Lawmakers’ scores plummet on LGBTQ congressional scorecard
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has released its Congressional Scorecard for the 115th Congress — and it’s revealed some shocking drop-offs.
With Republicans in control of both Congress and the White House, lawmakers showed far less concern for the LGBTQ community, voting against their interests and ignoring legislation that would protect them.
Unlike in previous sessions, lawmakers over the past two years didn’t vote on a single bill that would have directly improved the standing of LGBTQ people. HRC thus designed a scorecard that recognized votes that were harmful to the LGBTQ people. This included obviously anti-LGBTQ votes, like Rep. Vicky Hartzler’s (R-MO) amendment to ban the military from covering transition-related medical costs for transgender troops, as well as votes to repeal aspects of the Affordable Care Act or the discharge petition for the Dream Act. In the Senate, it also included confirmation votes on anti-LGBTQ appointments, including Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Stuart Kyle Duncan.
In addition to voting in favor of LGBTQ people, HRC also awarded credit to lawmakers who co-sponsored pro-LGBTQ bills, even though none of them came to a vote. There were nonetheless quite a few zeros out a possible score of 100.
Several lawmakers suffered precipitous drops compared to how they voted in the 114th Session. These were almost entirely Republicans, though Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-VA) score also took a tumble over the past two years.
The following Senators saw their scores drop by 25 points or more:
- Rob Portman (R-OH): 85 → 0
- Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): 64 → 0
- Ron Johnson (R-WI): 64 → 0
- Dean Heller (R-NV): 57 → 0
- Joe Manchin (D-WV): 85 → 30
- Susan Collins (R-ME): 85 → 35
- Bob Corker (R-TN): 32 → 0
- Todd Young (R-IN): 32* → 0 (*Young’s previous score was for the House)
- Richard Burr (R-NC): 32 → 0
- Thom Tillis (R-NC): 32 → 0
The House also saw significant drops — all from Republicans — including even Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who is otherwise an out and proud LGBTQ ally and had scores of 100 in the previous two sessions. Her score dropped to 76 this session, due in large part to not cosponsoring several pro-LGBTQ bills.
The following members of Congress had drops larger than 25 points:
- Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL): 64 → 15
- Bruce Poliquin (R-ME): 48 → 0
- Tom Emmer (R-MN): 48 → 0
- Dan Donovan (R-NY): 64 → 18
- Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ): 48 → 3
- Lee Zeldin (R-NY): 48 → 3
- Justin Amash (R-MI): 64 → 25
- Carlos Curbelo (R-FL): 88 → 54
- Adam Kinzinger (R-FL): 36 → 3
- Fred Upton (R-MI): 48 → 15
- Erik Paulsen (R-MN): 48 → 15
- Mimi Walters (R-CA): 32 → 0
- Tom Rooney (R-FL): 32 → 0
- Rodney Davis (R-IL): 32 → 0
- Luke Messer (R-IN): 32 → 0
- Jim Renacci (R-OH): 32 → 0
- Greg Walden (R-OR): 32 → 0
- Sean Duffy (R-WI): 31 → 0
- Susan Brooks (R-IN): 32 → 3
While a few lawmakers did see slight increases in their scores, the only notable spikes were Rep. Bil Shuster (R-PA, 0 → 25) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA, 0 → 40).
Across both chambers, 184 Democrats and zero Republicans received perfect scores, while 227 Republicans and zero Democrats received zeroes. Overall, Democrats in the House earned a higher average score than they had during the previous session.
In a statement accompanying the release of the scorecard, HRC president Chad Griffin noted, “While Donald Trump and Mike Pence have spent the past two years unleashing relentless attacks on the LGBTQ community, the 115th Congress has done little to hold them accountable or pass LGBTQ equality, while doing a great deal to undermine the rights of the most vulnerable members of our community.”