CCAGW Annual Ratings

2017 Congressional Ratings

Since 1989, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) has examined roll call votes to help identify which members of Congress have defended taxpayer interests and which have backed away from their promises of fiscal responsibility. The Ratings separate the praiseworthy from the profligate by evaluating important tax, spending, transparency, and accountability measures. CCAGW applauds those members of Congress who stand up for taxpayers and ignore the temptations of satisfying local or special interests. However, those who support a big-government agenda should be prepared to face the consequences for their spendthrift behavior.

CCAGW’s 2017 Congressional Ratings, for the first session of the 115th Congress, score 93 votes in the House of Representatives and 27 votes in the Senate. By comparison, CCAGW rated 65 votes in the House of Representatives and 16 votes in the Senate in the second session of the 114th Congress.

CCAGW rates members on a 0-100 percent scale. Members are placed in the following categories: 0-19 percent, Hostile; 20-39 percent, Unfriendly; 40-59 percent, Lukewarm; 60-79 percent, Friendly; 80-99 percent, Taxpayer Hero; and 100 percent, Taxpayer Super Hero.

House and Senate Breakdown

In the Senate, only one senator, Steve Daines (R-Mont.), earned the coveted title of Taxpayer Super Hero by achieving the highest possible score of 100 percent. In the House, 11 representatives earned Taxpayer Super Hero status: Reps. Dave Brat (R-Va.), Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Gary Palmer (R-Ala.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), Steve Scalise (R-La.), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), and Ted Yoho (R-Fla.). In 2016, four lawmakers (four senators and zero representatives) received a perfect score.

For 2017, there are 46 Taxpayer Heroes in the Senate, an increase of 44 percent from the 32 Taxpayer Heroes in 2016. There are 172 Taxpayer Heroes in the House of Representatives, 16 percent less than the 204 Taxpayer Heroes in 2016.

At the other end of the spectrum, 30 senators and 39 representatives have a score of zero. In 2016, two senators and 23 representatives had a score of zero.

Victories

House

Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. H.R. 1, which would overhaul the tax code by lowering the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, providing tax cuts to every individual income level, simplifying the tax filing system, doubling the standard deduction, and repealing the Obamacare individual mandate, passed by a vote of 224-201.

Passage of the American Health Care Act. H.R. 1628, which would make broad changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, by repealing the individual and employer mandates, as well as most of the Obamacare taxes, passed by a vote of 217-213.

Rollback of Obama-era Regulations through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The House passed 15 CRA bills to repeal burdensome regulations issued in the waning months of the Obama administration that would have strangled the economy and cost businesses and individuals billions of dollars.

Senate

Passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. H.R. 1, which would overhaul the tax code by lowering the corporate rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, providing tax cuts to every individual income level, simplifying the tax filing system, doubling the standard deduction, and repealing the Obamacare individual mandate, passed by a vote of 51-48.

Rollback of Obama-era Regulations through the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The Senate passed 14 CRA bills to repeal burdensome regulations issued in the waning months of the Obama administration that would have strangled the economy and cost businesses and individuals billions of dollars.

Rejection of Unregulated Drug Importation. During consideration of S. Con. Res. 3, the fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget resolution, an amendment offered by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to allow the importation of prescription drugs from Canada, which cannot be guaranteed to be safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration, was rejected by a vote of 46-52.

Losses

House

Across-the-Board Cuts to Appropriations Bills. CCAGW rated six amendments to make across-the-board spending reductions in appropriations bills, all of which failed. For example, an amendment offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to cut 1 percent across-the-board during consideration of H.R. 3354, the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, was rejected by a vote of 156-260.

Dismantling of the Davis-Bacon Act. CCAGW rated four amendments to prohibit funding for the implementation of the Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage requirements, all of which failed. For example, an amendment offered by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) to prohibit funding for enforcement of the Davis-Bacon Act at the Department of Homeland Security during the consideration of H.R. 3354, the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, was rejected by a vote of 173-240.

Defunding the Essential Air Service Program. During consideration of H.R. 3354, the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill, an amendment offered by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) to decrease funding for the Essential Air Service program by $150 million, was rejected by a vote of 140-280.

Senate

Rejection of the American Health Care Act. H.R. 1628, which would make broad changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, by repealing the individual and employer mandates, as well as most of the Obamacare taxes, was rejected by a vote of 49-51.

Rejection of a Balanced Budget by 2024. During consideration of S. Con. Res. 3, the FY 2017 budget resolution, an amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to gradually reduce the budget deficit to reach a surplus in FY 2024, was rejected by a vote of 14-83.

Rejection of $1 Million in Committee Cuts. During the consideration of H. Con. Res. 71, the FY 2018 budget resolution, an amendment offered by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to require the Senate Health, Labor, and Pensions Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to cut spending by $1 million over 10 years, was rejected by a vote of 33-66.

Further Analysis

CCAGW also analyzed ratings based on party affiliation and House membership in the Republican Study Committee.

The averages were: Senate Republicans – 88 percent, up 10 percentage points from 78 percent in 2016; Senate Democrats, including Independents – 2 percent, down 13 percentage points from 15 percent in 2016; House Republicans – remained the same at 87 percent; House Democrats – 3 percent, down 3 percentage points from 6 percent in 2016; House Republican Study Committee – 91 percent, up 1 percentage point from 90 percent in 2016.

CCAGW congratulates the members who stood by taxpayers and championed fiscal responsibility throughout the first session of the 115th Congress and encourages the constituents of the non-Taxpayer Heroes to demand better results from their elected officials.