Compare And Contrast

Compare And Contrast

During the primary, I compared the legislation Clinton and Obama had managed to get enacted (1, 2, 3); and it occurred to me that it would be useful to do the same thing for Obama and McCain. I compare the legislation each person has sponsored (later I’ll do co-sponsored legislation) that actually became law. For one thing, this gives some idea of how effective they are at working with Congress, and for another, it’s easy to write a bill that promises the moon so long as you don’t think there’s the least possibility that it will ever become law; sticking to legislation that actually got enacted avoids bothering with that stuff.

As during the primaries, I’ve excluded the following: (a) bills that just do something ceremonial, like name a post office; (b) bills that merely call for a report or express the sense of the Senate (too easy to mean anything); (c) bills that appropriate less than $40 million, and that do nothing else; (d) bills of purely local interest. (Interestingly, Obama didn’t have any of these.) I have also only checked the 109th and 110th Congresses, since these are the only ones when both Obama and McCain were in Congress.

The interesting part, for me, is seeing how the comparisons come out. I never really know in advance; one reason I do this is as a check on my own objectivity. In this case, I assumed that McCain would absolutely dominate during the 109th Congress, both because his party was in power and because of his seniority. (These affect not just how likely his bills are to pass, but how likely they are to be listed as his bills: there’s a reason that the bill Dick Lugar and Barack Obama wrote on nonproliferation was introduced as Lugar-Obama.) I wasn’t sure about the 110th: Obama’s party was in control, but McCain still had seniority; probably more importantly, both candidates were off campaigning. Was I right? No. Why not? See for yourselves, below the fold.

Note: descriptions of the bills and amendments are from Thomas. I can’t link to the actual searches or bills; however, the master page from which all searches start is here. I have added comments in parentheses.

110th Congress

Bills Enacted, 110th Congress:

Obama: none.

McCain: S.327: A bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of sites associated with the life of Cesar Estrada Chavez and the farm labor movement. (Who knew?)

Bills Placed On Calendar, 110th Congress: (I included these for the 110th Congress, since it’s not over yet, and these are the bills most likely to be acted on.)

Obama:

S. 453: A bill to prohibit deceptive practices in Federal elections.

S.2433: A bill to require the President to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to further the United States foreign policy objective of promoting the reduction of global poverty, the elimination of extreme global poverty, and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people worldwide, between 1990 and 2015, who live on less than $1 per day.

McCain:

S. 84: A bill to establish a United States Boxing Commission to administer the Act, and for other purposes.

Bills Enacted, 109th Congress:

Obama: S.2125: A bill to promote relief, security, and democracy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

McCain: S.1481: A bill to amend the Indian Land Consolidation Act to provide for probate reform.

S. 1892: A bill to amend Public Law 107-153 to modify a certain date. (Here is the substantive bit of this bill in its entirety: “Section 1(a) of Public Law 107-153 (25 U.S.C. 4044 note; 116 Stat. 79) is amended by striking `December 31, 1999′ and inserting `December 31, 2000′.”)

Amendments Passed, 110th Congress: (note: unless I indicate otherwise, amendments were part of bills that became law)

Obama (19 18 amendments):

S.AMDT.41 to S.1 To require lobbyists to disclose the candidates, leadership PACs, or political parties for whom they collect or arrange contributions, and the aggregate amount of the contributions collected or arranged.

S.AMDT.524 to S.CON.RES.21 To provide $100 million for the Summer Term Education Program supporting summer learning opportunities for low-income students in the early grades to lessen summer learning losses that contribute to the achievement gaps separating low-income students from their middle-class peers.

S.AMDT.599 to S.CON.RES.21 To add $200 million for Function 270 (Energy) for the demonstration and monitoring of carbon capture and sequestration technology by the Department of Energy.

S.AMDT.905 to S.761 To require the Director of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Education to establish a program to recruit and provide mentors for women and underrepresented minorities who are interested in careers in mathematics, science, and engineering.

S.AMDT.923 to S.761 To expand the pipeline of individuals entering the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields to support United States innovation and competitiveness.

S.AMDT.924 to S.761 To establish summer term education programs. (Underlying bill held at the desk.)

S.AMDT.2519 to H.R.2638 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5 million or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee certifies in writing to the agency awarding the contract or grant that the contractor or grantee owes no past due Federal tax liability. [Note: I changed ‘one’ to ‘none’ in the first sentence: I suspect3d it was a typo, since the sentence itself made no sense, checked the amendment in the Congressional Record, and found that it was.]

