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
Dec. 20, 2011 National HR 3630 Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Extension Nonconcurrence Vote Passed - House (229 - 193)
Dec. 17, 2011 National HR 2055 Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (67 - 32)
Dec. 17, 2011 National S Amdt 1465 Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Extension Amendment Adopted - Senate (89 - 10)
Dec. 16, 2011 National HR 2055 Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 Conference Report Adopted - House (296 - 121)
Dec. 15, 2011 National HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (86 - 13)
Dec. 14, 2011 National HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - House (283 - 136)
Dec. 14, 2011 National S J Res 10 Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Hatch Bill) Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 53)
Dec. 14, 2011 National S J Res 24 Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Udall Bill) Amendment Rejected - Senate (21 - 79)
Dec. 13, 2011 National HR 3630 Reduces Payroll Taxes and Unemployment Benefits Bill Passed - House (234 - 193)
Dec. 8, 2011 National HR 1633 Limits Regulation of Farm Dust Bill Passed - House (268 - 150)
Dec. 7, 2011 National HR 10 Congressional Approval of Regulations Bill Passed - House (241 - 184)
Dec. 6, 2011 National PN 5 Nomination of Caitlin Joan Halligan to the District of Columbia Circuit Court Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (54 - 45)
Dec. 2, 2011 National HR 3010 Establishes Additional Requirements for Regulatory Agencies Bill Passed - House (253 - 167)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1274 Authorizes Further Detention After Trial During Wartime Amendment Rejected - Senate (41 - 59)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S 1931 Reduces Payroll Tax Rate Motion Rejected - Senate (20 - 78)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S 1917 Extends Payroll Tax Cut and Establishes Tax on Income Over $1 Million Motion Rejected - Senate (51 - 49)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1125 Limits New Detention Rules to Prisoners Captured Outside the U.S. Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
Dec. 1, 2011 National S Amdt 1126 Prohibits Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Trial Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
Dec. 1, 2011 National HR 527 Increases Requirements for Agencies that Promulgate Regulations Affecting Small Businesses Bill Passed - House (263 - 159)
Dec. 1, 2011 National HR 3463 Repeals Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Election Campaigns Bill Passed - House (235 - 190)
Nov. 30, 2011 National HR 3094 Labor Law Amendments Bill Passed - House (235 - 188)
Nov. 29, 2011 National S Amdt 1107 Removes Provisions Requiring Military Custody of al-Qaeda Suspects Amendment Rejected - Senate (38 - 60)
Nov. 29, 2011 National S Amdt 1064 Repeals Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Amendment Rejected - Senate (30 - 67)
Nov. 29, 2011 National HR 3012 Repeals Certain Green Cards Limitations Bill Passed - House (389 - 15)
Nov. 18, 2011 National H J Res 2 Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Joint Resolution Failed - House (261 - 165)
Date No. Title Outcome
12/20 HR 3630 Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Extension Nonconcurrence Vote Passed - House (229 - 193)
12/17 HR 2055 Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (67 - 32)
12/17 S Amdt 1465 Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Extension Amendment Adopted - Senate (89 - 10)
12/16 HR 2055 Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 Conference Report Adopted - House (296 - 121)
12/15 HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - Senate (86 - 13)
12/14 HR 1540 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 Conference Report Adopted - House (283 - 136)
12/14 S J Res 10 Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Hatch Bill) Amendment Rejected - Senate (47 - 53)
12/14 S J Res 24 Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (Udall Bill) Amendment Rejected - Senate (21 - 79)
12/13 HR 3630 Reduces Payroll Taxes and Unemployment Benefits Bill Passed - House (234 - 193)
12/08 HR 1633 Limits Regulation of Farm Dust Bill Passed - House (268 - 150)
12/07 HR 10 Congressional Approval of Regulations Bill Passed - House (241 - 184)
12/06 PN 5 Nomination of Caitlin Joan Halligan to the District of Columbia Circuit Court Cloture Not Invoked - Senate (54 - 45)
12/02 HR 3010 Establishes Additional Requirements for Regulatory Agencies Bill Passed - House (253 - 167)
12/01 S Amdt 1274 Authorizes Further Detention After Trial During Wartime Amendment Rejected - Senate (41 - 59)
12/01 S 1931 Reduces Payroll Tax Rate Motion Rejected - Senate (20 - 78)
12/01 S 1917 Extends Payroll Tax Cut and Establishes Tax on Income Over $1 Million Motion Rejected - Senate (51 - 49)
12/01 S Amdt 1125 Limits New Detention Rules to Prisoners Captured Outside the U.S. Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
12/01 S Amdt 1126 Prohibits Detention of U.S. Citizens Without Trial Amendment Rejected - Senate (45 - 55)
12/01 HR 527 Increases Requirements for Agencies that Promulgate Regulations Affecting Small Businesses Bill Passed - House (263 - 159)
12/01 HR 3463 Repeals Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Election Campaigns Bill Passed - House (235 - 190)
11/30 HR 3094 Labor Law Amendments Bill Passed - House (235 - 188)
11/29 S Amdt 1107 Removes Provisions Requiring Military Custody of al-Qaeda Suspects Amendment Rejected - Senate (38 - 60)
11/29 S Amdt 1064 Repeals Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Amendment Rejected - Senate (30 - 67)
11/29 HR 3012 Repeals Certain Green Cards Limitations Bill Passed - House (389 - 15)
11/18 H J Res 2 Proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution Joint Resolution Failed - House (261 - 165)

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