Heritage Action is the 501c4 lobbying arm of theHeritage Foundation. They've released what Daniel Horowitz at RedState describes as "the first comprehensive conservative report card of Congress." Horowitz writes, "We can now determine which members of the 'Tea Party Congress' drink a hardcore brew."
Unlike most other scorecards, this one was designed to separate the men from the boys. Most traditional scorecards, and most prominently, the ACU annual report, tend to focus primarily on those votes which fundamentally divide the two parties. They fail to probe some of the more courageous conservative votes against party leadership.
To that end, any Republican who is even minimally conservative is expected to score at or near 100%. After all, at a minimum, any Republican should oppose Obamacare, vote down tax increases, and support the Republican annual budget. This is how the likes of McCain, Graham, and Chambliss have been able to achieve stellar scores. Except for those like Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, and Dick Lugar, most Republicans will vote with their party on the final roll call of major bills. In fact, anyone who is not on the list of 100% is someone who has voted with the Democrats in contravention to fundamental Republican values. A perfect ACU score should be the floor, not the ceiling, for a conservative voting record.
The Heritage Action scorecard digs much deeper.
In just the first seven months of the legislative session, they scored 30 votes in the House and 19 in the Senate, many of which dealt with obscure amendments that sought to cut spending beyond the comfort zone of GOP leaders.
Heritage Action tells us up-front: "We are tough graders, and we don't apologize for it." Indeed, only 13 of 100 US Senators and only 27 US House members out of 435 scored above 85% on the Heritage grading scale.
Nation-wide, the highest-rated US Senator is Jim DeMint at 99%. South Carolina Rep. Jeffrey Duncan scored the highest in the US House with 97%.
There are two main categories within the scoring: 1) Whether they co-sponsored the legislation, and 2) How they voted.
Go here to read the details behind the scores for Kansas' 4 Congressmen and 2 Senators. Here are the toplines:
KS 1 Rep. Tim Huelskamp R 89%
KS 3 Rep. Kevin Yoder R 70%
KS 2 Rep. Lynn Jenkins R 71%
KS 4 Rep. Mike Pompeo R 78%
KS Sen. Jerry Moran R 77%
KS Sen. Pat Roberts R 71%
Looking inside Tim Huelskamp's ratings: Huelskamp scored a 60% on his sponsorship, and a 90% on his voting on key bills. Huelskamp disagreed with Heritage Action on three items, two of which related to subsidizing farmers.
Kevin Yoder's sponsorship rating was 0%, and his vote rating was 73%. Looking at some of Yoder's votes that were scored as negatives by Heritage Action:
- Again, Yoder co-sponsored none of the legislation deemed important by Heritage Action.
- Yoder voted "No" on an mendment that would reduce 2011 discretionary spending to fiscal 2006 spending levels.
- Voted "Yes" on a temporary "Kick the Can" Spending Measure. This "legislation provided for the continuing appropriations for the federal government through April 8, 2011 – a short-term funding measure that 'kicked the can down the road.'"
- Voted "No" to "Pass Alternate Conservative House Budget" that "would bring our country’s federal budget deficit in balance in less than ten years."
- Voted "Yes" on two farm subsidy bills
- Voted "Yes" on the "Leahy-Smith America Invents Act" that would "Radically Alter Historical American Patent System." The "Legislation would overhaul the U.S. patent system, changing how patents are awarded, reviewed and challenged."
- Voted "Yes" on #h677-2011, to "Increase Debt Limit with Minimal Cuts" and that would "provide for a two-step debt limit increase of $900 billion and $1.6 trillion, in exchange for various “cuts” and statutory spending caps."
Pat Roberts scored a 50% on sponsorship, and a 72% on voting.
When compared to Senator Roberts, Jerry Moran also scored a 50% on sponsorship, and a slightly better 78% on his voting.
Connect with Benjamin Hodge at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, The Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas. He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011. His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters,the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRA, Kansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).