Friday, September 13, 2013

Better know a politician: Rush Holt

Name: Rush Holt

Current position: Congressman

District: New Jersey's 12th Congressional District (NJ-12)

Previous position: Research physicist at Swarthmore College

Tenure: 1999-present

Future position: Holt was a challenger in the Democratic primary special election to fill in Senator Frank Lautenberg's seat.  Holt lost to Cory Booker in the special election.  It seems unlikely that Holt will try to challenge Booker in 2014 or Bob Menendez in 2018.  Holt's chances of becoming a Senator for New Jersey has significantly decreased with Booker winning the special election primary.

Previous election: 2013 Democratic Primary:
Cory Booker: 59%
Frank Pallone: 20%
Rush Holt: 17%
Sheila Oliver: 5%

2012: Rush Holt (D): 69% Eric Beck (R): 29%

Next election: Holt's next election will be in November 2014 in an election for the U.S. House of Representatives

Leadership: Member, House Committee on Education and the Workforce

House Committee on Natural Resources

Fundraising, 2014 cycle, source: OpenSecrets:

Raised: $1,462,604
Spent: $795,457
Cash on hand: $667,147

Top contributors, OpenSecrets:

1. Princeton University: $30,150
2. Two River Theater: $20,800
3. Honeywell International: $15,200
4. Rutgers University: $13,000
5. Bank of America: $11,200

A More Perfect Union score: 8.11/24


Abortion.  Holt has been given a 100% rating from NARAL, indicating that he has a pro-choice record.  He has tried to support legislation that would provide emergency contraception at every hospital.  He opposed legislation that would stop funding Planned Parenthood.  He has also opposed legislation that would bar federal health coverage from being able to supply abortions.  He has supported stem cell research.  He voted against banning partial birth abortions.  Holt's position on abortion is very pro-choice.

Animal Rights/Welfare.  Holt has been given a 100% rating from the Humane Society indicating that he is in favor of animal rights and welfare.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1998, the Big Cats and Public Safety Protection Act which attempts to prohibit the breeding and domestication of big cats.  Holt is a co-sponsor of the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act which would restrict kennels to 50 dogs for breeding.  Holt is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 1518 which would protect horses from the act of soring them.  In the past, Holt has tried to strengthen penalties against those who are caught for animal fighting.

Budget and the economy.  Holt was a supporter of the bailouts for the financial institutions and the auto companies.  He also supported the stimulus package that Barack Obama was an advocate for.  Holt not only voted against making the Bush tax cuts permanent but he also voted against the Bush tax cuts in the first place.  Somewhat surprisingly, he has voted to eliminate the estate tax, also called the death tax.  He has voted to stop the reduced tax rates for capital gains and dividends.  He was given a 100% rating from the Citizens for Tax Justice indicating that he has a progressive tax record.  He has also supported measures that would make those who are earning at least $1 million to have a tax rate of 30%.

Civil Rights.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1755, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sexual identity or orientation.  Previously, he voted against prohibiting discrimination based on sexual identity or orientation.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2523, the Respect for Marriage Act, which among other things would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  Holt is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 1652 which attempts to prohibit discrimination against students because of actual or perceived sexual identity or orientation.  Holt has been given a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign which indicates a pro-gay rights record.  Additionally, he supported the repeal of the policy known as Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

He voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.  He has been a consistent supporter of a constitutional amendment that would guarantee equal rights for women.  He has tried to re-introduce the equal rights amendment.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1975, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would make it illegal for employers to not provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers.  Like most House Democrats, Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 377, the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would provide workers who are discriminated against on the basis of sex or gender better opportunities to challenge why their paycheck is worse and enforces against wage discrimination based on gender.

Holt has been given a 100% rating by the NAACP which indicates a pro-affirmative action stance.  He did not support the constitutional amendment which would have prohibited flag burning.  He voted against making the PATRIOT Act permanent.  He voted to require the NSA to have warrants in order for them to have wiretaps.  But he voted against requiring warrants for electronic surveillance.


Holt has been given a 23% rating from the Chamber of Commerce, which indicates a anti-business record.  He voted to allow shareholders to vote on executive compensation.  Holt was a co-sponsor of H.R. 494, the Small BREW Act, which would would provide a reduced excise tax for small breweries.


Holt has been given a +10 rating from NORML that indicates a pro-drug reform stance.  Holt has been a supporter of a needle exchange program which would allow trades of needles to reduce hepatitis and HIV.  Holt is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 2130, the Access to Substance Abuse Treatment Act of 2013 which would increase the availability of treatment for abuse of heroin, cocaine, meth, PCP, ecstasy, and other drugs.


In 2001, Holt was in favor of giving every parent a choice between a public school and a charter school.  Despite these type of statements, Holt was given a 100% rating by the National Educators Association.


Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 631, the Permanent Repeal of Oil Subsidies Act, which would permanently repeal oil tax subsidies.  Holt is also a co-sponsor of H.R. 1921 which would repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing in the Safe Drinking Water Act.  He has consistently voted against opening the continental shelf for drilling.  He has been an opponent of offshore drilling.  He also voted against the Keystone Pipeline.  He has been a supporter of green energy by wanting to implement the Kyoto protocol, investing in biofuels, tax credits for renewable electricity, and tax credits for renewable energy production.  He has also been a supporter of raising CAFE standards, as well as preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  He also voted against banning the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.

Foreign Policy

Holt wanted to investigate George W. Bush for lying about Iraq.  He is a member of the out of Iraq congressional caucus and has voted to defund the military operations in Afghanistan.  He wants to practice a policy of prevention in Iran instead of containment.  He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1692, which attempts to develop a strategy to stop the human rights in the Sudan.  He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 599 which attempts to ban the sale of firearms and other defense articles to governments that are engaged in gross violations of human rights.

Free trade

He has voted to assist workers who have lost their jobs due to globalization.  While he did support the free trade agreement with Australia, he did not support the free trade agreement with Singapore, Chile, and did not support the Central America Free Trade Agreement.

Gun control

Holt has been given an F from the National Rifle Association which indicates that he has a pro-gun control voting record.  Holt was the original author of H.R. 117 which requires the mandatory licensing and registration of handguns.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 93, the Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act, which attempts to prohibit anyone who has their federal license to deal firearms revoked to transfer their firearms to their personal collection to allow for the sale of firearms.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 321 which allow for the research of firearm safety and gun violence by federal agencies.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 141 which would close the gun show loophole and require background checks on private sales of firearms.  Holt is a co-sponsor of H.R. 137 which would require that all people who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are actually listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check system.

Health care

While Holt never stated publicly until after 2006 that he thought the federal government should be giving health insurance to all Americans, regardless of income, Holt has not supported the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.  He has also voted to expand the SCHIP program to expand health insurance to more children.


Holt voted against building a fence along the Mexican border.  Holt has supported a path to citizenship for certain immigrants who work in the states.  He has stated that while he opposes any blanket amnesty program, he does support opportunities for some immigrants to become citizens by serving in the Armed Forces or going to school.


Holt has been given a 93% rating by the AFL-CIO which indicates that he has a pro-union voting record.  He has also voted to allow unions to form through card checks instead of through secret ballots.


He voted against terminating funding to National Public Radio.  He has been a proponent of criminal penalties for those who participate in e-mail spamming.


He would like those who are receiving welfare to be moved in to jobs so that they are no longer on welfare.  Holt voted against maintaining the work for welfare requirement.

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