Sunday, July 27, 2014

AMPVG: Tim Huelskamp

In November of 2010, Kansas State Senator Tim Huelskamp was elected to represent the conservative 1st Congresssional district in Kansas, winning 73% of the vote.  He was unopposed in 2012. This year, he has a primary challenger but it seems unlikely that he would lose.  The former mayor of Manhattan, Kansas could potentially run against him.  But unless Bill Snyder, himself, announces that he is a Democrat and that he is running against Huelskamp in 2014, Huelskamp will win re-election this year.

His tenure and campaigns have been interesting, to say the least.  In a 2009 letter to the conservative blog RedState, he bragged that he was the only candidate in the field who opposed nominating Kathleen Sebelius's nomination to the Obama cabinet. His biggest problem with the former Governor and now-former Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary was her "extreme positions on abortion, as well as her close ties to a late-term abortion provider."  The final criticism was that Sebelius had not enacted any real healthcare reform but rather proposed expansion of government programs.  While running for insurance commissioner in 1994, Sebelius refused to take campaign contributions from insurance providers.  In 2001, she blocked the merger between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas with an Indiana based company.  According to a questionnaire sent to Huelskamp in 1996, he does not agree with the idea that health insurance is the priority of the government, the idea that the government should provide tax incentives to small businesses so that they can provide health insurance to their employees, or the idea that the state should fund and incentivize health care professionals to stay in rural areas. The only reform he agreed with was to limit the amount of damages a plaintiff could receive in medical malpractice lawsuits.

While Governor of Kansas, abortions declined 8.5% in Kansas.  She attributed the decline in abortions to a variety of factors including "adoption incentives, extended health services for pregnant women, and providing sex education."  She did, however, veto bills in 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2008 limiting abortions.  The line about Sebelius's close ties with abortion providers was taken from a Chicago Sun-Times op-ed about how Sebelius would be the pro-choice voter's dream as vice-president.  The medical director of an abortion clinic in Wichita, George Tiller, is the person who supposedly had close ties with Sebelius.  He was a campaign donor to her gubernatorial campaigns.  He was shot in April of 2009.  Sebelius also was endorsed by and received fundraising contributions from Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood had always been an issue to Huelskamp.  While running for Congress in 2010, he bragged about keeping state funds from supporting Planned Parenthood.  According to the same questionnaire in 1996, he disagreed with the notion that the Kansas government should fund clinics that provide abortions and abortion services.  Planned Parenthood says only 3% of its services are abortion-related.  Not surprisingly, he also disagreed with the expansion of government funding for pre-natal and infant care programs.  Huelskamp promised that he would prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds if he was elected to Congress.  For a 2012 questionnaire on abortion, he quoted the Declaration of Independence (not a legally binding document) saying that since our founding fathers wrote that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, "if we do not protect life, all other rights are without meaning." On February 18, 2011, he voted Yes on House Amendment 95 which would prevent federal funds from covering abortion.  He was a co-sponsor to H.R. 3, No Taxpayer for Abortion Act which would codify the Hyde Amendment to all aspects of federal funding.

What Representative Huelskamp is probably best known, if he is known at all, has been his consistent stand for "traditional marriage."  While running for his first election, he bragged about his efforts in passing the Kansas Marriage Amendment that passed with the support of 70% of Kansans.  On February 24, 2011, he criticized the Obama administration for not defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  His argument was that a majority of states had passed constitutional amendments that banned same-sex marriage.  He stated, matter of factly, that the Obama administration was ignoring "the will of the people."  While it is true that a majority of states have passed laws and amendments banning same-sex marriage, it is simply not the will of the people, any longer.  In Kansas, 44% of Kansans now support same-sex marriage, according to a February Public Policy Polling poll. Perhaps, he is referring to the will of his constituents.  Huelskamp's district is significantly more conservative than the rest of the state, 70% of voters in the district voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 compared to 60% of voters in the state of Kansas.  Nearly 75% of Mitt Romney voters polled in the Public Policy Polling poll stated that same-sex marriage should not be allowed in Kansas.  It wouldn't be surprising if Huelskamp is insulated from the rest of the state or the country's views on the issue.
After the decision was handed down by the Supreme Court, ruling DOMA unconstitutional, Huelskamp introduced H.J. Res. 51 which would add a constitutional amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman. There is a long process for an amendment to be added to the Constitution and it seems incredibly unlikely that such an amendment would pass through all of the stages. This has not stopped Congressman Huelskamp from authoring the bill.  He has introduced 7 bills this session of Congress.  One was H.J. Res. 51 and another was a bill to to protect military chaplains or military facilities for being used for same-sex marriages.  Two other bills were resolutions offered to congratulate universities in his district on their 150th anniversary.  It's tough to categorize Helskamp's authorship of bills as an obsession with social issues, it has remained his primary focus.  At any rate, he will be re-elected this year, even despite his low authorship of bills and the inability for his bills to pass Congress.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tom Corbett

