Paul  Weyrich

Every year Family Research Council (FRC) Action issues a report card detailing how our elected officials in Congress vote on pro-family issues. Defense/foreign-policy conservatives have had ratings for quite some time, as have economic conservatives. Only recently has there been a ratings-system for family issues. Its most recent scorecard details the first session of the 110th Congress

FRC Action rated seven votes in the Senate, including those on embryonic stem-cell research, hate crimes, preventing funding for international groups which support coercive abortion and sterilization. Only twenty seven Republicans in the Senate scored 100% on pro-family issues. Only a few states, such as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming, have two Senators with perfect scores.

Having the appellation "Republican" attached to a Senator's name is rarely an indication of how the Senator will vote. In Arizona, for example, Senator Jon Kyl scored 100%. But his colleague, Senator John S. McCain, III received a disappointing 42% rating. Some Republican Senators did not score as well as Democrats. Senators Susan Collins and Olympia B. Snowe, both Republicans from Maine, scored 28%. Meanwhile, Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) scored highest among the Democrats, at 85%. After that, Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-PA) received a 42% rating. Most Democrats had a 0% rating.

In the House of Representatives, FRC Action rated sixteen votes, including bills on funding for abortions, homosexual marriage, embryonic stem-cell research, human cloning, needle exchange programs, hate crimes and the Fairness Doctrine. There were 119 Representatives with 100% votes. All three Republicans from Nebraska, its entire delegation, scored perfectly. Representative Brad Ellsworth of Indiana had the highest Democratic score, at 81%. As a side note, the new Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, a Republican, received a score of 85%. He was unable to vote on two issues because he was campaigning for Governor.

Years ago when we established ratings of all House votes for the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, I actually had several Members of Congress who wanted to argue with me about their voting record. They wanted a higher rating. One of the calls I received was from Edward I. Koch, then a Democratic Representative from New York and later Mayor of New York City. I had labeled him the most liberal Congressman in the House in 1975. He didn't like that and wanted to argue for a higher score.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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