Search for...
OnTheIssuesLogo

Sam Brownback on Government Reform

Republican Sr Senator (KS)


Supports Constitutional Amendment to allow DC representation

Q: Do you support giving the District of Columbia voting representation?

A: I have chaired the DC Subcommittee, both the authorizing and the Appropriations subcommittee. I support the residents of DC the right to vote. But there’s a way to do it and there’s a way not to do it. And the way to do it is to amend the Constitution, and the way not to do it is to pass something that’s unconstitutional. In the 23rd Amendment to the Constitution, it gave D.C. the right to vote for president. But it didn’t give them the right to vote for Congress. And what you have to do what we have to do. And what I support is amending the Constitution so they can have the right to vote. D.C. deserves that right. There’s a way to do it, there’s a way not to do it.

Source: 2007 GOP Presidential Forum at Morgan State University Sep 27, 2007

Ok if church identifies candidates who favor its principles

Q: My church is currently under IRS investigation for “political involvement” due to my identifying politicians who support the destruction of innocent unborn children. Would you remove the gag rule from pastors like me & repeal the restrictions against churches from expressing our biblical convictions for or against a candidate?
Source: [Xref Cox] 2007 GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate Sep 17, 2007

Consistent supporter of tort reform

The Club for Growth supports major reforms to our tort system to restore a more just and less costly balance in tort litigation. Senator Brownback has been a consistent supporter of tort reform. He has voted for several measures to limit the number of frivolous lawsuits and place caps on punitive awards, demonstrating his understanding of how lawsuit abuse harms the economy. These measures include:
Source: Club for Growth, “Second Presidential White Paper” Feb 2, 2007

Frailty of culture cannot be compensated for by government

A healthy democracy requires self-government on the part of its citizens; self government requires virtue, self-restraint, and adherence to a moral code beyond the letter of the law. If we do not cultivate the later, we will not keep the former.

Since self-government can only be cultivated, not coerced, it has been the work of culture-shaping institutions to encourage and equip individuals and groups to, on the one hand, exercise self-restraint and self-discipline, and, on the other, show concern and compassion for others. The frailty of cultural institutions, therefore, cannot be compensated for by increasing the power and reach of government. The work of cultivating virtue is one of moral suasion, not of legislation. The Senate could pass a law tomorrow requiring that we all love one another, but little would change. Law is a teacher, but it cannot effectively mold character. Without vigorous and vibrant cultural institutions, the development of democratic character will not occur.

Source: Building a Healthy Culture, Don Eberly, ed., p. xii Jun 3, 2001

Voted NO on providing a US House seat for the District of Columbia.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Sen. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): I am cosponsoring the legislation to provide a House seat for DC and an additional House seat for Utah. Representation and suffrage are so central to the American system of self-government that America's founders warned that limiting suffrage would risk another revolution and could prevent ratification of the Constitution. The Supreme Court held in 1820 that Congress' legislative authority over DC allows taxation of DC. Do opponents of giving DC a House seat believe that DC is suitable for taxation but not for representation?

Opponent's argument to vote No:Sen. JOHN McCAIN (R-AZ): I make a constitutional point of order against this bill on the grounds that it violates article I, section 2, of the Constitution. I appreciate the frustration felt by the residents of DC at the absence of a vote in Congress. According to many experts, DC is not a State, so therefore is not entitled to that representation. Also, one has to raise the obvious question: If DC is entitled to a Representative, why isn't Puerto Rico, which would probably entail 9 or 10 Members of Congress? [With regards to the seat for Utah], this is obviously partisan horse-trading.

Reference: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act; Bill S.160 ; vote number 2009-S073 on Feb 26, 2009

Voted NO on granting the District of Columbia a seat in Congress.

Cloture vote on the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act:[Washington DC currently has a "delegate" to the US House, whose vote does not count. Utah had complained that the 2000 census did not count many Utahns on Mormon missions abroad].

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. BYRD: In 1978, I voted for H.J. Res. 554, that proposed amending the Constitution to provide for representation of D.C. [That amendment passed the Senate but was not ratified by the States]. While I recognize that others believe that the Constitution authorizes the Congress to "exercise exclusive legislation" over D.C., the historical intent of the Founders on this point is unclear. I oppose S.1257, because I doubt that our Nation's Founding Fathers ever intended that the Congress should be able to change the text of the Constitution by passing a simple bill.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. HATCH. There are conservative and liberal advocates on both sides of this issue,and think most people know Utah was not treated fairly after the last census. For those who are so sure this is unconstitutional, [we include an] expedited provision that will get us to the Supreme Court to make an appropriate decision. It will never pass as a constitutional amendment. There are 600,000 people in D.C., never contemplated by the Founders of this country to be without the right to vote. They are the only people in this country who do not have a right to vote for their own representative in the House. This bill would remedy that situation.

Reference: District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act; Bill S. 1257 ; vote number 2007-339 on Sep 18, 2007

Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress.

A motion to table (kill) an amendment to clarify the application of the gift rule to lobbyists. Voting NAY would define employees of lobbying companies as registered lobbyists and therefore subject to the gift ban. Voting YEA would apply the gift ban only to specific people who registered as lobbyists.
Reference: Feingold Amendment to Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act; Bill S.Amdt.2962 to S.2349 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 29, 2006

Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity.