Public Policy Polling (PPP) released its poll in Pennsylvania fairly recently.  Not really surprising numbers but a bit disappointing for the Republican Party.  Republican incumbent Tom Corbett has an abysmal approval rating with Pennsylvanians.  Corbett's approval rating is 27% favorable and 58% unfavorable leading to an almost unbelievable, -31.  Because of his unbelievable low favorability ratings, he is trailing Democratic nominee Tom Wolf by 25 points.  Wolf's favorability is 47/20 showing a net favorability of 27 points. One has to wonder how much of this favorability is just because he is simply not Tom Corbett.

In the last poll prior to the November election in 2010 posted on October 31, 2010, Corbett had a net favorability of +19.  He led Dan Onorato in the poll 52-45.  This was fairly similar to the final electoral results of Corbett: 54.4% - Onorato: 45.6%.  By January of 2011, Corbett's favorability had fallen slightly to +12.  Three months later, Corbett's favorability had fallen, with a net favorability of -10.  In that same poll, PPP found that Onorato led in a hypothetical re-match by 5 points, 49-44.  This raises two questions.  How did Corbett win the election and why did his popularity go away so quickly?

He was elected as Attorney General of Pennsylvania in 2004, defeating his Democratic opponent by about 2 points.  Corbett won 50.4% of the vote.  He was re-elected as Attorney General in 2008 with 52% of the vote.  By the first time Public Policy Polling released its first poll on the gubernatorial election in April of 2010, Corbett's favorability was 27/20 showing a majority of voters in Pennsylvania did not have an opinion of Corbett.  About two weeks prior to that poll, Corbett had filed a lawsuit against the mandates of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) taking place in Pennsylvania.  According to a poll released on April 7, 2010, 49% of Pennsylvanians opposed the ACA and 49% agreed with the statement that Republicans should work to repeal the ACA.  This furor combined with the massive unpopularity of Democratic incumbent Ed Rendell (35/51) led to Corbett leading all challengers in the gubernatorial polls by an average of 15 points.  This is the popular narrative around the popularity of Corbett.  The idea is that the unpopularity of the ACA and Democratic incumbent led to Corbett and other unpopular Republicans to be able to seize opportunities that otherwise would have been closed to them.

One theory that has been pervasive in political science, recently, is that politics are increasingly presidential, despite what Tip O'Neil said.  President Obama's approval rating in the poll in late October of 2010 was 40/54 in Pennsylvania.  By January, President Obama's favorability was now at 46/49.  In April of 2011, Obama's favorability had actually fallen, showing closer to his marks in October of 2010, 42/52.  The presidential political model does not help explain Corbett's fall. Since Corbett is a Republican, he should, theoretically, be helped by President Obama's favorability declining.

The next theory is the theory that Corbett lost his base.  While this has some explanatory value, it does not explain why he lost his base.  In October of 2010, Corbett had a 80/10 favorability with Republicans.  While it did fall slightly to 64/10 in January of 2011, it fell even more by April of 2011 to 60/22.  What is more helpful, though, is that Corbett lost support among Independents and Democrats going from a +20 approval rating from Independents in October of 2010 all the way down to -7 in April of 2011.  With Democrats, while he was never popular (-32 in October of 2010) he became more unpopular by April, falling to -45.  That certainly helps to explain where Corbett lost his support but not necessarily why.

