NAACP releases Legislative Report Card for 2017 Congress
Fifty-One Senators and 233 House Members Flunk on Civil Rights
BALTIMORE – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), America’s premier civil rights organization, has released its Civil Rights Federal Legislative Report Card for the first session of the 115th Congress (Jan. 3, 2017 – Dec. 22, 2017). Since 1914, the NAACP has published a report card assessing the voting patterns of each member of Congress on critical civil rights legislation.
The 2017 Legislative Report Card assigns each member of Congress a letter grade (on a scale of A to F) for his or her voting record on “bread and butter” civil rights legislation during each session of Congress. Forty-four Senators received an “A” grade, four received a “B,” and 51 received an “F”. Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions and Luther Strange both received an “I” as neither served a complete term. Twenty-two members of the House of Representatives received middling grades of “B,” “C,” and “D,” and 14 received an “I” for incomplete. In the House of Representatives, 233 members received a failing grade of “F”.
“The 2017 report card underscores a growing divide in Congress of those who are committed to protecting people’s rights and those more interested in protecting the rights of the rich and powerful,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO. “The abundance of ‘A’s and ‘F’s is a powerful reminder that without continued vigilance, the freedoms that we’ve fought so hard to attain, can and will become a thing of the past. We will not let that happen.
The NAACP evaluated members of the Senate on 18 key civil rights votes and members of the House of Representatives on 20, comparing their “yea” or “nay” with the NAACPs’ key legislative priorities.
The subjects of these votes included: the confirmations of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General; Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education; Scott Pruitt at Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Neil Gorsuch as an Associate Justice to the U.S. Supreme Court. It also includes the move to “Repeal and Replace” the Affordable Care Act; the tax overhaul; restrictions on gun purchases by “mentally incompetent” veterans; death penalty sentence expansion; sanctuary cities; mandatory minimums for aliens; and equal pay data.
“Our Legislative Report Cards are essential resources for NAACP members and the public to understand how their US House members and Senators vote on issues of high-importance to our community,” said Hilary O. Shelton, Director of the Washington Bureau and Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy. “Ours is a practiced, nonpartisan, and quantitative assessment meant to educate the public and urge politicians to do better when it comes to advancing civil rights.”