The GOP’s Worst Environmental Voting Record in Decades

A newly released scorecard finds House Republicans have never been more antienvironmental.

The Williams fire continues to spread as night falls in the Angeles National Forest on September 3, 2012 north of Glendora, California.
National Journal
Lucia Graves
Feb. 11, 2014, 6:19 a.m.

The League of Con­ser­va­tion Voters’ newly re­leased Na­tion­al En­vir­on­ment­al Score­card un­der­scores what’s be­come prac­tic­al wis­dom in Wash­ing­ton: En­vir­on­ment­al lead­er­ship in Con­gress is di­vided starkly along par­tis­an lines.

In a year Pres­id­ent Obama has taken sweep­ing ex­ec­ut­ive ac­tions on the en­vir­on­ment, House Re­pub­lic­ans had the low­est av­er­age score since LCV began put­ting out the score­card in 1970. Scores are based on a scale of 0 to 100 and cal­cu­lated by di­vid­ing the num­ber of pro-en­vir­on­ment votes cast by the total num­ber of votes tal­lied (for more on this, see LCV’s meth­od­o­logy). Av­er­age House Re­pub­lic­an scores have dropped stead­ily in re­cent years, from an av­er­age of 17 per­cent in 2008, to 10 per­cent in 2012, down to the low av­er­age of 5 per­cent for 2013.

It’s con­sid­er­ably lower even than what con­gres­sion­al Re­pub­lic­ans av­er­aged dur­ing the Gin­grich re­volu­tion in the 1990s. In the four years Newt Gin­grich was House speak­er, the av­er­age Re­pub­lic­an score was 21.93 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to LCV’s re­cords.

This year’s score­card looked at 13 Sen­ate votes and 28 House votes, se­lec­ted by lead­ers of 20 dif­fer­ent green or­gan­iz­a­tions as the ma­jor en­vir­on­ment­al votes in the first ses­sion of the 113th Con­gress. Over­all, neither party came out look­ing par­tic­u­larly green. House mem­bers av­er­aged 57 per­cent ap­prov­ing on en­vir­on­ment­al votes, while sen­at­ors av­er­aged 43 per­cent — both fail­ing marks, by grade-school stand­ards.

The cleav­age between the parties is es­pe­cially vis­ible with­in Sen­ate party lead­er­ship, where Demo­crats earned an av­er­age score of 98 per­cent to Re­pub­lic­ans’ 9 per­cent. In the House, Demo­crat­ic lead­ers earned an av­er­age of 86 per­cent to Re­pub­lic­ans’ 6 per­cent.


“This score­card is a dis­turb­ing re­flec­tion of the ex­tent to which the Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship of the U.S. House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives con­tin­ues to be con­trolled by tea-party cli­mate-change den­iers with an in­sa­ti­able ap­pet­ite for at­tacks on the en­vir­on­ment and pub­lic health,” wrote the re­port’s au­thors.

A re­cent Pew Poll un­der­scores that sen­ti­ment. The na­tion­al sur­vey con­duc­ted in Oc­to­ber found just 25 per­cent of tea-party Re­pub­lic­ans say there is sol­id evid­ence of glob­al warm­ing, com­pared with 61 per­cent of non-tea-party Re­pub­lic­ans who say the same.

The full score­card is avail­able here.

What We're Following See More »
HE ‘WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT’
Warren Goes After Trump Yet Again
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

When it comes to name-calling among America's upper echelon of politicians, there may be perhaps no greater spat than the one currently going on between Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump. While receiving an award Tuesday night, she continued a months-long feud with the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Calling him a "small, insecure moneygrubber" who probably doesn't know three things about Dodd-Frank, she said he "will NEVER be president of the United States," according to her prepared remarks."We don't know what Trump pays in taxes because he is the first presidential nominee in 40 years to refuse to disclose his tax returns. Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out that he’s worth a lot less money than he claims." It follows a long-line of Warren attacks over Twitter, Facebook and in interviews that Trump is a sexist, racist, narcissistic loser. In reply, Trump has called Warren either "goofy" or "the Indian"—referring to her controversial assertion of her Native American heritage. 

FIRST CHANGE IN FOUR DECADES
Congress Passes Chemical Regulations Overhaul
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."

Source:
NO MORE INDEPENDENT VOTERS?
GOP Could Double Number of Early Primaries
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."

Source:
LEVERAGE
Kasich Tells His Delegates to Remain Pledged to Him
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."

Source:
EFFECTIVE NEXT MONTH
House GOP Changes Rules for Spending Measures
8 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.

Source:
×