Voted with us 69% over lifetime
Senate to president: time to leave Afghanistan (RC #210)
For the first time since the war began, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. Sen. Jeff Merkley's (D-OR) amendment calling for accelerated military withdrawal passed in a strong bipartisan vote. (See 2012 Highs and Lows) Passed, 62-33
|Nov 29, 2012||Agreed To||Yea|
Tabling Vote to Block $1.15 Billion Arms Deal to Saudi Arabia (RC #145)
S.J.Res.39. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Al Franken (D-MN) introduced a joint resolution to block the sale of $1.15 billion worth of tanks and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia on account of the Kingdom’s indiscriminate bombing campaign in Yemen, which is responsible for roughly two-thirds of the civilian casualties in Yemen’s civil War. The vote was on a motion to table the resolution, or in other words to not vote on it, so Peace Action opposed the motion to table. Passed, 71-27.
|Sep 21, 2016||Agreed To||Nay|
Blocking common sense arms control (RC #91)
Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) offered this amendment to prevent the US from entering into the Arms Trade Treaty. The treaty, which would help stop the spread of weapons to human rights abusers, had not yet been negotiated at the time of the vote. The US signed the treaty in September and it awaits ratification. Passed, 53-46.
|Mar 23, 2013||Agreed To||Nay|
Fueling tensions in Asia with fighter jets (RC #148)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)introduced this amendment in an attempt to force the Obama Administration to sell 66 F-16 fighter planes to Taiwan, after they had announced an arms package that did not include new jets. Cornyn attempted to scare people into supporting the sale of the Texas-built planes, saying, "Saying no here would mean granting Communist China substantial sway over American foreign policy, putting us on a very slippery slope." Failed, 48-48
|Sep 22, 2011||Rejected||Nay|
Expressing the sense of Congress that climate change is real, and human activity significantly contributes to it (RC #12)
S.Amdt.58 to S.1. Sen. Brian Schatz’s (D-HI) amendment (requiring 60 votes to pass) to the Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act would have expressed the sense of Congress that climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to it. Failed, 50-49.
|Jan 21, 2015||Rejected||Yea|
Reaffirming the prohibition on torture (RC #209)
S.Amdt.1889 to H.R.1735. Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act reaffirmed the prohibition on torture. Passed, 78-21.
|Jun 16, 2015||Agreed To||Yea|
Victory toward closing Guantanamo (RC #237)
In a stark shift from previous years, the Senate rejected Sen. Ayotte's (R-NH) amendment to prohibit detainee transfers from Guantanamo for the next year. This prohibition would have undercut plans to close the detention facility. Failed, 43-55.
|Nov 19, 2013||Rejected||Nay|
Requiring a report on wiretapping and privacy (RC #235)
Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) amendment would have required the National Security Agency to release a report with on how the FISA Amendments Act has impacted the privacy of US citizens. Unfortunately, even this reasonable request for basic transparency couldnâ€™t make it through the Senate. Failed, 43-52
|Dec 28, 2012||Rejected||Yea|
Transparency for laws on digital privacy (RC #233)
Since the September 11 attacks, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) has granted the government sweeping powers allowing for dangerous invasions of civil liberties. Those powers include warrantless wiretapping, and have largely happened in secret, with no public oversight. The law is mostly classified, making it very difficult to even know the extent to which the government is accessing the digital communications of US citizens. This amendment to the FISA renewal bill by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) would have forced the government to release court rulings to shine a spotlight on how FISA is being used. Failed, 37-54
|Dec 27, 2012||Rejected||Yea|
War, sanctions and indefinite detention (RC #229)
The Senate initially agreed on modest protections for civil liberties against indefinite detention for US citizens, but in a compromise with the more conservative House, those safeguards were stripped out in the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act. In response, several senators dropped their support for the bill, but it still passed overwhelmingly. The final bill also included billions for the war in Afghanistan and the Pentagon budget, and severe sanctions on Iran. Passed, 81-14
|Dec 21, 2012||Agreed To||Yea|
Protecting Americans from indefinite detention (RC #213)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) continued her efforts to protect civil liberties by introducing this amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act to explicitly clarify that a declaration of war by Congress does not authorize the indefinite detention of any citizen or lawful resident of the US. Passed, 67-29
|Nov 30, 2012||Agreed To||Yea|
Forcing Guantanamo to keep its doors open (RC #212)
In a continuing campaign to prevent the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced this amendment that prohibits the use of funds to transfer certain individuals from Guantanamo to American soil. Passed, 54-47
|Nov 30, 2012||Agreed To||Nay|
Money, weapons, and suspension of civil liberties for war without end (RC #230)
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is passed in the Senate with little dissent every year, authorizing spending for the Defense Department and other national security activities. This year, the bill contained disturbing provisions on indefinite detention of terrorism suspects (see votes 5-7, Best and Worst of Congress). It also included more confrontational unilateral sanctions against Iran and billions of dollars for the war in Afghanistan. Passed, 83-16.
