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Representative Brian Bilbray

Republican of California District 50

Liberal Action Score: 5/100
Conservative Action Score: 74/100

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That's My Congress: independent information on legislators, legislation and congressional campaigns for the 112th Congress

Republican Representative Brian Bilbray of California

Rep. Bilbray's Liberal Action Score: 5
The Liberal Action Score is calculated by compiling a series of measured liberal actions (both roll call voting and bill cosponsorship) in the 112th Congress and comparing Brian Bilbray's behavior against a liberal standard:
  • Respect for constitutional protections of American civil liberty
  • Transparency and public access in government
  • Equal treatment of people under law
  • The respect and pursuit of empirical knowledge through support for science and education
  • Protection of the Earth's environmental richness
  • Strengthening of economic opportunity for all
  • Pursuit of peaceful solutions and opposition to militarism in policy
A score of 5 means that Representative Bilbray has participated in 5% of our slate of liberal actions in the 112th Congress.

Liberal Actions Taken by Congressman Bilbray during the 112th Congress of 2011-2012:

H.R. 2417

H.R. 2417 is entitled Better Use Of Light Bulbs Act but is the opposite of better in three ways. The bill promoted the use of less efficient light bulbs, which by no measure is better use. It was based on a claim that a ban on incandescent light bulbs was imminent, but incandescent light bulbs are not being banned. Finally, H.R. 2417 was rushed onto the floor of the House of Representatives without any hearings or committee review, gutting legislative process as well as energy efficiency.

Rep. Bilbray has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.

H.Amdt. 683

What's wrong with efficiency, the use of fewer resources at less cost to achieve the same ends? 181 Republican members of Congress found something wrong with energy efficiency, something sufficiently disturbing to lead them to vote YES on House Amendment 683. If passed, H.Amdt. 683 would have banned government websites that children about energy efficiency. That wasn't a majority, but it came awfully close.

Rep. Bilbray has taken a liberal course of action by voting against this bill.

Liberal Bills Congressman Bilbray has failed to support through cosponsorship:

H.R. 261

Contrary to the predictions of defenders of offshore drilling, expansion of offshore drilling has done little to drive down the price of oil. Since President Obama announced that new deepwater drilling for oil will be allowed, the price of oil has gone up, not down. The cost of a barrel of oil is now nearing 100 dollars. If we want to control the cost of energy, we need diversification of energy sources, not just the same old desperate search for oil. Offshore drilling needs to be phased out, not pumped up. Given the continuing influence of big oil companies over Congress and the White House, is there anything be done to move the USA away from the dangers of offshore drilling? Yes. There are leaders in the House of Representatives who are seeking who are working to reduce the risk created by offshore drilling. H.R. 261 would prohibit new leases for offshore drilling in American waters.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 261. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 336

H.R. 336 is a bill that responds to incidents of financial corporations raising interest rates as many as 30 percentage points on credit card users, even when those holding credit cards keep up with their payments and aren't late sending in their checks. If passed into law, the bill would cap annual interest rates for credit cards and other lines of credit in America to 15%, inclusive of fees. Also known as the Interest Rate Reduction Act, this bill would preserve the ability of credit card corporations to make a profit while protecting Americans from usurious financial exploitation.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 336. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 492

It's a dirty little secret: oil companies have a special law passed that lets them off the hook for the damage caused by their regular disasters. Thanks to that special law, oil companies aren't liable for environmental and other damages over $75 million caused by their practices. H.R. 492, the Big Oil Bailout Prevention Act, would remove that cap in liability for offshore drilling disasters, so that oil companies would pay for the damage they inflict.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 492. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 555

Thereís no better investment in our society than an investment in the education of a young child. Children who get early schooling do better later on, both educationally and professional, strengthening our nationís economic productivity. Parents benefit too, able to work more, making contributions of their own to society, and reducing their dependence on social programs.

