Our Thought on the Scorecard
One of my responsibilities as General Counsel and Chairman of HSLDA is to provide oversight and guidance to our federal policy efforts in Washington. In that regard, I wanted to briefly comment on the 106th Congress vote rating.
You might ask, "How did we select which votes to rate?"
This is a matter of serious consideration. As you can see from this article, HSLDA worked on many issues in the last Congress. However, we think the only fair votes to rate are those that reach the floor of the House or Senate where all members go on record. Therefore Mike Smith and I selected floor votes that, while perhaps were not our top legislative priorities, did include issues of concern.
It is also important to note that there are many reasons why a member of Congress might vote yes or no on a bill. For instance, a very conservative member might vote no on a spending bill because it spends too much. Yet a very liberal member might also vote no on the same bill because he or she thinks the spending is too low. In this case, both the conservative member and the liberal member would score the same on our rating. We do not try to discern the intent of the vote, only the outcome.
I say this to explain a few surprising results of this year's vote rating.
First, in the Senate, we had eight members who received a 100% voting score on the issues we rated. Of the eight, three were Democrats-Feinstein (D-CA), Biden (D-DE), and Torricelli (D-NJ). The rest were Republicans-Brownback (R-KS), Bunning (R-KY), Helms (R-NC), Nickles (R-OK), and Gramm (R-TX).
On the face, it may seem odd that Senators Feinstein and Biden are in the same company as Senators Helms and Gramm. Yet that is how the votes tallied.
Of interest, however, is the fact that Senator Feinstein was up for re-election in 2000. Her 100% rating stands in stark contrast to fellow California Senator Barbara Boxer, who only voted correctly one time out of five.
It is also interesting to note that this year two more senators voted 100% with us in the 106th Congress than we had two years ago in the 105th Congress.
In the House, 11 members voted 100% of the time for the HSLDA position. These members included Pombo (CA-11), Tancredo (CO-06), Barr (GA-07), Deal (GA-09), Crane (IL-08), Manzullo (IL-16), Hostettler (IN-08), Bartlett (MD-06), Sanford (SC-01), Paul (TX-14), and Metcalf (WA-02).
Two years ago, when we scored the 105th Congress, 68 House members scored 100% on our rating. Why did only 11 score 100% this year? Because many of our closest friends in the House voted for the unconstitutional Religious Liberty Protection Act. This year, 74 members of the House scored a zero on our rating.
HSLDA will be writing a letter of thanks to all the members of the House and Senate who scored 100% on the rating. We encourage you to do the same.
R E L A T E D I T E M S
A Scorecard for the 105th Congress
How Did They Vote