To help you stay informed, I've compiled a list of some of the most important votes I've cast in Congress. While the concerns of the First District influence each and every vote I take as your congressman, I know that some votes impact your daily life more than others.
If you are looking for a specific vote that is not listed here, please try searching my summary of votes here or Thomas.gov.
113th Congress (2013-2014)
- No Budget, No Pay: This legislation would temporarily raise the debt ceiling while also requiring members of Congress to pass a budget or forfeit pay. I voted yes on this bill because, simply put, I believe that if Congress can’t do our job we don’t deserve to be paid.
- Republican Budget Plan: This legislation would balance the budget over ten years, set the stage for tax reform, and repeal Obamacare. I voted yes on this bill because East Tennesseans have spoken out against the President’s tax, borrow, and spend policies, and the Republican plan proves we’ve heard the message. This plan would start the process of getting our fiscal house in order and by 2023, we’ll have a $7 billion annual budget surplus.
- The Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (I introduced this legislation): This legislation requires the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to cease all activity until the uncertainty surrounding the board is resolved. The bill also requires a constitutionally confirmed quorum of board members to review all decisions issued since January 4, 2012. I introduced and voted yes on this bill because The NLRB is tasked with ensuring American workers have a fair workplace. It conducts union elections and works to prevent or remedy unlawful practices on the part of employers and unions. President Obama’s so-called recess appointments left the board in a state of legal chaos and Americans deserve better.
- H.R. 890, legislation to uphold the work requirement in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. I voted yes on this legislation because 17 years ago, a Republican-led Congress worked with President Clinton to fix a broken welfare system by establishing the TANF block grant program. The key to fixing the system was a requirement for individuals to work, prepare for work, or look for work as a condition of receiving public assistance. In the years following passage, the number of individuals receiving welfare dropped by 57 percent. The poverty level among single mothers fell by 30 percent, while their income and earnings increased significantly. Poverty levels among young African Americans dropped to its lowest level in 2001. For those Americans who need help, we should offer it—but not as a permanent entitlement.
- The SKILLS Act- The SKILLS Act streamlines 35 ineffective and duplicative job training programs, including 26 identified in a 2011 report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. Additionally, the proposal creates a Workforce Investment Fund to serve as a single source of support for employers, workers, and job seekers. States are required to reserve a certain percentage of funds to specifically target individuals with unique barriers to finding employment, including at-risk youth. I voted yes on this legislation because I believe this bill will help unemployed Americans access job training programs to help get them back to work.
- H.R. 1797, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act: This legislation would prohibit abortions beyond twenty weeks after fertilization. As an obstetrician who has delivered nearly 5,000 babies, I voted yes on this bill because I've seen with my own eyes that twenty weeks into a pregnancy, babies have fingers, toes and some even begin to hiccup. They have developed nerve centers for their senses, meaning they can hear, taste, smell, see, and most importantly feel. I believe it is my duty in Congress to protect the rights of those who are still developing a voice.
- H.R. 45, legislation to repeal ObamaCare: This legislation repeal ObamaCare. I voted yes on this bill because East Tennesseans have spoken out against government-run health care and this bill is the wrong answer to America’s health care problems.
- H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act: This legislation would require the president to move forward with the Keystone XL Pipeline. I voted yes on this bill because I believe Keystone will create jobs and help reduce our dependence on oil from unstable countries.
- H.R. 1911, the Smarter Solutions for Students Act: This legislation would prevent student loan interest rates from doubling and sets them at a market-based interest rate. I voted yes on this bill because I believe it will help students access an affordable education. This bipartisan bill passed the Senate and was signed into law.
- H.R. 5, the Student Success Act: This legislation would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). I voted yes on this bill because it will restore local control, reduce the federal footprint in the nation’s classrooms, support more effective teachers, and empower parents.
- Farm bill: This legislation would reauthorize farm and food aid programs for five years. I voted yes on this bill because it was a bipartisan bill that saves taxpayers’ money, reduces deficit spending, and repeals outdated government programs while reforming, streamlining and consolidating others. I also voted yes on the “farm policy only” farm bill.
112th Congress (2011-2012)
- Balanced Budget Amendment: This legislation would amend the Constitution to require Congress to pass a balanced budget. I voted yes on this bill because I believe that with the size of our national debt it is time to get serious about spending.
- Path to Prosperity, The Republican Budget Plan: The House Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Resolution would've helped spur job creation today, stopped spending money the government doesn't have, and lifted the crushing burden of debt. This plan put the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity. I voted yes on this bill because out-of-control spending is one of the most significant threats to American prosperity. To learn more about my views on the budget, click here.
- Budget Control Act: This legislation raised the debt ceiling in exchange for enacting enforceable spending cuts and requiring a vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment. I voted yes on this bill because, for the first time in the history of modern federal budgeting, House Republicans cut discretionary federal spending for two straight years. Analysis by the House Budget Committee shows the Budget Control Act achieved roughly 66 percent of the discretionary spending cuts in the House-passed budget. The bill cut and capped spending by $917 billion over 10 years – $22 billion in FY2012 alone – and prevented a national default that would've hurt private-sector job growth.