If parents have to pay for preschool thatís as expensive as their income, early education becomes a very difficult choice. H.R. 555, introduced this week by Dennis Kucinich, seeks to fill in that gap by supporting state governments in their efforts to provide universally affordable but not mandatory year-round pre-K school.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 555. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 572

As it is currently written, the Federal Motor Carrier Act does not allow states and municipalities to establish environmental safeguards for ports that are more stringent than the federal standard. H.R. 572, the Clean Ports Act, removes this impediment so communities can add environmental protections for the ports whose cleanliness and integrity they rely upon.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 572. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 601

The oil industry is one of the most profitable enterprises on the planet, and yet the same oil industry gets a load of special tax breaks from its friends in government. H.R. 601, the End Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act, cuts nearly $40 billion in subsidies to the oil industry, ending rewards for environmentally dirty practices and restoring some balance to the federal budget.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 601. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 1084

Did you know that there is an exemption for hydraulic fracturing written into the Safe Drinking Water Act? The procedure commonly known as "fracking" involves the injection of a variety of toxic chemicals into the ground in order to fracture underground shale and extract natural gas. These toxic chemicals can enter an area's underground drinking water supply or later be dumped as wastewater into America's rivers. H.R. 1084 would require the contents of fracking fluids to be publicly disclosed as needed to protect the public health, just as with other toxic discharges.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 1084. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 996

The problem with cluster bombs is threefold:

1. When used, they are distributed in large numbers across terrain;
2. They have a high failure rate, leaving many unexploded bombs;
3. They are small and typically shiny, disproportionately attracting the hands of curious children.

Cluster bombs are designed to kill people, not to damage buildings or roads. Like land mines, they continue to kill people long after the battle in which they were used. It is typical for a large number of these smaller bombs to remain undetonated, waiting to explode, after their initial deployment.

The Federation of American Scientists' report on the matter makes clear the danger of cluster munitions: "40 percent of the duds on the ground are hazardous and for each encounter with an unexploded submunition there is a 13 percent probability of detonation. Thus, even though an unexploded submunition is run over, kicked, stepped on, or otherwise disturbed, and did not detonate, it is not safe. Handling the unexploded submunition may eventually result in arming and subsequent detonation."

Cluster bombs kill civilians when they are used. Our government knows this, and yet our government continues to manufacture, use and sell cluster bombs to foreign countries.

The Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act forbids the United States government from spending money to use, sell or transfer cluster bombs unless the following requirements are met:

  • The cluster bombs are proven to have a 1 percent or lower rate of malfunction
  • The cluster bombs will not be used against anything but a clearly defined military target, in an area where there are no civilians and in places where civilians do not ordinarily live
  • A plan is submitted, with the costs included, for cleaning up all the undetonated explosives that come from cluster bombs, whether they are used by the US military, or by other countries to whom the United States has supplied the cluster bombs

There is a waiver in the law for the first requirement (for the malfunctioning rate of 1 percent or lower), in cases in which it is "vital" to use cluster bombs in order to protect the security of the United States. However, even in such cases, the President is required to submit a report to Congress which explains how civilians will be protected from the cluster bombs, and revealing the failure rate of the cluster bombs, as well as whether the cluster bombs are equipped with self-destruct functions.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 996. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 2665

In 2010 there were 22,000 mercenaries hired by the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan; in 2011 the number of hired mercenaries climbed to more than 28,000. By March 2011, there were more private military contractors paid by the U.S. in Iraq than there were U.S. soldiers. Jan Schakowsky, the sponsor of this bill to end the use of mercenaries for traditional military security and combat roles, explains why this is a problem:

"Military officers in the field have said contractors operate like cowboys, using unnecessary and excessive force uncharacteristic of enlisted soldiers. In 2007, guards working for a firm then known as Blackwater were accused of killing 17 Iraqis, damaging the U.S. mission in Iraq and hurting our reputation around the world. Later that year, a contractor employed by DynCorp International allegedly shot and killed an unarmed taxi driver."

Military contractors have often acted with disregard for human dignity and when they break the law have frequently used loopholes to escape accountability. The result is inexcusable, violence in the name of the United States with no calls for justice. H.R. 2665 would finally bring this physical, psychological and political disaster to an end.

Rep. Bilbray has failed to cosponsor H.R. 2665. After you read the bill, call Rep. Bilbray's office at 858-350-1150 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

Rep. Bilbray's Conservative Action Score: 74
The Conservative Action Score is calculated by compiling a series of observably conservative roll call votes and bill cosponsorships in the 112th Congress and comparing Brian Bilbray's behavior against that conservative standard:
  • Disregard for constitutional protections of American civil liberty
  • Secrecy and exclusion of citizens from government
  • Support for discriminatory policy
  • The symbolic denigration and practical undermining of science and education in America
  • Active harm to the environment or passive allowance for environmental destruction
  • Pursuit of further advantage for those in America who are already its richest
  • Dismissal of peaceful possibilities and obeiscance to the military-industrial complex
A score of 74 means that Representative Bilbray has taken 74% of the possible conservative actions identified on the That's My Congress scorecard.