S.AMDT.2588 to H.R.976 To provide certain employment protections for family members who are caring for members of the Armed Forces recovering from illnesses and injuries incurred on active duty. (Underlying bill vetoed by President. Specific protections offered: “A family member of a recovering servicemember described in subsection (c) shall not be denied retention in employment, promotion, or any benefit of employment by an employer on the basis of the family member’s absence from employment as described in that subsection, for a period of not more than 52 workweeks.”)

S.AMDT.2658 to H.R.2642 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.

S.AMDT.2692 to H.R.2764 To require a comprehensive nuclear threat reduction and security plan.

S.AMDT.2799 to H.R.3074 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.

S.AMDT.3073 to H.R.1585 To provide for transparency and accountability in military and security contracting. (Note: requires that various agencies (State, DoD, intelligence, etc.) provide information on the companies hired to do contract work in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of people employed to do such work, a way to track the number killed or wounded, and the cost of those contracts. Also requires the Secretary of Defense to submit a report detailing his strategy for ensuring that contractors do not perform “inherently governmental functions”, and are not placed in supervisory positions over US personnel.) (The underlying bill was vetoed by the President; amendment included in the bill that ultimately became law.)

S.AMDT.3078 to H.R.1585 Relating to administrative separations of members of the Armed Forces for personality disorder. (Described here and here.) (The underlying bill was vetoed by the President; parts of the amendment were incorporated into the bill that became law.)

S.AMDT.3137 to H.R.3222 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.

S.AMDT.3234 to H.R.3093 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.

S.AMDT.3331 to H.R.3043 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to enter into a contract in an amount greater than $5,000,000 or to award a grant in excess of such amount unless the prospective contractor or grantee makes certain certifications regarding Federal tax liability.

S.AMDT.4113 to S.2663 To clarify and expand requirements with respect to information in recall notices.

S.AMDT.4114 to S.2663 To require the Comptroller General of the United States conduct a study and report on the effectiveness of authorities relating to the safety of imported consumer products.

S.AMDT.4330 to S.CON.RES.70 To provide an additional $5 million to the military departments’ respective Boards for Correction of Military Records to expedite review of cases in which service members with combat-related psychological injuries (such as PTSD) or closed head injuries (such as TBIs) were administered discharges for personality disorders or other discharges resulting in a loss of benefits or care and seek a correction of records or upgraded discharge. (Should have excluded this; it’s below $40million.)

McCain (7 amendments):

S.AMDT.19 to S.1 To include a reporting requirement. (Requires reporting for travel on private planes.)

S.AMDT.1190 to S.1348 To require undocumented immigrants receiving legal status to pay owed back taxes. (Underlying bill failed.)

S.AMDT.2133 to H.R.1585 To modify the calculation of back pay for persons who were approved for promotion as members of the Navy and Marine Corps while interned as prisoners of war during World War II to take into account changes in the Consumer Price Index. (Underlying bill vetoed; I could not find this amendment in the bill that did become law, though since it was the Defense Appropriations bill, I might easily have missed it.)

S.AMDT.2190 to H.R.1585 To designate the positions of Principal Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretaries of the military departments for acquisition matters as critical acquisition positions. (Underlying bill vetoed; I didn’t check to see whether it made it into the final appropriations bill, since it’s a tiny little amendment, it would have taken forever, and it didn’t seem wildly important.)

S.AMDT.3089 to H.R.1585 To provide for a continuation of transitional health benefits for members of the Armed Forces pending a resolution of their service-related medical conditions. (Underlying bill vetoed; I cannot find this amendment in the bill that did become law.)

S.AMDT.3090 to H.R.1585 To enhance the computation of years of service for purposes of retired pay for non-regular service. (Underlying bill vetoed; amendment incorporated in the bill that did become law.)

S.AMDT.3103 to H.R.1585 To require a pilot program on commercial fee-for-service air refueling support for the Air Force. (Underlying bill vetoed; amendment incorporated in the bill that did become law.)

Amendments Passed, 109th Congress: (note: unless I indicate otherwise, amendments were part of bills that became law)

Obama (15 amendments):

S.AMDT.159 to S.CON.RES.18 To prevent and, if necessary, respond to an international outbreak of the avian flu.

S.AMDT.390 to H.R.1268 To provide meal and telephone benefits for members of the Armed Forces who are recuperating from injuries incurred on active duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom.

S.AMDT.670 to H.R.3 To provide for Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) refueling capability at new and existing refueling station facilities to promote energy security and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

S.AMDT.851 to H.R.6 To require the Secretary to establish a Joint Flexible Fuel/Hybrid Vehicle Commercialization Initiative, and for other purposes.

