IRSCompliantForever asked this question in a comment, and I thought the answer was interesting (and complicated) enough to deserve its own post. The Reed Amendment — which bans people determined by the Attorney-General to have “renounced citizenship for the purpose of avoiding taxation” — was an amendment to the Immigration in the National Interest Act of 1995 (which eventually morphed into the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996), moved while the bill was being considered by the House Committee on the Judiciary. The amendment passed with broad bipartisan support — you’ll notice plenty of familiar names among the committee voters, including Chuck Schumer — while the Republican control of the House and Senate ensured the passage of the bill in which it was contained. The detailed breakdown of the votes can be found after the jump.
Who voted for the amendment in committee?
You can see the vote for the Reed Amendment in the committee report (CTRL+F for “33. Amendment offered by Mr. Reed”). I was aware in a general sense that Republicans had taken back the House and the Senate in 1994, and that the Reed Amendment originated in 1995, but I’d never really put two and two together until reading this list: Republicans formed a majority among the supporters of the Reed Amendment. Indeed, every single one of the Republican freshmen on the committee who joined the House as a result of the 1994 “Revolution” voted for Reed’s amendment. On the other hand, the sponsor of the bill itself, Lamar Smith, voted against the Reed Amendment.
On the Democratic side, somehow I was not particularly surprised to learn that Chuck Schumer had weaselled his way onto the committee and voted in favour. Apparently his hatred of people who won’t be donating to his re-election campaigns any more runs much farther back than his camera-ready insta-outrage during the kerfluffle over Saverin’s renunciation in 2012. You may also recognise some names from the Congressional Progressive Caucus which these days carries on its tradition of emigrant harassment by repeatedly trying to kill what they insultingly refer to as the Foreign Earned Income “Loophole”: Xavier Becerra, John Conyers, Jerrold Nadler, and Mel Watt.
- Supporters (13 Republicans, 12 Democrats): Bob Barr (R-GA), Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Howard Berman (D-CA), Sonny Bono (R-CA), Ed Bryant (R-TN), John Bryant (D-TX), Steve Buyer (R-IN), Steve Chabot (R-OH), John Conyers (D-MI), Michael Flanagan (R-IL), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Fred Heineman (R-NC), Henry Hyde (R-IL), Bob Inglis (R-SC), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Jack Reed (D-RI), Steven Schiff (R-NM), Patricia Schroeder (D-CO), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), James Sensbrenner (R-WI), Mel Watt (D-NC).
- Opposers (5 Republicans): Howard Coble (R-NC), George Gekas (R-PA), Carlos Moorhead (R-CA), Bill McCollum (R-FL), Lamar Smith (R-TX)
Who voted for the bills themselves?
This is probably the less relevant question; most Congresscritters probably weren’t even aware of the Reed Amendment’s existence, and their votes would have been influenced primarily by the immigration restriction provisions of the bills in question, rather than the emigration restriction provisions. Additionally, the bills have a rather tangled legislative history; hopefully I haven’t made any errors as I tried to trace it. The Immigration in the National Interest Act, H.R. 1915, was introduced in the House by Lamar Smith (R-TX) on 22 June 1995 with 100 cosponsors; you can see the full list over on its THOMAS page. As mentioned above, the various committees reported the bill with amendments, one of which was the Reed Amendment.
After all the subcommittees reported the bill, Smith moved a new bill with all their amendments, the Immigration Control and Financial Responsibility Act (H.R. 2202; again, see its THOMAS page). H.R. 2202 passed the House on 22 March 1996 (GovTrack has a nice visual breakdown of the vote). The Senate had their own version of the bill without the Reed Amendment or any of the other new grounds of inadmissibility, which passed, but instead they went on to pass the House version nearly unanimously on 2 May 1996, but with amendments (to be honest, at this point I’m plain old stumped whether or not the Reed Amendment was in the version of the bill that they passed).
There was another vote in the House in September in which it passed with a bit less support, but from there it seems to have died due to the inability of the two chambers to reconcile the differences in the versions of the bill they passed. At some point the Reed Amendment was taken out of the bill, only to be put back in; supporter Xavier Becerra expressed his complete bewilderment at all the procedural manoeuvring (at page H11076 of the Congressional Record for 25 September 1996):
Mr. Speaker, let me go on to say that I am very disappointed in what we have here today, for a couple of reasons, not only because I think substantively this is a bill that needs a great deal of improvement, but because procedurally it is disappointing to see, in the greatest democracy in the world, that the Republicans, the majority in this Congress, saw fit not to allow anyone to participate in the structuring of this final version of the bill unless one happened to be Republican.
Not one point in time, since the bill first passed out of the House of Representatives back in March, have Democrats had an opportunity to provide amendments to this particular conference report or to participate even in discussion of amendments on this report. We had a conference committee yesterday that was only for the purpose of offering an opening statement. We did not have a chance to make an offer of an amendment that say, `This is a provision that needs to be changed; can we change it?’ Not a word. We were not allowed one opportunity to do so. This has come to the floor, with changes made in the back room in the dead of night, and some people are only now finding out what some of the provisions are.
I want to give you one example of how procedurally this bill has gone wrong. In conference we happened to have found out, because we were handed a sheet that same morning, that a provision in the bill that we thought was in, which would deny a billionaire a visa to come into this country after that billionaire had renounced his U.S. citizenship. In other words, we have a billionaire in this country who renounces his U.S. citizenship, says, `I do not want to be a U.S. citizen any more.’ Why? Because he wants to avoid taxes. If an individual is not a U.S. citizen, they do not pay U.S. taxes. So he renounces his citizenship, goes abroad, and then comes right back, applies for a visa to come back into this country. He has not paid any taxes, and he gets to come back into the country.
We had a provision in the bill that said, no, if an individual renounces their U.S. citizenship because they want to avoid taxes, they cannot come back in. We walk in that morning, and that provision is no longer there. So these billionaires can come back into the country without having paid their taxes. We said, why did you put that back in there? Why did we not have a chance to discuss this? Good news? Billionaires cannot come back in, if they renounce their citizenship. Bad news? We did not know it until this morning when we walked in and found it is back in the bill. That is the democratic process that we have undergone in this bill, where Members are not told what is in the bill until the last moment.
Eventually, IIRIRA was stuck in as Division C of the Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY1997; see the GovTrack page for a breakdown of the votes. It passed with overwhelming support from Republicans, and a nearly even split among Democrats.