H.R. 3

H.R. 3 is a bill that would revive and extend the Stupak Amendment of the 111th Congress. If passed, it would prohibit government health care plans from including abortion coverage, even though abortion is legal in the United States. It would prohibit all women from obtaining legal abortion coverage through a health care plan if just one woman under the plan received a dollar of federal funds to help her pay for the plan. It intrudes into the health care of the District of Columbia, banning abortion in public DC health care facilities. If implemented as law, this would be a very big government imposition designed to prevent women from exercising their legal right to self-determination by forbidding insurance and medical institutions from cooperating with the exercise of that legal right.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

H.R. 98

Under the guise of securing the nation from illegal immigrants, H.R. 98 would mandate the issuance of a new national identification card that includes a digital photograph of you and a digital data strip containing your personal information about you. The bill requires that every American applying for a job present this card for scanning and the sending of application information to the Department of Homeland Security for inclusion in the Homeland Security database. All government employees and officers would be granted access to information in the database for any "purpose the Secretary of Homeland Security deems to be in the national security interests of the United States."

H.R. 98 demands at the end of its text that this card not be construed as a national identification card. But itís a card, it identifies you, and itís national. That would make it a national identification card.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

H.R. 140

The way that U.S. citizenship works is pretty simple when you get down to it: if you are born in this country, you are a citizen. That's the standard set out in the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. But some members of the House of Representatives are not happy with the Constitution. They want to deny the constitution's presumption of citizenship rights, to take away the citizenship of kids born in America. That's not an exaggeration. H.R. 140 is a bill designed to remove the guarantee that what makes you an American is being born in the USA. This bill, ironically named the Birthright Citizenship Act, actually takes away birthright citizenship from people born in the USA if their parents aren't permanent residents or citizens. This is the old German Heimatland model of citizenship rights guaranteed by proper bloodline. Over time, this bill would create entire classes of people whose parents and even grandparents were born in the USA but who are denied citizenship in the USA or, indeed, any country. Should America go down that road?

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

H.R. 337

When it was in effect, the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy weakened an already strained U.S. military by kicking out people with good service records and exemplary behavior, just because they identified as lesbian or gay. The Don't Ask Don't Tell policy was not only inefficient but also discriminatory: kicking people out of the military because of their sexual orientation is a violation of the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2010 remedied this dangerous discriminatory practice. H.R. 337 would bring back DADT, restoring destabilizing discrimination to the U.S. military.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

H.R. 514

On February 14 2011, Speaker of the House John Boehner brought H.R. 514 to the floor for a vote after mere minutes of debate, despite a lack of any committee consideration and without any provision for amendment. This bill reauthorizes provisions of the Patriot Act, a law that allows agents of the U.S. government to spy on, search and seize the property, papers and communications of individuals without a constitutionally-guaranteed finding of probable cause for that action.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H. Amdt 16 to H.R. 1

It's hard to think of a better example of military waste: Spending billions of dollars for two separate manufacturing systems in two separate companies to make two versions of an engine, with identical performance, for the same airplane Ė the F-35, an airplane that only requires one engine in the first place. Yet that's just what Congress has favored for years, because a second engine aids well-placed corporations in powerful members' districts and because some members of Congress are unwilling to vote any military project down. In February of 2011, Representative Tom Rooney of Florida followed the example of Chellie Pingree in the 111th Congress by introducing an amendment cutting funding for the second redundant F-35 engine. A yes vote on the Rooney Amendment is a vote to cut military pork spending. A no vote is a vote to preserve pork.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.R. 471

