News & Politics

ACU Announces 2019 Conservative Scorecard: Congress Squandered a 'Historic Opportunity'

President Donald Trump looks to the cheering audience as he arrives to speak at Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC 2019, in Oxon Hill, Md., Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

On Thursday, the American Conservative Union (ACU), the organization behind the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), released its 2018 congressional scorecard. Most Republicans scored well, but Congress received poor marks for failing to achieve key conservative goals.

“The Trump administration continued its push for conservative policies and nominees in 2018,” ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp said in a statement. “In response, the Senate took action to confirm a number of judges and achieved a landmark political victory to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, but Congress (and especially the House which operates under a simple ‘majority rules’ system) mostly squandered an historic opportunity to implement meaningful conservative policy solutions, including funding a wall on our southern border, repealing and replacing Obamacare, and passing signature work requirements in conjunction with nutrition or welfare benefits.”

“One bright spot was when conservatives of both chambers led the fight to pass the First Step Act,” Schlapp added. “We struggled to find bills to score because of Congress’ big whiff, but in the end we were able to find a sufficient number of votes to reflect a members’ [sic] adherence to conservative principles.”

ACU scored every single member of Congress — both the House and the Senate — by their votes on many key pieces of legislation. The organization singled out the top Republicans in two tiers (90 percent and higher, and 80 percent to 90 percent), and Democrats in the bottom tier (10 percent and lower).

Republicans scored an average of 77 percent, while Democrats averaged out to 8 percent. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) scored 7 percent in 2017 and 4 percent in 2018, and has a lifetime average of 2.61 percent. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) scored 78 percent in 2017, 80 percent in 2018, and 86.11 percent for his time in Congress. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), who suffered a life-threatening gunshot wound in 2017, did not get a score for that year but scored 90 percent in 2018, earning a lifetime score of 94.15 percent.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) scored 80 percent of 2017, 82 percent for 2018, and a lifetime rating of 88.38 percent. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) earned zero percent in 2017 and 9 percent in 2018, taking a lifetime rating of 4.81 percent.

Democratic senators running for president in 2020 all scored lifetime ratings below 10 percent. Each of them scored zero percent in 2017.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) had the most liberal record in the Senate, with a lifetime average of 1.46 percent.

While Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) scored 100 percent in 2017 and 2018, his lifetime rating (96.58 percent) fell below that of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (98.25 percent) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), at 99.5 percent.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) won the distinction of being the highest scoring Democrat in 2018, with a 36 percent rating that year and a 26.7 percent lifetime rating. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) took last among Republicans, with a 36 percent rating in 2018 and a lifetime rating of 57.7 percent.

Read the entire report, and see the score for your state representatives, at this link.

Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.