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Representative Thaddeus McCotter

Republican of Michigan District 11

Liberal Action Score: 7/100
Conservative Action Score: 66/100

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

Republican Representative Thaddeus McCotter of Michigan

Rep. McCotter's Liberal Action Score: 7
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 Thaddeus McCotter'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 7 means that Representative McCotter has participated in 7% of our slate of liberal actions in the 112th Congress.

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

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. McCotter has taken a liberal course of action by voting against 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 workers’ wages down below the poverty level.

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

H.Amdt. 642

While the world spirals into an ever-hotter and more destabilized climate, funding for scientific research into sources of energy other than offending fossil fuels has been cut by Congress for the last two years in a row. As it is, Edward Royce, who introduced an amendment to cut the alternative energy science budget by another $10 million. That $10 million is an extremely small amount in the scale of the federal budget, but can fund important scientific breakthroughs that in the long term save us money and ameliorate climate disasters. In the end, Royce's anti-science amendment was voted down.

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

Liberal Bills Congressman McCotter 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 261. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 336. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 492. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

H.R. 555

There’s 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 nation’s 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 that’s 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 555. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 572. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 601. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 1084. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 996. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 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. McCotter has failed to cosponsor H.R. 2665. After you read the bill, call Rep. McCotter's office at 734-632-0314 and ask him to support it by adding his cosponsorship.

Rep. McCotter's Conservative Action Score: 66
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 Thaddeus McCotter'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 66 means that Representative McCotter has taken 66% of the possible conservative actions identified on the That's My Congress scorecard.

H.R. 374

The Life At Conception Act, introduced as H.R. 374 in the House of Representatives, would "implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn human person":
To implement equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person, and pursuant to the duty and authority of the Congress, including Congress' power under article I, section 8, to make necessary and proper laws, and Congress' power under section 5 of the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being.

For purposes of this Act: (1) HUMAN PERSON; HUMAN BEING- The terms `human person' and `human being' include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including, but not limited to, the moment of fertilization, cloning, and other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.

If a fertilized egg is really granted equal protection under the law as a human being per the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, a number of outcomes would follow:

  • Abortions of all types, including in cases of rape, incest and threats to the health of the mother, would be outlawed, since under U.S. law there is no legal right to terminate an adult human life except as a punishment for murder, and fertilized eggs would be guaranteed equal protection under law.
  • The Intra-uterine device (IUD), Plan B and the birth control pill would be outlawed. These contraceptives work by, at least in part, preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine wall. If H.R. 374 were passed and fertilized eggs were granted protection under law equal to that of adult human beings, women using these contraceptives would be guilty of felony, involuntary manslaughter at the least.
  • In vitro fertility clinics would be outlawed or forced to radically change their policies so that every created embryo would be implanted into a woman, whether eventually viable or not. The hundreds of thousands of currently frozen embryos would become wards of the state with legal rights equal to yours.
  • The termination of ectopic and molar pregnancies would be outlawed. Even though these pregnancies cannot survive and commonly end in the death of a mother when they run their course, they would be guaranteed protection under law equal to that of any person.
  • The prevention of natural miscarriage (arguably constituting the outcome of a majority of fertilizations) would be made a public health project on equal footing with efforts to end epidemics, stop strokes or innoculate against childhood diseases.

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

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. McCotter has followed a conservative course by cosponsoring this bill.

H.R. 97

The signatories to H.R. 97, the "Free Industry Act," acknowledge that carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride are greenhouse gases. "Greenhouse gases," after all, is the title of the bill heading under which they are discussed. The signatories also acknowledge that greenhouse gases affect climate change. After all, "climate change" is the title of the bill heading under which it's discussed what is to be done with these greenhouse gases.

The supporters of H.R. 97 acknowledge that these chemicals are greenhouse gases related to climate change. But they propose to do absolutely nothing about greenhouse gases or climate change. Indeed, H.R. 97 forbids the government from doing anything to solve the problems of greenhouse gases or climate change. The members of Congress who support H.R. 97 are intransigent in the face of an acknowledged environmental problem.

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

H.R. 143

In 2009, the income gained through the inheritance of the mansions and estates of America's richest aristocrats was taxable -- but only for estate values above $3.5 million. A conservative majority in Congress gave America's very wealthiest people a tax cut in 2010, making inheritance income from multimillion-dollar and even multibillion-dollar estates completely exempt from any income tax on a one-year "trial" basis.

In the 112th Congress, H.R. 143 proposes making the mansion and estate inheritance tax cut permanent. The bill makes no corresponding adjustment in the federal budget to reduce spending, creating additional debt that the rest of us will have to pay off for decades to come. The result: a greater financial burden for low-income and middle-income Americans, and a bonanza for the very richest of Americans.

Rep. McCotter 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. McCotter 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 – 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. McCotter 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 “DC Opportunity Scholarships.” In this voucher program, public money was taken away from of public schools and given to private schools — 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 hadn’t 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 didn’t 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 “violate the principles or tenets” of the Catholic Church. That’s hiring discrimination on the taxpayer’s 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter has followed a conservative course by voting against 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. McCotter 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. McCotter has followed a conservative course by voting for this bill.

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. McCotter has followed a conservative course by voting for 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. Hochul’s 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter 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. McCotter has followed a conservative course by voting against this bill.

H.R. 347

The first amendment to the Constitution declares that the people of the United States have a right to assemble, speak and petition the government for redress of grievance that cannot be abridged. But with the passage of H.R. 347, the Congress has gone ahead and abridged that right anyway. H.R. 347 declares that whoever knowingly engages in protest near a building where the president (or the vice president, or a major presidential candidate, or a visiting world leader) is doing his business is guilty of a federal crime if the protest "impedes" or "disrupts" the flow of government business or official functions. No more demonstrating at presidential appearances. No more demonstrating even near wherever the president is, even if nobody gets hurt, even if no property is damaged, even if nobody trespasses. Raise your voice too loud and bother the president as he goes about his business and you can get tossed in federal prison for a year. The members of Congress who voted for H.R. 347 struck against a blow against freedom of assembly, freedom of protest, and freedom of speech.

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

Recent legislative news in which Thaddeus McCotter plays a part:

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Roll Call: Who In Congress Voted To Let Big Coal Get Away With Big Pollution?
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