One possible explanation to this is the reliance on people having to self-identify their political party and the winner's bias (Note: not a scientific or scholarly term).  The winner's bias is a bias in polling and social surveys when people self-identify their political party, affiliation, or ideology and they tend to state that they are part of the winning side.  Essentially, after 2008, more people started identifying as members of the Democratic Party, even though they are not really a member of that political party.  In 2010, after the TEA Party wave, there was an increase in voters identifying as Republican.  After the GOP made great wins in Pennsylvania in 2010, the assumption follows that more people began to identify as Republican, even if they weren't Republican to begin with.  It's possible that this helps to explain why Corbett's net favorability among Republicans fell by 16 points before he took office in 2011.

Maybe that helps to explain why Corbett's popularity declined among Republicans.  How about Democrats and Independents?  One of the first things Corbett did when he was elected into office was a budget that would decrease spending by 3%.  One of the ways that he did this was to cutting the state-supported higher education spending by 50%.  This represented a cut of $525 million.  Cutting spending in education is never popular.  In February of 2011, Corbett repealed a policy that regulated hydraulic fracking.  The Pennsylvania Democratic Party called it a payoff which seems like it resonated with voters.

While we are looking are for an explanation to why Tom Corbett lost favorability so quickly, perhaps, we have been too quick to nationalize the approval ratings and neglected to look at what the governor did while he was in office.  While there is not sufficient polling data to show what policies voters found most offensive, a look at the job done by the governor helps to explain why the Governor lost support so quickly.

Unfriendly Fire: A review of sorts

One of the struggles of reading a book about policy is that it may not be relevant for long after you have finished the book. This is especially true if you read a book about a policy that has already ended.  I like to read about subjects that I don't have much knowledge about, in order to learn something new.  In the same manner, I decided to read Unfriendly Fire.

The book is about the gay ban in the United States military, the creation of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, and eventually the beginning of the end of the policy.  The only two-star review on Amazon calls the author pro-gay and then questions the accuracy of the book. Of course, this probably just comes from the Acknowledgments when the author thanks his partner for this help.  The book is incredibly well-written and well-researched, even if the author begins to lose steam near the last quarter of the book.  Nearly 3/4 of the book through, I was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that "don't ask, don't tell" was a spectacularly awful policy and should be repealed.  Over the last quarter of the book, there was more or less a rehashing of the arguments he already laid out in conjunction with stories of various service members.

The author lays out the history of the gay ban in the military, which I'll briefly summarize here. As most of you are aware, Friedrich von Steuben a gay Prussian captain helped the Americans win the Revolutionary War with his ability to train fellow soldiers and wrote a training manual called Regulaions for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States.  Years later, somewhat ironically, the argument against gays in the military was almost entirely based on the supposed order and discipline problems that they would bring to the military.  It was not until World War I that sodomy was explicitly banned in the military.  During World War II, the service branches of the United States tried to exclude gays, blacks, and women from the military.  Psychiatrists in the 1940s lectured people on the belief that homosexuality was a mental disorder.  Psychiatrists drew sweeping conclusions based on a small sample of homosexuals who were seeking psychiatric help.  Over the next several years, military officials based simply on gut feelings spread the belief that homosexuality was dangrerous and spread stories of the gay menace. In 1949, the Department of Defense instituted a policy banning homosexuals in the military.  In 1950, Congress created the Uniform Code of Military Justice criminalizing heterosexuals and homosexuals engaging in anal sex and oral sex.  It comes as no surprise which individuals were participating in these activities.  Trying to seek re-election in 1980, President Jimmy Carter proposed getting tough on gays. Prior to leaving office in 1981, he pushed through a servicewide ban on homosexuals.  Despite the ban, the military, much like the rest of America was more welcoming of homosexuals.  In 1990, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney acknowledged to Barney Frank that he was not a supporter of the ban but repealing it was not a priority.  Soldiers known to be gay were sent to combat in the Gulf War only to be discharged upon their return.  That's a very brief history leading to Bill Clinton running for President and the effect of the gay ban.  A much more detailed history can be found in the book with impeccable research.

