How John McCain Worked

By: Josh Clark & Kathryn Whitbourne

Voting Record of John McCain: National Security and the Economy

McCain at Virginia Military Institute.
Sen. John McCain is announced at the Virginia Military Institute in 2007 before an address on Iraq War policy. McCain's support for the war hasn't wavered since the U.S. invaded in 2003.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beyond rhetoric, spin and messages, perhaps the truest means of establishing what a candidate values is his or her voting record. Here are some select important issues that came up for a vote during McCain's tenure in Congress.

The Iraq War/Military/National Security:

  • In 2007, McCain voted against the Senate's expression of its sense that the President should decrease the scope of the Iraq War to a "more limited set of missions" (S. Amendment 3876) [source: U.S. Senate].
  • On the Iraq War funding bill in 2007 (H.R. 1591), McCain voted against one version which included a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops (vote 126), did not vote on a second vote of a similar version of the same bill (vote 147), and voted in favor of a different bill that did not include a timetable for withdrawal (vote 181) [source: The Washington Post].
  • In 2007, he voted against S. Amdts. 3875 [source: U.S. Senate]; 3164 [source: U.S. Senate]; 2898 [source: U.S. Senate]; and 2924 [source: U.S. Senate], which called for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq.
  • McCain did not vote on S. Amdt. 1927 in 2007, which allows eavesdropping without a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court order [source: The Washington Post].
  • McCain voted in favor of the Iraq funding bill (S. 762) for April to September 2003 [source: Project Vote Smart].
  • In 1991, McCain voted in favor of using U.S. forces against Iraq in Kuwait (S.J. Res. 2) [source: U.S. Senate].
  • He voted yes on S. 1798 in 1989, an amendment that made murdering Americans abroad through terrorism a death penalty offense [source: U.S. Senate].
  • McCain voted in favor of S. Amdt. 935 in 1989, authorizing President George H.W. Bush to send troops into Panama and to remove President Manuel Noriega from power [source: U.S. Senate].
  • He did not vote on H.R. 6304, which supports the extension of the scope of FISA and provides retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that provided their customers' information to the U.S. government [source: U.S. Senate].

Economy/Government Finance:

  • McCain voted in favor of H.R. 2 in 2007, which increased the federal minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $7.25 [source: The Washington Post].
  • In 2006, McCain voted in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans (H.R. 4297) [source: U.S. Senate].
  • In 2005, he voted against the successful bill H.R. 2863, which provided $1.3 billion in emergency funding to states to help with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program [source: Project Vote Smart].
  • He voted in favor of a successful bill that established the Central American Free Trade Agreement in 2005 [source: U.S. Senate].
  • He voted against S. Amdt. 2804 in 2004, which called for ensuring funding for necessary services by closing corporate tax loopholes and repealing tax breaks for certain individuals [source: U.S. Senate].
  • In 2003, he voted for S. Amdt. 284, a bill which would have funded the No Child Left Behind Act by repealing tax breaks for wealthy Americans [source: U.S. Senate].
  • He voted for H.R. 333 in 2001, which made it more difficult to erase debt through bankruptcy [source: U.S. Senate].
  • In 1995, McCain voted in favor of a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget [source: U.S. Senate].
  • In 1993, he voted for the implementation of H.R. 3450, the North American Free Trade Agreement [source: U.S. Senate].
  • McCain voted against killing a bill in 1989 which would have transferred $5 million in fines from unauthorized childcare operations to approved Head Start programs (S. Amdt. 828) [source: U.S. Senate].
  • In 1989, he voted to increase the federal minimum wage (H.R. 2710) from $3.35 to $4.25 from 1989 to 1991 [source: U.S. Senate].

Immigration and health care are two big issues in the 2008 campaign. Read on to see how Sen. McCain has voted on related bills in the past.