In a roll-call vote in 2010, the U.S. Senate ended the federally-mandated voucher program for Washington DC called the ďDC Opportunity Scholarships.Ē In this voucher program, public money was taken away from of public schools and given to private schools ó 82% of which were religious schools in 2009. Studies by the Institute for Education Sciences found no difference in math or reading scores between voucher students and public school students in 2007 and no difference in math or reading scores between the groups in 2008. In 2009, there was no difference in math scores at all between voucher students and public school students, and while there was a positive difference in reading scores for voucher students, the positive difference was only for voucher students who hadnít come from underperforming schools. There was no difference between students coming from underperforming public schools and those who stayed there. There was also no improvement shown by underperforming students who used the program. In short, there were no effects of the program at all in two out of three years, and improvement was shown in only one year, in only one subject area, and only for already well-performing kids coming from already well-performing schools. Apart from the fact that the DC voucher program didnít accomplish its stated purpose of rescuing underperforming kids from underperforming public schools, it also used public money to send 82% of these kids to schools where they were made the target of religious indoctrination and proselytization. Many of those schools were run by the DC division of the Catholic Church, which mandates that no one may be hired who would ďviolate the principles or tenetsĒ of the Catholic Church. Thatís hiring discrimination on the taxpayerís tab. Using federal taxpayers' money to support religious schools that indoctrinate children according to a particular parochial religion, that engage in hiring discrimination on the basis of religion, and that don't do any better at educating kids than the DC public schools? Who would ever think that's a good idea? The members of Congress who voted for H.R. 471, that's who. On March 30, the House voted to reinstate the old taxpayer-money-for-broken-religious-indoctrination-schools experiment in Washington, DC.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

Rooney Amendment 13 to H.R. 1

Thanks to sewage and runoff from runaway suburban development, overuse of fertilizers in agricultural production and uncontrolled fecal contamination from livestock, Florida's lakes, rivers, springs and wetlands have abnormally high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus compounds in them. The presence of these pollutants has serious consequences. Algal blooms feed on these substances, adding neurotoxic chemicals to water as they grow and taking so much oxygen out of the water that all aquatic animals are killed off in entire regions. To disinfect sewage and algae-infested waters, more chemicals are added to the water, and some of those have been associated with cancer in humans.

After conducting exhaustive scientific and economic studies to establish the existence of significant nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in Florida's waterways, and after holding over a dozen public hearings in Florida on the subject, the Environmental Protection Agency entered an agreement with the Florida Wildlife Federation to set limits for nitrogen and phosphorus in Florida's waters. These standards would bring the pollution that is killing wildlife and people under control.

To a majority in Congress, keeping the nitrogen and phosphorus flowing into Florida's waters toxic is more important than saving lives. A legislative amendment was introduced by Rep. Thomas Rooney in the House of Representatives in February 2011; it blocks the federal government from implementing the EPA's standards for Florida waters. This majority voted to pass the Rooney Amendment.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

Gutierrez Amendment to H.R. 1

On February 15 2011, Rep. Luis Gutierrez offered an amendment to H.R. 1 in the House of Representatives. H.Amdt 13 would have reduced the Navy and Air Force aircraft procurement budgets by $415,083,000 and moved that money into the Defense Department's spending reduction account. Here's a place for cuts to a huge military program: the Pentagon itself agrees that its aircraft procurement budget is bloated. In particular, Gutierrez's amendment would have finally scrapped the long, drawn-out production of the V-22 Osprey, an airplane/helicopter hybrid that might look really cool as a transformer-like model on your kid's bookshelf but that costs a whopping $120 million per plane and has never met its production standards in deployment. Besides, it has frequently killed the people it is carrying. And yet Congress continues to vote it forward because production is distributed strategically across a number of members' districts, and because few members of Congress are brave enough to go on the record voting down any program that has the words "United States military" stamped on it.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.Amdt. 109

As Congressman Ron Kind described this amendment to a House spending bill, "my amendment is pretty straightforward and simple. It would eliminate two weapons programs that the Defense Department, Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the bipartisan fiscal commissions all say are not necessary, they are not needed, they don't go to improve military readiness, and they are redundant. It's the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle as well as the Surface Launch Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile System, the SLAMRAAM for short.... if we're going to be serious about true deficit reduction, the defense aspect of the Federal budget also has to be on the table. And what better place to start than by listening to our own military leaders who continually tell this Congress: Stop appropriating money for weapons systems we don't want, that we don't want to use, that aren't necessary, they don't enhance military readiness, and they are not going to support our troops in the field. And these two programs fit that bill." A yes vote on this amendment was a vote to stop funding the sub-par expeditionary fighting vehicle and the SLAMRAAM missile system, ending two examples of military waste.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.Amdt. 150

On February 18 2011, a group of six members of the House introduced this amendment to the Republicans' main spending bill. The amendment would cut spending at the Department of Defense to 2008 levels, and further stipulates that such cuts are not be taken from the pay or health care for members of the military. As Bill Young noted in a brief debate before the vote on this amendment, it would cut more than $50 billion from the annual military budget. But as Rep. Barbara Lee noted in the same debate, a 2010 bipartisan defense task force report found that more than $100 billion could be cut from the annual defense budget without impairing national security. This amendment offered a chance for significant budgetary savings while eliminating wasteful military contracts, which the General Accounting Office has found to be rampant.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.Amdt. 88

House Amendment 88, tacked on to House spending bill H.R. 1, prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from spending any money to enforce its standards regarding the reduction of mercury emissions from cement plants in the United States. After a considerable number of scientific studies and dozens of public hearings and comment periods, the EPA determined that American cement plants release enough mercury dust into the atmosphere to kill between 1,000 and 2,500 people every year. The cement industry in America can afford to make the fixes EPA proposes in order to prevent those 1,000-2,500 deaths each year: the industry is profitable and resisting imports, which are now as low as they have been for 19 years. Those who voted for H.Amdt. 88 voted to prevent the fixes to cement plants that would protect the environment and save American lives.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt 147

Under Project Labor Agreements, workers and management sit down together before a construction project begins in order to iron out differences on pay, safety standards, hours and other on-the-job practices. PLAs have a history of keeping work safe, on schedule and under budget with fewer injuries, minimized disputes, no work stoppages and more efficient construction. While the nation watched an escalating confrontation between unions and "baseball bat" Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin during the month of February 2011, Congress more quietly acted in an attempt to undercut union labor nationwide. As Rep. Laura Richardson noted in floor debate on House Amendment 147, "There is absolutely no evidence that PLA's increase the cost of construction projects; instead properly trained workers improve product quality which saves taxpayers money." In fact, as Rep. Rosa DeLauro pointed out during the same debate, "Despite all the rhetoric on the other side that PLAs increase the cost of construction projects, there is no evidence for that. Two years ago, the Economic Policy Institute reviewed a series of studies for and against prevailing wage laws and concluded that there was no adverse impact on government contract costs." If passed, House Amendment 147 would have prohibited the federal government from entering into contracts using project labor agreements. There is no evidence H.Amdt 147 would have cut costs; it would have undercut organized labor broadly defined and unions in particular, which disproportionately but not always are involved in project labor agreements. H.Amdt 147 would have effectively banned a wide swath of government contracts negotiated with unions. The measure was rejected on a 210-210 roll call vote.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt 131

On June 18 2010 the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior issued new regulations for mountaintop removal and strip mining. These setting out standards for how strip mines dump the rubble leftover from taking off the tops of mountains and extracting ore. The Interior Department regulation requires that this rubble, laden with deadly poisons and heavy metals, be kept away from streams that sustain wildlife and supply people with drinking water.

House Amendment 131 forbids the federal government from spending any money at all to enforce this requirement. It allows strip mining and mountaintop removal operations to continue to poison the environment and poison people by dumping toxic slag into mountain streams.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt. 136

In debate on the floor of the House on February 18 2011, Rep. James Moran of Virginia noted the existence of dead zones in Chesapeake Bay, some of the largest in the nation:
Miles of the Chesapeake Bay have died, largely because of the fertilizer that washes into the bay. The vegetation at the bottom feeds on that nitrogen, and it grows like it's on steroids. When it decomposes, it sucks up all the oxygen in the water, and as a result, nothing can live in large areas of the Chesapeake Bay--no crabs, no oysters, no fish. Nothing. It's dead, even the plant life can't survive when the oxygen has been so depleted in the process of decomposition.
An historic agreement has emerged between all of the states bordering the Chesapeake Bay, the federal government, the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in which all agree to set limits on the amount of sewer and agricultural pollutant runoff into the Bay to restore it to its former health -- not just for the sake of the fish, birds and amphibians that call the Bay home, but for the sake of the tourism and fishing industries that depend on a healthy bay.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia District 6 (which does not border the Chesapeake) introduced H.Amdt.136 in order to prohibit the federal government from spending any money to actually implement the agreement that has already been reached, preventing runoff limits and preserving the dead zones that leave Chesapeake Bay a literally lifeless, stinking muck.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt. 169

