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Patrick Leahy on Corporations

Democratic Sr Senator (VT)

 


Amend Constitutional to declare corporations are NOT people

Q: Do you support a Constitutional amendment to reverse the effects of the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, which opened the floodgates to unlimited contributions to political campaigns.

Leahy: The Citizens United decision was a strike at the core of our democracy with few other decisions having such a negative impact on our political process. I advocated for campaign finance reform before the Citizens United decision. As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and on the heels of the disastrous McCutcheon decision, I led the debate for a Constitutional Amendment to rein in the influence of billionaires and make it clear that corporations are NOT people. I fully intend to continue to lead this fight if I am re-elected to the US Senate. Continuing to fight the influence of big money in politics by championing a constitutional amendment to declare once and for all that corporations are not people and overturn the devastating Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Source: Vote411.org League of Women Voters: 2016 Vermont Senate Race , Sep 19, 2016

Voted YES on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore.

Amendment to repeal the tax subsidy for certain domestic companies which move manufacturing operations and American jobs offshore.
Reference: Tax Subsidy for Domestic Companies Amendment; Bill S AMDT 210 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-63 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted NO on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions.

Amends Federal bankruptcy law to revamp guidelines governing dismissal or conversion of a Chapter 7 liquidation (complete relief in bankruptcy) to one under either Chapter 11 (Reorganization) or Chapter 13 (Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income). Voting YES would:
Reference: Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005; Bill S 256 ; vote number 2005-44 on Mar 10, 2005

Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy.

Vote to pass a bill that would require debtors able to repay $10,000 or 25 percent of their debts over five years to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy (reorganization and repayment) rather than Chapter 7 (full discharge of debt).
Reference: Bill HR 333 ; vote number 2001-236 on Jul 17, 2001

Rated 35% by the US COC, indicating a mixed business voting record.

Leahy scores 35% by US Chamber of Commerce on business policy

Whether you own a business, represent one, lead a corporate office, or manage an association, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States of AmericaSM provides you with a voice of experience and influence in Washington, D.C., and around the globe.

Our members include businesses of all sizes and sectors—from large Fortune 500 companies to home-based, one-person operations. In fact, 96% of our membership encompasses businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

Mission Statement:

"To advance human progress through an economic, political and social system based on individual freedom, incentive, initiative, opportunity, and responsibility."
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Source: COC website 03n-COC on Dec 31, 2003

Expand lending caps for credit unions to small business.

Leahy co-sponsored Small Business Lending Enhancement Act

Congressional Summary:

Supporter's Comments: (by CUNA, a pro-credit union organization)
America's small businesses are the engine of growth of our nation's economy. The effects of the financial crisis of the past few years have spread to all types of lending, resulting in a reduction in the availability of business credit. At a time when banks are withdrawing credit from America's small businesses, credit unions have actually been expanding credit to small businesses, but with more credit unions approaching the cap, this growth is threatened. Congress should enact legislation which increases the credit union member business lending cap from 12.25% of assets to 27.5% for well-capitalized credit unions

Opponent's Comments: (by the Independent Community Banks of America, Nov. 15, 2012)
The tax-subsidized credit union industry is pressing for doubling the statutory cap Congress placed on member business loans. Shifting assets from tax-paying banks to tax-exempt credit unions would reduce tax revenue to the government; the CBO estimates the revenue impact at $354 million over 10 years. We believe that banks are currently meeting the needs of credit-worthy businesses, as substantiated by numerous business surveys.

Source: HR1418 /S2231 12-S2231 on Mar 22, 2012

Rated 86% by UFCW, indicating an anti-management/pro-labor record.

Leahy scores 86% by UFCW on labor-management issues

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is North America's Neighborhood Union--1.3 million members with UFCW locals in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our members work in supermarkets, drug stores, retail stores, meatpacking and meat processing plants, food processing plants, and manufacturing workers who make everything from fertilizer to shoes. We number over 60,000 strong with 25,000 workers in chemical production and 20,000 who work in garment and textile industries.

