Tags: Conservative | Causes | Well | Congress

Conservative Causes Do Well in Congress

Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM

"This was the most partisan session of Congress in recent memory," ACU Chairman David Keene said in a statement.

"Ideology and party have coincided in a way I have not before seen. One hundred fifty-six members of the House of Representatives scored ratings of 80 percent or higher in our definition of conservative and all but two were Republicans."

The House conservative exceptions were Ralph Hall, D-Texas, and independent Virgil Goode of Virginia. Hall scored 88 percent on the ACU voting record, while Goode scored 100 percent.

All House Democrats scored 20 percent or less. Twenty percent or less, according to ACU, means the House member had a liberal voting record.

Hall was one of five House Democrats who voted in favor of all four articles of impeachment against President Clinton.

Keene continued: "We saw the same in the Senate. Of the 50 members who scored 80 percent and above, every one was a Republican. Of the 37 senators who scored 20 percent and below, all but one, Lincoln Chaffee (R-Conn.) was a Democrat. The highest-scoring Democrats were Jack Reed of Rhode Island, with 44 percent, and John Breaux of Louisiana with a 40."

Keene, though, criticized Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott for not battling hard enough for conservative issues this year.

"While the House had the usual large range of votes on tough issues, the Senate had a smaller number of votes on ideological issues than usual. Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) obviously did not hold a vote until he knew he would have most of the Republicans with him. While this allowed him to wield his power more effectively, it meant also that he did not raise as many bold conservative issues," Keene said.

"This strategy," Keene believes, "allowed [Republican] Olympia Snowe of Maine, for instance, to score a career high conservative rating of 80 percent, and an unusually high number of 21 members to score 100 percent. On the other hand, ideological and party eccentric John McCain (R-Ariz.) only barely qualified for the minimum conservative rating, even though he represents a very conservative state."

The ACU ratings indicate that the House is more conservative this year than the Senate.

"Only 28 House Republicans scored a 100 percent conservative rating. While this is up from only 13 perfect scores in 1999, it indicates a surge of conservatism in that body. While government spending increased more than we would have liked, the House did make an effort to hold the line," Keene said.

Keene concluded: "In both chambers, Republicans, even some of the more unlikely ones, rallied behind a basically conservative agenda. Unlike 1996, they have stayed in Washington and confronted President Bill Clinton and at least held him to a draw. Not a bad year for conservatives all in all."

The ACU Rating of Congress has been taken annually since 1971. Many consider it to be the definitive "conservative evaluation" of the legislative branch. The ratings assign each member of Congress a numerical score on a 0 to 100 scale according to their support for conservative positions on actual votes.

As its methodology, the ACU integrates votes on economic and budget matters, social and cultural issues, and defense and foreign policy concerns.

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This was the most partisan session of Congress in recent memory, ACU Chairman David Keene said in a statement. Ideology and party have coincided in a way I have not before seen. One hundred fifty-six members of the House of Representatives scored ratings of 80 percent...
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2000-00-02
Thursday, 02 November 2000 12:00 AM
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