Watchdog Group Names Grassley a “Taxpayer Hero”
WASHINGTON – August 10, 2010 - Senator Chuck Grassley has been named a “Taxpayer Hero” by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.
The elected representatives earning this designation “demonstrated unparalleled commitment to cutting wasteful spending, reducing the tax burden, and making government more accountable to taxpayers,” according to Tom Schatz, the President of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.
“The problem isn’t that Americans are taxed too little; it’s that Washington spends too much,” Grassley said.
Grassley is a leader in the effort to stop the massive, across-the-board tax increase on individuals, families and small businesses that will occur on January 1, 2011, if Democratic congressional leaders fail to act by the end of the year to prevent it. Grassley is spearheading a separate effort to extend tax incentives for renewable energy, including biodiesel and ethanol. Tens of thousands of green-energy jobs have been lost nationwide because congressional leaders failed to renew the biodiesel tax credit at the end of 2009. Grassley also has advanced a comprehensive tax relief plan for America’s small businesses, where 70 percent of net new jobs are created. He’s urged the President to say no to tax increases and remove the uncertainty about tax policy that is hurting the economic recovery.
Grassley serves as the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Finance, which is responsible for tax policy.
In addition, Grassley conducts proactive, ongoing oversight of the federal bureaucracy to protect taxpayers from waste, fraud and abuse. And, he continually works to safeguard and strengthen a law he updated in 1986 by empowering whistleblowers. As a result of his effort, including legislation enacted this year, the False Claims Act has recovered over $22 billion in tax dollars that otherwise would be lost to fraud. The Grassley provisions of the law, which he originally sponsored with Representative Howard Berman of California, have proven to be the government’s most effective weapon against health care fraud. These amendments also have served as a model for new whistleblower legislation that Grassley has championed for the IRS and SEC. Grassley also has won enactment of incentives to encourage state-level False Claims Act to fight Medicaid fraud.
News release issued today by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste:
Taxpayer Watchdog Group Releases 2009 Congressional Ratings
(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today released its 2009 Congressional Ratings, highlighting the voting records of all 535 members of Congress. The report identifies members whose stellar voting records protecting taxpayers and saving money have won them the moniker of Taxpayer Hero and Super Hero. CCAGW’s 2009 Congressional Ratings also name hundreds of members who consistently voted against the fiscal interest of taxpayers.
CCAGW’s 2009 Congressional Ratings scored 120 votes in the House and 74 in the Senate. The average for the entire House was 31 percent (a 4 percentage point drop from 2008). The average for the Senate was 39 percent (a one percentage point drop from 2008). This year marks the twenty-first anniversary of the Congressional Ratings.
The 2009 Congressional Ratings cover the voting year 2009, the first session of the 111th Congress. CCAGW rates members on a 0 to 100 percent scale. Members are placed in the following categories: 0-19 percent Hostile; 20-39 percent Unfriendly; 40-59 percent Lukewarm; 60-79 percent Friendly; 80-99 percent Taxpayer Hero; 100 percent Taxpayer Super Hero. CCAGW’s website, www.ccagw.org, features the complete 2009 Congressional Ratings, including vote descriptions, scorecards for the House and Senate, and averages by chamber, party, and state delegation.
There were a total of seven House “Taxpayer Super Heroes,” with a grade of 100 percent: Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mike Pence (R-Ind.), John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), and Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.). In 2009, there were 89 “Taxpayer Heroes” in the House with a grade of 80 percent or above, a 51 percent increase from the 59 in 2008. The big difference was in the number of Democratic House members with a perfectly abysmal score of zero. In 2008 there were only 34. In 2009, however, the number of members with a score of zero skyrocketed to 105, which is 41 percent of the 256 House Democrats. The lone Democrat in the Taxpayer Hero category was Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho), with 83 percent.
From 2006 through 2008, there were no Senate “Taxpayer Super Heroes” (scoring 100 percent), but fortunately there were two in 2009, Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). There were a total of 29 Senate “Taxpayer Heroes,” 52 percent greater than the 14 in 2008. The two next highest performers were Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) at 99 percent. There were no senators with a score of zero, compared to 17 in 2008.
“Taxpayer Heroes and Super Heroes demonstrated unparalleled commitment to cutting wasteful spending, reducing the tax burden, and make government more accountable to taxpayers,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “Their ratings are even more impressive given the record number of votes rated by CCAGW and the record number of representatives who could not vote even once to cut wasteful spending or taxes. While far too many members of Congress on both sides of the Capitol demonstrated little regard for the consequences of failing to reduce the record $1.4 trillion deficit and $13 trillion debt, the Taxpayer Heroes and Super Heroes give taxpayers hope for the future.”
The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.