On February 19 2011 the House of Representatives voted to reject this amendment to a House budget bill. If it had passed, House Amendment 169 would have slapped aside the usual Davis-Bacon rule for federally-funded projects. The Davis-Bacon rule isn't extravagant. It simply requires that construction workers be paid at least the prevailing wage of the area in compensation for their labor. That prevailing wage standard is not high to begin with, at poverty-level compensation in many places. But for 189 members of the House of Representatives, poverty-level pay for hard work isn't low enough. In the middle of the worst economic recession in decades, those who voted for House Amendment 169 tried to push construction workersí wages down below the poverty level.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Con.Res. 28

On March 17 2011, the House of Representatives voted on House Concurrent Resolution 28, legislation that if passed would have forced an end to the decade-old war in Afghanistan by the end of the year using the constitutional power of Congress to declare or revoke War Powers. More specifically, the bill invoked Section 5c of the War Powers Resolution, which declares that without a declaration of war (which has never been issued in regard to the country of Afghanistan), Congress shall have the power to mandate the removal of troops from foreign soil. After ten years of warfare in Afghanistan with little progress, H.Con.Res. 28 would have redirected American energy, resources and attention to more remediable problems involving less violent resolution.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H. Amdt 97

If it had passed, House Amendment 97 would have stopped the government's practice of demanding "library circulation records, library patron lists, book sales records, or book customer lists" from librarians and booksellers without probable cause warrants. This amendment would have negated Section 215 of the Patriot Act as applying to libraries and bookstores, returning government practices to a constitutional standard.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.Amdt. 327

Section 1034 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 gives the President of the United States perpetual authority to use military force anywhere in the world that the President believes holds terrorists. Section 1034 abrogates Congress' constitutional authority and duty to declare war, handing significant power to the president to unleash war wherever and whenever he sees fit, without congressional authorization.

House Amendment 327 was offered in May of 2011 during debate on the National Defense Authorization Act. It would have removed Section 1034 and its authorization of endless war from the bill. A YES vote is a vote to remove the endless war authorization. A NO vote is a vote to preserve the president's endless war powers.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.Con.Res. 51

House Continuing Resolution 51 insists that President Barack Obama comply with two mandates of the American law of war as they apply to current military action in Libya. The War Powers Act of 1973 requires the President of the United States to obtain authorization from Congress before making attacks with the military unless the United States has been attacked first. Even if the United States has been attacked (which it wasnít in the case of Libya) and the President puts the military into action without consulting Congress, the President must obtain congressional authorization within 60 days' time.

President Barack Obama violated the Constitution broadly and the War Powers Act specifically by taking the U.S. military into war against Libya without a congressional declaration and by not obtaining congressional authorization in the 74 days after the fact. In recognition of these circumstances, H.Con.Res. 51 insists that the President must withdraw the U.S. military from action against Libya as the War Powers Act mandates.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.R. 2112

If passed into law, H.R. 2112 would cut funding for a number of FDA and USDA programs. Food aid programs to children, pregnant women, and senior citizens would be slashed. Tried-and-true programs to assure food safety would be gutted. Newly programs to improve meat, dairy and egg safety inspections would be scrapped. More people would go hungry and get sick in America as a result.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt. 563

In July of 2011, Rep. Barney Frank introduced an amendment to H.R. 2219 which would have cut the U.S. military budget by $8.5 billion, stipulating that no cuts were to be taken from pay or benefit programs supporting members and veterans of the armed forces. These cuts would have reduced the emphasis of the U.S. budget on weapons programs and also furthered the declared aim of Tea Party and GOP politicians to reduce spending. Yet a majority of Tea Party and GOP politicians blocked the cuts: their support for military spending trumped their aim of fiscal restraint.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.R. 2021

H.R. 2021, the JEPA Act, is an effort to speed up offshore drilling at the expense of clean air. If passed into law, H.R. 2021 will exempt icebreaking ships in the Arctic from current regulation under the Clean Air Act, allowing their pollution to expand without restraint. 25 members of Congress crossed political party lines in a vote to approve H.R. 2021.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt. 632

In July of 2011, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 2018, a bill to exclude corporate polluters from regulation by the Environmental Protection Agency. An amendment by Rep. Jared Polis would have limited the deregulation bill so that corporations with a significant history of illegal pollution practices would still be subject to EPA regulation. Polis' amendment would have allowed the conservative majority to proceed with deregulation while preserving the ability of the government to go after corporate America's biggest illegal polluters. But a conservative majority of 219 Republicans and 12 Democrats voted the Polis amendment down.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.Amdt. 719

