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Public Citizen Vote Analysis Shows

Oct. 25, 2000

106th Congress Did Little for Consumers,

Public Citizen Vote Analysis Shows

Pre-Election Vote Chart Rates Lawmakers on Pro-Consumer Votes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Public Citizen today released its scorecard rating members of Congress on how often they voted in the consumer s interests during the 1999-2000 Congress. Public Citizen released the chart even as the Republican leadership has been unable to wrap up work for the year. The organization is disseminating the information now to reach voters well before they head to the polls.

The vote chart scores each member of Congress on a 0-100 percent scale and includes “best” and “worst” lists. Just four U.S. senators and 32 members of the House of Representatives received perfect scores. Thirteen senators and 36 representatives received scores of 0, the lowest possible. (See attachment.)

“While this scorecard is not exhaustive, the votes covered show that Congress passed into law several harmful measures and enacted few measures that helped consumers,” Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook said.

The issues on which Public Citizen rated lawmakers included campaign finance reform, Medicare prescription drug coverage, international trade, corporate welfare, patients rights, fuel efficiency, nuclear waste disposal, liability protections, regulatory protections and food safety.

Three bills deemed harmful by Public Citizen became law. They were a measure to grant permanent normal trade relations to China, a “NAFTA for Africa” trade bill that will benefit multinational corporations at the expense of African countries, and legislation that limits the legal liability for high-tech companies that developed products with Y2K defects.

On the positive side, Congress made progress on campaign finance reform and a patients bill of rights, both of which were blocked in the Senate. Congress passed a new campaign finance disclosure law for section 527 groups and a limited auto safety law; however, these votes were not scored by Public Citizen either because they passed by an overwhelming margin or they passed on a voice vote.

The vote chart includes information about campaign money raised by each lawmaker. It is on the Web at https://www.citizen.org/vchart00/map.htm, and is searchable by member or state delegation.