Biography

  • Sen. Cornyn was born in Houston, Texas, and grew up in San Antonio, the second of three children. His father was a B-17 pilot in World War II before becoming an Air Force dentist. At various points Sen. Cornyn’s family was also stationed in El Paso, Texas; Biloxi, Mississippi; Washington, D.C.; and Tachikawa, Japan.

  • Sen. Cornyn graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas with a degree in journalism. After starting as a biology major, hoping to become a doctor, Sen. Cornyn realized science wasn’t his passion and he switched to journalism and worked for the school paper. 

  • Sen. Cornyn graduated from St. Mary’s Law School in San Antonio, and joined a San Antonio law firm where he specialized in defending doctors and lawyers in malpractice suits, combining his love of medicine and law.

  • Sen. Cornyn married his wife, Sandy. They have been married for 37 years and have two grown daughters. 

  • At the age of 32, Sen. Cornyn ran for, and won, an open state district judge seat in Bexar County.

  • After serving as a state district judge for six years, Sen. Cornyn was elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1990 and reelected in 1996.

  • Sen. Cornyn earned a Masters of Law from the University of Virginia.

  • After resigning from the Texas Supreme Court, Sen. Cornyn ran for Attorney General of Texas. He was the first Republican to win that office since Reconstruction.

  • Sen. Cornyn was first elected to the United States Senate on Nov. 5, 2002, winning more than 55 percent of all votes cast. 

  • Sen. Cornyn co-founded the bipartisan Senate India Caucus to promote U.S.-India bilateral relations and to discuss issues of common interest. 

  • The Project on Government Oversight awarded Sen. Cornyn with the first Bi-Partisan Leadership Award in honor of his dedication to issues of government oversight and transparency. 

  • Sen. Cornyn won his third “Hero of the Taxpayer” Award from Americans for Tax reform. 

  • Sen. Cornyn was elected for a second term as U.S. Senator of Texas, continuing to serve on the committees of Budget, Finance, and Judiciary. 

  • Sen. Cornyn was awarded the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) “Crime Fighter Award” and the Children At Risk “Founders Award” for his work fighting for legislation to help end the rape kit backlog and protect victims of child exploitation.

  • The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named Sen. Cornyn the “Small Business Advocate of the Year” for his commitment to small businesses in Texas and around the country.

  • After being elected to a third term as the U.S. Senator from Texas, Sen. Cornyn was elected by his peers to serve as the Majority Whip, a position that gives Texas a powerful voice at Congress’ leadership table. 

  • Sen. Cornyn was named Mr. South Texas in 2015 for his dedication to the growth and development of Laredo and the South Texas region.   

Committee Assignments

Committee on Finance

The Senate Committee on Finance has a far-reaching jurisdiction, making it one of the most powerful and influential in the Senate. Specifically, the Finance Committee has jurisdiction over taxation, ports of entry, trade, tariffs, pensions, and infrastructure. It is also responsible for all programs under the Social Security Act, which includes Medicare and Medicaid. The committee has legislative authority over parts of the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, Labor, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services, among others. Sen. Cornyn is the chairman of the Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness and sits on two additional subcommittees.

Subcommittees

  • Chairman, Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness
  • Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure
  • Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight

 

Committee On The Judiciary

The Committee on the Judiciary oversees the administration of federal civil and criminal justice. It processes the nominations of judges for the U.S. Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. It oversees the courts, law enforcement agencies like the Department of Justice, and other important parts of the federal government. And the Judiciary Committee considers legislation on a wide variety of topics, ranging from criminal justice and immigration to antitrust and intellectual property law. Senator Cornyn is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration and sits on two additional subcommittees. 

Subcommittees:

  • Chairman, Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration
  • Subcommittee on The Constitution
  • Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism

  

Select Committee on Intelligence

The Committee on Intelligence provides oversight on United States intelligence activities, programs, and budgets and prepares legislation to authorize funding levels and limit or permit intelligence operations. It occasionally deliberates on stand-alone legislation and can weigh in on treaties as they pertain to intelligence issues during the Senate’s process of ratification. The Committee can make formal inquiries on intelligence activities and events, analyze data from the Intelligence Community, and make recommendations on nominees for intelligence-related positions requiring Senate confirmation.  

Fun Facts

Excerpted and adapted from The Dallas Morning News, October 20, 2002. 

  • Sen. Cornyn was born Feb. 2, 1952, in Houston, the second of three children.
  • Sen. Cornyn’s father was a B–17 pilot who was shot down on his 26th mission. He spent four months in a German prisoner of war camp, went to college on the GI Bill, and later became an Air Force dentist. He retired as a colonel.
  • Because Sen. Cornyn’s father was in the Air Force, his family traveled a good deal growing up. At various points they were stationed in El Paso; Biloxi, Mississippi; Washington, D.C.; San Antonio; and Tachikawa, Japan.
  • When his family was stationed in Japan, Sen. Cornyn had the opportunity to climb Mount Fuji.
  • Sen. Cornyn wrestled while attending high school in Japan – Greco–Roman, not sumo style – and threw the discus and shot put for his track and field team.
  • Sen. Cornyn played the trombone for 10 years while growing up.
  • In college, Sen. Cornyn played intramural football, basketball and racquetball. As a senior, he was chosen as "outstanding intramural athlete."
  • After college, Sen. Cornyn decided not to become an entry–level reporter and instead studied for a real estate license while working as a waiter at Steak & Ale.
  • Sen. Cornyn sold houses for about a year, but soon discovered that he was “not a very good salesman.” Instead, Sen. Cornyn applied to law school and matriculated at St. Mary's University in San Antonio the following year.
  • In 1977, Sen. Cornyn joined the San Antonio law firm of Groce, Locke, & Hebdon. He specialized in defending doctors and lawyers in malpractice suits. Sen. Cornyn enjoyed the job because it allowed him to be involved in both medicine and the law.
  • Sen. Cornyn met his future wife, Sandy, on a blind date at the age of 25. They got married two years later and have been married for 37 years; they have two daughters, Danley and Haley.
  • Sen. Cornyn first considered running for elected office in 1984 at the age of 32 when a group of local Republicans at a Super Bowl party asked him to run for an open state district judge seat in Bexar County. Sen. Cornyn says he must have looked the part – though he was young, he already had white hair.
  • After serving as a district judge for six years, Sen. Cornyn was first elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1990 and then reelected in 1996.
  • Sen. Cornyn earned a Masters of Law from the University of Virginia in 1995.
  • In 1997, Sen. Cornyn resigned from the Texas Supreme Court and ran for Attorney General. He became the first Republican to win that office since Reconstruction.
  • Sen. Cornyn had the opportunity to argue two cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. His appearances marked the first time in 20 years that a Texas Attorney General had personally gone before the Court.
  • Sen. Cornyn supports the death penalty, but sought a new punishment hearing for a condemned Hispanic inmate because prosecutors had used racially tinged testimony against him.
  • During his tenure as the Attorney General, Sen. Cornyn dramatically improved child support collection, obtained more than $4 million in civil penalties from unscrupulous nursing home operators, reclaimed $5 million from several major insurance companies that underpaid auto repair claims, and levied penalties against sweepstakes promoters who had defrauded consumers.
  • Sen. Cornyn was elected first to the United States Senate on Nov. 5, 2002, winning more than 55 percent of all votes cast.
  • Sen. Cornyn owns several firearms and hunts as often as he can.
  • Sen. Cornyn has volunteered for the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Council, and the Lutheran General Hospital board.
  • Sen. Cornyn’s most embarrassing moment occurred when he muffed the opening pitch at a Round Rock Express baseball game.
  • His favorite book is Bonfire of the Vanities and his favorite movie is Jerry Maguire.
  • His "favorite food" is anything that contains blueberries and his favorite color is blue.
  • Sen. Cornyn’s favorite type of music is country & western and his favorite sport is basketball.

Voting Record

VotesDateQuestionResultPosition
1632016/12/10 00:57:00On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to S. 612)Motion Agreed to (78-21)Yea
1622016/12/10 00:35:00On the Cloture Motion S. 612Cloture Motion Agreed to (69-30, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1612016/12/09 22:53:00On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2028)Motion Agreed to (63-36)Yea
1602016/12/09 22:00:00On the Cloture Motion H.R. 2028Cloture Motion Agreed to (61-38, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1592016/12/08 12:31:00On the Conference Report S. 2943Conference Report Agreed to (92-7)Yea
1582016/12/07 14:29:00On the Cloture Motion S. 2943Cloture Motion Agreed to (92-7, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1572016/12/07 14:00:00On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 34)Motion Agreed to (94-5)Yea
1562016/12/05 17:44:00On the Cloture Motion H.R. 34Cloture Motion Agreed to (85-13, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1552016/12/01 13:47:00On Passage of the Bill H.R. 6297Bill Passed (99-0)Yea
1542016/11/29 23:31:00On Passage of the Bill S. 2873Bill Passed (97-0)Yea
1532016/11/17 12:05:00On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 3110Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected (51-47, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1522016/11/15 17:31:00On Passage of the Bill H.R. 4511Bill Passed (97-0)Yea
1512016/09/28 15:00:00On Passage of the Bill H.R. 5325Bill Passed (72-26)Yea
1502016/09/28 14:39:00On the Cloture Motion H.R. 5325Cloture Motion Agreed to (77-21, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1492016/09/28 14:09:00On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 5082 to H.R. 5325 (Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017)Cloture Motion Agreed to (77-21, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1482016/09/28 12:02:00On Overriding the Veto S. 2040Veto Overridden (97-1, 2/3 majority required)Yea
1472016/09/27 14:41:00On the Cloture Motion H.R. 5325Cloture Motion Rejected (40-59, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1462016/09/27 14:16:00On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 5082 to H.R. 5325 (Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2017)Cloture Motion Rejected (45-55, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1452016/09/21 14:45:00On the Motion to Table S.J.Res. 39Motion to Table Agreed to (71-27)Yea
1442016/09/20 17:41:00On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed H.R. 5325Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Agreed to (89-7, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1432016/09/19 17:31:00On Passage of the Bill H.R. 5985Bill Passed (89-0)Yea
1422016/09/15 13:48:00On the Nomination PN1375Nomination Confirmed (93-0)Yea
1412016/09/15 23:42:00On Passage of the Bill S. 2848Bill Passed (95-3)Yea
1402016/09/14 15:11:00On the Cloture Motion S. 2848Cloture Motion Agreed to (94-3, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1392016/09/14 14:40:00On the Motion (Motion to Waive All Applicable Budgetary Discipline Re: Amdt. No. 4979)Motion Agreed to (85-12, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1382016/09/12 17:31:00On the Cloture Motion S.Amdt. 4979 to S. 2848 (Water Resources Development Act of 2016)Cloture Motion Agreed to (90-1, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1372016/09/08 13:46:00On the Nomination PN1500Nomination Confirmed (92-0)Yea
1362016/09/06 18:09:00On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed H.R. 5293Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected (55-43, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1352016/09/06 17:32:00On the Cloture Motion H.R. 2577Cloture Motion Rejected (52-46, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1342016/07/14 13:59:00On the Cloture Motion H.R. 2577Cloture Motion Rejected (52-44, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1332016/07/14 12:46:00On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed H.R. 5293Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected (55-42, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1322016/07/14 12:28:00On the Motion (Sullivan Motion to Instruct Conferees Re: S. 2943)Motion Agreed to (85-12)Yea
1312016/07/14 12:07:00On the Motion (Shaheen Motion to Instruct Conferees Re: S. 2943)Motion Agreed to (84-12)Yea
1302016/07/14 11:33:00On the Cloture Motion S. 2943Cloture Motion Agreed to (90-7, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1292016/07/13 18:20:00On the Conference Report S. 524Conference Report Agreed to (92-2)Yea
1282016/07/13 14:29:00On the Nomination PN1180Nomination Confirmed (74-18)Yea
1272016/07/13 13:54:00On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendments to the Senate Amendments Re: H.R. 636)Motion Agreed to (89-4)Yea
1262016/07/13 11:02:00On the Cloture Motion S. 524Cloture Motion Agreed to (90-2, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1252016/07/12 15:32:00On the Cloture Motion S. 2012Cloture Motion Agreed to (84-3, 3/5 majority required)Not Voting
1242016/07/07 23:02:00On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed H.R. 5293Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected (50-44, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1232016/07/07 22:45:00On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to S. 764 with Further Amendment (Amdt. No. 4935))Motion Agreed to (63-30)Yea
1222016/07/07 22:21:00On the Motion to Table S.Amdt. 4936 to S.Amdt. 4935 to S. 764 (Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015)Motion to Table Failed (31-62)Nay
1212016/07/06 16:00:00On the Cloture Motion S. 764Cloture Motion Agreed to (65-32, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1202016/07/06 15:36:00On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 2193Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected (55-42, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1192016/07/06 15:17:00On Cloture on the Motion to Proceed S. 3100Cloture on the Motion to Proceed Rejected (53-44, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1182016/07/06 14:48:00On the Nomination PN575Nomination Confirmed (92-5)Yea
1172016/06/29 19:35:00On the Motion (Motion to Lay Before the Senate a Message From the House to Accompany S. 764)Motion Agreed to (68-29)Yea
1162016/06/29 19:03:00On the Motion (Motion to Concur in the House Amendment to S. 2328)Motion Agreed to (68-30)Yea
1152016/06/29 18:43:00On the Motion (Motion to Waive All Applicable Budgetary Discipline Re: the Motion to Concur in the House Amdt. to S. 2328)Motion Agreed to (85-13, 3/5 majority required)Yea
1142016/06/29 18:12:00On the Motion to Table S. 2328Motion to Table Failed (44-54)Nay