    The UFCW Senate scorecard is based on these key votes:
  1. American Jobs Act (+)
  2. Balanced Budget Amendment (-)
  3. Rejecting Cut, Cap, and Balance (+)
  4. Repeal Health Care Law (-)
  5. Sen. Am. 14 Wicker Am. to S 223, excluding unionization at TSA (-)
  6. Sen. Am. 740 McCain Am. to HR 2112, defunding TAA (-)
  7. Trade Adjustment Assistance Extension Act (TAA) (+)
Source: UFCW website 12-UFCW-S on May 2, 2012

Deregulating banks encourages discriminatory practices.

Leahy voted NAY Banking Bill

Congressional Summary:

Supporting press release from Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6): This legislation will foster economic growth by providing relief to Main Street, tailor regulations for better efficacy, and most importantly it will empower individual Americans and give them more opportunity.

Opposing statement on ProPublica.org from Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY-5): The bill includes many provisions I support: minority-owned banks and credit unions in underserved communities have legitimate regulatory burden concerns. Unfortunately, exempting mortgage disclosures enacted to detect discriminatory practices will only assist the Trump Administration in its overall effort to curtail important civil rights regulations. I simply cannot vote for any proposal that would help this Administration chip away at laws that I and my colleagues worked so hard to enact and preserve.

Legislative outcome: Passed House 258-159-10 on May 22, 2018(Roll call 216); Passed Senate 67-31-2 on March 14, 2018(Roll call 54); Signed by President Trump. May 24, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 16-S2155 on Mar 14, 2018

Reducing tax rates balloons federal deficit & cuts programs.

Leahy voted NAY Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Summary by GovTrack.US: (Nov 16, 2017)

Case for voting YES by Heritage Foundation (12/19/17):This is the most sweeping update to the US tax code in more than 30 years. The bill would lower taxes on businesses and individuals and unleash higher wages, more jobs, and untold opportunity through a larger and more dynamic economy. The bill includes many pro-growth features, including a deep reduction in the corporate tax rate, a scaled-back state and local tax deduction, full expensing for five years, and lower individual tax rates.

Case for voting NO by Sierra Club (11/16/17): Republicans have passed a deeply regressive tax plan that will result in painful cuts to core domestic programs, to give billionaires and corporate polluters tax cuts while making American families pay the price. Among the worst provisions:

  • This plan balloons the federal deficit by over $1.5 trillion. Cutting taxes for the rich now means cuts to the federal budget and entitlements later.
  • The bill hampers the booming clean energy economy by ending tax credits for the purchase of electric vehicles and for wind and solar energy.
  • The bill opens up the Arctic Refuge to drilling, a thinly veiled giveaway to the fossil fuel industry.

    Legislative outcome: Passed House, 224-201-7, roll call #699 on 12/20; passed Senate 51-48-1, roll call #323 on 12/20; signed by Pres. Trump on 12/22.

    Source: Congressional vote 17-HR1 on Nov 16, 2017

    Restrict corporate use of consumer mandatory arbitration.

    Leahy signed restricting corporate use of consumer mandatory arbitration

    Excerpts from Letter from 35 Senators to the CFPB: We write to commend the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for its proposed rule to limit the use of mandatory, pre-dispute ("forced") arbitration clauses in consumer financial product and service contracts. Every day, Americans across the country are forced to sign away their constitutional right to access the courts as a condition of purchasing common products and services like credit cards, checking accounts, and private student loans. Binding arbitration is a privatized justice system that studies show consistently produces results that favor large corporations and offers no meaningful appeals process. As a result, consumers are left without redress, and companies are unaccountable for their unscrupulous behavior.

    Opposing freedom argument: (Cato Institute, "ATLA monopoly," May 2002): The trial lawyers new goal is to tighten their monopoly grip on the court system, and prevent the rest of us from choosing a more efficient means of resolving our disputes. Arbitration is simply private court. Lawyers with a vested interest in a monopoly court system are trying to stop the arbitration business from developing. But there's nothing forced or mandatory about it. Contracts are the result of choice. People should be free to choose for themselves what contracts to make and what rights to give up.

    Opposing economic argument: (Heritage Foundation, "The Unfair Attack on Arbitration," July 17, 2013): Any study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should examine whether a limit on arbitration would:

    Source: Letter to CFPB Director 17LTR-CFPB on Aug 4, 2016

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    Page last updated: Jul 26, 2021