Last November the voters gave Republicans majority control of the U.S. Senate while strengthening Republican control of the House of Representatives. Undoubtedly a major factor motivating voters was rejection of Obama's big-government policies, as well as support for Republican rhetoric in opposition to those policies.
But now that the new (114th) Congress has been in session for the better part of a year, we should ask ourselves if we haven't already: How do the voting records of our U.S. representatives and senators thus far this year compare to last year's campaign rhetoric? Do their votes reflect their rhetoric? Or do they say one thing to sound appealing to their constituents while doing something entirely different in Washington?
More importantly: Are they voting in accordance with the U.S. Constitution?
The New American's first "Freedom Index" for the new Congress appears in our July 20 print edition and is also available here as a PDF. This index shows how every member of the U.S. House and Senate voted on 10 key issues such as executive action on immigration, Trade Promotion Authority, ObamaCare repeal (House only), and fracking (Senate only). For additional information about this index, please see the video at the end of this article.
We publish four indexes every two-year congressional term; each index rates congressmen based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements.
Please check out our latest index to see how your own representative and senators have voted thus far this year. The index not only provides a percentage score for each congressman, but also shows how each congressman voted on each of the 10 key votes.
How well did your own representative and senators do in our newest congressional scorecard on particular issues as well as overall? How well did Congress as a whole do? Are the ratings what you would have expected?
Of course, considering that every federal lawmaker takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, it would not be unreasonable to expect members of Congress to score high. Yet in our first index for the new Congress, as has been the case in the past, most congressmen earned failing grades. The average score was 42 percent in the House and 47 percent in the Senate.
Congressmen may claim that they are upholding their oaths of office during their tenure, but their voting records belie their claims — with relatively few exceptions.
The New American encourages readers to familiarize themselves with their congressmen's voting records, to contact their congressmen urging them to abide by their oaths of office, and (when appropriate) to commend them for their fidelity to the Constitution.
In addition to the PDF mentioned above, The New American also publishes an online version of the Freedom Index that includes votes for current and past congressmen going back to 1999.
Please use the Freedom Index as a reference tool for holding your congressmen accountable!