Here are the most asked-about votes of 2010 with links to how your lawmakers voted:
1. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Reconciliation
Passed (56-43, 1 Not Voting)
The Senate passed the final version of a bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system in March using a procedure known as reconciliation, which allows the Senate to bypass a filibuster with a simple majority.
The bill mandates that individuals buy health insurance with exceptions for certain religious groups and those who cannot afford coverage. Those who do not buy insurance will be subject to a tax.
Under the bill, beginning in 2014 insurance companies cannot deny coverage based on pre-existing medical conditions, and cannot drop coverage of people who become ill. In addition, a section of the bill makes the federal government the sole originator of student loans.
2. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
Agreed to (60-39)
The Senate passed the final version of the financial regulation reform legislation in July. The bill creates new regulatory procedures to assess risks posed by large financial institutions and facilitate the orderly dissolution of failing firms that pose a threat to the economy.
It will also create a new federal agency to oversee consumer financial products, bring the derivatives market under significant federal regulation and give shareholders and regulators greater say on executive pay.
3. Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act
Agreed to (61-39)
The Senate passed this bill in August to provide $16.1 billion to extend increased Medicaid assistance to states and $10 billion in funding for states to create or retain teachers’ jobs. The cost of the programs will be offset by changing foreign tax provisions, ending increased food stamp benefits beginning in April 2014 and rescinding previously enacted spending.
4. Nomination of Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court
The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in August. The former dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan had served as Obama’s solicitor general since March of 2009 and was the first woman to hold the position. She replaced Justice John Paul Stevens, who had been appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975.
5. 2011 Defense Authorization, Cloture
Rejected (56-43, 1 Not Voting)
The Senate rejected this attempt to start debate on the 2011 Defense spending bill, which would authorize $725.7 billion in discretionary funding for defense programs. The bill would have also repealed a 1993 law that codified the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning military service by openly gay men and women.
- Honoring Elena Kagan (whitehouse.gov)
- Majority Of Senators Backing Elena Kagan On Eve Of Final Supreme Court Confirmation Vote (huffingtonpost.com)
Having concluded that it would be in the best interests of the Court to have my successor appointed and confirmed well in advance of the commencement of the Court’s next Term, I shall retire from regular active service as an Associate Justice, under the provisions of 28 D.S.C. § 371(b), effective the next day after the Court rises for the summer recess this year.
That was the statement that Stevens delivered to the White House today. Now Obama has an opportunity to replace the Liberal Stevens with another Liberal appointee.
We wish Justice Stevens, and the President, well.