Over the course of his career as a senator, Robert Byrd voted on a variety of major issues as follows:
ABORTION & THE RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN
YES on A Amdt 3896 – Prohibiting the Funds in S 1200 from Being Used for Abortions (2008) – a bill that would forbid the funding of abortions under the Indigenous Health Bill (S 1200), except in cases where the pregnancy resulted from rape, or from incest involving a minor, or if an abortion were medically necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life.
NO on S Amdt 3330 – Prohibiting Funds for Groups that Perform Abortions(2007) – an amendment to prohibit funds from being granted to organizations (other than hospitals) that perform abortions when a woman’s life is not in danger.
NO on S Amdt 2707 – Prohibiting U.S. Assistance for Groups that Support Coercive Abortion (2007) – an amendment to bar federal funds from being distributed to organizations that support the practices of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization.
YES on S 403 – the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (2006) – a bill to criminalize the transportation of pregnant minors across state lines with the intention of the minor obtaining an abortion, with certain exceptions.
YES on S 3 – Prohibit Partial-Birth/Late Term Abortion (2003) – a bill to adopt a conference report prohibiting any individual from knowingly performing the procedure known as intact dilation and extraction, in which a fetus/unborn child is partially delivered before it is aborted.
YES on S 1692 – Ban on Partial-Birth/Late Term Abortion (1999) – a bill to prohibit any individual from knowingly performing the procedure known as intact dilation and extraction, in which a fetus is partially delivered before it is aborted, unless the life of the woman was endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.
YES on HR 1122 – Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion (1997) – a bill to prohibit any individual from knowingly performing the procedure known as intact dilation and extraction, in which a fetus is partially delivered before it is aborted, unless the life of the woman was endangered by a physical disorder, illness, or injury.
NO on S Amdt 1077 – Fetal Tissue Research Amendment (1997) – which called for a prohibition against the use of funds for research that utilizes human fetal tissue, cells, or organs that are obtained from an abortion.
NO on S Amdt 936 – Abortion Funding Amendment (1997) – which called for a continuation of the policy barring federal health insurance policies from covering abortions except when the woman’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape.
NO on HR 1833 – Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion Ban (1996) – a bill prohibiting any individual from knowingly performing the partial birth/late-term abortion procedure known as intact dilation and extraction, in which a fetus is partially delivered before it is aborted, unless the life of the woman is endangered and there is no other possible procedure.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE & ELECTIONS
NO on S 160 – the Washington DC Voting Act (2009) – a bill that sought to give the District of Columbia a voting seat in the House of Representatives.
CIVIL LIBERTIES & CIVIL RIGHTS
NO on H J Res 1 – Balanced Budget Proposed Constitutional Amendment(1996) – a bill calling for the adoption of an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting total expenditures from exceeding total revenue for a fiscal year, unless three-fifths of Congress were to vote in favor of a bill stating otherwise.
YES on S J Res 31 – Flag Desecration (1995) – a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to grant Congress and the States the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the American flag.
NO on S J Res 41 – Balanced Budget Amendment (1994) – a joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution requiring a balanced budget.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE ISSUES
NO on S Amdt 47 – Violent Protester Amendment (2005) – an amendment to S 256 that would prevent violent protesters from filing for bankruptcy in order to avoid paying court-awarded civil damages or criminal penalties.
NO on HR 1997 – the Unborn Victims of Violence Act (2004) – a bill that would make it an additional criminal offense if a perpetrator injured or killed a fetus/unborn child while carrying out a violent crime against a pregnant woman.
YES on S Amdt 1117 – Charging Teens as Adults for Crimes Involving a Firearm (1993).
NO on S Amdt 1204 – Replacing the Death Penalty with Life Imprisonment (1993) – an amendment calling for the substitution of life imprisonment with no possibility of release for all death penalty provisions.
YES on S Amdt 1132 – Prohibiting the Death Penalty for Minors (1993) – an amendment that would prohibit individuals aged 18 or younger from being subject to capital punishment.
EMPLOYMENT & WAGES
YES on S 181 – the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, a bill that redefined unlawful employment laws and counted each paycheck as an offense if a salary was ruled as discriminatory against a woman.
YES on S Amdt 4322 – the Minimum Wage Adjustment Amendment (2006) – which sought to raise the federal hourly minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over a two-year period.