On July 25 2011, Representative Kathy Hochul introduced an amendment to Interior appropriations bill H.R. 2584. Hochul's amendment sought to reduce the federal government's burden to spend money on private drilling firms' permit approval processes at a time when it's been found that drilling permits had gone forward without required environmental impact analysis. Hochulís amendment, if approved, would have required oil drilling companies to pay for the cost of that impact permitting process instead, ensuring that the process was sufficiently funded by those industries that benefit from the process.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.R. 997

Republican Representative Steve King of Iowa has introduced the English Language Unity Act to the 112th Congress. He says the legislation will unify the country by requiring that English be spoken in official business. There is already a unifying document out there having to do with speech called the United States Constitution, and it says that people should be allowed to speak the way they want to. This bill would push that freedom aside to introduce government regulation and manufacture a mandatory unity.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

H.R. 1540

On December 14 2011 House of Representatives voted to let the agents of the President imprison people forever without charge, whether they are citizens or not, whether they are arrested on foreign soil or right here in America. All that the government has to do is accuse this person of being a terrorist and they can be tossed into detention, without charges, forever. They'll never be charged with a crime. They'll never have the right to have the evidence against them judged by a jury of their peers in the constitutionally-guaranteed process of a trial. Constitutional guarantees just don't mean what they used to any more. This is the definition of ultimate and unaccountable government power over its people. This act turns empowered citizens into vulnerablle subjects. This is what those who voted for H.R. 1540 have unleashed.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Con.Res. 13

On the first of November 2011, the House of Representatives voted to pass H.Con.Res. 13, the full text of which contains the following Congressional affirmations:
  • "The people of the United States have turned to God as their source for sustenance, protection, wisdom, strength, and direction"
  • "God, our Creator, as the source of our rights"
  • "Without God, there could be no American form of government"
These affirmations, as passed in H.Con.Res. 13, establish official Congressional reverence for the God character that is specific to Judaism, Christianity and Islam and contradictory to the religious beliefs of agnostics, atheists and the practitioners of dozens of American and international religions. H.Con.Res. directly contradicts the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which mandates that the Congress shall pass no law establishing religion. But only 11 out of the 435 members of the House opposed H.Con.Res. 13 by voting NO or PRESENT.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.R. 2273

H.R. 2273, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, is a bill to block federal regulations for the disposal of coal ash. Lax state regulations would take the place of those federal regulations, exposing Americans to a variety of dangerous pollutants.

The danger is real. Just 17 days after the House voted to pass H.R. 2273, a mudslide at WE Energies' Oak Creek Power Plant released a large amount of toxic coal ash containing poisonous heavy metals into Lake Michigan. WE Energies' careless method of coal ash storage would be par for the course if this bill were signed into law.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt 935 to H.R. 3408

On February 15 2012, Representative Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania attempted to improve H.R. 3408, a bill forcing the development of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Doyle's amendment would have simply required that at least 75% of the iron and steel used in the portion of the pipeline in the USA be produced in North America, preserving American jobs on an American project. The Canadian part of the pipeline could be made with steel and iron from anywhere, and even in the U.S. portion, 25 percent of the metals could still have come from China, or Pakistan, or anywhere else on Earth. But a majority of the members of the House of Representatives voted the amendment down.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.R. 4310

You may remember how in 2011 Republicans in Congress pushed Democrats into what was called a compromise. The deal was that a Special Committee from the House and Senate would be authorized to come up with a plan for reducing the budget deficit, through increases in revenue or through reductions in spending. If that committee couldn't come up with its plan, there would be automatic spending reductions for both Medicare and the U.S. Military. After this so-called compromise, Republicans on that Special Committee refused to take action to pass any plan, and so in 2012 there were supposed to be automatic reductions in money for Medicare and for the military alike. Then came H.R. 4310, which re-engineered the compromise after the fact to remove all compromise. Under the terms of H.R. 4310, all the budget cuts for Medicare are preserved, but all the budget cuts for the military are removed. A vote for H.R. 4310 puts a heavier economic burden on the shoulders of Americans struggling out of poverty, while allowing the military-industrial complex to keep right on chugging from the trough. This is a massive benefit to massive corporations: in 2011, the top 10 corporate contractors were all military contractors. These 10 megacorporations alone received 28% of all federal contracting dollars: a whopping $150 billion. That's the corporate largesse preserved by H.R. 4310. If your representative is among those voting yes, ask him or her how that vote could possibly count as fiscally responsible.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.AMDT.1135 to H.R. 4310

