Barbara Boxer's Legislative Record

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This article is about Senator Barbara Boxer's Legislative Record. See Barbara Boxer for more information.


Medical Research

Senator Boxer is part of a coalition to increase medical research to find cures for diseases. Boxer authored successful bipartisan legislation to accelerate America's contribution to combat global HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. She authored a Patients' Bill of Rights in 1997 and continues to fight for these protections and for affordable health care. She has written a bill to make health insurance tax deductible and another bill to let any American buy into the same health insurance program that members of Congress have. She supports comprehensive prescription drug coverage through Medicare and the right of all consumers to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs reimported from Canada.

In October 2002, Boxer urged the Bush Administration to take specific steps to address the causes of the steep increase in autism cases in California. She wrote HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to establish a common national standard for the diagnosis of autism; instruct the CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to convene a task force to review the current literature on autism and conduct its own study if necessary; and direct the NIH and CDC to work with the states to create a national chronic disease database.

Boxer is a strong advocate for stem-cell research, which she believes has the potential to help those with diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injuries, and other diseases.


Boxer authored legislation providing federal funding for local after-school programs, which have been shown to increase student performance while decreasing juvenile delinquency, crime, and drug use. Her "Computers in Classrooms" law encourages the donation of computers and software to schools.

Boxer supported the No Child Left Behind Act. Since its passage in 2001, she claims that the bill has been underfunded by billions of dollars and aims to make sure it is fully funded, as originally pledged by President Bush.

Boxer has voted to increase the maximum award for the Pell Grant program, which provides grants to lower income students for college. In addition, she has supported tax benefits to help more families pay for higher education.


Senators Boxer and John Ensign (R-NV) are the authors of the Invest in the USA Act. This legislation, which was signed into law in October 2004, is intended to encourage American companies to bring overseas profits back to the United States, to create jobs in the U.S., and stimulate domestic economic growth. According to one economic estimate, the Invest in the USA Act will create over 600,000 new American jobs.

In March 2004, Senator Boxer offered an amendment to the federal budget to create a $24 billion jobs reserve fund. The amendment would set aside funds for a variety of investments to improve the economy and create jobs by establishing a manufacturing jobs tax credit for companies that create jobs in the United States, expanding investment in science research and development, providing a tax credit to small businesses to pay for health insurance for their employees, and expanding trade adjustment assistance to help those who lose their jobs because of foreign trade. The Boxer amendment would also end the tax break that companies receive for moving plants overseas.

Boxer offered an amendment in 2004 to increase the national minimum wage. Boxer's amendment would have increased the minimum wage in three stages from the current $5.15 an hour to $7.00 an hour.

The Environment

Boxer successfully led the 2003 Senate floor battle to block oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2005, Boxer voted again to block oil drilling at ANWR.

Boxer has introduced the National Oceans Protection Act (NOPA) of 2005. Some of the provisions of this act are: strengthen ocean governance; protect and restore marine wildlife and habitats; address ocean pollution; improve fisheries management. The bill also addresses needs regarding marine science, research and technology, marine mammals, coastal development, and invasive species.

Boxer is an original co-sponsor of Senator Jim Jeffords' (I-VT) Clean Power Act. This legislation would reduce emissions of four pollutants coming from power plants; sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and mercury.

Boxer introduced legislation with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) in May 2007 that would make the Capital Power Plant a demonstration site for new carbon-capture technologies. The bill would authorize the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to award a competitive $3 million contract for a 2-year project. The measure would require technology that has been used in at least three other power plants that are at least five times larger than the Capital Power Plant.[1]

Women's Rights

Boxer authored the Freedom of Choice Act of 2004 and participated in the floor fight for passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Boxer authored the original Violence Against Women Act. Later in 1994, she co-sponsored, and the Senate passed, the Violence Against Women Act, which provided reforms to the criminal justice system to better prosecute violent crimes against women, and provided federal funding to local law enforcement agencies for training and equipment necessary for prosecution. Boxer has also authored the Violence Against Children Act, based on the successful VAWA.

Boxer is an original cosponsor of the Title X Family Planning Services Act of 2005, S.844, by Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY). This legislation aims to reduce unintended pregnancies, reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women's health care.

Boxer does not support restrictions on the availability of abortion, such as late term ("partial-birth") abortion procedures, and parental notification requirements.

Social Security

Boxer supports the current system of Social Security, and opposes President Bush's plan to privatize Social Security. [1], [2]. She introduced the 401(k) Pension Protection Act to protect workers' retirement by requiring the diversification of 401(k) plans. A modified version of the bill was signed into law as part of the 1997 tax bill.

Following the Enron scandal, Boxer again worked to ensure that retirement plans are diversified. She also introduced a bill to prohibit accounting firms from auditing and consulting for the same company.

National security

After the September 11th attacks, Boxer authored a bill to protect commercial airliners against attacks by shoulder-fired missiles, and wrote the law allowing airline pilots with special training to carry guns in the cockpit.

Boxer wrote the High-Tech Port Security Act, and sponsored the Chemical Security Act to address terrorist threats against chemical plants. Senator Boxer also cosponsored comprehensive rail security legislation.

In October 2002 Boxer voted against the joint resolution passed by the Congress to authorize the use of military force by the Bush Administration against Iraq. [3], [4], [5] Later on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart she characterized that vote as "The best vote of my life."

In June 2005, Senators Boxer and Russ Feingold (D-WI) cosponsored Senate Resolution 171 calling for a timeframe for U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

Boxer's petition demanding an exit strategy from Iraq drew 107,218 signatures. [6]

Election reform

In the 108th Congress, Senators Boxer, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), and Bob Graham (D-FL), introduced legislation that would have required that electronic voting systems provide a paper record to verify a vote. It was not given much attention however, by the Republican majority.

