Senator Olympia Snowe
Republican of Maine

154 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-5344
Fax: 202-224-1946
E-mail
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Progressive Action Score: 13

A score of 13 means that Sen. Snowe has acted to support 13% of a slate of progressive policies in the 109th Congress.
Progressive, forward-looking actions Senator Snowe has taken to merit a PAS of 13:
  • On June 7, 2006, Senator Olympia Snowe helped to vote down a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution which would have specifically made marriages between same-sex partners unconstitutional. Senator Snowe showed the necessary resolve, understanding of liberty, moral compass, and general good sense to vote this amendment down, engaging in the sort of leadership that we can admire, at least in this instance. You\'ll be pilloried by the ranks of haters, Senator Snowe, but you've earned some admiration for your action here in other quarters. Thank you for affirming the civil rights of all Americans, even the unpopular ones.
  • The Patriot Act was created in a time of irrational fear, when an emotionally overwrought senator might be excused for approving a measure that enables the government to access the lives of everyday innocent citizens. But four and a half years later, there is no excuse. Unfortunately, 89 out of our 100 United States senators voted to renew the Patriot Act, sacrificing liberty on the altar of political expediency. Senator Snowe was one of just ten senators to vote against the renewal of the Patriot Act. Thank you, Senator Snowe. You have shown your mettle as a true defender of freedom, acting in defense of liberty even when it is difficult to do so.

  • George W. Bush has put in place a new rule in which industrial plants will be able to purchase the right to spew as much mercury out of their smokestacks as they want. The trouble with this system is that, although mercury pollution could be reduced in some places, hot spots of excessive mercury pollution would appear throughout the country. Local residents would have absolutely no say when mercury pollution threatened their health and the health of their families. The only market-based solution that local residents would have would be to flee their homes, selling their property at drastically reduced rates. That's the kind of market-based solution that belongs in a Charles Dickens novel, not in America.

    S.J. Res 20 would have overturned the Bush Mercury Hotspot Rule, but if failed by a slim majority of 51. Senator Snowe voted for S.J. Res 20 in a valiant effort to keep Mercury hotspots from proliferating across the United States of America. It's a shame that not enough others joined you, Senator Snowe, but we thank you for your effort and your courage.
    Progressive political actions that Sen. Snowe could have taken but unfortunately chose not to take:

    • On May 26, 2006, Senator Snowe failed to vote against the confirmation of General Michael Hayden to his new post as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Because Sen. Snowe failed to cast a NO vote, General Hayden proceeded to take the top job at this civilian intelligence agency, handing it over to control by military personnel. Even worse than voting to put a military officer in charge of a civilian spying organization, Senator Snowe allowed through a lack of opposition the precedent of Gen. Hayden\'s anti-American programs to whiz through the Congress without a reprimand. Hayden was in charge of the Bush administration operation of spying for the government into the personal lives of tens of millions of Americans who are innocent of any crime. In failing to show a spine, Senator Snowe failed to fulfill the oath every member of the Senate takes to defend the Constitution, and rewarded George W. Bush for breaking the law.
    • On May 18, 2006, Senator Snowe failed to vote against Senate Amendment 4064 to S. 2611. Amendment 4064. Because Sen. Snowe failed to cast a NO vote, the amendment passed. As a consequence, the Senate declared English to be the National Language of the United States of America, and that "no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English."

      This amendment did not pass because people who already speak English could not access government services. This amendment passed as a way of assigning people value according to the language they speak. This amendment passed as a way of exalting and preserving the status of English speakers. This amendment passed as a way of degrading and keeping down the status of non-English speakers. The effect of this amendment will be to deny government service to Americans whose sole sin is that they speak the wrong language. This amendment is about disdain for difference, something that most of us outgrew by the end of middle school. By failing to vote against this amendment Senator Snowe showed a middle-school attitude toward governance, inclusion and citizenship. It is time for Senator Snowe to grow up.

    • The Patriot Act is a betrayal of the great American tradition of liberty because it encourages the government to spy on the legal, personal activities of Americans who have not broken the law. The Bush Administration is using that power to grab information out of commercial and public databases and assemble them into a single giant computer database through which the private affairs of every American citizen can be tracked by government officials. Senator Snowe tried to break a fillibuster and reauthorize the Patriot Act, empowering the Bush administration to continue to dismantle American liberties and erect a Big Brother edifice in their place.

    • The Patriot Act was created in a time of irrational fear, when an emotionally overwrought senator might be excused for approving a measure that enables the government to access the lives of everyday innocent citizens. But four and a half years later, there is no excuse. Shame on you, Senator Snowe. You didn't vote against the renewal of the Patriot Act. You have sacrificed freedom on the altar of your own political preservation. You should have known better.