This is where I'm going to diverge from the traditional book review format and talk about a few other things that I found interesting from the book.  The first thing is the author's conclusion about why the religious right became such strong supporters of national defense/security and by extension the Republican Party.  The argument he made is that the religious right and its leaders became convinced that they were to evangelize to the entire world and the only way to do so was through a strong military presence.  The idea is that the United States could invade non-Christian nations, if needed.  I'm not really sure I buy the argument.  The most popular explanation as to why protestant churches became Republican is because of abortion.  That explanation does not fully cover why, in my opinion.  The latest explanation is that it is about race.  Many small private Christian schools and universities wanted to stay segregated but they were forced to integrate.  Ronald Reagan famously announced while running for President in 1980 that the schools should be able to choose to remain segregated.  One of these universities, Bob Jones University, had a rule against interracial dating until 2000.  Nevertheless, the explanation as to why the religious right became obsessed with national security issues is certainly interesting.

 The most striking thing about the book is how it parallels the argument between allowing gays in the military and integrating the military.  Both were suspected of dramatically reducing morale.  In fact, many of the arguments against integrating the military was based on how whites in the rank and file in the military would react.  Many prominent LGBT activists actively made the argument that not allowing gays in the military is shockingly similar to not allowing blacks.  Colin Powell, among others, was not interested in the argument.  He made a point to say that he felt that there was no comparison between the two.  The argument he made was largely based on the discussion that homosexuality is a choice.  Of course, he rather famously, later, decided that a review of "don't ask, don't tell" would be required.  Among the comparisons that were made by military officials that were similar, they warned of an increase of STD's, sexual deviancy, privacy concerns, and forcing beliefs onto other people.  The integration of the military was largely successful, the author notes, because of the top-down structure of the military.

With a little imagination, "don't ask, don't tell" is analogous to President Obama's own quest to close Guantanamo Bay.  While running for President in 1992, Clinton met with many LGBT activists and was brought to tears on the subject of ending the gay ban.  He decided to make it a part of his campaign, that he would end the ban upon becoming President.  According to polls at the time, the nation was fairly split on the issue.  While campaigning, Clinton, as he often did, focused the argument on a meritocracy.  He suggested that some of the best American soldiers were getting kicked out and the only way to truly be a meritocracy like the ideal version of America is to end the gay ban.  Like almost everything Clinton did, this argument was based on polling data.  Support for ending the ban increased.  Clinton thought he could end the ban by simply signing an executive order and the ban would be ended.  Unfortunately, members of his own party, including the (somehow) influential Sam Nunn led the attacks from the other side.  By focusing on anecdotal evidence, false evidence, a parade of horribles, and bigotry for the LGBT community, Clinton was convinced his own party would not support his actions.  Meanwhile, the religious right mobilized their activists calling members of Congress, producing books and "policy" papers stating the military and by extension national security would dramatically suffer. Support for ending the ban flipped. A majority now opposed ending the ban.  What was originally going to be so simple forced Clinton into a compromise that had dire consequences.  When Barack Obama was first campaigning for the presidency for the 2008 election, he would make the claim that he was going to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  Much like ending the gay ban, public support was pretty much split. According to a CBS News poll taken in June of 2007, 46% of Americans thought we should continue to operate Guantanamo Bay while 45% thought we should close it.  Public opinion did not change overnight.  After President Obama signed an executive order stating he would close the facility within one year, in January of 2009, Fox News found that 47% of Americans thought the facility should be closed while 45% thought it should remain open. The Democratic Party in both the House and Senate did not give the administration the money needed to close the facility in 2009.  Republicans voiced their concerns with the plan to close the facility by offering their own questions.  By June of 2009, 60% of Americans thought we should not close the facility while 32% thought we should close the facility.  In January of 2010, after an attempted bombing of an airport, Republicans renewed their attacks on the Obama administration calling for him to abandon plans to close the facility.  55% of Americans agreed that Guantanamo should continue to operate.  After running in part, against the closing of Guantanamo Bay in 2010, Republicans took control of the House. In January of 2011, they passed a Defense Authorization bill preventing funds being used to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay.  In 2012, I was told my multiple conservatives that Obama's failure to close Guantanamo Bay should convince me to vote for Mitt Romney.

