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House votes highlight stark differences between Democrats and Republicans

This is my last commentary before the mid-term elections. In researching the issues I came across a very detailed analysis of a series of roll-call votes in the House of Representatives. It was created by the writer, Richard Greene. I believe his research pin-points important differences between the Democrats and Republicans. These differences are not based on rhetoric but on actual action --- action that can be verified by a quick look at the Congressional Record. If I could summarize his research it is that laws passed by the Democratic majority in the House (that are supported by strong majorities of the American people) have been overwhelmingly opposed by Republican House members.

At the end of this mini-essay. I have reproduced the entirety of Mr. Greene’s piece. He is a most interesting person. He describes himself as follows:

“Richard Greene “The Civics Dean” is an author, Civics Educator and Political Communication Strategist who has advised Presidents, Prime Ministers and Presidential and Prime Ministerial candidates in 10 countries. A former Fellow at the Constitutional Rights Foundation, Richard is also a former attorney, former law school instructor, national radio talk show host and the Founder of 279 for Change, which advocates a new approach to engaging in politics based on pieces of legislation. His book “Words That Shook the World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Events” analyzes the 20 greatest speeches of the 20th Century.” His website is http://www.richardgreene.org/about-richard/

Here are a sample of his points:

In April, there was a leak of what turned out to be the final decision of the Supreme

Court’s over-ruling the Roe v. Wade precedent. This decision took away American women’s constitutional right to control their own reproductive health. The other shoe dropped with the formal release of the ‘Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization” decision in July of this year. For details see https://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/dobbs-v-jackson-womens-health-organization/

In response to the April leak, even before Dobbs was announced, the House passed the Women’s

Health Protection Act. [For details see https://fastdemocracy.com/bill-search/us/117/bills/USB00067255/?report-bill-view=1]

This law would have reinstated the rights that had been the law of the land when Roe ruled

by codifying those rights in federal law. This would have made it illegal for states to criminalize abortion. All Democrats except for one voted for the bill while all Republicans except for two voted against it. If the Republicans take Congress this November, they have promised to introduce and pass a national abortion ban.

Two related House bills are also worth discussing in this context. When Justice Clarence

Thomas wrote an opinion supporting the over-turning of Roe he noted that since the basis of Roe

had been the “right to privacy” (which he never believed is a constitutional right) the Court should reconsider other rulings based on the right to privacy.

[This is actually worth a bit of a digression. When Robert Bork was rejected for a Supreme Court seat by a majority of the Senate back in the 1980s, one of the issues explored in his confirmation hearing was the precedent set in Griswold v. Connecticut which outlawed a Connecticut statute which banned the use of contraceptives and even criminalized giving advice about them. The Supreme Court held that “A right to privacy can be inferred from several amendments in the Bill of Rights, and this right prevents states from making the use of contraception by married couples illegal. In a 7-2 decision authored by Justice Douglas, the Court ruled that the Constitution did in fact protect the right of marital privacy against state restrictions on contraception. While the Court explained that the Constitution does not explicitly protect a general right to privacy, the various guarantees within the Bill of Rights create penumbras, or zones, that establish a right to privacy. Together, the First, Third, Fourth, and Ninth Amendments create the right to privacy in marital relations. The Connecticut statute conflicted with the exercise of this right and was therefore held null and void.”

For details see https://www.oyez.org/cases/1964/496. For details of Bork’s views see


Justice Clarence Thomas is already on record as opposing the Griswold precedent. In his concurring opinion supporting the over-turning of the Roe precedent, Thomas

“…noted that in its rationale, the court’s majority found that a right to abortion was not a form of “liberty” protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution — as the court had said in Roe. Then, he took aim at three other landmark cases that relied on that same legal reasoning: Griswold v. Connecticut, a 1965 decision that declared married couples had a right to contraception; Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case invalidating sodomy laws and making same-sex sexual activity legal across the country; and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 case establishing the right of gay couples to marry. Justice Thomas wrote that the court “should reconsider” all three decisions, saying it had a duty to “correct the error” established in those precedents. Then, he said, after “overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, (Roe and Casey) the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions” protected the rights they established.” For details see Sheryl Stolberg, “Thomas’s concurring opinion raises questions about what rights might be next,” The New York Times, (June 24, 2022) available at https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/24/us/clarence-thomas-roe-griswold-lawrence-obergefell.html. It is also useful to remind people that the landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia that ruled unconstitutional state bans on interracial marriage [for details see https://www.oyez.org/cases/1966/395] could also be subject to Thomas’ rule though he didn’t mention it in his opinion.

