- Democratic Senator from California
- Voted against legislation to ban (except where the motherï¿½s safety may require it) the late-term abortion procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion
- Advocate of radical environmentalism
- Voted to keep Alaskaï¿½s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) closed to oil drilling
- Generally supports higher taxes
- Voted against the 2002 Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq
Born in Brooklyn, New York in November 1940, Barbara Boxer is a Democratic Senator from California, where she was first elected in 1992. Prior to her years in the Senate, she served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1992. After graduating with a bachelorï¿½s degree from Brooklyn College in 1962, Boxer worked as a stockbroker from 1962-1965; as a newspaper editor from 1972-1974; as a congressional aide from 1974-1976; and as a Marin County, California Board of Supervisors member from 1976-1982.
Following is an overview of Boxerï¿½s policy positions and voting record on key pieces of legislation during her years in the House of Representatives and the Senate:
Abortion and the Rights of the Unborn: In December 1995, September 1996, May 1997, October 1999, and October 2003, Boxer voted against legislation to ban (except where the motherï¿½s safety might require it) the late-term abortion procedure commonly known as partial-birth abortion. In March 2004 she voted against the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which proposed to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a fetus while carrying out a crime on a pregnant woman. In July 2006 she voted against notifying the parents of minors who have gotten out-of-state abortions. In October 2007 she voted against barring the Department of Health and Human Services from making grants to organizations that perform abortions. In March 2008 she voted NO on prohibiting minors from crossing state lines in order to get abortions.
Boxer participated in an October 20, 1999 Senate session dealing with the procedure commonly called “partial-birth” abortion, whereby the baby is approximately 80 percent delivered, feet first, until a portion of the head is exposed, at which time the abortionist punctures the skull and sucks out its contents with a vacuum. Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania), discussing the possibility that during this procedure the baby, still alive, slips out entirely from the mother’s birth canal, said to Boxer: “You agree, once a child is born, is separated from the mother, that that child is protected by the Constitution and cannot be killed? Do you agree with that?” Boxer replied: “I think when you bring your baby home, when your baby is born … the baby belongs to your family and has all the rights.” Santorum followed up: “Obviously, you don’t mean they have to take the baby out of the hospital for it to be protected by the Constitution. Once the baby is separated from the mother, you would agree—completely separated from the mother—you would agree that the baby is entitled to constitutional protection?” Boxer replied: “I don’t want to engage in this.” For video of this exchange, click here.
Marriage: In September 1996 Boxer voted against a bill defining marriage strictly as a legal union between one man and one woman. That same month, and again in June 2006, she voted against bills that would have prohibited same-sex marriage.
Welfare: Boxer voted against the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, which ultimately succeeded in moving large numbers of people off of public assistance and into jobs.
Education: In July 1994 Boxer voted NO on requiring public schools to allow voluntary prayer. In July 1996 she voted NO on allocating $75 million for abstinence education. In September 1997 she voted against the implementation of school vouchers in Washington, DC.
Illegal Immigration: In May 2006 Boxer voted in favor of allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security. That same month, she voted YES on an Immigration Reform Bill allowing illegal aliens who have resided in the U.S. for five years to be eligible for citizenship after they pass a background check, pay back taxes, maintain a job for six additional years, learn English, and pay a fine. In October 2006 she voted in favor of a bill authorizing the construction of 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico. In June 2007 she voted in favor of an amendment placing an expiration date on a point-based immigration system (i.e., a system that seeks to ensure that people with skills that society needs are given preference for entry into the United States); she instead advocated a system focusing on the reunification of family members, even if that meant permitting the relatives of illegal aliens to join the latter in America. That same month, she voted against an amendment to prohibit illegal aliens convicted of such crimes as aggravated felonies, domestic violence, stalking, violation of protection orders, crimes against children, or the illegal purchase or sale of firearms, from gaining legal status. In July 2007 she voted against funding for ï¿½Real IDï¿½ legislation mandating higher standards for State driverï¿½s licenses and identification documents. In March 2008 she voted YES on continuing to provide federal funds for ï¿½sanctuary citiesï¿½ that have pledged not to abide by immigration law.