An amendment to establish the Senate Office of Public Integrity. Voting YEA would establish the new office, and voting NAY would keep ethics investigations within the existing Senate Ethics Committee.
Reference: Collins Amendment to Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act; Bill S.Amdt.3176 to S.2349 ; vote number 2006-077 on Mar 28, 2006

Voted NO on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads.

Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingoldf bill). Vote to ban “soft money” contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration.

Motion to Table Schumer Amdt. No. 2937; To permit the use of a signature or personal mark for the purpose of verifying the identity of voters who register by mail, and for other purposes. Voting Yes would kill the amendment. The amendment would allow a signature to identify voters who register by mail, instead of requiring showing photo identification or other proof of residence before being allowed to vote.
Reference: Bill S.565 ; vote number 2002-38 on Feb 27, 2002

Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations.

Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.
Reference: Bill S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Voted NO on funding for National Endowment for the Arts.

This table motion would end debate on an amendment aimed at funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the motion to table is a vote for NEA funding. [YES to table means supporting the NEA; NO means defunding the NEA].
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)80; N)16; NV)4
Reference: Motion to table Smith Amdt #1569; Bill H.R. 2466 ; vote number 1999-260 on Aug 5, 1999

Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance.

Support of the campaign finance bill proposed by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI).
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
Reference: Campaign Finance Reform Bill; Bill S. 25 ; vote number 1997-267 on Oct 7, 1997

Require all laws to cite Constitutional authorization.

Brownback signed Enumerated Powers Act

A bill to require Congress to specify the source of authority under the United States Constitution for the enactment of laws.

Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise explanation of the specific constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. The availability of this point of order does not affect any other available relief.

Constitutional Authority for This Act: This Act proposes to establish new procedures by which legislation shall be considered by Congress and is enacted pursuant to the power granted Congress under article I, section 5, clause 2, of the United States Constitution establishing that each House may determine the rules of its proceedings.

Source: S.1319&HR450 2009-S1319 on Jun 22, 2009

Other candidates on Government Reform: Sam Brownback on other issues:
KS Gubernatorial:
Mark Parkinson
KS Senatorial:
Jerry Moran
Joe Bellis
Lisa Johnston
Pat Roberts
Todd Tiahrt

Newly appointed in 2009;
special election in 2010:

DE:Kaufman (D)
CO:Bennet (D)
IL:Burris (D)
MA:Brown (R)
NY:Gillibrand (D)

Announced retirement as of 2010:
CT:Dodd(D)
DE:Kaufman(D)
FL:Martinez (R)
FL:LeMieux(R)
IL:Burris(D)
IN:Bayh(D)
KS:Brownback(R)
KY:Bunning(R)
MO:Bond(R)
ND:Dorgan(D)
NH:Gregg(R)
OH:Voinovich(R)
PA:Specter(R)
UT:Bennett(R)
WV:Byrd(D)
WV:Goodwin(D)


Senate races in 2010:
AK:Miller(R) vs.McAdams(D) vs.Murkowski(I)
AL:Shelby(R) vs.Barnes(D)
AR:Lincoln(D) vs.Boozman(R)
AZ:McCain(R) vs.Glassman(D)
CA:Boxer(D) vs.Fiorina(R) vs.Lightfoot(L)
CO:Bennet(D) vs.Buck(R)
CT:Blumenthal(D) vs.McMahon(R)
DE:Coons(D) vs.O`Donnell(R)
FL:Rubio(R) vs.Crist(I) vs.Meek(D) vs.DeCastro(C) vs.Snitker(L)
GA:Isakson(R) vs.Thurmond(D)
HI:Inouye(D) vs.Cavasso(R)
IA:Grassley(R) vs.Conlin(D)
ID:Crapo(R) vs.Sullivan(D)
IL:Giannoulias(D) vs.Kirk(R)
IN:Ellsworth(D) vs.Coats(R)
KS:Johnston(D) vs.Moran(R) vs.Bellis(Rfm)
KY:Conway(D) vs.Paul(R)
LA:Vitter(R) vs.Melancon(D)
MD:Mikulski(D) vs.Wargotz(R)
MO:Carnahan(R) vs.Blunt(D)
NC:Burr(R) vs.Marshall(D)
ND:Potter(D) vs.Hoeven(R)
NH:Ayotte(R) vs.Hodes(D)
NV:Reid(D) vs.Angle(R)
NY6:Schumer(D) vs.Townsend(R)
NY2:Gillibrand(D) vs.DioGuardi(R)
OH:Fisher(R) vs.Portman(D) vs.Deaton(C)
OK:Coburn(R) vs.Myles(D)
OR:Wyden(D) vs.Huffman(R)
PA:Toomey(R) vs.Sestak(D)
SC:DeMint(R) vs.Greene(D)
SD:Thune(R) unopposed
UT:Lee(R) vs.Granato(D)
VT:Leahy(D) vs.Britton(R) vs.Freilich(I)
WA:Murray(D) vs.Rossi(R)
WI:Feingold(D) vs.Johnson(D)
WV:Manchin(D) vs.Raese(R)
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Jobs
Principles
Social Security
Tax Reform
Technology
War/Peace
Welfare

Other Senators
Senate Votes (analysis)
Bill Sponsorships
Affiliations
Policy Reports
Group Ratings

Page last updated: Oct 29, 2010