Over the course of his career as a legislator, Melvin Watt voted on a variety of major issues as follows:
ABORTION & THE RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN
NO on HR 1797, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (2013), a bill to prohibit abortions after a fetus has reached 20 weeks of age, except in cases where: (a) the abortion is necessary to avert the death of the pregnant woman, or (b) the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest against a minor.
NO on HR 3803, the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (2012), a bill to prohibit abortions in the District of Columbia after a fetus has reached 20 weeks of age, except in cases where a pregnant woman’s life is endangered by conditions arising from the pregnancy.
NO on HR 3541, the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) of 2012, a bill to prohibit abortions sought due to the sex, gender, color, or race of the fetus, or the race of a parent of the fetus
NO on H Amdt 95, Prohibiting Use of Federal Funds For Planned Parenthood (2011), a bill to prevent federal funds from being made available to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, or to any of its state or local affiliates, for any purpose.
NO on HR 358, a 2011 bill to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), so as to prohibit the use of federal funds to pay for any part of any health care plan that provides coverage for abortions.
NO on HR 3, Prohibiting Taxpayer Funding of Abortion (2011), a bill to prohibit any federal funds from being used for the purpose of providing abortions, unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or the woman’s life is in danger because of the pregnancy.
NO on H Amdt 509, Prohibiting Federally Funded Abortion Services (2009), an amendment to prohibit funds from being used to pay for abortions or to cover any part of the costs of a health plan that includes abortion coverage, unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, or the woman’s life is in danger because of the pregnancy.
NO on HR 6099, the Abortion Pain Bill (2006), a bill which mandated that abortion providers, prior to performing an abortion on a fetus older than 20 weeks, inform the mother that: (a) the fetus might feel pain during the procedure, and (b) the use of some pain-reducing drugs may have health risks associated with them.
NO on S 403, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (2006), a bill to prohibit the transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without a parent’s (or a legal guardian’s) consent.
YES on H Amdt 209, the Overseas Military Facilities Abortion Amendment (2005), an amendment to end the ban on privately funded abortions at U.S. military facilities overseas.
NO on HR 748, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (2005), a bill to prohibit the transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without a parent’s (or a legal guardian’s) consent.
NO on HR 1997, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (2004), a bill that proposed to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a fetus while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman.
NO on S 3, Prohibit Partial-Birth/Late Term Abortion (2003), a bill to ban the late-term abortion procedure known as “intact dilation and extraction,” commonly referred to as “partial-birth abortion” – except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.
NO on HR 760, Prohibit Partial-Birth/Late Term Abortion (2003), a bill to ban the late-term abortion procedure known as “intact dilation and extraction,” commonly referred to as “partial-birth abortion” – except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.
NO on HR 503, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (2001), a bill proposing to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a fetus while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman.
NO on HR 2436, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 1999, a bill proposing to make it an added criminal offense for someone to injure or kill a fetus while carrying out a crime against a pregnant woman.
NO on HR 1122, Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion (1998), a bill to ban the late-term abortion procedure known as “intact dilation and extraction,” commonly referred to as “partial-birth abortion” – except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.
NO on HR 3682, the Child Custody Protection Act (1998), a bill to prohibit the transportation of a minor across state lines to obtain an abortion without a parent’s (or a legal guardian’s) consent.
NO on HR 581, Population Planning Bill (1997), a bill forbidding the dispersal of U.S. federal funds to international organizations that perform abortions.
NO on HR 1833, the Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion Act of 1995, a bill to ban the late-term abortion procedure known as “intact dilation and extraction,” commonly referred to as “partial-birth abortion” – except in cases where the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.
NO on H Amdt 185, Hyde Amendment (1993), an amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds for abortions, except in cases where a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy.
CIVIL LIBERTIES & CIVIL RIGHTS
YES on H Amdt 197, the Guantanamo Transfer Plan (2007), an amendment requiring the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to the Congress detailing a plan for the transfer of prisoners out of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
NO on HR 2975, the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001, a bill to give the federal government a broad range of powers to combat terrorism, such as: (a) easing restrictions on government wiretap and surveillance operations, and permitting the sharing of such information between some government officials; (b) enhancing security along the United States/Canadian border; and (c) denying U.S. visas to suspected money-launderers.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES
YES on HR 1913 – Hate Crimes Expansion (2009), a bill to expand the definition of a hate crime to include felonies motivated by prejudice based on national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity of the victim.
NO on HR 3, the Juvenile Crime bill (1997), a bill to allow juveniles who commit violent crimes or specific drug offenses to be tried as adults more easily.
