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Republican

Rep. Frank Wolf (R)

Frank Wolf Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-5136

Address: 233 CHOB, DC 20515

Websites: wolf.house.gov
Frank Wolf Committees
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Frank Wolf Biography
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  • Elected: 1980, 17th term.
  • District: Virginia 10
  • Born: Jan. 30, 1939, Philadelphia, PA
  • Home: Vienna
  • Education:

    PA St. U., B.A. 1961, Georgetown U., LL.B. 1965

  • Professional Career:

    Legis. asst., U.S. Rep. Edward Biester, 1968–71; Asst., U.S. Interior Secy. Rogers Morton, 1971–74; Dep. asst. secy., U.S. Dept. of Interior, 1974–75; Practicing atty., 1975–80.

  • Military Career:

    Army, 1962–63, Army Reserve, 1963–67.

  • Religion:

    Presbyterian

  • Family: Married (Carolyn); 5 children

Frank Wolf, a Republican first elected in 1980, is one of the House’s leading crusaders for human rights. He is also an influential appropriator as chairman of the Appropriations’ Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee. Wolf plans to leave Congress when his current term expires in January 2015. He announced on December 17, 2013 that he would not seek reelection in 2014, ending a 17-term House career and setting up a contest for a successor in a politically competitive district. Read More

Frank Wolf, a Republican first elected in 1980, is one of the House’s leading crusaders for human rights. He is also an influential appropriator as chairman of the Appropriations’ Commerce, Justice, and Science Subcommittee. Wolf plans to leave Congress when his current term expires in January 2015. He announced on December 17, 2013 that he would not seek reelection in 2014, ending a 17-term House career and setting up a contest for a successor in a politically competitive district.

Wolf grew up in Philadelphia, the son of a police officer. As a child, he developed a strong interest in American history and precociously consumed biographies of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. (He has introduced a bill calling for President’s Day to be replaced by a celebration of George Washington’s actual birthday—February 22—because he thinks its historical significance has waned.) He majored in political science at Pennsylvania State University and went on to get a law degree from Georgetown University. He worked as an aide on Capitol Hill and was an Interior Department appointee in the Nixon and Ford administrations. In 1976, he ran for Congress and lost the Republican primary. In 1978, he won the nomination to run against Joseph Fisher, a liberal who had won the district (then not extending beyond Fairfax County) in 1974. Wolf lost, 53%-47%. In 1980, Wolf ran again and won 51%-49%.

Conservative but not ideologically rigid, Wolf has a lifetime rating of almost 80% from the American Conservative Union through 2012, lower than any other Virginia Republican. He was seen a potential swing vote on gun-control legislation in the 113th Congress (2013-14); he voted for the 1994 assault weapons ban but also supported letting it lapse a decade later because, he told The Washington Post, “the statistics showed it didn’t do any good.” He also backed the 1993 Brady bill requiring background checks and waiting periods for many handgun purchases. Wolf was one of the forces behind a bipartisan commission to look at looming U.S. fiscal problems, a panel that President Barack Obama created administratively in 2010 with former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and former Democratic White House official Erskine Bowles as chairmen. He was one of just 16 House Republicans to support a failed 2012 amendment for a budget based on its findings. And Wolf opposed earmarking even before that position became popular with budget reformers in recent years.

He turned quite a few heads in October 2011 for challenging anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. As the president of the advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist has persuaded a large number of Republicans to agree to a no-tax-hike pledge in all instances, even at the expense of the party’s commitment to deficit reduction. But Wolf asked on the House floor, “Have we really reached a point where one person’s demand for ideological purity is paralyzing Congress to the point that even a discussion of tax reform is viewed as breaking a no-tax pledge?”

Wolf started off his House career concentrating on issues affecting federal employees. With Democrat Steny Hoyer, who represents a suburban Washington, D.C., district in Maryland, he sponsored a bill in 2007 to increase the government contribution to federal employees’ health insurance premiums. He has long promoted telecommuting for federal employees. In 2008, Congress enacted his 175-mile Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, which runs from Gettysburg, Pa., to Charlottesville and passes six presidential houses, 13 national historic landmarks, and many Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields. For years he sought funding for a Metro rail link to Dulles International Airport which, astonishingly, was not foreseen by the system’s planners. In 2011, he pressured the agency that runs Dulles to drop plans for an expensive underground station at the airport in favor of a cheaper, above-ground facility.

