The following is a list of the bills we use as a reference to generate our House Scorecard on the Economy:
H.R. 1106, The Helping Families Save Their Homes Act, is a bill passed by the House that would allow bankruptcy judges to restructure mortgages on family homes to make them more affordable. Judicial modification is already possible in bankruptcy for loans covering luxury yachts and the vacation homes of the wealthy. If the terms of those sorts of loans can be restructured during bankruptcy proceedings, then why shouldn't the mortgages on the homes they live in be similarly protected? H.R. 1106 includes a number of protections against mortgage fraud and limits coverage to those who have made good-faith efforts to stay current on their mortgage payments. This sort of policy would be beneficial to bankers as much as to homeowners, maximizing the likelihood that home loans will be repaid rather than abandoned and restoring stability to the U.S. housing market. A YES vote is cast in the direction of fairness. A NO vote preserves renegotiation for yachts and luxury villas but denies it to everyday Americans just trying to get by.
The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 makes 4 million children who are currently without health insurance eligible to be added to the rolls of the the State Children Health Insurance Program. This legislation isn't some kind of entitlement to a group of people responsible for their own economic vulnerability. It is the fault of no child to be born into a poor family. Rather, this Act is a wise investment in America's future: healthy children grow up to become productive adults.
Preceded by many paragraphs of flowery symbolic language, H.R. 2808 is nevertheless a short bill when you get down to the meat of it. The text of H.R. 2808 that holds the force of law is short, reading as follows:
"Section 8(a) of the National Labor Relations Act (29 U.S.C. 158(a)) is amended by adding after and below paragraph (5) the following:
That's some highfalutin language that may confuse you; it's meant to confuse you, to hide the legislation's purpose behind a smokescreen. What those words boil down to is this: Under this bill, if you act in a manner that promotes the interests of a union — say, by advocating for the formation of a union in your workplace — your employer can fire you. There's a phrase for that: "union-busting."
H.R. 2808 legalizes union busting. The members of Congress who support H.R. 2808 are doing their part to begin another era of union busting.
Corporations do not exist to benefit themselves. They are given existence by their charters on the condition that the behavior of corporations provides benefit to shareholders and the public. When corporate honchos authorize huge executive compensation for themselves without due opportunity for shareholder approval, they pervert the conditions those of corporate charters.
H.R. 3269, the Corporate and Financial Institution Compensation Fairness Act, is a piece of legislation designed to "to prevent perverse incentives in the compensation practices of financial institutions." The bill prohibits executive compensation packages that put the financial health of their companies at risk, and requires a separate shareholder vote to approve executive compensation packages.
H.R. 4300 is a bill that responds to incidents of credit card corporations raising interest rates as many as 30 percentage points on credit card users, even when those holding credit cards keep up with their payments and aren't late sending in their checks. If passed into law, the bill would cap annual interest rates for credit cards in America at 16% and limit fees for late balances to $15. These provisions would preserve the ability of credit card corporations to make a profit while protecting Americans from downright usurious financial exploitation.
The 2010 extension of tax cuts didn't just continue the tax cuts for billionaires and millionaires enacted under George W. Bush. It expanded those tax cuts, allowing inheritance of estates of up to 10 million dollars tax-free and deepening special tax favors for investors. The legislation also undermined the integrity of Social Security by creating a new standard of low funding for the Social Security trust fund, exposing Social Security to new charges of being unsustainably funded.
Members of Congress often like to stand up and make speeches in which they talk about how hard they fight for the little guy, Joe and Jane Six Pack. They rail against elites in front of the cameras as their finger rises in high dudgeon. Instead of watching what they say, watch what they do. In H.R. 5029, many of the same members of Congress are pushing to eliminate taxes on capital gains -- money made off the investment of money, not through work. H.R. 5029 also cuts the maximum corporate tax rate to just 12.5 percent, eliminates restrictions on CEO pay for those banks that just took billions in bailout money, and eliminates altogether any taxes on the inheritance of multimillion dollar estates. These are all benefits for wealthy people. The same bill eliminates programs to cut health care premiums, to expand the availability of broadband internet access to rural communities, to make Medicare and Medicaid more efficient, and to help parents who have been laid off and cannot find a job. H.R. 5029, in short, cancels programs that help Jane and Joe Six Pack while padding the wallets of people who are already wealthy.
Claims of common ground are often a sham, covering up the results of a lopsided negotiation in which one side gets the lion’s share of the benefits. But H.R. 626, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, is one case in which the interests of Republican and Democratic constituencies truly meet. Republicans say that they support family values. Democrats say that they support workers’ rights. Both of these are provided for with H.R. 626, which if passed would give federal employees four weeks of paid parental leave. Such benefits increase employee satsifaction and loyalty, cement family bonds and give children a healthy start in that critical first month of life.
With so many people struggling to get by, this is no time for the U.S. government to reward factory owners who exploit their workers. H.R. 6262, the Jobs Through Procurement Act, closes a loophole that has allowed contractors to supply the government with sweatshop-made products if a subcontractor does the dirty work. This bill requires a contractor to certify that the products it sells to the government are made in conditions that respect workers rights and pay them a living wage.