|Dec 15, 2011||Agreed To||Yea|
Prohibiting detention of US citizens without trial or end date (RC #214)
Dealing with more vague wording in the Defense Authorization, Sen. Feinstein proposed adding one sentence to affirm that US citizens are exempted from provisions allowing indefinite detention without trial. But, again, the Senate rejected this clarification, and, by extension, the Bill of Rights. Failed, 45-55
|Dec 01, 2011||Rejected||Nay|
The entire world, including the US, is our battlefield (RC #213)
In an attempt to clarify vague wording in the NDAA granting the president the right to hold suspects indefinitely without trial, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) proposed adding one word, "abroad," to specify that this only applied to people captured outside of the United States. Senators like South Carolina's Lindsey Graham degraded the debate by invoking American Nazi collaborators, and these hysterics were enough to convince a majority of senators that US citizens should be denied basic constitutional protections. Failed, 45-55
|Dec 01, 2011||Rejected||Yea|
Think before you destroy civil liberties (RC #210)
Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) had the novel idea that Congress and the administration spend time reviewing our current policy before passing sweeping language that authorizes the indefinite detention of â€œenemy combatants,â€ including US citizens. His amendment removed the dangerous provisions from the National Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) and called for hearings to be held on the issue and further debate before making a final decision. But the majority of the Senate shamefully voted to rush ahead in restricting constitutional protections. Failed, 38-60
|Nov 29, 2011||Rejected||Yea|
Blocking the rule of law (RC #186)
This was one of many attempts since President Obama pledged to close Guantanamo to make closure nearly impossible, and undermine the rule of law. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced this amendment that would prohibit the Department of Justice from using federal trials to prosecute foreign terror suspects, even though federal trials have successfully prosecuted more terror suspects than secretive military commissions. Failed, 47-52
|Oct 21, 2011||Rejected||Nay|
Blocking implementation of the UN Arms Trade Treaty prior to Senate ratification (RC #108)
S.Amdt.649 to S.Con.Res.11. Sen. James Inhofe’s (R-OK) amendment blocks funding for international organizations during implementation of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty until the treaty is ratified by the Senate with a two-thirds majority. Passed, 59-41.
|Mar 26, 2015||Agreed To||Nay|
Dysfunctional Senate torpedoes disability rights treaty (RC #219)
In a shocking demonstration of just how obstructionist the Senate has become, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities failed to get the two-thirds vote required for ratification. It's hard to imagine how a worldwide ban on discrimination against people with disabilities would be controversial enough to block, but the current Senate defies imagination. The failure of this widely supported treaty has troubling implications for the Senate's ability to ratify more contentious but vitally important international agreements in the future. Failed, 61-38
|Dec 04, 2012||Rejected||Yea|
Pitting disaster victims against the world's poor (RC #134)
The Senate rejected Sen. Paul's wrongheaded attempt to balance spending, in which he claimed the only way to fund domestic disaster relief was to cut $7 billion from the already drastically insufficient foreign assistance budget. There is plenty of Pentagon waste that could pay for disaster assistance, rather than starving a budget that funds critical programs like sustainable economic development, treating and curing diseases and aiding victims of natural disasters. Failed, 20-78
|Sep 15, 2011||Rejected||Nay|
Undermining the Iran Nuclear Agreement by preventing the purchase of heavy water from Iran (RC #67)
S.Amdt.3878 to H.R.2028. Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) amendment was designed to undermine the Iran Nuclear Agreement by preventing the purchase of heavy water from Iran. Heavy water is one necessary component in the production of plutonium, which can be used to make a nuclear warhead. The vote (requiring 60 votes to pass) was on whether or not to end debate on the amendment and proceed to a vote on the amendment itself. Failed, 57-42.
|May 11, 2016||Rejected||Nay|
Ending debate and proceeding to vote on disapproval of the Iran Nuclear Agreement (RC #264)
S.Amdt.2640 to H.J.Res.61. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) amendment would have expressed Congress’ disapproval of the Iran Nuclear Agreement and prevented it from moving forward. The vote (requiring 60 votes to pass) was on whether or not to end debate on the amendment and proceed to a vote on the amendment itself. Failed, 58-42.
|Sep 10, 2015||Rejected||Nay|
Creating unattainable requirements for the Iran Nuclear Agreement to move forward (RC #168)
S.Amdt.1147 to H.R.1191. Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) amendment to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act would have required a certification that Iran has not supported or carried out terrorist attacks against the U.S. or U.S. persons anywhere in the world. The inclusion of this amendment would have created an unattainable requirement for the Iran Nuclear Agreement to move forward. Imagine Iran’s parliament demanding an equally impossible-to-prove certification that the U.S. never helped overthrow Iran’s democratically elected leader Mohammad Mosaddegh. Failed, 45-54.
|Apr 29, 2015||Rejected||Nay|
Making the Iran Nuclear Agreement a treaty requiring Senate ratification (RC #167)
S.Amdt.1150 to H.R.1191. Sen. Ron Johnson’s (R-WI) amendment to the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act would have made the agreement a treaty requiring the approval of two-thirds of the Senate for it to take effect. This effectively would have made it impossible to implement the agreement given that every Republican in a Republican controlled Congress opposed the agreement. Failed, 39-57.
|Apr 28, 2015||Rejected||Nay|
Making it easier to go to war with Iran (RC #133)
The Senate unanimously passed this problematic bill expressing that the US should provide military, diplomatic and economic support if Israel were to attack Iran. Thanks to pressure from activists and concerned senators, the bill was amended in committee, but it still sends a dangerous message that undermines diplomacy. Passed, 99-0.
|May 22, 2013||Agreed To||Yea|
Piling on more Iran sanctions (RC #215)
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced this amendment that created additional severe sanctions on Iran, despite the lack of evidence that more punitive action would bring Iran to the negotiating table. The sanctions take away flexibility the administration needs to negotiate and will increase the burden on average Iranians, all for the sake of looking tough on Iran.
|Nov 30, 2012||Agreed To||Yea|
Lowering the threshold for war (RC #197)
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that undermines the administration's diplomatic efforts with Iran, and lowers the threshold for war. A similar measure also passed in the House. (See 2012 Highs and Lows) Passed, 90-1
|Sep 22, 2012||Passed||Yea|
The "nuclear option" of Iran sanctions (RC #216)
Over the strong objections of the Obama administration and the Treasury Secretary, the Senate unanimously passed sanctions that would destabilize the Iranian economy and could cause the price of oil and gas to soar. This amendment, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), threatens to accelerate confrontation with Iran and many other nations by punishing any entity, including any countryâ€™s central bank, that does business with the Central Bank of Iran. Passed, 100-0
|Dec 01, 2011||Agreed To||Yea|
Closing loopholes for the military in Iraq (RC #211)
This amendment would have officially closed the door on military action in Iraq, coinciding with the complete withdrawal of US troops by the end of 2011. Unfortunately, too many senators bought into the Pentagon's desire for this extra loophole, and Sen. Rand Paul's (R-KY) amendment to repeal the 2003 authorization for military force was voted down. Failed, 30-67
|Nov 29, 2011||Rejected||Yea|
Confirming key nuclear negotiator in the State Department (RC #58)
Rose Gottemoeller played a leading role in negotiating the New START treaty to reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals. Her support for reductions garnered major opposition from nuclear hawks, but the Senate overcame those obstacles to confirm Gottemoeller as undersecretary of State for arms control and international security. Passed, 58-42.
|Mar 06, 2014||Confirmed||Yea|
Confirming Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary (RC #24)
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was subjected to a smear campaign during his nomination process, facing attacks for comments supporting smart policies like nuclear arsenal reductions and diplomacy with Iran. Despite these scare tactics, Hagel was confirmed, 58-41.
|Feb 26, 2013||Confirmed||Yea|
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017 (RC #98)
S.2943. The FY 2017 NDAA includes incredibly problematic programs like Pentagon slush funds (namely the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget and the National Sea Based Deterrence Fund), the F-35 fighter jet, and the new nuclear cruise missile known as the Long Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), among others. Passed, 85-13.
|Jun 14, 2016||Passed||Yea|
Adding $18 billion to the Pentagon budget (RC #96)
S.Amdt.4229 to S.2943. Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 would have added $18 billion to the Pentagon budget. The vote (requiring 60 votes to pass) was on whether or not to end debate on the amendment and proceed to a vote on the amendment itself. Failed, 56-42.
|Jun 09, 2016||Rejected||Yea|
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2016 (RC #215)
H.R.1735. The FY 2016 NDAA includes incredibly problematic programs like Pentagon slush funds (namely the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget and the National Sea Based Deterrence Fund), the F-35 fighter jet, and the new nuclear cruise missile known as the Long Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), among others. Passed, 71-25.
|Jun 18, 2015||Passed||Yea|
National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015 (RC #101)
H.R.3979. The FY 2015 NDAA includes incredibly problematic programs like Pentagon slush funds (namely the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) budget and the National Sea Based Deterrence Fund), the F-35 fighter jet, and the new nuclear cruise missile known as the Long Range Standoff Weapon (LRSO), among others. Passed 59-38.
|Apr 07, 2014||Passed||Yea|