The idea that the President has extraspecial power that he can exercise whenever he wants is a myth that surrounds politics in the United States.  Some political scientists refer to it as the "Green Lantern President."  This book about "don't ask, don't tell" provides a cautionary tale of how the president is still constrained not only by his own political party but by public opinion.  You should be cautious about the promises presidential candidates make but you should also be cautious of those who oppose everything that the president does.  If something matches your political viewpoint or agrees with you too much, your first question should be to ask what are you missing. But if you are looking to read a book about the policy of "don't ask, don't tell" and the effects of such a policy, I would definitely recommend it.


Monday, July 14, 2014

APMVG: Legislative scorecard, Key legislation: The Postal Service, 113th Congress

In case you were wondering what I thought on how to save the postal service, my legislative portfolio on the subject is found here.

H.R. 630: Representative Peter DeFazio (OR-4) introduced H.R. 630, the Postal Service Protection Act of 2013 on Feburary 13, 2013. It would allow the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide any non-postal service or product that is consistent with the public interest.  It would allow the USPS to ship beer and wine according to relevant state laws.  It would create a position of Chief Innovation Officer for the USPS who would be appointed based on his or her success in the shipping industry.  Finally, the bill would call for a dramatic overhaul of the pension system for postal service workers. It would re-calculate and restore retirement annuity obligations and eliminate the requirement that the USPS pre-fund the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits fund.  185 co-sponsors have signed onto the bill, 176 of which are Democratic and 9 are Republican. (+7 for author and original co-sponsors, +5 for later co-sponsors)

H.R. 961: Representative Stephen Lynch (MA-8) introduced H.R. 961, the United States Postal Service Restablization Act of 2013 on March 5, 2013. The bill, if passed, would re-calculate the contributions made by postal service employees using the normal cost percentage method and multiplying it by the basic pay payable.  It would then use any surpluses caused by this re-calculation to pay down the postal service debt. There are 169 co-sponsors to this bill, 159 are Democratic and 10 are Republican. (+4, +2)

H.R. 2690: Representative Elijah Cummings (MD-7) introduced H.R. 2690, the Innovate to Deliver Act of 2013 on July 16, 2013.  The bill, if passed, would allow the postal service to participate in non-postal activities consistent with the public interest.  It would also allow the postal service to ship beer, wine, and distilled spirits consistent with state law.  It would require each piece of mail to cover both its direct and indirect costs.  It would call for the position of Chief Innovation Officer for the USPS.  Finally, it would modify the pre-payment schedule to the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund by amoritizing health care liabilities, reduce the prefunding of the compensation fund to 80% of actual liabilities, and delay payments to the fund until fiscal year 2017.  There are 22 co-sponsors to the bill, all are Democratic. (+6, +4)

H.R. 2615: Representative Adrian Smith (NE-3) introduced H.R. 2615, the Securing Access to Rural Postal Services Act of 2013 on July 8, 2013. This bill would prohibit the USPS from closing more than 5% of post offices within a calendar year.  If the USPS feels the need to close or consolidate post office branches, they would have to send surveys to the customers affected and give them alternative options.  If the post office has to be closed, the USPS would have to honor the alternative preferred by the customers to ensure that they are served with access to post office facilities.  There are 8 co-sponsors to the bill, 6 are Republican and 2 are Democratic. (+3, +1).