- Repeal of Obamacare Act: This legislation would repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I voted yes on this bill because while health care reform is very important, this misguided legislation will have a catastrophic effect on our economy. To learn more about my views on health care, click here.
- Audit the Fed: This legislation would require a one-time audit within 12 months of enactment. I voted yes on this bill because since the financial crisis first started, the Federal Reserve has tripled its balance sheet to $3 trillion. Over the course of the financial crisis, it lent out nearly $16 trillion, which is more than the GDP of the economy. The actions of the Federal Reserve affect all Americans, and hardworking taxpayers have a right to know where and how their money is being spent.
- The REINS Act: This legislation would require all new major regulations with an economic impact of $100 million or more to receive congressional approval before they go into effect. This means, just like legislation, the rule would have to be voted on by both the House and Senate and signed by the president. I voted yes on this bill. While the REINS Act won’t solve all our economic challenges overnight, I firmly believe this legislation is a strong step in the right direction. To read more about the REINS Act, click here.
- Sequestration Transparency Act: This legislation required President Obama to submit a report to Congress 30 days after the date of enactment detailing how the administration plans to implement the budget sequestration cuts that were required to take place in January 2013 under current law. I voted yes on this legislation because passage of this bipartisan bill would direct the administration to detail exactly how scheduled sequestration cuts will impact the Department of Defense. Passage of the legislation reaffirms my commitment to our troops and our national security.
- Domestic Energy and Jobs Act: This legislation was a package of domestic energy production bills that will not only reduce energy costs that hard-working families and small businesses currently face, but also spur badly-needed economic growth and job creation. I voted yes on this bill because the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act would help ease pain at the pump, create jobs, and push this country towards energy independence. The average American family buys 1,100 gallons of gasoline per year. If the price of gas fell just one dollar, from the current national average of $3.49, families would save $1,100 a year. For far too long, the Obama Administration prioritized politics over the needs of the American people and I believe this legislation was an opportunity to work together and do what’s right for the future of this country.
- American Taxpayer Relief Act (Fiscal Cliff): This legislation extended the 2001 and 2003 tax relief for individuals making under $400,000 per year and joint filers making under $450,000. The legislation included a number of other tax reforms, but unfortunately failed short of cutting spending. I voted no on this legislation because Washington cannot continue to tax, borrow and spend its way to prosperity. When fiscal cliff negotiations began, President Obama promised a balanced approach, and that’s not what this legislation was. We must get our deficit under control, and the only way to do that is to cut spending. While I am glad to see hardworking Americans received much-needed permanent tax relief, I could not, in good faith, support legislation that does not address our spending problem.
111th Congress (2009-2010)
- Cap and Tax: This legislation would penalize those who use carbon-intensive energy, particularly coal, by enacting a so-called “cap-and-trade” or “cap-and-tax” system or a national carbon energy tax to lower greenhouse gas emissions. I voted no on this bill because I am certain that enacting a national energy tax will be devastating to our economy.
- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare): This legislation overhauled our nation’s health care system. I voted no on this bill because I believe, while health care reform is very important, this misguided legislation will have a catastrophic effect on our economy. To learn more about my views on health care, click here.
- Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (SCHIP): This legislation reauthorized the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). I voted no because this flawed legislation was brought to the floor with no hearings, and fell short of addressing existing problems with the program. As an alternative, I supported the SCHIP Plus Act, which would offer eligible families more options. I also sent a letter to then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi highlighting my priorities for the reauthorization.
- The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Stimulus Package): This legislation spent roughly $800 billion in response to the economic recession. I voted no on this legislation because I know that taxing more and spending more won’t put our country back on the path to a prosperous future. Rather than throw away hard-earned taxpayer dollars, I believe job creation should be tasked to the private sector and not the federal government. Rather than spending more, we should ensure entrepreneurs have a business-friendly environment. You can find my press release on the stimulus package here.
- The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act: This legislation would provide amnesty to certain illegal immigrants who graduate from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United States as minors and live in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment. While I support legal immigration, I do not think we should reward those who illegally reside in America, and I reject efforts to provide amnesty to these individuals. Because of this belief, I voted no on the DREAM Act.
- Tarp Reform and Accountability Act: While I wasn't a member of Congress when the original bank bailout (Trouble Assets Relief Program), passed I voted no on a measure that would set the stage for $350 billion more in federal bailout money. At a time when America was facing a serious economic crisis, I did not believe the taxpayers should be asked to pay for an additional $350 billion bailout.
- Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act: This legislation overhauled our banking system and enacted numerous costly regulations on banks. This bill also established a new duplicative Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) to review and approve consumer financial products and ration consumer credit. Quite frankly, this is a new layer of bureaucracy in a government that is overloaded with bureaucracy. I voted no on this bill because it imposes a massive tax during a credit crisis and a weak economy, it creates a permanent TARP bailout authority and it expands the power of the Federal Reserve.