On May 18 2012 Amendment 1135 to H.R. 4310 was passed in the House of Representatives, shortly before the passage of H.R. 4310 itself. This amendment eliminates funding for programs in which the United States cooperates with Russia to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The amount of spending required for the benefit of protection from nuclear weapons proliferation is minimal and yet, as Rep. Adam Smith of Washington State noted, "it has been a very successful program," quietly preventing the disastrous proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Many of the same members of Congress who voted for the Iraq War debacle under the false pretense that Iraq had WMDs are now voting to gut a program to prevent the proliferation of actual WMDs.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H. Amdt 1096 to H.R. 5326

In May of 2011, the House of Representatives approved Amendment 1096 to H.R. 5326, shortly before H.R. 5326 itself passed the House. Amendment 1096 forbids the President from directing the Department of Justice to resist the Defense of Marriage Act. This amendment is dedicated to preventing the principle of equal rights for gay and lesbian Americans from being implemented.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

H.Amdt. 1313 to H.R. 4480

Two years after the disaster of the BP oil spill, Congress is already ignoring its lessons.

On June 21, Rep. Jackie Speier of California took to the floor of the House of Representatives to introduce an amendment to H.R. 4480. If H.R. 4480 becomes law, any energy corporation's application to drill for oil or gas on U.S. soil will be automatically approved if engineers hired by the Department of the Interior take longer than 60 days to review the application to ensure that the drilling will be done safely.

Automatically approving an oil drilling application after 60 days is a setup. It's pretty much guaranteed that the safety review for any drilling will take longer than 60 days, not only because ensuring safety is complicated and requires diligent attention but also because the Congress has gutted the Interior Department's budget so it can't hire enough engineers to review oil drilling applications on time. As Speier noted in her speech to the floor, acceleration of oil drilling approvals isn't necessary -- the U.S. already has more drilling than ever before, with oil corporations already sitting on thousands of approved drilling sites they haven't started work on. H.R. 4480 is written to make empirical sense; it's written to allow oil drilling on U.S. soil without safety review. H.R. 4480 is legislation driven by big oil money in the direction of another environmental disaster.

Rep. Speier's amendment would have taken the automatic-approval provision out of H.R. 4480. A vote for the Speier amendment is a vote to maintain some safety in oil drilling. A vote against the Speier amendment is a vote to accelerate drilling even further, heedless of the danger to the nation's land, its wildlife and its people.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.R. 5949

The FISA Amendments Act gives the federal government the power to set up a massive electronic surveillance dragnet, grabbing private information from Americansí personal electronic communications without a judge's warrant. Your activity on cell phones, GPS devices, smart phones, online shopping, emails, internet browsing and even your ebooks on your Kindle is vulnerable to being spied upon, and you don't have to be a criminal to be watched. The government doesn't have to prove any suspicion of terrorism or other dastardly act.

When Barack Obama was a U.S. senator, he justified his vote to pass the FISA Amendments Act with a promise to reform it once he became President. H.R. 5949 reauthorizes the FISA Amendments Act for five years, long past Barack Obama's last day in office -- and it contains no reforms at all.

The 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that We The People have the right to be free of search and seizure of our papers and communications unless there is a warrant specifying a reason, a time and a place. The FISA Amendments Act violates all of these constitutional guarantees. A vote to reauthorize the FISA Amendments Act without reforms is a vote against Americans' constitutional freedom.

Rep. Bilbray has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

Recent legislative news in which Brian Bilbray plays a part:

House Constitution Caucus Overwhelmingly Supports Indefinite Detention without Charge
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Roll Call: Who In Congress Helped Increase Offshore Drilling Pollution?
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Roll Call: 88 Tea Party members of Congress vote for Unrestrained War Powers
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Roll Call: Who In Congress Voted To Let Big Coal Get Away With Big Pollution?
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The Constitution Caucus, Article I Section 8, and the War Powers Roll Call Vote
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