YES on H Amdt 503, the Death Penalty Removal Amendment (1994), an amendment to HR 4092 that would remove all death penalty provisions in the bill and replace them with life imprisonment.
YES on HR 1429, the Head Start Act of 2007, a bill that authorized five years of funding increases for Head Start, a federal early education program meant to help low-income families; it also allowed Head Start programs to increase the number of their participants by 35 percent, by including children whose families’ incomes were between 100 and 130 percent of the poverty level. (For details about Head Start, click here.)
NO on S 1502, the Washington, DC School Vouchers bill (1998), which created a corporation to issue vouchers to elementary- and secondary-school students in the DC area to pay for their private education.
EMPLOYMENT & WAGES
YES on S 181, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a bill that sought to count each paycheck as an offense if a woman’s salary was determined to be unjustly low, and to allow the recovery of back pay for up to two years prior to the complaint in addition to existing penalties.
YES on H Amdt 594, Minimum Wage Increase-Two Year Raise (2000), an amendment to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.15 per hour over the first year, and more during the second year.
YES on HR 3846, the Minimum Wage Increase Bill (2000), to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $6.15 per hour over a one-year period.
YES on HR 3448, the Minimum Wage Increase Bill (1996), a bill to increase the minimum wage rate from $4.25 per hour to $4.75 per hour during the year beginning on October 1, 1996, and to $5.15 per hour beginning September 1, 1997.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
NO on HR 2231, the Offshore Energy and Jobs Act (2013), a bill to increase lease sales for offshore oil and gas.
NO on HR 6213, the No More Solyndras Act (2012), a bill to limit the continuation of loan guarantees under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
NO on HR 3409, the Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012, a bill to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from taking any action related to the emission of “greenhouse gases,” and to temporarily bar the Secretary of the Interior from issuing or approving regulations that would adversely impact employment in U.S. coal mines.
YES on H Amdt 856, the Outer Continental Shelf Amendment (2006), an amendment to continue the prohibition of drilling for natural gas, and to prevent funds allocated in the bill from being used for drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf.
YES on H Amdt 72, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Drilling Amendment (2005), which sought to strike provisions that had previously allowed oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
YES on H Amdt 288, the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency (CAFE) Amendment (2001), an amendment to increase the CAFE standards of vehicles and to offer incentives for alternative-fuel vehicles.
YES on H Amdt 298, Prohibiting Oil Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (2001), an amendment to extend the existing prohibition on drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
NO on H Amdt 167, Prohibits the Use of Funds for the Transfer or Release of Guantanamo Detainees to Yemen (2013), an amendment to HR 1960 that prohibited the funds appropriated to the Department of Defense to be used to transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release of an individual detained at Guantanamo Bay, to the custody or control of Yemen or any entity within Yemen, until December 31, 2014.
YES on HR 1400, the Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, a bill to increase economic sanctions on Iran and to allow the President to determine if the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps should be considered a foreign terrorist organization.
YES on HR 1954, Iran and Libya Sanctions (2001), a vote to pass a bill that would extend the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of 1996, which imposed sanctions against companies and individuals that invested in oil and gas industries in Libya and Iran.
YES on H Amdt 1023, the Cuban Economic Embargo Amendment (2000), an amendment to prohibit use of funds to continue the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba.
YES on H Amdt 1029, the Cuban Travel Embargo Amendment (2000), an amendment to prohibit the use of funds to restrict travel to Cuba by U.S. citizens.
GUN RIGHTS ISSUES
NO on S 397, the Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill (2005), a bill to provide liability protection for manufacturers, dealers or importers of firearms or ammunition, as well as their trade associations, for harm caused by criminal or unlawful misuse.
NO on HR 125, the Gun Ban Repeal Act of 1995, a bill to repeal the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons, and to set the mandatory minimum prison sentence for possession of a firearm while committing a violent federal crime or drug trafficking.
YES on HR 4296, Regulation of Semi-Automatic Assault Weapons (1994), a bill to ban certain semi-automatic weapons.
HEALTH CARE ISSUES
YES on HR 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010(Obamacare)
YES on HR 2, the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization and Expansion (2009), a bill to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
YES on HR 3162, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a 2007 bill to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
YES on H Amdt 728, the Federal Health Plan Contraceptive Coverage Amendment (1998), an amendment to prohibit funding for any federal health plan that does not offer contraceptive coverage, with an exception made for certain religious-based plans.
