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)
July 30, 1996 National HR 2391 Working Families Flexibility Act of 1996 Bill Passed - House (225 - 195)
July 25, 1996 National H Amdt 1359 Energy Research Appropriation Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (198 - 211)
July 25, 1996 National H Amdt 1360 Renewable Energy Research Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (279 - 135)
July 25, 1996 National HR 3820 Campaign Finance Reform Bill Failed - House (162 - 259)
July 24, 1996 National H Amdt 1356 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Funding Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (184 - 236)
July 23, 1996 National HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Bill Passed - Senate (74 - 24)
July 22, 1996 National H Amdt 1309 Non-Federally Funded Abortions Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (176 - 223)
July 18, 1996 National H Amdt 1307 Food Stamp Recipient Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (239 - 184)
July 18, 1996 National HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Bill Passed - House (256 - 170)
July 12, 1996 National H Amdt 1280 Family Planning Services Clinics Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (232 - 193)
July 12, 1996 National H Amdt 1286 Definition of Marriage Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (103 - 311)
July 12, 1996 National HR 3396 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Bill Passed - House (342 - 67)
July 11, 1996 National H Amdt 1278 Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (201 - 220)
July 11, 1996 National H Amdt 1265 School Improvement Programs Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (294 - 129)
July 11, 1996 National H Amdt 1276 Human Embryo Research Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (167 - 256)
July 11, 1996 National H Amdt 1264 Education and Training Programs Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (198 - 227)
July 11, 1996 National H Amdt 1273 Drug Price Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (180 - 242)
July 10, 1996 National S Amdt 4438 Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1995 Amendment Adopted - Senate (61 - 38)
July 10, 1996 National HR 743 Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1995 Bill Passed - Senate (53 - 46)
July 9, 1996 National S Amdt 4435 Minimum Wage Increase Amendment Amendment Rejected - Senate (46 - 52)
July 9, 1996 National HR 3448 Minimum Wage Increase bill Bill Passed - Senate (74 - 24)
June 27, 1996 National H Res 468 Investigation of Speaker Newt Gingrich Resolution Tabled - House (229 - 170)
June 26, 1996 National HR 3666 Veterans Affairs, HUD FY97 Appropriations bill Bill Passed - House (269 - 147)
June 25, 1996 National S 1219 Campaign Finance Reform bill Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (54 - 46)
June 20, 1996 National PN 951 Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman Nomination Confirmed - Senate (91 - 7)
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)
7/30 HR 2391 Working Families Flexibility Act of 1996 Bill Passed - House (225 - 195)
7/25 H Amdt 1359 Energy Research Appropriation Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (198 - 211)
7/25 H Amdt 1360 Renewable Energy Research Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (279 - 135)
7/25 HR 3820 Campaign Finance Reform Bill Failed - House (162 - 259)
7/24 H Amdt 1356 Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Funding Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (184 - 236)
7/23 HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Bill Passed - Senate (74 - 24)
7/22 H Amdt 1309 Non-Federally Funded Abortions Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (176 - 223)
7/18 H Amdt 1307 Food Stamp Recipient Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (239 - 184)
7/18 HR 3734 Welfare Reform Act of 1996 Bill Passed - House (256 - 170)
7/12 H Amdt 1280 Family Planning Services Clinics Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (232 - 193)
7/12 H Amdt 1286 Definition of Marriage Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (103 - 311)
7/12 HR 3396 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) Bill Passed - House (342 - 67)
7/11 H Amdt 1278 Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (201 - 220)
7/11 H Amdt 1265 School Improvement Programs Amendment Amendment Adopted - House (294 - 129)
7/11 H Amdt 1276 Human Embryo Research Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (167 - 256)
7/11 H Amdt 1264 Education and Training Programs Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (198 - 227)
7/11 H Amdt 1273 Drug Price Amendment Amendment Rejected - House (180 - 242)
7/10 S Amdt 4438 Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1995 Amendment Adopted - Senate (61 - 38)
7/10 HR 743 Teamwork for Employees and Managers Act of 1995 Bill Passed - Senate (53 - 46)
7/09 S Amdt 4435 Minimum Wage Increase Amendment Amendment Rejected - Senate (46 - 52)
7/09 HR 3448 Minimum Wage Increase bill Bill Passed - Senate (74 - 24)
6/27 H Res 468 Investigation of Speaker Newt Gingrich Resolution Tabled - House (229 - 170)
6/26 HR 3666 Veterans Affairs, HUD FY97 Appropriations bill Bill Passed - House (269 - 147)
6/25 S 1219 Campaign Finance Reform bill Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (54 - 46)
6/20 PN 951 Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve Chairman Nomination Confirmed - Senate (91 - 7)

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