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Key votes are one way lobbyists, advocates, and special interest groups flex their political muscles. If an amendment or bill is very important to an organization they will designate it a “key vote,” to let members of Congress know that if they vote the wrong way they risk losing that group’s support. At the end of the year, when groups like the Chamber of Commerce or the AFL-CIO issue report cards for members of Congress, they base it largely on their key vote records. It can be a risky move though, to draw a line in the sand with Congress, so when a group key votes a bill they’ve got to make it count.


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