Read

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.

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, corporate tax structure, taxing corporate profits, corporate tax loopholes, free college tuition, free education, student debt, Citizens for Tax Justice

Big businesses paid an effective tax rate of nearly 32 percent during Reagan’s eight years in office, but under Obama they have enjoyed paying just 22.8 percent – the average annual difference coming out to around $166 billion in corporate profit.

U.K. austerity policies, Institute of Fiscal Studies, U.K. education cuts, academy schools, school privatization, school budget cuts

With more teachers being made redundant, class sizes swelling, head teachers wrestling with holes in their budgets, the picture in Britain’s modern-day classrooms is bleak.

solar energy, rooftop solar, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, expanding solar power, renewable energy, United Steelworkers, USW, Break Free from Fossil Fuels, 350.org, Keystone XL pipeline, Deepwater Horizon spill, International Brotherhood of Electr

A growing green industry born of the United States’ hostile labor climate is unlikely to produce steady, good paying jobs without a fight.

Fair Housing Act, foreclosure crisis, housing bubble, bank crimes, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, redlining, Center for Constitutional Litigation, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Consumer Law Center

From L.A. to Miami to Providence, families who lost their homes weren’t the only ones hurt by the foreclosure crisis – so there’s an argument to be made that they shouldn’t be the only ones who can go after the lenders.

Act Out, spoken word, poetry, art, creative activism, agitprop, power of art, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Borrando la Frontera, Erasing the Border, social sculptures, immigration, feminism, performance art, political art, border issues, Moms 4 Peace, Code Pink,

This week, a wall is a wall until it's — the sky? Ana Teresa Fernandez shows us how we might view things differently, simply through the application of color.

Scottish independence movement, Scottish National Party, SNP, representative democracy, There Is No Alternative, RISE, Green Party

Parties like RISE, the Greens, and sections of the Scottish National Party are not only setting out new ideas – they are actively involved in movements fighting for change on the street, and at the ballot box.

Posted 4 days 11 hours ago

Dennis Black is a revolutionary running for office in Michigan, who says we need grassroots activists to re-make the law.

Posted 3 days 6 hours ago
Bank of North Dakota, public banks, public banking, Public Banking Institute, Farm Financial Stability Loan, California Pooled Money Investment Account, California State Bank, Bank of California, Reconstruction Finance Corporation

Despite North Dakota’s collapsing oil market, its state-owned bank continues to report record profits – so what might California, with fifty times North Dakota’s population, do following that state’s lead?

Posted 3 days 6 hours ago
Act Out, spoken word, poetry, art, creative activism, agitprop, power of art, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Borrando la Frontera, Erasing the Border, social sculptures, immigration, feminism, performance art, political art, border issues, Moms 4 Peace, Code Pink,

This week, a wall is a wall until it's — the sky? Ana Teresa Fernandez shows us how we might view things differently, simply through the application of color.

Posted 2 days 8 hours ago

Regulation is the name of the game if you want to hold corporations accountable and keep them in line with the interests of people and planet.

Posted 4 days 11 hours ago
corporate trade deals, Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, regulatory barriers, environmental regulations, health regulations

Greenpeace says internal documents show the US is attempting to lower or circumvent EU protection for environment and public health.

Bank of North Dakota, public banks, public banking, Public Banking Institute, Farm Financial Stability Loan, California Pooled Money Investment Account, California State Bank, Bank of California, Reconstruction Finance Corporation

Despite North Dakota’s collapsing oil market, its state-owned bank continues to report record profits – so what might California, with fifty times North Dakota’s population, do following that state’s lead?

Edward Snowden, leaks, whistleblowers, Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers, NSA spying, NSA surveillance programs, drone program

The act of whistleblowing increasingly has become an act of political resistance: the whistleblower raises the alarm and lifts the lamp, inheriting the legacy of a line of Americans that begins with Paul Revere.

A fracking crew member works inside the Halliburton Sandcastle, at an Anadarko Petroleum Corporation site, near Brighton, May 19, 2014. (RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post)

The state's highest court on Monday halted cities' efforts to limit oil and gas development near people, ruling state power to promote industry trumps local bans, which the court deemed "invalid and unenforceable."

Act Out, spoken word, poetry, art, creative activism, agitprop, power of art, Ana Teresa Fernandez, Borrando la Frontera, Erasing the Border, social sculptures, immigration, feminism, performance art, political art, border issues, Moms 4 Peace, Code Pink,

This week, a wall is a wall until it's — the sky? Ana Teresa Fernandez shows us how we might view things differently, simply through the application of color.