Wolf traces his interest in human rights to a 1984 trip he took to Ethiopia with his best friend in Congress, liberal Ohio Rep. Tony Hall (1979-2002). The country was experiencing famine, and Wolf called his close-up view of the impact on the Ethiopian people “a life-changing experience.” Since then, Wolf has been to El Salvador, Chechnya, the Sudan, Sierra Leone, and other global trouble spots. A book, Prisoner of Conscience: One Man’s Crusade for Global Human and Religious Rights, based on his travels was published in 2011; it was written from interviews with and dictations from Wolf. In 1998, Wolf sponsored the law setting up a religious freedom office in the State Department and requiring annual reports on religious freedom throughout the world.

With Democrat Nancy Pelosi of California, he led the annual efforts in the 1990s to withdraw normalized trade relations with China because of human right violations, citing China’s acts of jailing dissidents, persecuting Tibetan Buddhists, and aiming missiles at the United States. In 2008, he and New Jersey Republican Chris Smith charged that the Chinese had hacked into their office computers searching for casework information involving Chinese dissidents. When he and Smith tried to meet with dissidents’ lawyers in China, the lawyers were arrested. Wolf joined several lawmakers in criticizing NASA Administrator Charles Bolden’s visit to China in 2010 and crusaded against the space agency’s cooperation with that country. In 2011, Wolf inserted a provision into a spending bill temporarily prohibiting NASA or the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from using federal funds for joint scientific activity with China. He lamented to The Post that human rights “just doesn’t seem to be on the front burner today as much as it was.”

Wolf has also had an impact on policy toward Iraq. After his third visit to the country in September 2005, he called for “fresh eyes” to look at American policy there and suggested a bipartisan study group. The result was the influential Iraq Study Group, headed by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Indiana Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton. He introduced a bill in April 2011 calling for an Afghanistan-Pakistan study group. He also has been a vocal opponent of transferring prisoners from Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay to prisons within the continental United States.

Wolf also has long been one of Congress’ leading opponents of gambling and has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to stop the proliferation of Indian-run casinos. He also pushed for passage of a national .08 blood-alcohol limit for drunken driving.

Wolf generally has been reelected by wide margins, but the Democratic trend in Northern Virginia has produced well-financed challenges to him in several elections. In 2006 and 2008, his opponent was Judy Feder, who worked in the Clinton administration. She spent $1.6 million the first time and $2.2 million the second, attacking him for supporting Bush administration policies. Wolf kept pace with her spending and criticized her for backing the 1993 Clinton health care plan. He won 57%-41% in 2006. Two years later, despite Obama’s success in boosting Democratic turnout in Northern Virginia, Wolf won, 59%-39%, carrying every county and city. He sailed to victory in 2010 and 2012 against underfunded Democrats. He had the added benefit of a redistricting map making his district more GOP-friendly in 2012.

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Frank Wolf Election Results
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2012 General
Frank Wolf (R)
Votes: 214,038
Percent: 58.49%
Kristin Cabral (D)
Votes: 142,024
Percent: 38.81%
J. Kevin Chisholm (I)
Votes: 9,855
Percent: 2.69%
2012 Primary
Frank Wolf (R)
Unopposed
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (63%), 2008 (59%), 2006 (57%), 2004 (64%), 2002 (72%), 2000 (84%), 1998 (72%), 1996 (72%), 1994 (87%), 1992 (64%), 1990 (62%), 1988 (68%), 1986 (60%), 1984 (63%), 1982 (53%), 1980 (51%)
Frank Wolf Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 53 (L) : 47 (C) 51 (L) : 49 (C) 53 (L) : 46 (C)
Social 38 (L) : 59 (C) 39 (L) : 60 (C) 31 (L) : 65 (C)
Foreign 24 (L) : 68 (C) 35 (L) : 59 (C) 55 (L) : 45 (C)
Composite 40.2 (L) : 59.8 (C) 42.8 (L) : 57.2 (C) 47.2 (L) : 52.8 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC90100
LCV4017
CFG4859
ITIC-73
NTU6462
20112012
COC94-
ACLU-0
ACU6464
ADA510
AFSCME0-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Find AG in contempt
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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