YES on S Amdt 44 – the Minimum Wage Amendment (2005) – which sought to increase the federal hourly minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over a two-year time period.
NO on S Amdt 2547 – Three Year Minimum Wage Increase Amendment(1999) – which called for increasing the federal minimum hourly wage by $1-per-hour, to $6.15, over a three-year period.
NO on S Amdt 2417 – the U.S. Citizen Recruitment Amendment (1998) – which would require employers to try to fill job openings with U.S. citizens for before allowing H-1B visa holders to apply for those positions.
YES on S Amdt 1708 – the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises Amendment(1998) – a vote to table an amendment prohibiting preferential treatment (based on race, ethnicity, or sex) when awarding federal transportation contracts, and to repeal the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, which required that at least 10% of federally funded highway construction projects be contracted to “disadvantaged business enterprises..”
YES on HR 3448 – Minimum Wage Increase bill (1996) – which called for raising the federal minimum hourly wage rate from $4.25 per hour to $4.75 per hour during the first year, and to $5.15 per hour during the second year.
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
YES on S Amdt 2358 – ANWR Amendment (2005) – which called for the removal of provisions that would allow an oil and gas leasing program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
YES on S Amdt 272 – ANWR Oil Drilling Amendment (2003) – which sought to stop a fast-track budget reconciliation bill from permitting movement towards drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
GUN RIGHTS ISSUES
YES on S 397 – the Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill (2005) – which sought 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 of their products.
NO on S 1805 – Firearms Manufacturers Protection Bill (2004) – which sought to prohibit certain civil lawsuits against manufacturers, distributors, dealers and importers of firearms and ammunition pertaining to acts of criminal or unlawful misuse of firearms.
YES on S Amdt 1152 – Prohibiting the Possession of Semi-Automatic Assault Weapons (1993) – which sought to ban the manufacture, sale, or possession of nineteen semiautomatic assault weapons and other firearms.
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 designed to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
IMMIGRATION, NATIONALITY, & ENGLISH LANGUAGE ISSUES
YES on S Amdt 3117 – Border Fence and Customs Appropriations (2007) – an amendment to appropriate $3 billion to be used to hire full-time border patrol agents, improve employment eligibility verification, and fund security measures along the U.S. and Mexican border that would include building a fence, establishing vehicle barriers, utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles, placing ground-based sensors and cameras, and removing and detaining illegal immigrants.
YES on S Amdt 2405 – Real ID Funding (2007) – a vote to table (i.e., kill) an amendment to fund the Real ID Act, which established minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibited Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards.
YES on S Amdt 1151 – Declaring English the National Language (2007) – which sought to declare English as the language of “sole legal authority” for the business of the federal government, and declared that no person had a right to require officials of the United States government to use a language other than English.
YES on S Amdt 1184 – Denying Legal Status for Immigrants Convicted of Certain Crimes (2007) – which sought to prohibit illegal immigrants convicted of aggravated felonies, domestic violence, stalking, violation of protection orders, crimes against children, or crimes relating to the illegal purchase or sale of firearms, from gaining legal status.
YES on S Amdt 1202 – Point-Based Immigration Expiration Date (2007) – which sought to place an expiration date on a point-based (merit-based) immigration system.
YES 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 it deemed necessary to stop the unlawful entry of immigrants into the U.S.
YES on S Amdt 4064 – English As National Language Amendment (2006) – an amendment declaring English to be the national language, and calling for stricter requirements in language testing and knowledge of U.S. history.
YES on HR 2202 – the Immigration Reform Bill (1996) – which sought to increase the presence of U.S. 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.
MARRIAGE & FAMILY
YES on HR 3396 – the Defense of Marriage Act (1996) – a bill defining marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.
TAXATION AND ECONOMIC ISSUES
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.
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 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.
YES 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 would phase out estate and gift taxes by 2010.
TERRORISM & HOMELAND SECURITY
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
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
YES on HR 3734 – the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 – a bill that sought to: (a) replace the existing Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) programs with a single program of block grants; (b) impose a five-year lifetime limit on receiving TANF benefits; (c) 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; (d) 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; (e) make legal immigrants ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and food stamps; (f) require five years of residence in the United States before most legal immigrants can be eligible for federal means-tested services; and (g) deny assistance to families that include a fugitive felon, someone on probation, or a parole violator.
NOTE: Voting records and legislation descriptions, courtesy of VoteSmart.org.