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

78 percent of beginning farmers polled by the National Young Farmers Coalition list lack of capital as the biggest challenge they face when trying to start up their own farm.

Newly revealed documents offer rare insight into how Koch’s philanthropic operation prods academics to preach a free market gospel in exchange for cash.

The department was given equipment to fight terrorism but it's now being used to fight local communities.

Organizers haven't been shy about their underlying intentions: using the September march in Manhattan as a platform on which to build an international environmental social movement unlike any previously seen.

"We know it is fraud. They know it is fraud. We look to anyone brave enough to stand up and defend the rights of the people," says homeowner defender Sherry Hernandez.

If you want to fully understand the game at play in the bankruptcies and privatization of public assets in Detroit, Argentina, and Europe, play Monopoly.

Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

In exonerating two climate activists, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter said climate change was "one of the gravest crises our planet has ever faced," and he found political leadership on the issue "lacking."

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago

Britain’s political system is broken to the point where many people in Northern England actually want to join Scotland to escape austerity measures.

Posted 3 days 19 hours ago

As the world prepares to converge on New York City in a mass call for climate justice, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will honor David H. Koch, a 4-star general in the dirty energy industry’s war against planet Earth.

Posted 6 days 18 hours ago

SeaChange: We All Live Downstream is a two-week journey by boat that's raising awareness and generating community activism around climate issues before people hit the streets in Manhattan.

Posted 5 days 21 hours ago
Photo: Thomas Locke Hobbs.

On the fiftieth anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death, a new look at her populist progressive attitudes that included rooting for "the individual as opposed to the corporation."

If a revolution is to take place, Americans – especially young Americans – need to know the facts, and they need to know how they're getting cheated, and they need to get angry.

Profiles: CSU Hunger Strikers Speak

Last Friday, after three days leading a hunger strike against student debt, a small group from Students for Quality Education (SQE) met with California State University Chancellor Charles Reed, Christine Helwick, Esq., and systemwide police chief Nate Johnson at CSU headquarters in Long Beach.

For the first time, the founder of an encrypted email startup that was supposed to insure privacy for all reveals how the FBI and the U.S. legal system made sure we don't have the right to much privacy in the first place.

Mic Check! Wells Fargo on the Hot Seat

The latest Occupy insurgence -- disrupting shareholder meetings of major corporations, primarily banks -- happened in force on Tuesday in San Francisco, where union members, housing justice advocates and others hurt by foreclosures descended on the Wells Fargo annual summit.

Sign Up