Fossil Fuels: In April 2002, March 2005, and November 2005, Boxer voted to keep Alaskaï¿½s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) closed to oil drilling. In June 2007 she voted against permitting natural gas exploration and extraction off the coast of Virginia. In March 2009, Boxer joined Senator John Kerry in declaring that the United States should adopt the Obama administrationï¿½s cap-and-trade proposal to reduce carbon emissions, even though such a system was certain to cause huge increases in gasoline and electricity prices.
Nuclear Energy: In July 1996 Boxer voted against the creation of an interim storage facility for nuclear waste near Yucca Mountain, Nevada.
Taxes: In April 1998 Boxer voted NO on requiring a super-majority in the Senate for raising taxes. In July 1999 she voted against a bill calling for $792 billion in tax cuts over a ten-year period. In July 2000 she voted against a bill to phase out estate and gift taxes by 2010. In May 2001 she voted against $1.35 trillion in federal tax cuts over an 11-year period. In May 2003 she voted against $350 billion in proposed tax reductions. In November 2005 she voted to raise the top individual income tax rate of 39.6 percent for millionaires, and to impose higher tax rates on capital gains and dividends as well. That same month, she voted against extending a number of tax cuts for five years. In February 2006 she voted NO on retaining reduced taxes on capital gains and dividends. In May 2006 she voted against $69.96 billion in tax credits and cuts through 2010. In June 2006 she voted NO on permanently repealing the ï¿½death tax.ï¿½ In August 2006 she voted NO on making cuts in estate taxes permanent. In March 2008 she voted YES on increasing the tax rate for people earning over $1 million annually.
Supreme Court: As a House member, Boxer in 1991 sought to thwart President George H.W. Bushï¿½s nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a senator, Boxer in September 2005 voted against the confirmation of President George W. Bushï¿½s nominee for Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Roberts. In January 2006 she voted against the confirmation of Samuel Alito, Jr., to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
Patriot Act: In October 2001 Boxer voted to pass the Patriot Act anti-terrorism legislation. In March 2006 she voted in favor of a bill reauthorizing and extending certain provisions of the Act.
Iraq War: In October 2002 Boxer voted against the joint Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. In her statement from the Senate floor opposing the resolution, she insisted that the task of dismantling Iraqï¿½s suspected weapons of mass destruction was to be left to the United Nations, and voiced her view that America under the Bush administration was no longer a ï¿½beacon of hopeï¿½ but of ï¿½fear.ï¿½ In December 2007 Boxer voted in favor of an amendment to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 90 days, ï¿½with the exception of those troops needed for temporary purposes to conduct targeted operations against ï¿½ terrorist organizations, to provide security for U.S. government personnel, [and] to provide training to members of the Iraqi Security Forces.ï¿½
Guantanamo Bay: In September 2006 Boxer voted YES on preserving habeas corpus for the Guantanamo detainees who had been captured by the U.S. in the war on terror.
Military Commissions: In September 2006 Boxer voted in favor of an amendment designating December 31, 2011 as the end date of the Presidentï¿½s power to establish new military commissions to try the cases of unlawful enemy combatants captured in the war on terror.
Government Reform: In October 1997 Boxer voted to pass the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill. In February 2002 she voted NO on requiring a photo ID (not just a signature) for voter registration. In July 2007 she voted NO on requiring a photo ID to cast a ballot in federal elections. In September 2007 she voted YES on granting the District of Columbia a seat in Congress.
Guns: In March 2004 and July 2005 Boxer voted NO on banning lawsuits against gun manufacturers for gun violence.
In December 2005 Boxer made public a letter she had written to ï¿½presidential scholars,ï¿½ in which she solicited their opinions about whether President Bushï¿½s use of a National Security Agency program to monitor the international telephone calls of individuals with known ties to al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups constituted an ï¿½impeachable offense.ï¿½
Also in 2005, Boxer, with the aid of a co-writer, published a novel titled A Time to Run, an attack on conservatives and Republicans that was scarcely disguised as a work of fiction.
In August 2013, Boxer stated that a series of large wildfires which were ravaging parts of California at that time served as evidence that "climate change is taking a toll." Further, she exhorted "the deniers in Congress" to "open your eyes, breathe the air, and see what's going on." She also blamed, inaccurately, the budget sequester for allegedly limiting the resources that were available to those who were fighting the fires.