The Center for Security Policy has released its seventh National Security Scorecard grading members of Congress on votes vital to America’s national defense. The scorecard is designed to provide the general public, the media, and the legislators themselves a non-partisan evaluation of national security voting records based on the Center’s time-tested philosophy of peace through strength.
Incorporating votes through September 5, 2006, the scores of members of the House of Representatives are based on 27 selected national security votes, while 25 were calculated for the Senate.The Critical VotesEvery vote selected by the Center for its biennial Congressional Scorecard is chosen because its outcome is critical to the national security of the United States.
Of the 52 total votes selected for the 2006 scorecard, a significant number deal with issues that became a part of the national debate during the service of the 109th Congress. Legislation on the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, border security, and terrorist surveillance and detention programs drew headlines nationwide.
But how did members of Congress vote on these and many other important issues?Defenders and the PretendersWhile every member of both the Senate and the House of Representatives claims that he or she is strong on national defense, their voting records do not always agree.
The House had a particularly strong showing as more than 50 representatives scored a perfect 100 percent. Led by Wayne Allard (R-CO), John Cornyn (R-TX), James Inhofe (R-OK), and Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who all scored a 100 percent, the Senate had 15 members who scored an 85 percent or better.
As always, however, the 109th Congress had its share of representatives in both chambers whose voting record demonstrate a disconcerting lack of judgment on defense and foreign policy issues. In the House, Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), Ed Pastor (D-AZ), and Pete Stark (D-CA) all scored below a five percent, while those in the Senate who failed to reach double digits include Russell Feingold (D-WI), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ).