Arlington County Has No 'Taxpayer Friends' in Congress
On June 7, 2014, we growled about the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste's (CCAGW) 2013 Congressional Ratings, which highlighted the voting records of all 535 members of Congress. The report has been issued since 1989, and identifies members with voting records that helped protect and save the taxpayers’ money. The bottom line was that we growled:
"Not only does Arlington County have no Taxpayer Heroes, or even Taxpayer Friendly members of Congress, all three of Arlington County's members of Congress -- Senators Mark Warner (D) and Tim Kaine (D) and Representative Jim Moran (D) -- received scores of 13% from CCAGW, earning each of them a ranking of ''hostile.'"
The National Taxpayers Union released their annual scorecard of the 1st Session, 113th Congress on Tuesday, which "shows a failing Senate and a House divided." Each of Arlington County's members of Congress -- Senators Tim Kaine (D) and Mark Warner (D) and Representative Jim Moran (D) -- earned a grade of F, which NTU labelled as Big Spenders. Here's how NTU described their overall analysis (press release here; ratings and other details here):
"In total, for the First Session of the 113th Congress, 58 lawmakers attained scores sufficient for an “A” grade (a minimum score of 83 percent in the House and 90 percent the Senate) and therefore won the “Taxpayers’ Friend Award.” In fact, this is the first time in NTU’s Rating history that the House attained a 50 percent or better average for three consecutive years.
"Yet, a startling 204 Senators and Representatives were tagged with the title of “Big Spender” for posting “F” grades (24 percent or less in the House and 16 percent or less in the Senate). The record of 267 was reached in both 2008 and 2009."
NTU points out that "(a) Member of Congress’s Taxpayer Score reflects his or her commitment to reducing or controlling federal spending, taxes, debt, and significant regulations." Here's a bit more on NTU's taxpayer scores:
"The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a member of Congress voted to spend less money.
"The Taxpayer Score can range between zero and 100. We do not expect anyone to score a 100, nor has any legislator ever scored a perfect 100 in the multi-year history of the comprehensive NTU scoring system. A high score does not mean that the member of Congress was opposed to all spending or all programs. High-scoring members have indicated that they would vote for many programs if the amount of spending were lower or if the budget were balanced. A member who wants to increase spending on some programs can achieve a high score if he or she votes for offsetting cuts in other programs. A zero score would indicate that the member of Congress approved every spending proposal and opposed every pro-taxpayer reform."
As noted above, all three members of Arlington County's Congressional delegation were rated as Big Spenders for their voting record in the 1st Session of the 113th Congress. Their scores:
- Senator Tim Kaine -- 11%
- Senator Mark Warner -- 14%
- Representative Jim Moran -- 20%
In the Senate, a score of 90% or higher was needed to earn an A, i.e., Taxpayer Friendly, while a score of 15% or lower received an F, i.e., Big Spender. In the House of Representatives, members earned an A with a score of 83% or higher while members were rated Big Spenders for scores of 24% or lower. The three highest scoring members in each house were:
- Senate: 1) Jeff Flake (R-Arizona); Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma); and Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
- House: 1) Tom McClintock (R-California); Justin Amash (R-Michigan); and John J. Duncan (R-Tennessee)
In our June 7 Growls, we noted that according to BrainyQuote.com, Ralph Nader reportedly said, "The only difference between the Republican and Democratic parties is the velocities with which their knees hit the floor when corporations knock on their door. That's the only difference." However, we said that when members of Congress are compared on their voting records, differences between the two parties become clearer. For example, the party scores for the 1st session of the 113th Congress in the annual ranking's were:
- Average Democrat -- 9%
- Average Republican -- 81%
- Average Democrat -- 21%
- Average Republican -- 75%
So bookmark this Growls, and before going to the polls on November 4, 2014, take a look at the NTU and CCAGW annual ratings. Decide if you want the incumbent to continue or do you want someone who will vote more to your liking. If the incumbent is not running for reelection, decide which candidate will best be Taxpayer Friendly or a Taxpayer Super Hero.
Kudos to the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) for their efforts in compiling the annual scorecard, which allows taxpayers to hold their members of Congress accountable.