H.R. 636, also known as the Positive Alternatives Act, reroutes money allocated for TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) benefits, programs and services for poor Americans, reallocating that federal money to go instead to support the budgets of non-governmental groups that counsel poor people not to have abortions. During these hard times, taking money away from programs to help those down on their luck and diverting it into programs telling people what they should do with their own bodies seems especially callous and meddlesome.
H.R. 676 is a bill that would NOT create a system of universal health care in the United States. Rather, it would expand an already functional system, Medicare, to cover every American. Nobody would have to invent an entirely new system, and so startup costs would be low. The moral benefit of health care for everybody would be great, but personal economic benefit would be considerable as well: no more bankruptcies and foreclosures caused by huge health care bills, no more delayed primary care leading to the accumulation of huge and expensive problems, no staying in dead-end jobs just to keep health care, no worries about exclusion due to pre-existing conditions. The best of the private system is retained: you choose your hospitals, you choose your doctors, and you don't need government responsibility to see them.
Mack Amendment to H.R. 1262
On March 12, 2009, the House of Representatives voted on the Mack Amendment, which if passed would have slapped aside the usual rule for federally-funded projects that construction workers be paid at least the prevailing wage of the area in compensation for their labor. That prevailing wage standard is not high to begin with, at poverty-level compensation in many places. But for 140 members of the House of Representatives, poverty-level pay for wasn’t low enough. In the middle of the worst economic recession in over a generation, those who voted for the Mack Amendment acted to slash the wages of working-class Americans. They tried to push construction workers’ wages further down at the historical moment when their economic security was at its lowest.
Pingree Amendment to H.R. 5136
It's hard to think of a better example of military waste: Spending billions of dollars for two separate manufacturing systems in two separate companies to make two versions of an engine, with identical performance, for the same airplane – the F-35, an airplane that only requires one engine in the first place. Yet that's just what the House of Representatives voted in favor of on May 27, 2010. Representative Chellie Pingree of Maine introduced an amendment to cut funding for the second redundant F-35 engine, but a majority of contractor-funded legislators voted the Pingree Amendment down. A yes vote is a vote to cut military pork spending. A no vote is a vote to preserve the pork.
No child in America deserves to go hungry, but in places and times of poor economic opportunity, some children in America go without food. When this happens, we starve our future. S. 3307, The Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, was passed and signed into law in order to do better by America's kids. The bill makes the first inflation-adjusted increase in federal funding to feed poor kids in 30 years. Those who voted against food for poor kids overwhelmingly voted a week later to give billionaires a tax break.
War is making us Poor T-Shirt
I've Been Down So Long Down Don't Worry Me Shirt
Gas Prices: Our Own Damn Fault (Environmentalist Shirt)
Got Prius Envy?Gas Price Spoof T-Shirt
House Scorecard on the Economy from That's My Congress
House Scorecards: Overall | Discrimination | Environment | Constitution | Economy | LGBT
Senate Scorecards: Overall | Discrimination | Environment | Constitution | Economy | LGBT
This is a historical record. Current Scorecards for the House and Senate are also available.
We're in an economic recovery without jobs, in which the American workers who are left are being paid less and less. In such a recovery, who exactly is recovering? Who is reaping the rewards of this wealth regeneration? Corporations and the already wealthy who make interest on their capital, that's who. While the rich are getting richer, and American workers have to work harder and harder just to run in place, the top executives in the big corporations make more and more and more money. These people get multi-million dollar bonuses while they fire tens of thousands of Americans who just want a good day's work. While their workers take pay cuts, these rich executives drive their Italian cars to ritzy restaurants and take sailing vacations on their yachts. While laid-off workers lose their homes and their health care, corporate fatcats and the trustafarians tinker with their third homes and take vacations to have surgery in posh third-world resorts.
What are the members of Congress doing to address the glaring economic discrepancy in America? On this page, we track members of the U.S. House of Representatives in their work to either comfort the afflicted or tilt the playing field in favor of the already privileged.
The House's Most Consistent Advocates for the Afflicted
The following members of the House use their positions on Capitol Hill to look out for the least powerful members of American society; they have the strongest record among their peers, acting to support at least seven bills to institute reforms in the wake of our recent economic crisis. Click on a representative's name to learn about his or her voting and cosponsorship record in greater detail.
The House's Biggest Defenders of Privilege
The following representatives cast votes in favor of the prerogatives of the rich and against relief for those hit hardest by the economy's decline, acting in callous disregard of the economic crisis hitting American families in at least six instances. Click on the name of a member of Congress to learn more about his or her voting and cosponsorship record.
If you can't find your representative's name on either the honor roll or the dishonor roll, she or he belongs neither to the most economically progressive nor the most pro-corporate wings of the House.
To find out more about your senator's record of voting and cosponsorship, access our overall U.S. House rankings here.
News on the Constitution and Politics
Read below for the latest coverage of discrimination-related political developments from That's My Congress and Irregular Times: