Joe Pitts Leads the Pack With 88 Percent, Mike Fitzpatrick Voted 73 Percent of the Time with the Tea Party, Pat Meehan Has a 71 Percent Tea Party Loyalty Score and Charlie Dent Voted 69 Percent of the Time
Washington DC – While nationally, Pennsylvania is increasingly seen as a solid blue state, on the local level the Tea Party has a strong grip on the Republican Party, resulting in a mismatch between many Republican Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the moderate to Democratic districts they represent. Such were the findings of“Tea Stained,” a groundbreaking new legislative scorecard compiled by Americans United for Change.
“Tea Stained” details the voting records of 47 Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives who are running for reelection in statistically swing districts or who are facing significant reelection challenges. As a group, these Members voted for Tea Party priorities 81 percent of the time.
The four House Republicans who fall into this category in Pennsylvania voted with the Tea Party an average of 75 percent of the time, the scorecard found. Leading the pack in Tea Party loyalty was Rep. Joe Pitts, with a score of 88 percent. He is followed closely by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (73 percent), Rep. Pat Meehan (71 percent) and Rep. Charlie Dent (69 percent).
Worth noting is that the three greater Philadelphia-area members would have markedly higher loyalty scores but for their bucking the Tea Party on three votes related to Hurricane Sandy, which hit the area they represent. Without the Sandy votes, Fitzpatrick would have scored 78, Meehan 76 and Dent 75.
The scorecard measures Tea Party loyalty based on 48 recorded votes. The votes scored either appear in the scorecards of Tea Party-affiliated groups Americans for Prosperity or Freedomworks or both or represent the Tea Party’s core values – obsession with the Affordable Care Act – or the Tea Party’s major accomplishment for 2013 – shutting down the government.
“Americans United undertook this project in the wake of the two-week, Tea Party orchestrated government shutdown that brought America to the brink of economic disaster. The American people were furious and disgusted and Republican Members of Congress in all but the reddest districts knew they had to somehow differentiate themselves from the Tea Party extremists who were being – rightly – blamed for this mess,” Americans United for Change President Brad Woodhouse explained. “And so they ... talked. They didn’t vote against the Tea Party ideologues who had masterminded this disaster. They didn’t take a stand where it really matters, on the floor of the House. But in the press and on TV, they made every effort to sound rational and moderate, as if they were making a real effort to buck the Tea Party.
“Voters deserve better. Whether they embrace the Tea Party ideology or despise it or fall anywhere in between, they have a right to know where their elected representatives fall on the Tea Party spectrum – not where they say they fall, but how they actually vote. That is what the Tea Party Scorecard provides. What it proves, unfortunately for non-extremists who are represented by Republicans, is that there is no longer a meaningful distinction between the Tea Party and the Republican Party in American politics today.”