Heritage Action’s Scorecard: Why It Matters

All too often, lawmakers say one thing at home and do something completely different when they get back to Washington, DC.  This is where Heritage Action’s legislative scorecard comes in: we measure actual legislative activity to determine just how conservative Members of Congress are.

Today, for example, Politico ran a piece on three DINOs – Democrats in Name Only:

 They are among the least loyal members in Nancy Pelosi’s caucus: Reps. Jim Matheson of Utah, and Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell of North Carolina.Whether their votes are about political expediency or deeply held centrist principles is almost beside the point — for these lawmakers, it’s a matter of surviving as Democrats in extremely Republican districts.In an age in which polarization is the norm and the far right and far left have full control of their party caucuses, the determined independence of these three moderates may seem quaint — a relic of the Bill Clinton era when moderate Democrats forged landmark deals with Newt Gingrich’s House.

Of course, bucking Nancy Pelosi does not mean a lawmaker is conservative.  Let’s go to Heritage Action’s legislative scorecard for the facts:

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Local: Farm Bill Opens Taxpayer Spigot

After passing the Senate farm bill, we’re beginning to learn what is actually in it.  The Little Falls Times (New York) reports:

The town of German Flatts could gain access to Rural Development funding.

Senator Charles Schumer [D-NY] on Wednesday revealed 60 upstate communities that were previously ineligible for U.S. Department of Agriculture development programs could receive the opportunity to apply through the Senate Farm Bill.


“The Senate Farm Bill opens the spigot for game-changing water-sewer projects and paves the way for funding job-creating and economy-boosting community infrastructure projects by helping at least 60 new rural communities across the Hudson Valley and upstate New York gain access to the support of Rural Development programs,” said Schumer in a news release. “That is why I’m calling on the House of Representatives, which is considering the Farm Bill in committee this week, to adopt the Senate-passed provision and ensure that New York’s rural communities can be made eligible for the USDA’s rural investment programs.” 

According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, which claims an absurd $23 billion overall savings, spending on rural water and waste disposal will increase by $50 million over ten years.  And guess who pays for opening the spigot?  Taxpayers!

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Heritage Action for America Announces Launch of ‘Istook Live!’Radio Show

Washington, D.C., July 10, 2012 Heritage Action for America today announced the launch of a new radio talk show that drills deep into the hottest issues affecting Americans. The show – Istook Live! – will be broadcast live from The Heritage Foundation and be hosted by Ernest Istook, a former Oklahoma congressman who is now a Distinguished Fellow at the leading conservative think tank.

“Istook Live!” will air from 9 a.m. to noon ET beginning July 16, with Istook getting the real deal from the most relevant Washington players. He’ll also field calls from listeners across America from Heritage’s Robert H. Bruce radio studios at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters.

“Our mission is to bring listeners smart, civil programming from a conservative perspective,” says Istook, who served 14 years in the House of Representatives and joined Heritage in 2007. “Amid the punditry and spin of the 24-hour news cycle, we intend to clarify the real threats to freedom and the American Dream, and talk about how American taxpayers can counter those threats.

“Istook Live!” is a project of Heritage Action for America’s media division.

“Heritage Action has worked tirelessly to promote individual liberty and the free enterprise system,” said Michael A Needham, Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Action.  “Talk radio long has been a part of that effort. Now, ‘Istook Live!’ will further discussion of the biggest issues facing our country and provide Americans with a better understanding of the battle of ideas that shapes the news. We’ll give them virtual access to the halls of Congress and inner workings ofWashington.”

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Lawmakers Breaking the Trust

Today, the House and Senate are rushing to complete a $100-plus billion monstrosity that combines transportation, student loans and food insurance. There are many reasons to oppose the bill (Heritage Action Key Vote: NO), and Table 3 from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on the bill is another reason:

Notice all the c’s?

The subsequent footnote explains that the bill would cause the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) to “be exhausted in fiscal year 2015.” In other words, the bill BREAKS the federal highway trust fund. Last year, House Republicans recognized that “current program funding levels are not sustainable” and offered reforms to realign spending with revenues.

Unfortunately, the list of absurdities goes on and on. Two are worth highlighting in the context of the Pledge to America:

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Open Appropriations: Who Signed the Letter to Speaker Boehner?

Earlier this month, we praised Congressman Tom McClintock (R-CA) for his “serious and thoughtful attempt to hold his colleagues accountable” by calling attention to the need for an open appropriations process.  At the time, we said, “House Republicans cannot return to the ways of the Pelosi-led House, which is why we must maintain an open appropriations process.”

43 additional lawmakers agreed and signed Congressman McClintock’s letter, urging “a return to the regular order which was discarded during four years of Democrat control of the House.”  With one appropriation bill down, and 11 more to go, the importance of an open process cannot be understated. 

See if your Representative signed the letter:

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