How did your area legislators vote in 2013?

  • Posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 12:01 a.m.

Editor's note: Since 1973, Voterama in Congress has been a service of record that provides a breakdown of U.S. House and Senate votes so constituents can learn where their legislators stand on major issues.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After a long reign as Capitol Hill's most voted-on and divisive issue, the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – is set to play a similarly outsized role in this year's congressional campaigns. The legislative signature of President Barack Obama's administration could tip the outcome of close races and change the balance of power in Washington, D.C., as constituents reward or punish incumbents for their voting records on the law.

As long as the new health law enacted without GOP support remains unpopular in opinion polls, Republicans will attempt to hang it around the necks of their Democratic opponents. The administration's fumbles as the law was implemented handed the GOP an issue to take the political spotlight away from the partial government shutdown Republicans triggered in the fall in their zeal to block the law from taking effect.

The GOP-led House conducted 29 votes on the health law last year, more than on defense, homeland security, foreign affairs or any other subject. About half of the House votes were on direct attacks on the law, while others dealt with procedural squabbles. But each Republican bill the House passed died quickly in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The Senate voted only once on the health care law last year.

Congress also voted on increasing the federal minimum wage; ending the government shutdown; advancing the Keystone XL pipeline; extending unemployment benefits; curbing National Security Agency surveillance; expanding background checks of gun buyers; further restricting abortions; passing a five-year farm bill; retaining the Guantanamo Bay military prison; passing the Dream Act allowing some children who entered the country illegally to remain in the U.S.; tightening border security; overhauling immigration laws; protecting women against violence; restricting Senate filibusters; cutting food stamps spending; passing a regular budget and confirming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's first director.

Here is how legislators representing Aiken County came down on five key issues in 2013:

Health care law repeal

The House voted 229-195 to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This was the third House vote to repeal the law following its enactment in March 2010. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate, where it was shelved.

• Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C. – Yea

The Senate defeated, 45-52, a GOP bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act until U.S. economic growth returns to the range of 3 to 5 percent. A yes vote was to kill the health law despite Democrats' arguments that voters affirmed it by re-electing Obama.

• Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. – Yea

• Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. – Yea

Minimum wage increase

Voting 184-233, the House defeated a bid by Democrats to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour as part of a GOP workplace bill (HR 803). A yes vote was to raise the minimum wage for the first time since 2009.

• Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C. – Nay

Food stamp cuts

The House voted 217-210 to cut spending on food stamps by $4 billion annually over 10 years, to about $75 billion annually. A yes vote was to pass a GOP bill (HR 3102) that would disqualify an estimated 4 million recipients by allowing states to toughen work requirements and impose drug testing.

• Congressman Joe Wilson , R-S.C. – Yea

The Senate refused, 40-58, to trim $30 billion from the $800 billion, 10-year budget in a five-year farm bill (S 954) for food stamps, known formally as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The program already was cut by $4 billion in the bill. A yes vote was to further cut food stamps.

• Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. – Yea

• Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. – Yea

End the government shutdown

The House passed, 285-144, a bill to fund the entire government through Jan. 15, 2014, and authorize the Treasury borrowing through Feb. 7, 2014, to pay U.S. debts, among other provisions. A yes vote was to send HR 2775 to Obama, who immediately signed it into law.

• Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C. – Nay

The Senate passed, 81-18, a bill (HR 2775) to end the partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1. A yes vote was to send the House a bill to provide stopgap funding for all agencies through Jan. 15, 2014, suspend the U.S. debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014, and require House-Senate negotiators to produce a long-term budget plan within three months.

• Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. – Nay

• Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. – Nay

Two-year budget deal

The House passed, 332-94, a two-year budget deal to slightly increase discretionary spending, ease the impact of the blind cuts known as sequestration, raise a variety of taxes and fees by $7 billion over 10 years and slow growth in deficit spending. A yes vote was to pass HJ Res 59.

• Congressman Joe Wilson, R-S.C. – Yea

The Senate passed, 64-36, a two-year budget deal to increase discretionary spending, raise certain fees and taxes, ease the impact of the blind cuts known as sequestration and slow growth in deficit spending. A yes vote was to send HJ Res 59 to Obama.

• Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. – Nay

• Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. – Nay

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