Liberty and freedom for the individual and from the government are what make the United States and our Constitutions unique in the history of man. America, like no other nation before, is founded on the principle that the individual has basic rights that are granted by our Creator that no government may take away or compromise.
Yet, every day these rights are being threatened, not by foreign nations or hidden enemy combatants, but rather from the good intentions of politicians and government bureaucrats who pass laws and impose regulations that overreach their authority, limit our freedom, and restrict liberty.
While the most obvious assault on our liberties and freedoms is the excessive spending that threatens to impose massive tax hikes or bankrupt our nation altogether, there are other actions taken every day by Washington that undermine our rights.
Government officials take private property, restrict how land owners may use their own property, restrict the rights of law abiding Americans to protect themselves on public property, compromise our nation’s ability to explore for and produce domestic sources of energy, and even threaten to limit the ability of patients to choose their own doctors.
The following is a summary of the amendments I have offered to protect your rights or curtail the powers Congress proposes to grant to government bureaucracies in the bills that have been debated by the Senate. While many of these amendments have been unsuccessful — often losing in lopsided votes — I believe it is important not to be discouraged and to continue to fight to protect those freedoms our Nation was funded upon and that were given to us by our Creator. The future of our country, after all, depends upon it. (A listing of the amendments I have offered related to government spending and budget reform is available HERE).
Guaranteeing the Right to Bear Arms and Self Protection
Senate Amendment 1067 to H.R. 627 removes current federal restrictions and prohibits future federal restrictions on the rights of law abiding Americans to carry fire arms in accordance with state laws when visiting national parks. The amendment was agreed to by a vote of 67 to 29 on May 12, 2009.
Protecting Private Property Against Eminent Domain and Government Land Grabs
Senate Amendment 2482 to H.R. 2996 allows all owners of private property within the borders of a National Heritage Area to have their property excluded from the designated area. The amendment as modified was agreed to by Unanimous Consent on September 24, 2009.
Senate Amendment 682 to H.R. 146 protects visitors to national parks from criminal penalties, including eminent domain, for taking insignificant rocks and stones as souvenirs. The amendment was agreed to by voice vote on March 19, 2009.
Senate Amendment 675 to H.R. 146 would prohibit the use of eminent domain to forcibly take away private property from home owners for the purpose of creating new public lands. On March 18, 2009, the amendment was tabled by a vote of 63 to 35 (A “yea” vote is to kill the amendment and a “nay” vote is to support consideration of the amendment).
Senate Amendment 4521 would have required the citizens living within a jurisdiction to approve via referendum any attempts by federal government agencies to take property within their community. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 19 to 76 on April 10, 2008.
Senate Amendment 4520 to S. 2739 would have required that everyone who resides or owns property within a National Heritage Area be informed of this designation, which could potentially impact the use of their property. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 27 to 67 on April 10, 2008.
Increasing Access and Choice to Affordable Health Care for All Americans
Senate Amendment 47 to H.R. 2 would have provided private health insurance options for families whose children are enrolled in the government-run State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The amendment was rejected by a vote of 36 to 62 on January 29, 2009.
Senate Amendment 86 to H.R. 2 would have provided lower income families a choice of health care insurance options for their children rather than forcing needy children into a government run healthcare bureaucracy. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 36 to 62 on January 29, 2009.
Senate Amendment 2627 would have allowed children and pregnant women in lower income families keep their private health insurance coverage rather than being forced into a government run healthcare bureaucracy. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 37 to 62 on August 2, 2007.
Senate Amendment 4034 to S. 1200 would have established a program to allow those enrolled in the Indian Health Service to choose their own health insurance coverage and make their own health care decisions. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 28 to 67 on February 14, 2008.
Providing Tax Relief for Homeowners
Senate Amendment 830 to S. Con. Res. 13 temporarily suspends the 10 percent tax penalty on early withdrawal from retirement accounts to allow struggling families to make mortgage payments. The amendment was agreed to by unanimous consent on April 2, 2009.
Protecting Freedom of Conscience
Senate Amendment 828 to S. Con. Res. 13 would have protected the freedom of conscience of health care providers by prohibiting laws or regulations that coerced health care providers to perform or participate in specific surgical or medical procedures, such as abortion, or prescribe certain pharmaceuticals that violated their moral, ethical or religious beliefs. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 41 to 56 on April 2, 2009.
Advancing American Energy Independence
Senate Amendment 679 to H.R. 146 would have removed new federal restrictions of the development of renewable energy on public lands. On March 18, 2009, the amendment was tabled by a vote of 65 to 33 (A “yea” vote is to kill the amendment and a “nay” vote is to support consideration of the amendment).
Expanding Educational Opportunities and Options
Senate Amendment 2888 to H.R. 1124 would have provided students the same federal financial aid to attend a private college or university as they would be eligible to receive to attend a public college or university. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 38 to 59 on September 18, 2007.
Securing Our Nation’s Borders and Stopping Illegal Immigration
Senate Amendment 2523 to H.R.2996 would have prohibited the Department of Interior from impeding, prohibiting or restricting activities of the Secretary of Homeland Security to enforce border control laws on federal lands. The amendment was agreed to by Unanimous Consent on September 24, 2009.
Senate Amendment 1311 to S. 1348 would have required existing border security and immigration laws be enforced before amnesty could be granted to illegal aliens with the U.S. The amendment was rejected by a vote on 42 to 54 on June 7, 2007.
Ensuring Justice and Protecting Civil Rights
Senate Amendment 608 to H.R. 1105 would have provided resources to investigate unsolved homicides and bring to justice those who committed civil rights crimes decades ago but remain at large. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 37 to 58 on March 4, 2009.
Senate Amendment 4032 to S. 1200 would give Indian victims of rape and sexual assault the right to request that a defendant be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. The amendment was agreed to by a vote of 94 to 0 on February 14, 2008.
Removing Government Restrictions on Charitable Donations by Americans
Senate Amendment 2304 to H.R. 3435 would have allowed automobiles turned in as part of the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program to be donated to charities and needy families rather than being required to be destroyed. The amendment was rejected by a vote of 41 to 56 on August 6, 2009.