Just to be on the safe side, the House responded to Thomas’ opinion with an attempt to pre-empt any future Supreme Court from taking away the rights to use contraceptives, the rights of gay people to not be prosecuted for engaging in homosexual sex, and the rights of gay people and interracial couples to marry. The laws were the Right to Contraception Act and the Respect for Marriage Act. The first one passed the House with all Democrats voting in favor while all save 8

Republicans voted against it. The Respect for Marriage Act which codified the right to both same sex and interracial marriage, was supported by all Democrats. The majority of

Republicans opposed that law with 47 joining the Democrats in support.

I’ll refer to two more laws passed by the House and rejected by almost all Republican House members. First let’s consider the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment And Expungement Act. This law would have decriminalized the possession of marijuana at the federal level. Right now, if you buy marijuana in a state where it is legal, you can be arrested by the feds merely for possession. When it came to a vote in the House, almost all Democrats voted for it with two opposed while all Republicans save three voted no.

Finally, let’s consider voting rights. The House made an effort to overturn the Supreme Court’s outrageous ruling in Shelby County v. Holder --- a ruling the basically eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

[For details see https://www.oyez.org/cases/2012/12-96]

As soon as the Shelby ruling came down, many states rushed to pass laws significantly restricting voting rights.

[Writing in 2019, the Brennan Center for Justice noted the following result of Shelby: “The day the Shelby decision was handed down, Texas officials announced their intention to implement a strict voter ID law that had previously been denied preclearance – a law that the federal courts eventually found to be discriminatory, following years of litigation. Soon after, Alabama and Mississippi followed suit with their own photo ID laws, and North Carolina passed an omnibus election law that included restrictions such as strict photo ID and cutbacks to early voting. A federal court later struck down the North Carolina law, finding that it had been passed with a discriminatory purpose. So far this year, five states have passed (or are poised to pass) significant laws restricting access to the vote – three of which were previously subject to preclearance. And these laws are just a part of the post-Shelby story, which includes suspect poll closures, a significant uptick in voter purges, and other forms of voter suppression.” Max Feldman, “Voting Rights in America, Six Years after Shelby v. Holder,” Brennan Center for Justice (June 25) available at


The bill was called the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act. When it came to the House floor for a vote, it was unanimous from both sides. All Democrats voted yes and all Republicans voted no.

Why haven’t these become law despite being passed by the House and being supported by large majorities of the public? Because the United States Senate has a practice called the

filibuster which requires 60 votes to pass anything that does not involve Presidential appointments or budget reconciliation. The Senate has a razor thin Democratic majority – it blocked all these bills.

I hope this is useful information for all people who haven’t voted yet.

APPENDIX: What follows is the full text of Richard Greene’s research – Some of this repeats what I said on the air and what is written above.

Numbers don’t lie.

And THESE numbers reveal the deepest Truth about The Republican and Democratic Parties.

A Truth that the media doesn’t cover. A Truth that will shock most Americans.

Bottom line:

Democrats introduce bills that the VAST majority of Americans want. And Democrats vote FOR these bills virtually UNANIMOUSLY.

Republicans vote AGAINST these bills that the VAST majority of Americans want. And Republicans vote against them virtually UNANIMOUSLY.

Want the numbers?

Here are recent ROLL CALL VOTES in The House of Representatives on 20 of the most consequential and popular bills in modern history — bills THAT AMERICA WANTS.

Democrats cast a total of 3,939 votes for these bills (and just 17 votes against).

Republicans cast a total of 154 votes for these bills (and 3,595 votes against).

Category 1: 13 Bills Passed By Democrats in The House but blocked by Republicans in The Senate

1.“The Women’s Health Protection Act”: Should women have a right to have an abortion in America?

Dems: YES 218, NO 1

Reps: YES 2, NO 208

2. “The Right to Contraception Act”. Should Americans have a legal right to purchase contraception?

Dems: YES: 220, NO 0

Reps: YES 8, NO 195

3. “The Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act”. Should the oil industry face penalties for price gouging?

Dems: YES 217, NO 4

Reps: YES 0, NO 203

4. “The Assault Weapons Ban”. Should military style assault weapons be illegal for sale or purchase?

