many seniors programs. Cuts included more than half a billion dollars each to seniors employment and housing programs and nearly $400 million to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The bill failed 44-56. Sixty votes are necessary under a debate agreement for this bill. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 1, Roll Call No. 36, March 9, 2011.

3  Medicare Privatization

The Senate debated a motion on whether to debate the House passed budget resolution that replaced the guaran- teed benefits of Medicare with a privatized system. Medicare would be privatized, voucher-like payments would go to insurance companies and seniors would have significantly higher out of pocket costs. The motion failed 40-57. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H. Con. Res. 34, Roll Call No. 77, May 25, 2011.

4  Fair Taxes

Senator Reid, D-NV, introduced a motion to proceed to a bill that that would express the sense of the Senate that Americans earning more than $1 million annually should pay their fair share toward reducing the federal deficit. The motion failed 51-49. Sixty votes are necessary to invoke cloture. A YES vote is the pro-retiree vote. S. 1323, Roll Call No. 108, July 13, 2011.

5  Social Security and Medicare Cuts

The Senate debated the House passed bill that cuts domes- tic spending dramatically, preserves the Bush tax cuts and ends Medicare and Social Security as we know it by rais- ing the retirement age and cutting benefits. The bill would cap future Social Security and Medicare spending. The bill was tabled (set aside) 51-46. A YES vote is the pro- retiree vote. H.R. 2560, Roll Call No. 116, July 22, 2011.

6  Drug Reimportation

Senator Vitter, R-LA, introduced an amendment to a spend- ing bill that would permit individual consumers to import Food and Drug Administration approved prescription drugs from Canada. The amendment failed 45-55. Sixty votes are necessary under a debate agreement for this bill. A YES vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 2112, Roll Call No.172, October 20, 2011.

7  First Responders Funding

The Senate debated a motion to proceed to a bill that would assist the funding needs of state governments in areas includ- ing first responders, police and firefighters. Funding would come through a small tax increase on individuals with incomes more than $1 million.  The motion failed 50-50. Sixty votes are necessary to invoke cloture. A YES vote is the pro-retiree vote. S. 1723, Roll Call No. 177, October 20, 2011.

8  Seniors Nutrition Cuts

Senator Sessions, R-AL, introduced an amendment to a spending bill that would have reduced funding for the Sup- plemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $10 bil- lion and drop 1 million beneficiaries. Many seniors rely on SNAP funds to meet their basic nutritional needs. The amend- ment failed 41-58. Sixty votes are necessary under a debate agreement for this bill. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 2112, Roll Call No. 182, October 20, 2011.

9  Financial Protections

The Senate debated  a motion to invoke cloture and pro- ceed to vote on the nomination of Richard Cordray to be the first director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Pro- tection. The bureau is the result of the recent Wall Street scandals. It has the power to protect consumers from sus- pect practices and increase transparency in financial trans- actions. The motion failed 53-45. Sixty votes are necessary to invoke cloture. A YES vote is the pro-retiree vote. P.N.784, Roll Call No. 223, December 8, 2011.

10 Balanced Budget Amendment

The Senate debated  a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. The amendment would have created super majority votes in Congress in order to raise revenues and cap federal spending at 18 percent of the annual output of the economy. These provisions could lead to automatic Social Security benefit cuts and make it difficult to deal with economic recessions or natural disasters. The amend- ment failed 47-53. A two-thirds majority is required for constitutional amendments. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. S.J. Res. 10, Roll Call No. 229, December 14, 2011.

2011 VOTING RECORD

NORTH CAROLINA DELEGATION

112tCongress, 1st Session

Senate Votes


Vote Number                     1         2        3       4         5       6       7        8      9     10     2011  Lifetime
Alliance Position                N        N        N       Y         N       N       Y        N      N      N         %         %

Burr (R) X X X X X X X X X X 0 3
Hagan (D) X 90 87

HOUSE VOTES

 The following is a list of ten  key  votes selected as representative of the  votes of critical importance to retirees taken by the  U.S. House of Representatives:

1  Health Care Repeal

The House passed health care reform repeal legislation, introduced by Rep. Cantor, R-VA. The 2010 Affordable Care Act included several pro-retiree provisions including the elimination of co-pays and deductibles for preventive care screenings and an annual wellness checkup begin- ning in 2011. The law also included the closing of the Part D doughnut hole coverage gap, the phasing out of over- payments to Medicare Advantage insurance companies, and incentives for employers to maintain early retiree health care coverage. The bill passed 245-189. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 2, Roll Call No. 14, January 19, 2011.