H.R. 4670: Representative Darrell Issa (CA-49) introduced H.R. 4670, the Secure Delivery for America Act of 2014 on May 19, 2014. The bill would attempt to phase out door delivery of mail and move to curbside delivery or other centralized boxes.  Essentially, the bill would allow the mail to be delivered similar to how it is delivered to apartments.  The bill would allow for exemptions if you had a physical hardship, if you lived in a historic district, among others and would ask the public for recommendations, as well.  There is one co-sponsor to the bill.  He is a Republican. (-3, -1)

H.R. 2748: Representative Issa introduced H.R. 2748, the Postal Reform Act of 2013 on July 19, 2013.  Like H.R. 4670, to the door delivery would be phased out and would focus on clusterboxes and curbside delivery.  The USPS would maintain Saturday delivery for packages and medicines, for at least five years, but advertisements and bills would be phased out.  Five full-time executives would be appointed with the stated mission of turning around the USPS.  Once it has been turned around, the positions would be eliminated. Some postage rates would be changed upwards to cover the cost of delivery.  Postal workers would be required to pay the same premium contribution for life and health insurance that current federal workers pay.  The USPS would be allowed to sell advertising space on vehicles and facilities; postal service facilities would be allowed to provide state and local services, such as the sales of hunting and fishing licenses.  All future payments to the Retiree Health Care Benefits fund would be based on an actuarial calculation intended to achieve full funding by 2056.  The bill would also stop surpluses in the USPS's pension from going to cover operating losses of the postal service. The bill has 2 co-sponsors; both of whom are Republicans. (-5, -3).

Note: The lowest possible score for the Postal Service portion of the scorecard is -1.33; the highest is 3.

Note #2: My table isn't working. Darrell Issa's score is -1.33. Blake Farenthold's score is -1.33. Dennis Ross's score is -0.83.

Note #3: My table isn't publishing at all, highest scores were as follows:
Jackie Speier: 2.167
14 members of Congress tied: 1.83 (Tony Cardenas, Alcee Hastings, Mike Honda, Kathy Castor, Lacy Clay, Peter Welch, Alan Grayson, Marcy Kaptur, William Keating, Emanuel Cleaver, Pedro Pierluisi, Corrine Brown, Bennie Thompson, Danny Davis, and William Enyart)

Friday, July 4, 2014

AMPVG: Legislative Scorecard, Key votes LGBT Issues House Edition 113th Congress

H.J. Res. 51: On June 28, 2013, Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp introduced H.J. Res. 51, Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relating to marriage.  Gee, I wonder what the amendment to the Constitution would say.  The amendment would define marriage as consisting only of the union between one man and one woman.  Further, the amendment would not allow state constitutions or the U.S. Constitution to be able to define marriage for any other union.  The bill was introduced as a direct attack on the Supreme Court's decision to declare the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.  The resolution does not have a chance of being enacted as it would not pass the Senate, would not be signed by the President, nor would it be approved by two-thirds of the states.  Support for the resolution is posturing by politicians to be able to say that they support traditional marriage, defined as a marriage between a man and a woman. There are many arguments against the resolution beyond simply that same-sex marriage should be legal.  Many people believe that the individual states should determine whether or not the state allows same-sex marriage. This amendment would not allow states to decide if they want to allow same-sex marriage or not.  There are 58 co-sponsors to the bill, 56 are Republicans and 2 are Democratic House members. (How it shows on the table: -7 for original sponsor and author, -5 for later co-sponsors)

H.R. 1755: Democratic Congressman Jared Polis introduced H.R. 1755, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2013 on April 25, 2013.  The bill would prohibit employment discrimination based on perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.  The bill would prohibit quotas or preferential treatment.  Religious organizations and military contractors are exempt from the bill.  The bill is introduced in nearly every session of Congress since 1994.  My commentary on the law can be found here.  There are 205 co-sponsors to the bill, 197 are Democratic and 8 are Republicans. (+7, +5)

H.R. 3829: Republican Congressman Randy Werber introduced H.R. 3829, the State Marriage Defense Act on January 9, 2014.  The bill would allow states that do not allow same-sex marriages in their states to continue to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.  Beyond that, it would define the term spouse to only be used for marriages that are recognized by the states.  Govtrack gives this an 11% chance of being enacted. There are 68 co-sponsors to the bill, 67 are Republicans and 1 is Democratic. (-5, -3)

H.R. 2523: Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced H.R. 2523, the Respect for Marriage Act on June 26, 2013.  This act is largely irrelevant now as the act would have repealed the problematic parts of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  As such, as I don't rate this one as important in my scorecard.  Nevertheless, there were 174 co-sponsors to the bill. 172 were Democratic and 2 were Republican. (+3, +1)

