Just Released: Council for a Livable World’s Legislative Scorecards for the 113th Congress

By Sarah Tully

Hot off the presses, in tandem with its new website, Council for a Livable World has the released its Legislative Scorecards for the 113th Congress (2013-14).

All members of Congress were scored based on their action (or inaction) on various letters, votes and co-sponsorships related to our mission. Two letters and 23 votes were scored for the House, and seven letters, one co-sponsorship, and five votes were scored for the Senate.

While the votes and co-sponsorship were scored in a standardized way (+ for voting to support the Council’s position, – for voting against it,) each letter was scored independently and varied depending on the content and context of the letter. For instance, if a letter was partisan, meaning only members of one party had the opportunity to sign, members of the opposing party were not penalized or rewarded for the letter. It simply did not count towards their total score. If a member was not in office at the time of a given vote or letter, the action did not count for or against them. But, if a member was not present to vote, but was in office, they were given a ‘did not vote’ which counted against them. After all, it is their job to be present to vote! How each letter was scored is specified in the scorecard keys, which can be found here.

Twenty one members of the House of Representatives scored 100%. The votes and letters used to score the House covered a range of issues from nuclear non-proliferation and weapons spending to Pentagon budget, military engagement in the Middle East, and U.S. relations with Russia. See below for a full list of members who scored 100% in both Chambers.

The Senate, on the other hand, had very few roll call votes in 2013-2014. In past years, the Senate has been shielded from make hard national security decisions because most bills have been passed through procedures that blocked floor votes on amendments. As as result, Senators were scored on more letters than votes. And for the most part, the few votes we were able to score, split down party lines. 26 Senators scored 100%, 25 of whom the Council endorsed.

Nine House and three Senate Republicans scored over 50%. In fact, our Legislative Scorecard reveals a notable overlap between Non-Traditional or Tea Party-type Republicans and Progressive Democrats. For instance, Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Chairman of the Liberty Caucus, was just two votes and one letter away from Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Co-Char of the Progressive Caucus’ score. These non-traditional bipartisan—sometimes called transpartisan—alliances have proven effective on a range of issues, but particularly on government accountability, privacy, and budget issues—including national security spending. The Council works with partner organizations from across the ideological spectrum to cultivate these strange-bedfellows in Congress.

Representatives who scored 100% (bold=Council endorsed): Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), John Conyers (D-Miss.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)*, Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif), Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) Rick Nolan (D-Minn.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), John Tierney (D-Mass.), Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)

 Republicans Reps. who scored 50% or higher: Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), John Duncan (R-Tenn.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Mark Sanford (R-S.C.), Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.)

Senators who scored 100% (bold=Council endorsed): Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) Thomas Carper (D-Del.) Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.) Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.)*, Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

Republican Senators who scored 50% or higher: Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.)


*Join us June 9, 2015 for the annual 2015 Father Robert F. Drinan National Peace and Human Rights Awards honoring Senator Chris Murphy, Rep. Keith Ellison and journalist Laura Rozen.