Key Votes

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Vote Smart provides easy access to congressional and state voting records and maintains a collection of key votes grouped by issue. Vote Smart uses the following criteria to select key votes:

  1. The vote should be helpful in portraying how a member stands on a particular issue
  2. The vote should be clear for any person to understand
  3. The vote has received media attention
  4. The vote was passed or defeated by a very close margin
  5. Occasionally, if a specific bill is consistently inquired about on the Voter's Research Hotline, the vote will be added

Vote Smart provides a summary of the version of the bill text associated with each selected key vote. Our summaries are written by Vote Smart's staff and interns, who adhere to our strict policies and procedures in order to guarantee absolute impartiality and accuracy. They do not necessarily reflect the content of the final version of the bill, but rather the version voted on in that stage. While many procedural votes take place before a full chamber vote, our voting stages reflect the final reading of each chamber vote. Each key vote selection is reviewed by the project's community of advisors, who are political scientists and journalists from all fifty states.

For more information about the legislative process, see here.


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Date State Bill No. Title Outcome
Oct. 3, 1996 National HR 3539 Federal Aviation Authorization Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (92 - 2)
Sept. 28, 1996 National HR 3610 Omnibus FY97 Appropriations bill Conference Report Adopted - House (370 - 37)
Sept. 27, 1996 National HR 3539 Federal Aviation Authorization Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - House (218 - 198)
Sept. 26, 1996 National HR 1833 Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion Ban Veto Override Failed - Senate (58 - 40)
Sept. 25, 1996 National HR 2202 Immigration Reform bill Conference Report Adopted - House (305 - 123)
Sept. 24, 1996 National HR 3666 Veterans Affairs, HUD FY97 Appropriations bill Conference Report Adopted - House (388 - 25)
Sept. 19, 1996 National HR 1833 Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion Ban Veto Override Passed - House (285 - 137)
Sept. 17, 1996 National S Amdt 5353 Federal Land Grazing Fee Amendment Amendment Not Tabled - Senate (50 - 50)
Sept. 17, 1996 National HR 3816 Appropriations bill FY97, Energy and Water Development Conference Report Adopted - Senate (92 - 8)
Sept. 12, 1996 National HR 3816 Appropriations bill FY97, Energy and Water Development Conference Report Adopted - House (383 - 29)
Sept. 10, 1996 National HR 3230 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (73 - 26)
Sept. 10, 1996 National S 2056 Employment Nondiscrimination Act of 1996 Bill Failed - Senate (49 - 50)
Sept. 10, 1996 National HR 3396 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Bill Passed - Senate (85 - 14)
Aug. 2, 1996 National HR 3448 Minimum Wage Increase bill Conference Report Adopted - Senate (76 - 22)
Aug. 2, 1996 National HR 3448 Minimum Wage Increase bill Conference Report Adopted - House (354 - 72)
Aug. 2, 1996 National S 1316 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1995 Conference Report Adopted - House (392 - 30)
Aug. 2, 1996 National S 1316 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1995 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (98 - 0)
Aug. 2, 1996 National HR 3103 Health Insurance Portability bill Conference Report Adopted - Senate (98 - 0)
Aug. 2, 1996 National HR 3953 Aviation Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1996 Bill Passed - House (389 - 22)
Aug. 1, 1996 National HR 3230 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 Conference Report Adopted - House (285 - 132)
Aug. 1, 1996 National HR 3103 Health Insurance Portability bill Conference Report Adopted - House (421 - 2)
Aug. 1, 1996 National HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (78 - 21)
Aug. 1, 1996 National HR 123 English as the National Language Bill Passed - House (259 - 169)
July 31, 1996 National HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - House (328 - 101)
July 31, 1996 National S 1936 Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1996 Bill Passed - Senate (63 - 37)
Date No. Title Outcome
10/03 HR 3539 Federal Aviation Authorization Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (92 - 2)
9/28 HR 3610 Omnibus FY97 Appropriations bill Conference Report Adopted - House (370 - 37)
9/27 HR 3539 Federal Aviation Authorization Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - House (218 - 198)
9/26 HR 1833 Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion Ban Veto Override Failed - Senate (58 - 40)
9/25 HR 2202 Immigration Reform bill Conference Report Adopted - House (305 - 123)
9/24 HR 3666 Veterans Affairs, HUD FY97 Appropriations bill Conference Report Adopted - House (388 - 25)
9/19 HR 1833 Partial-Birth/Late-Term Abortion Ban Veto Override Passed - House (285 - 137)
9/17 S Amdt 5353 Federal Land Grazing Fee Amendment Amendment Not Tabled - Senate (50 - 50)
9/17 HR 3816 Appropriations bill FY97, Energy and Water Development Conference Report Adopted - Senate (92 - 8)
9/12 HR 3816 Appropriations bill FY97, Energy and Water Development Conference Report Adopted - House (383 - 29)
9/10 HR 3230 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (73 - 26)
9/10 S 2056 Employment Nondiscrimination Act of 1996 Bill Failed - Senate (49 - 50)
9/10 HR 3396 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Bill Passed - Senate (85 - 14)
8/02 HR 3448 Minimum Wage Increase bill Conference Report Adopted - Senate (76 - 22)
8/02 HR 3448 Minimum Wage Increase bill Conference Report Adopted - House (354 - 72)
8/02 S 1316 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1995 Conference Report Adopted - House (392 - 30)
8/02 S 1316 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1995 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (98 - 0)
8/02 HR 3103 Health Insurance Portability bill Conference Report Adopted - Senate (98 - 0)
8/02 HR 3953 Aviation Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1996 Bill Passed - House (389 - 22)
8/01 HR 3230 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997 Conference Report Adopted - House (285 - 132)
8/01 HR 3103 Health Insurance Portability bill Conference Report Adopted - House (421 - 2)
8/01 HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (78 - 21)
8/01 HR 123 English as the National Language Bill Passed - House (259 - 169)
7/31 HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Conference Report Adopted - House (328 - 101)
7/31 S 1936 Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1996 Bill Passed - Senate (63 - 37)

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