2  Stop Health Care Funding

Rep. Rehberg, R-MT, introduced an amendment to a spend- ing bill that would prohibit funding to implement the Afford- able Care Act. The pro-retiree provisions of the law would be suspended under the amendment. The amendment passed 239-187. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 1, Roll Call No. 97, February 18, 2011.

3  Homeowners Assistance

Rep. Deutch, D-FL, offered a motion to recommit a hous- ing refinance bill to committee in order to add language that would authorize the Department of Housing and Urban Affairs to determine what amount of funds would be nec- essary to provide assistance to seniors who own homes. The motion failed 185-243. A YEvote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 830, Roll Call No. 170, March 10, 2011.

4  Protect Social Security and Medicare

Rep. Critz, D-PA, offered a motion to recommit a spend- ing bill to committee in order to add language that would bar the use of funds to develop or implement a system that would cut Social Security or Medicare benefits, privatize Social Security or establish a Medicare voucher system that limits benefits. The motion failed 190-239. A YES vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.J. Res. 48, Roll Call No. 178, March 15, 2011.

5  Medicare Privatization

The House passed a budget resolution introduced by Rep. Ryan, R-WI, that replaces  the guaranteed benefits  of Medicare with a privatized system. Under the Ryan plan, Medicare would be privatized, voucher-like payments would go to insurance companies and seniors would have signif- icantly higher out of pocket costs. The plan also created a fast track process for Social Security cuts. The resolution passed 235-193. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H. Con. Res. 34, Roll Call No. 277, April 15, 2011.

6  Social Security and Medicare Cuts

The House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Chaffetz, R- UT, that cuts domestic spending dramatically, preserves the Bush tax cuts and ends Medicare and Social Security as we know it by raising the retirement age and cutting benefits. The bill also contained an amendment to the Con- stitution that would tie the hands of future Congresses by capping Social Security and Medicare spending. The bill passed 234-190. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 2560, Roll Call No. 606, July 19, 2011.

7  Seniors Financial Protection

Rep. Michaud, D-ME, offered a motion to recommit a con- sumer financial protection bill to committee in order to add language that would ensure Consumer Financial Pro- tection Bureau authority to issue rules to protect seniors from abusive, deceptive or unfair practices. The motion failed 183-232. A YES vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 1315, Roll Call No. 620, July 21, 2011.

8  Reduced Middle Class Benefits

The House passed a bill, introduced by Rep. Black, R-TN, that would make eligibility for middle class Americans more difficult for many vital programs. The bill would count Social Security benefits in eligibility formulas for Medicaid as well as the new health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. The bill passed 262-157. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 2576, Roll Call No. 813, October 27, 2011.

9  Balanced Budget Amendment

The House debated a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. The amendment would have created super majority votes in Congress in order to raise the debt limit or pass budgets where revenues were less than spending. These provisions could lead to automatic Social Security benefit cuts and make it difficult to deal with economic recessions or natural disasters. The amendment failed 261-165. A two-thirds majority is required for constitutional amendments. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.J. Res.2, Roll Call No. 858, November 18, 2011.

10 Eliminate Election Protections

The House passed a bill introduced by Rep. Harper, R- MS, that would eliminate the Presidential Campaign Fund that provides public financing for presidential campaigns and party conventions. The bill also would eliminate the agency that evaluates voting equipment, which can help produce senior friendly voting systems. The bill passed 235-190. A NO vote is the pro-retiree vote. H.R. 3463, Roll Call No. 873, December 1, 2011.

House Votes

Vote Number                  1        2        3        4        5         6        7       8        9       10    2011    Lifetime
Alliance Position            N        N        N        Y        Y         Y       Y        N       Y        N          %          % 

1.   Butterfield (D)  ✓  ✓ ? 100 97
2.   Ellmers (R)  X X X X X X X X X X 0 0
3.   Jones (R)  X X X X X 50 36
4.   Price (D)  ✓ 100 97
5.   Foxx (R)  X X X X X X X X X X 0 6
6.   Coble (R) X X X X X X X X X X 0 14
7.   McIntyre (D) X X X X X 50 77
8.   Kissell (D)

X

90 87
9.   Myrick (R) X X X X X X X X X X 0 7
10. McHenry (R) X X X X X X X X X X 0 9
11. Shuler (D) X X X 70 78
12. Watt (D) 100 99
13. Miller (D) 100 100

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815 16th Street, NW, 4th Floor ✦ Washington, DC 20006 ✦ (202) 637-5399 ✦ (888) 373-6497

www.retiredamericans.org