CCAGW Annual Ratings

2018 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 Congressional 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 2018 Congressional Ratings, for the second session of the 115th Congress, score 55 votes in the House of Representatives and 14 votes in the Senate. By comparison, CCAGW rated 93 votes in the House of Representatives and 27 votes in the Senate in the first session of the 115th 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, four senators, Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), earned the coveted title of Taxpayer Super Hero by achieving the highest possible score of 100 percent. In the House, five representatives earned Taxpayer Super Hero status: Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), Raul Labrador (R-Idaho), and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.). In 2017, 12 lawmakers (1 senator and 11 representatives) received a perfect score.

For 2018, there are 14 Taxpayer Heroes in the Senate, a decrease of 70 percent from the 46 Taxpayer Heroes in 2017. There are 176 Taxpayer Heroes in the House of Representatives, 2 percent more than the 172 Taxpayer Heroes in 2017.

At the other end of the spectrum, 24 senators and 7 representatives have a score of zero. In 2017, 30 senators and 39 representatives had a score of zero.

Victories

House

Passage of the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. H.R. 3, the largest single rescissions package in history, which would cancel $14.8 billion in unobligated funds sitting dormant in federal agency coffers, passed by a vote of 210-206.

Passage of the Restoring Access to Medication and Modernizing Health Savings Accounts Act of 2018. H.R. 6199, which would expand the use of Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) by permitting individuals to use their HSAs to pay for over-the-counter medicines and certain fitness expenses, allowing Direct Primary Care provider fees to be a qualified medical expense, and providing flexibility for HSA-eligible plans to offer first-dollar coverage to a certain amount, passed by a vote of 277-142.

Passage of the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018. H.R. 6760, which would make permanent certain provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, including reductions to individual tax rates, increases to the standard deduction, caps on state and local tax deductions, and increases to the estate tax and alternative minimum tax exemptions, passed by a vote of 220-191.

Senate

Passage of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. S. 2155, which would roll back burdensome Dodd-Frank regulations for community banks and small businesses, including the Volcker Rule, and provide a more accurate threshold for labeling financial institutions as “too big to fail,” passed by a vote of 67-31.

Passage of a Congressional Review Act Resolution (CRA) Nullifying the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) 2013 Auto Bulletin. S. J. Res. 57, which would disapprove of the CFPB’s auto lending guidance that attempted to unlawfully regulate auto dealers who were explicitly exempted from CFPB oversight under Dodd-Frank, passed by a vote of 51-47.

Rejection of a CRA Resolution to Nullify President Trump’s Executive Order on Short-Term Health Insurance Plans. S. J. Res. 63, which would disapprove of the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans, was rejected by a vote of 50-50.

Losses

House

Passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. H.R. 2, the $867 billion 2018 Farm Bill, which failed to include commonsense provisions like work requirements for food stamp recipients and limits on egregious taxpayer subsidies, passed by a vote of 369-47.

Across-the-Board Cut to Appropriations Bill. An amendment offered by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) during consideration of H.R. 5895, the fiscal year 2019 Energy-Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction-VA Appropriations bill, to cut 1 percent across-the-board from the Energy-Water division, was rejected by a vote of 155-262.

Defunding the Essential Air Service Program. During consideration of H.R. 4, the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018, an amendment offered by Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) to eliminate funding for the Essential Air Service program was rejected by a vote of 113-293.

Senate

Passage of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. H.R. 2, the $867 billion 2018 Farm Bill, which failed to include commonsense provisions like work requirements for food stamp recipients and limits on egregious taxpayer subsidies, passed by a vote of 87-13.

Rejection of the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. H.R. 3, the largest single rescissions package in history, which would cancel $14.8 billion in unobligated funds sitting dormant in federal agency coffers, was rejected by a vote of 48-50.

Passage of a CRA Resolution nullifying the Federal Communications Commission’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO). S. J. Res. 52, which would undo the FCC’s 2017 RIFO that ended the 2015 Open Internet Order, more commonly known as net neutrality, passed by a vote of 52-47.

Further Analysis

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

The averages were: Senate Republicans – 71 percent, down 17 percentage points from 88 percent in 2017; Senate Democrats, including Independents – 5 percent, up 3 percentage points from 2 percent in 2017; House Republicans – 83 percent, down 4 percentage points from 87 percent in 2017; House Democrats – 8 percent, up 5 percentage points from 3 percent in 2017; House Republican Study Committee – 86 percent, down 5 percentage points from 91 percent in 2017. The differences in percentages from the first to the second session of the 115th Congress can mostly be attributed to the votes on the Farm Bill, and are typical of years in which such votes are taken.

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