S.AMDT.1061 to H.R.2361 To provide that none of the funds made available in this Act may be used in contravention of 15 U.S.C. section 2682(c)(3) or to delay the implementation of that section. (Note: 15 U.S.C. section 2682(c)(3) deals with the certification and training of people who do lead paint removal, and requiring that properly trained and certified people do lead paint removal.)

S.AMDT.1453 to S.1042 To ensure the protection of military and civilian personnel in the Department of Defense from an influenza pandemic, including an avian influenza pandemic.

S.AMDT.3144 to S.CON.RES.83 To provide a $40 million increase in FY 2007 for the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program and to improve job services for hard-to-place veterans.

S.AMDT.3810 to H.R.4939 To provide that none of the funds appropriated by this Act may be made available for hurricane relief and recovery contracts exceeding $500,000 that are awarded using procedures other than competitive procedures.

S.AMDT.3971 to S.2611 To amend the temporary worker program. (Bill passed Senate, did not become law.)

S.AMDT.4224 to S.2766 To include assessments of Traumatic Brain Injury in the post-deployment health assessments of member of the Armed Forces returning from deployment in support of a contingency operation. (Underlying bill held at desk; amendment included in bill that became law.)

S.AMDT.4254 to S.2766 To require the use of competitive procedures for Federal contracts worth over $500,000 related to hurricane recovery, subject to existing limited national security, public interest, and other exceptions. (Underlying bill held at desk; amendment not included in bill that became law, as far as I can tell.)

S.AMDT.4545 to S.2125 To make certain improvements to the bill. (Makes modifications to his bill on the Congo.)

S.AMDT.4573 to H.R.5441 To assist individuals displaced by a major disaster in locating family members.

S.AMDT.4624 to H.R.5441 To provide that none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available for expenses in carrying out the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act may be used to enter into noncompetitive contracts based upon the unusual and compelling urgency exception under Federal contracting law unless the contract is limited in time, scope, and value as necessary to respond to the immediate emergency.

S.AMDT.4972 to H.R.4954 To ensure the evacuation of individuals with special needs in times of emergency. Sponsor: Sen Obama, Barack [IL] (introduced 9/13/2006) Cosponsors (1) Latest Major Action: 9/13/2006 Senate amendment agreed to. Status: Amendment SA 4972 as modified agreed to in Senate by Voice Vote.

McCain (5 12 amendments):

S.AMDT.1151 to H.R.2360 To specify how certain vehicles are to be deployed to enhance border security. (In its entirety: “On page 61, line 26, insert “which shall be deployed between ports of entry along the southwestern border of the United States, taking into consideration the particular security risks in the area and the need for constant surveillance of such border,” after “unmanned aerial vehicles,”.”)

S.AMDT.1438 to S.1042 To redesignate the Naval Reserve as the Navy Reserve. (Underlying bill held at desk; amendment incorporated in the bill that did become law.)

S.AMDT.1555 to S.1042 To regulate management contracts, require an Analysis of Alternatives for major acquisition of the Department of Defense and impose additional limitations on certain leases and charters. (Underlying bill held at desk; amendment included in bill that did become law.)

S.AMDT.1977 to H.R.2863 Relating to persons under the detention, custody, or control of the United States Government. (Prohibits the use of interrogation techniques not authorized by the Army Field Manual on anyone in the custody of DoD; prohibits cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment of anyone in US custody.

S.AMDT.1978 to H.R.2863 To prohibit the use of funds to pay salaries and expenses and other costs associated with reimbursing the Government of Uzbekistan for services rendered to the United States at Karshi-Khanabad airbase in Uzbekistan.

***

UPDATE: I cut this post off while I was entering it, but regrettably before I decided to add the totals. Here are the seven amendments from the 109th Congress that I cut off. I regret the error.

S.AMDT.2425 to S.1042 Relating to persons under the detention, custody, or control of the United States Government. (recaps SA 1977)

S.AMDT.2458 to S.1042 To enhance various authorities to assist the recruitment efforts of the Armed Forces. (Authorizes bonuses)

S.AMDT.2687 to S.1312 In the nature of a substitute. (Concerns communications of tribal employees.)

S.AMDT.4242 to S.2766 To require regular budgeting for ongoing military operations.

S.AMDT.4434 to S.2766 To ensure proper education, training, and supervision of personnel providing special education services for dependents of members of the Armed Forces under extended benefits under TRICARE.

S.AMDT.4880 to S.1899 To make certain revisions to the bill.

S.AMDT.4922 to H.R.4954 To provide increased rail transportation security.