    • Sen. Snowe has not formally supported S. 14, which would raise the minimum wage from its current 55-year inflation-adjusted low.
    • Sen. Snowe failed to oppose the Graham Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's Amendment inserted the following text into the U.S. Code:
      (1) IN GENERAL - Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: "..(e) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to consider - ..(1) an application for a writ of habeas corpus based on policies established by the Secretary of Defense under section 1071(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 filed on behalf of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant, or ..(2) any other action, challenging any aspect of the detention of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant". (2) EFFECTIVE DATE - The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply to any application or other action pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
      The Graham Amendment has three effects:
      1. It removes the power of the courts to hear a writ of habeas corpus from any non-citizen who is held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense. That means that no court will have the power to determine the identities of people being held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense, where they are being held prisoner, and why they are being held prisoner.
      2. It removes the power of the courts to make any ruling on any aspect of any prisonerís detention. This includes torture.
      3. It makes the changes retroactive. That means that even if torture was done two years ago, the amendment takes away the power of the courts to do anything about it.

      What possibly could justify this removal of liberty from the American nation?

      What possibly could justify Senator Snowe's failure to oppose this downright unAmerican amendment?
    • By voting for S.256, Senator Snowe helped to make it harder for average people who run into hard times to keep even the most basic of assets when they run into already rich megacreditors who want just a bit more profit. Senator Snowe has moved to protect the high-profit, high-rate consumer credit industry against people struggling to get by. That's an inversion of any reasonable person's moral compass. Sen. Snowe has chosen corporations over people.
    • By voting to approve George W. Bush's choice of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, Senator Snowe has decided that it's acceptable for the top law enforcement office of the United States to be a man who put his stamp on memos approving the use of torture, and who says the Geneva Conventions don't have to be followed. In this vote, Senator Snowe endorsed an anything-goes, deeply amoral vision of America's future.
    • Sen. Snowe has not formally supported S. 20, which would expand access to family planning services for low-income families, giving poor families access to contraception, reducing long-term health care costs and cutting the rate of unwanted pregnancies.
    • Sen. Snowe has not formally supported S. 317, which would keep government agents from riffling through your bookstore receipts and library records without your permission or knowledge.
    • Sen. Snowe failed to vote for an Amendment offered by Senator Carl Levin, which would have established "a national commission on policies and practices on the treatment of detainees since September 11, 2001." We've been waiting years for the establishment of such a commission, which would finally bring about an independent investigation into the secret torture prisons of the Bush Administration. We have been of the opinion that the American people deserve to know whether their government is torturing prisoners and committing other war crimes in the name of the United States of America. Why doesn't Senator Snowe share that commitment to shine a light on the nefarious practice of torture?
    • Sen. Snowe has not formally supported S. 266, which would make it a punishable offense for members of a president's staff to use government resources to create fake news releases for purposes of political promotion. Doesn't Senator Snowe think fake news created by big government is a bad idea?

    Contact Sen. Snowe by E-mail, Phone (at 202-224-5344), or Fax (at 202-224-1946), and ask why such progressive priorities don't seem to matter to them.
  • Regressive Conservative Score: 73

    A score of 73 means that Senator Snowe has acted to support 73% of a slate of conservative, wrongheaded policies in the 109th Congress.
    Regressive, destructive, and downright unAmerican actions Senator Snowe has taken that contribute to a RCS of :
  • On May 26, 2006, Senator Snowe voted to confirm General Michael Hayden\'s appointment to his new post as head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Because Sen. Snowe cast a YES vote, General Hayden proceeded to take the top job at this civilian intelligence agency, handing it over to control by military personnel. Even worse than voting to put a military officer in charge of a civilian spying organization, Senator Snowe endorsed the precedent of Gen. Hayden\'s anti-American surveillance programs. Hayden was in charge of the Bush administration operation of spying for the government into the personal lives of tens of millions of Americans who are innocent of any crime. In falling over for the Bush administration\'s whims like a limp noodle in a strong wind, Senator Snowe failed to fulfill the oath every member of the Senate takes to defend the Constitution, and rewarded George W. Bush for breaking the law.
  • The Patriot Act is a betrayal of the great American tradition of liberty because it encourages the government to spy on the legal, personal activities of Americans who have not broken the law. The Bush Administration is using that power to grab information out of commercial and public databases and assemble them into a single giant computer database through which the private affairs of every American citizen can be tracked by government officials. Senator Snowe tried to break a fillibuster and reauthorize the Patriot Act, empowering the Bush administration to continue to dismantle American liberties and erect a Big Brother edifice in their place.