H.R. 914: After the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell", many conservatives were concerned about how military chaplains felt.  H.R. 914 was introduced by Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp and would prohibit military chaplains from being required to perform a same-sex marriage if it was against their conscience. Further, it would prohibit punishing those who have a sincerely held religious belief against the LGBT community in the military.  Finally, it would prevent any Department of Defense (DOD) owned property/facility from being used in any marriage other than between a man and a woman. There are 16 co-sponsors to the bill, all 16 are Republicans.(-3, -1)

H.R. 2028: Democratic Congressman John Lewis introduced H.R. 2028, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. The bill would prohibit any facility that receives federal assistance and is involved in the process of adoption or foster care placements to discriminating against prospective foster or adoptive parents on the basis of sexual identity, sexual orientation, or marital status. I wrote a post about Nebraska needing to do something similar here.  The bill has 117 co-sponsors, 116 are Democratic and 1 is a Republican. (+5, +3).

With the six key pieces of legislation in place, I take a simple average of the scores on the bills. For LGBT issues, the highest score that can be received is +2.5 and the lowest is -2.5.  There are over 100 members of the House of Representatives who failed to sponsor or co-sponsor one of the six bills selected for key votes on LGBT issues.  They're not listed on the table. A "0" represents no sponsorship of the bill and no vote on the bill.  I'll probably do a lengthier piece on various representatives whose votes I find interesting.  You'll notice that more of the better known Republicans in the House including Paul Ryan, Darrell Issa, Eric Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, etc. are not listed as they failed to weigh in on these issues. I have a theory as to why that I may discuss later as I go through this process. Additionally, the scorecard is my personal scorecard with my own personal weights.  You can and are encouraged to weigh the various bills and issues the way you want, I thought it would be useful to see how I weigh the issues.

Table 1:

NameLGBT IssuesH.J. Res. 51H.R. 1755H.R. 3829H.R. 2523H.R. 914H.R. 2028
Jared Polis2.5070305
Karen Bass2.5070305
Lois Capps2.5070305
Michael Capuano2.5070305
Tony Cardenas2.5070305
David Cicilline2.5070305
Yvette Clarke2.5070305
Gerald Connolly2.5070305
John Conyers2.5070305
Susan Davis2.5070305
Diana DeGette2.5070305
Theodore Deutch2.5070305
Lloyd Doggett2.5070305
Donna Edwards2.5070305
Keith Ellison2.5070305
Chaka Fattah2.5070305
Raul Grijalva2.5070305
Alcee Hastings2.5070305
Mike Honda2.5070305
Joseph Kennedy2.5070305
Ann Kuster2.5070305
Jim Langevin2.5070305
John Lewis2.5070305
Alan Lowenthal2.5070305
Carolyn Maloney2.5070305
Jim McDermott2.5070305
George Miller2.5070305
Gwen Moore2.5070305
Jerrold Nadler2.5070305
Eleanor Norton2.5070305
Beto O'Rourke2.5070305
Nancy Pelosi2.5070305
Chellie Pingree2.5070305
Mark Pocan2.5070305
Mark Quigley2.5070305
Charlie Rangel2.5070305
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen2.5070305
Lucille Roybal-Allard2.5070305
Linda Sanchez2.5070305
Jan Schakowsky2.5070305
Adam Schiff2.5070305
Allyson Schwartz2.5070305
Jose Serrano2.5070305
Jackie Speier2.5070305
Eric Swalwell2.5070305
Mark Takano2.5070305
Niki Tsongas2.5070305
Debbie Wasserman Schultz2.5070305
Frederica Wilson2.5070305
Xavier Becerra2.16666666666667070303
Timothy Bishop2.16666666666667070303
Earl Blumenauer2.16666666666667070303
Robert Brady2.16666666666667070303
Julia Brownley2.16666666666667070303
Matthew Cartwright2.16666666666667070303
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Michael McCaul-0.500-3000
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Sam Johnson-2-70-5000
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