Dems: YES 215, NO 5

Reps: YES 2, NO 208

5. “The Bipartisan Background Checks Act”. Should we expand background checks to cover all gun sales?

Dems: YES 219, NO 1

Reps: YES 8, NO 202

6. “The Paycheck Fairness Act”. Should women receive equal pay for equal work in America?

Dems: YES: 216, NO: 0

Reps: YES: 1, NO: 210

7. “The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act”. Should cannabis be decriminalized federally and have past non-violent arrests and convictions expunged?

Dems: YES 217, NO 2

Reps: YES 3, NO 202

8. “The John R. Lewis Voting Rights Enhancement Act”. Should we enforce the provisions of The 1965 Voting Rights Act ensuring equal treatment for all voters?

Dems: YES 219, NO 0

Reps: YES 0, NO 212

9. ” The Respect for Marriage Act”. Should the Constitutional Right of same sex marriage declared by The Supreme Court be codified into American law?

Dems: YES 220, NO 0

Reps: YES 47, NO 157

10. “The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act”. Should there be consequences for police for discriminatory and illegal policing?

Dems: YES 219, NO 2

Reps: YES 1, NO 210

11. “The American Dream and Promise Act”. Should “Dreamers” who came to The US when they were young have a path to earn citizenship?

Dems: YES 219, NO 0

Reps:: YES 9, NO 197

12. “The Affordable Insulin Now Act”. Should the price of pharmaceutical insulin be capped at $35?

Dems: YES 220, NO 0

Reps: YES 12, NO 193

13. “Child Care for Working Families Act” (part of “Build Back Better) Should the government subsidize the cost of child care for certain working mothers and families?

Dems: YES 220, NO 1

Reps: YES 0, NO 212

14. “The Violence Against Women Act”: Should the government have and fund comprehensive responses to domestic violence, sexual assault dating violence and stalking?

Dems: YES 215, NO 0

Reps: YES 29, NO 172

15. BUILD BACK BETTER: In addition to Affordable Insulin and Child Care (above):Hearing Aids for Seniors, Child Tax Credit, Universal Pre-K

Dems: YES: 220, NO 0

Reps: YES 1, NO 212

2022 Midterm Election Note: Most of the above bills WILL pass in early 2023 if voters re-elect a Democratic Majority in The House and #JUST2MORE Democrats in The Senate. None of these bills will be brought up for a vote in The House if Republicans regain the Majority and either Kevin McCarthy or Donald Trump is Speaker of The House. Republicans need #JUST5MORE Republicans to regain the Majority.

Category 2: 3 Democratic Bills that became law with UNANIMOUS support by Democrats and minor support from Republicans in The Senate

16. The Honoring Our PACT Act”Should Veterans receive health care for serious injuries received from “burn pit” pollution while fighting in our wars?

Dems: YES 222, NO 0

Reps: YES 34, NO 174

17. “The Invest In America Act’ (Infrastructure Bill). An historic, massive infrastructure bill for America

Dems: YES: 219, NO: 0

Reps: YES: 2, NO 201

18. “The CHIPS and Science Act. Should we invest heavily in an American micro-processor (Chips) industry to compete with China?

Dems: YES 219, NO 0

Reps: YES 24, NO 187

19. “The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act”. Should the government fund mental health, school safety and crisis intervention programs and incentivize states to include juvenile records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System?

Dems: YES 220, NO 0

Reps: YES 14, NO 193

Category 3: 1 Democratic Bill that became law with ZERO Republican support in The Senate

20. “The Inflation Reduction Act”. The largest bill to fight climate change in history, reductions in prescription drugs, a 15% minimum tax on major corporations (and many other things)

Dems: YES 220, NO 1

Reps: YES 0, NO 212

2022 Midterm Election Note: Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other House Republicans have openly declared that THEIR legislative priorities include none of the above. Instead they will say they will focus on: a) Impeaching President Biden, b) Impeaching Merrick Garland, c) Investigating Hunter Biden and d) Making all abortions illegal throughout the United States.

The Republican and Democratic Parties are NOT the same. There is an almost total difference in policy.


Michael Meeropol is professor emeritus of Economics at Western New England University. He is the author with Howard and Paul Sherman of the recently published second edition of Principles of Macroeconomics: Activist vs. Austerity Policies

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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