  • The Patriot Act was created in a time of irrational fear, when an emotionally overwrought senator might be excused for approving a measure that enables the government to access the lives of everyday innocent citizens. But four and a half years later, there is no excuse. Shame on you, Senator Snowe. By voting to renew the Patriot Act, you have sacrificed freedom on the altar of your own advancement. You should have known better.

  • On May 18, 2006, Senator Snowe voted for Senate Amendment 4064 to S. 2611. Amendment 4064. Because Sen. Snowe cast a YES vote, the amendment passed. As a consequence, the Senate declared English to be the National Language of the United States of America, and that "no person has a right, entitlement, or claim to have the Government of the United States or any of its officials or representatives act, communicate, perform or provide services, or provide materials in any language other than English."

    This amendment did not pass because people who already speak English could not access government services. This amendment passed as a way of assigning people value according to the language they speak. This amendment passed as a way of exalting and preserving the status of English speakers. This amendment passed as a way of degrading and keeping down the status of non-English speakers. The effect of this amendment will be to deny government service to Americans whose sole sin is that they speak the wrong language. This amendment is about disdain for difference, something that most of us outgrew by the end of middle school. In voting for this amendment Senator Snowe showed a middle-school attitude toward governance, inclusion and citizenship. It is high time that Senator Snowe grew up.

  • In a betrayal of the founding principles of American liberty, Sen. Snowe voted to pass the Graham Amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham's Amendment inserted the following text into the U.S. Code:
    (1) IN GENERAL - Section 2241 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection: "..(e) No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to consider - ..(1) an application for a writ of habeas corpus based on policies established by the Secretary of Defense under section 1071(a) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 filed on behalf of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant, or ..(2) any other action, challenging any aspect of the detention of an alien who is detained by the Secretary of Defense as an enemy combatant". (2) EFFECTIVE DATE - The amendment made by paragraph (1) shall apply to any application or other action pending on or after the date of the enactment of this Act.
    The Graham Amendment has three effects:
    1. It removes the power of the courts to hear a writ of habeas corpus from any non-citizen who is held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense. That means that no court will have the power to determine the identities of people being held prisoner by the Secretary of Defense, where they are being held prisoner, and why they are being held prisoner.
    2. It removes the power of the courts to make any ruling on any aspect of any prisonerís detention. This includes torture.
    3. It makes the changes retroactive. That means that even if torture was done two years ago, the amendment takes away the power of the courts to do anything about it.

    What possibly could justify this removal of liberty from the American nation?

    What possibly could justify Senator Snowe's active support of this downright unAmerican amendment?
  • You'd think that for a lifetime appointment to the top legal job in the entire nation, there would be higher standards. Apparently not. All it takes to be Chief Justice is to have friends in high places, along with the patience to sit and smile and say next to nothing while being asked important questions about your qualifications for the job.

    This is especially disturbing given the negative record generated about John Roberts before his confirmation hearing. John Roberts wanted Americans to have to carry around a national ID card, rejected equal rights for women, thought it was a good idea to arrest a 12-year-old girl for eating a single french fry on the DC metro, lied about his membership in the ultra-right Federalist Society, favored the use of government resources to promote Judaism and Christianity to the exclusion of other religious persuasions, railed against Roe v. Wade, argued for the gutting of the Americans with Disabilities Act and tried to restrict the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, among many other concerns. Does this not paint a picture of a man out of touch with the American mainstream?

    In a display of insider pageantry devoid of substance, John Roberts has been confirmed as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, and given his age, America will have to suffer under him for quite some time. A few Senators stood firm in the face of the stonewalling silence of John Roberts and demanded actual information about the experience, professional history and position of the man who will arguably possess the greatest cumulative power over American government in the next half century. Senator Snowe was not among these courageous actors. Rather, Senator Snowe cravenly accepted the bizarre notion that a man with an anti-constitutional record, and who is unwilling to share his point of view regarding the constitution, is worthy of being elevated to the position of Chief Justice. In this rubber-stamping action, Senator Snowe has brought American closed-door insiderism to a new low.

  • By voting for S.256, Senator Snowe helped to make it harder for average people who run into hard times to keep even the most basic of assets when they run into already rich megacreditors who want just a bit more profit. Senator Snowe has moved to protect the high-profit, high-rate consumer credit industry against people struggling to get by. That's an inversion of any reasonable person's moral compass. Sen. Snowe has chosen corporations over people.
  • By voting to approve George W. Bush's choice of Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General, Senator Snowe has decided that it's acceptable for the top law enforcement office of the United States to be a man who put his stamp on memos approving the use of torture, and who says the Geneva Conventions don't have to be followed. In this vote, Senator Snowe endorsed an anything-goes, deeply amoral vision of America's future.