On January 6, 2005, Boxer joined Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio in filing a Congressional objection to the certification of Ohio's Electoral College votes in the 2004 U.S. presidential election.[7] She called the objection her "opening shot to be able to focus the light of truth on these terrible problems in the electoral system".[8], [9], [10] The Senate vote on the objection was 1 Yea - 74 Nay, the House vote was 31 Yea - 267 Nay.[11] It was only the second Congressional objection to an entire State's electoral delegation in U.S. history, the first was back in 1877. [12], [13]

On February 18, 2005 Senators Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones introduced the Count Every Vote Act of 2005, which would provide a voter verified paper ballot for every vote cast in electronic voting machines and ensure access to voter verification for all citizens. The bill mandates that this ballot be the official ballot for purposes of a recount. The bill sets a uniform standard for provisional ballots so that every qualified voter will know their votes are treated equally, and requires the Federal Election Assistance Commission to issue standards that ensure uniform access to voting machines and trained election personnel in every community. The bill also improves security measures for electronic voting machines.

The act designates Election Day as a federal holiday and requires early voting in each state; enacts "no-excuse" absentee balloting; enacts fair and uniform voter registration and identification; requires states to allow citizens to register to vote on Election Day; requires the Election Assistance Commission to work with states to reduce wait times at polling places; restores voting rights for prior felons who have had their felon status officially removed.

The act also restricts the ability of chief state election officials as well as owners and senior managers of voting machine manufacturers to engage in certain kinds of political activity. The bill also makes it a federal crime to commit deceptive practices, such as sending flyers into minority neighborhoods telling voters the wrong voting date, and makes these practices a felony punishable by up to a year of imprisonment.

All provisions of this legislation would take effect no later than the 2006 Federal election.

Bush Nominees

During the confirmation hearings for the Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice in January 2005, Boxer challenged her to admit to mistakes and false statements made by the Bush Administration in leading the U.S. into the 2003 invasion of Iraq. [14] Thirteen Senators voted against the confirmation of Condoleeza Rice, the highest vote against a Secretary of State nominee since 1825. [15], [16], [17]

She later voted against U.S. Attorney General nominee Alberto Gonzales, who had drawn fire for his involvement in U.S. policies condoning torture. [18]

Boxer voted against John R. Bolton's nomination for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and filibustered him on the Senate floor. As a result of the strong Democrat opposition, Bolton could not obtain Senate approval. However, President Bush bypassed the Senate by employing recess appointment, only the second time such an appointment has been used for a United States ambassador to the United Nations since the UN's founding in 1945. The first recess appointment for this position was done back in the late 1940s.

Boxer voted against the confirmation of Chief Justice of the United States nominee John Roberts. [19], [20]

Foreign policy

In 1997 the Senate passed a Boxer resolution calling on the United States not to recognize the Taliban as the official government of Afghanistan because of its human rights abuses against women. In October 2001, Boxer successfully authored a resolution calling for the inclusion of women in the temporary government of Afghanistan.

In March 2005 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Boxer's amendment to the Foreign Affairs Reauthorization Bill strongly urging Saudi Arabia to permit women to run for office and vote in all future elections.

Boxer is a cosponsor of S. 495, or the Darfur Accountability Act of 2005, which would impose sanctions against perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Darfur.

On April 5, 2005, the U.S. Senate passed by 52-46 votes an amendment by Senators Boxer and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) that would repeal the Global Gag Rule, which President Bush established by executive order on his first working day in office in 2001. The Global Gag Rule denied U.S. international family planning assistance to organizations that use their own privately raised funds to counsel women on the availability of abortion, advocate for changes to abortion laws, or provide abortion services.

The Internet

Along with Senator George Allen (R-VA), Boxer authored the Jumpstart Broadband Act. This bill would make more spectrum available for use by devices that incorporate new broadband technology, such as WiFi. The Federal Communications Commission is now implementing the Boxer-Allen bill. Boxer is also supporting legislation to provide a 20 percent tax credit for expanding broadband to rural areas.

Boxer opposes access and sales taxes on the Internet, co-authoring a bill with Sen. George Allen in 2001 to extend the Internet tax moratorium for five years. She is also the co-author of bipartisan legislation to protect stock options.

Boxer has joined in introducing the Spy Block Act of 2005, S. 687, in the U.S. Senate. The bill would regulate the unauthorized installation of computer software; require disclosure of software features that may pose a threat to privacy; prohibits false/misleading representations about software that cannot be uninstalled or disabled through usual program removal functions.

Gun control

Boxer authored legislation to require child safety locks on guns.

Senator Boxer joined colleagues to pass the 1994 Crime Bill, which banned various semi-automatic rifles and established the COPS program. She supports reauthorization of both programs. She strongly supports a ban on so-called 'cop-killer' bullets (with hard metal cores which can penetrate protective vests) and authored legislation to require child safety locks on guns. Her bill to prevent the criminal use of personal information obtained through motor vehicle records was signed into law and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Senator Boxer introduced legislation which would require American-made handguns to meet the same quality and safety standards as imported guns, in an attempt to get "junk guns" off the street. Junk guns are inexpensive, easily concealable, and are the preferred weapons of juvenile criminals.

Senator Boxer is a cosponsor of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which would aid federal authorities in assisting local hate crime investigations and prosecutions and would expand the federal definition of hate crimes to include crimes based on the victim's gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Gay rights

Boxer has been a strong voice in support of equal rights for gays and lesbians. She has publicly spoken out against the Federal Marriage Amendment and has been a strong supporter of domestic partnership rights for same-sex couples and their protection from workplace discrimination. In 1996, she was one of the few senators to vote against the Defense of Marriage Act.