Inequality-Fighting Lawmakers Won Big in Election

Search form

Inequality-Fighting Lawmakers Won Big in Election

Inequality-Fighting Lawmakers Won Big in Election
Wed, 11/14/2012 - by Sarah Anderson
This article originally appeared on The Institute for Policy Studies

Members of Congress who received good marks in an Institute for Policy Studies report card on inequality fared well in the election.

The report card awarded "A+" grades to 12 House members for doing the most to narrow America's economic divide over the past two years. Eleven of these won their races, including: Representatives Robert Brady (D-PA), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), John Conyers (D-MI), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) lost his seat to a Democratic challenger.

Three of the five senators who received top marks were up for reelection and all were successful. They include Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

Republicans identified as the most "99% friendly" within their party also did well. Three senators and nine House members received "C" level grades in the IPS report card for doing the most to reduce extreme inequality over the past two years. Of the seven House members on this list who ran for reelection, all were victorious. None of the three most "99% friendly" Senators was up for reelection.

The IPS report card handed out failing grades to 59 legislators who consistently favored the interests of the wealthy instead of looking out for the needs of everyone. Of the 45 who were up for reelection, two lost their bids.

One was Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY), who is highlighted in the IPS report card for being the lead sponsor of a bill to repeal a provision in the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that requires corporations to disclose the ratio between what they pay their CEO and their workers. This new metric could encourage a narrowing of the staggering inequality gaps within companies. In the midst of Hayworth's two-year crusade against that provision, the SEC has failed to implement it.

The other House member who received an "F" grade and lost her seat was tea party-backed Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY).

The IPS report card also identified the 17 Democrats who have done the least to fight extreme inequality within their party and rated no better than "C" level grades. Of the eight House members on this list who were up for reelection, two lost reelection bids (Representatives Ben Chandler, D-KY, and Larry Kissell, D-NC) and one (Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-NC) appeared to be headed for a recount.

This first-annual Institute for Policy Studies report card, released in September, is based on voting records and co-sponsorships of 40 different legislative actions over the last two years. The bills considered range from legislation to establish a "Buffett Rule" minimum tax rate that all wealthy Americans must pay to a measure that would raise the minimum wage and index it to inflation.

Sarah Anderson is a co-author of the Institute for Policy Studies' first annual inequality report card, released in September.

Article Tabs

Comcast spent $18.8 million on lobbying last year – among the top for U.S. corporations – and operates a giant revolving door with Washington, making it an already too-powerful communications giant.

Faceless hedge funds and nameless investors are replacing landlords in many low-income and foreclosed-on neighborhoods — often with disastrous consequences.

One lesson of the Heartbleed bug is that the U.S. needs to stop running Internet security like a Wikipedia volunteer project.

Corruption rules in India – and as the world’s largest democracy goes to the polls this month, the Common Man’s Party has emerged as a new hope promising a corruption-free future.

Depriving the homeless of their last shelter is Silicon Valley at its worst – especially when rich cities aren't doing anything to end homelessness.

Revolts are shaking the world, bursting in the most unexpected places, but they rarely take power. Is the big explosion still coming?

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

Anyone who has ever gone "skipping," or "dumpster diving," knows that shops regularly throw out masses of perfectly edible food.

Posted 6 days 17 hours ago

The Vermont Senate passed a bill to require labeling on all GMO foods sold in the state – signaling a wave of nationwide victories against the Gene Giants may be underway.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

Life in tent encampments, vehicles, motels, and storage units - REAL CHANGE focuses on four men who sell Real Change News, a street newspaper in Seattle. Follow ROBERT, GEORGE, DANIEL, and BUDDY as they navigate the less visible side of homelessness in America. Despite their struggles, they persevere. Each sells newspapers to get by.

Posted 5 days 20 hours ago

From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago
"Complete Victory": U.S. District Judge Blocks NDAA

A federal judge granted a preliminary injunction late Wednesday to block provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that would allow the military to indefinitely detain anyone it accuses of knowingly or unknowingly supporting terrorism.

A Year After SOPA: The Next Five Battles for Internet Freedom

A year ago, millions of people flooded Congress with emails and phone calls demanding it drop the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. That battle was successful. Now, five big new fights loom on the horizon in 2013.

Cranes could be the next mascot for the climate change movement, like polar bears.

Global resistance to Monsanto is growing as people rise up to reclaim food and seed sovereignty.

At Planetary Crossroads, A Call to Arms: Join the Blockade!

We must immediately obstruct this pipeline or accept our surrender to forces that, in the name of profit, intend to cash in on the death throes of the planet. Keystone XL is part of the final phase of extreme exploitation by the corporate state.

Sign Up