IMMIGRATION, NATIONALITY, & ENGLISH LANGUAGE ISSUES
NO on H Amdt 136, Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order (2013), an amendment designed to prevent the enforcement of the Obama Administration’s controversial “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program. Initiated in June 2012, that executive action guaranteed that most DREAM Act-eligible individuals would be granted legal status, work permits, access to certain publicly funded social services, and protection from deportation for a period of two years.
YES on HR 3012, Repeals Certain Green Cards Limitations (2011), a bill that sought to repeal country limits for immigrant visas made available to employment-based immigrants, whereas existing law specified that no more than 7 percent of the total number of family-sponsored and employment-based visas could be awarded to natives of any one country.
YES on HR 5281, the DREAM Act (2010), a bill offering permanent legal status to illegal immigrants up to age 35 who arrived in the United States before age 16, provided they complete two years of college (for which they can receive in-state-resident tuition discounts).
YES on H Amdt 1045, Undocumented Immigrants’ Ineligibility for Certain Financial Assistance (2008), an amendment to prevent illegal immigrants from receiving financial assistance under HR 5818, a bill allowing states to obtain loans from the federal government to acquire foreclosed houses and provide housing assistance.
NO on HR 6095, the Immigration Law Enforcement Act of 2006, a bill granting state and local officials the authority to investigate, identify, apprehend, arrest, detain, or transfer illegal immigrants to federal custody.
NO on HR 6061, the Secure Fence Act of 2006, a bill authorizing the construction of an additional 700 miles of double-layered fencing between the U.S and Mexico, and authorizing the Secretary of Homeland Security to take whatever steps are necessary to stop the unlawful entry of immigrants into the U.S.
NO on HR 418, the Real ID Act of 2005, a bill granting the Secretary of Homeland Security the power to set minimal security requirements for state driver licenses and identification cards.
NO on HR 3722, Undocumented Immigrant Emergency Medical Assistance (2004), a bill to: prohibit federal reimbursement of funds to hospitals that provide emergency services to illegal immigrants unless the hospital provides the Secretary of Homeland Security with citizenship and employment records; make employers of certain illegal immigrants financially responsible for the medical treatment of those immigrants; and allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to deport illegal immigrants under Federal immigration law.
NO on HR 2202, the Immigration Reform Bill (1996), a bill to increase border patrol personnel, change deportation laws and procedures, alter the verification system for eligibility and employment, and take additional similar measures aimed at decreasing illegal immigration into the U.S.
NO on HR 123, English as the National Language (1996), a bill to declare English as the official language of the Government of the United States.
YES on H Amdt 968, the Immigrant Public Assistance Amendment (1996), an amendment to eliminate a provision that prohibited illegal immigrants from receiving public assistance.
NO on H Amdt 969, Denying Public Education to Undocumented Immigrants (1996), an amendment giving States the option to deny public education to illegal aliens.
MARRIAGE & FAMILY
NO on H J Res 88, the Same-Sex Marriage Resolution (2006), a bill proposing a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage in the U.S. consists only of the union of a man and a woman, and that federal and state constitutions cannot be construed to require that the status of marriage be conferred on other unions.
NO on H Con Res 31, Display of the Ten Commandments (1997), a resolution declaring the sense of Congress that the public display of the Ten Commandments should be permitted in government offices and courthouses.
TAXATION AND ECONOMIC ISSUES
NO on H Amdt 448, Requires Congressional Approval Prior to Establishing a Tax on Carbon Emissions (2013), an amendment to HR 367 that requires congressional approval in order for a carbon tax to be imposed.
NO on HR 249, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2013, a bill to prohibit any individual who has a delinquent tax debt from being an employee of the federal government.
NO on HR 828, the Federal Employee Tax Accountability Act of 2012, a bill to prohibit any individual who has a delinquent tax debt from being an employee of the federal government.
NO on HR 436, Repeals Excise Tax on Medical Devices (2012), a bill to repeal the 2.3 percent tax on medical devices previously imposed on manufactures, producers and importers.
NO on HR 9, Income Tax Deduction for Small Businesses (2012), a bill to establish an income tax deduction of 20 percent for small businesses, beginning in the 2012 tax year.
YES on HR 4853, Temporary Extension of Tax Relief (2010), a bill to: amend and extend provisions of the “Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001”; extend the period of time in which the allowable credit for the Child Tax Credit can be increased; extend the reduced marriage penalty of $5,000, and the increased credit percentage of 45 percent for taxpayers with 3 or more qualifying children; increase the Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for taxpayers other than corporations; and reduce estate taxes.
NO on HR 5638, the Death/Estate Tax Amendment (2006), a bill to reduce estate taxes beginning in 2010.
NO on HR 4297, the Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005, a bill to authorize and extend $69.96 billion in tax credits and cuts through 2010.
NO on HR 8, the Death/Estate Tax Repeal Permanency Act of 2005, a bill to permanently repeal the sunset provision of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001.
YES on HR 1308, Child Tax Credit Bill (2004), a vote to extend the child tax credit and other expiring tax cuts.
NO on HR 4227, the Middle-Class Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2004, a bill to extend the previously-available Alternative Minimum Tax relief to 2005.
NO on HR 1836, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, a bill to institute $1.35 trillion in tax cuts over an 11-year period.
NO on HR 4810, the Marriage Tax Relief Bill (2000), a bill to provide $89.8 billion over the next five years in tax relief for married couples.
NO on HR 8, the Estate Tax Elimination Act of 2000, a vote to override a veto on a bill that phased out estate and gift taxes by 2010.
NO on HR 3081, the Small Business Tax Fairness Act of 2000, a bill to cut taxes for small businesses by $46 billion over five years.
NO on HR 4579, Tax Cut Bill (1998), a bill to cut taxes for married couples, farmers, students, and others; to reduce the “marriage penalty” by making the basic standard deduction on a joint return equal to twice the deduction of a single return; and to increase the exemption from estate and gift taxes to $1 million.
NO on HR 1215, the Contract With America Tax Relief Act of 1995, a bill to cut personal and business taxes by $189 billion over 5 years.
TERRORISM & HOMELAND SECURITY
NO on H Amdt 1114, Allowing the Use of Certain Terms in Within the Intelligence Community (2008), an amendment to prohibit the use of funds to discourage the use of the phrases “jihadist,” “jihad,” “Islamo-facism,” “caliphate,” “Islamist,” or “Islamic terrorist” within the intelligence community or federal government.
NO on HR 4635, the Arming Pilots Against Terrorism Act (2002), a bill to start a program deputizing airline pilots as federal law-enforcement officers and allowing them to carry firearms on airlines to defend against acts of violence.
NO on S 735, the Comprehensive Terrorism Prevention Act (1996), which sought to increase the capacity of detection agents for explosives; expand the deportation of criminal illegal immigrants; increase funding for the deportation of suspected terrorists; deny asylum for suspected terrorists; and prohibit terrorist groups from fundraising in the United States.
VOTING & ELECTIONS
NO on H Amdt 747, the Voter Registration Amendment (1998), which called to change voter registration standards by requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote, banning registration by mail, permitting states to require voters to sign their name before voting, and permitting states to require voters to present a photo ID at their polling place.
YES on HR 2, Motor Voter Registration (1993), which required states to provide people with an opportunity to submit voter-registration applications for federal elections by three principal means: (a) by registering to vote at the same time that they apply for, or seek to renew, a driver’s license (hence the name “motor voter”); (b) by submitting their voter-registration applications by mail, using forms developed jointly by each state and the Election Assistance Commission; and (c) by registering to vote at the same time that they apply for public assistance of any kind.
WELFARE & ENTITLEMENTS ISSUES
NO on H Amdt 231, Authorizes States to Require Federal Welfare Work Requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (2013), an amendment to HR 1947 that authorized states to require federal welfare work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
NO on HR 3734, the Welfare Reform Act of 1996, a bill to: replace the existing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs with a single, combined program of block grants; impose a five-year lifetime limit on receiving TANF benefits; require all “able-bodied” welfare recipients to go to work once the state determines they are ready to work, or they have received assistance for a total of two years, whichever is earlier; prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving State and Federal benefits, except for emergency medical services, certain emergency disaster relief, public health immunizations, housing assistance, and certain Social Security Act benefits; make legal immigrants ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and food stamps; require five years of residence in the United States for most legal immigrants to be eligible for Federal means-tested services; and deny assistance to families that include a fugitive felon, someone on probation, or a parole violator.
YES on H Amdt 968, the Immigrant Public Assistance Amendment (1996), an amendment to eliminate a provision that prohibited illegal immigrants from receiving public assistance.
NO on H Amdt 778, Prohibiting Benefits to Undocumented Immigrants (1994), an amendment to HR 3838 stating that no illegal immigrant may receive benefits and aid under FEMA’s emergency food and shelter programs, unless the President declares an emergency.
NO on H Amdt 771, Limiting Entitlement Program Expenditures (1994), an amendment to HR 4604 that would require an annual budget which would limit entitlement expenditures, with the exception of Social Security and debt interest payments.
NOTE: Voting records and legislation descriptions, courtesy of VoteSmart.org.