Members of Congress Graded on Middle Class Accountability
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
If the middle class could give your Congressmember a grade, what would it be? Today, DMI releases grades for every senator and representative, evaluating their votes on key legislation that affects the current and aspiring middle class.
2007 began as a year of great promise. Congress was flooded with dozens of new members, many elected with a pledge to address the middle-class squeeze and help more working people attain a middle-class standard of living. Important legislation--from expanding children's health coverage to bringing down the cost of college loans--was introduced and brought to a vote. But, faced with Senate filibusters and a recalcitrant President, many bills died or were passed in watered-down form. Still, the bills that did become law represent concrete gains for current and aspiring middle-class Americans, including a higher minimum wage, expanded Pell Grants, a freeze on middle class tax hikes and lower costs to fuel cars.
TheMiddleClass.org 2007 Congressional Scorecard takes a closer look at the decisions made by Congress, from the one-year freeze to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax from hitting middle-class families to the filibuster that originally torpedoed a minimum wage increase (later passed) and the trade bill that put the interests of multinational corporations and large investors before the concerns of middle-class Americans.
After examining 13 bills in detail, the 2007 Congressional Scorecard assigns a grade to each Member of Congress based on his or her support for the middle class. On the whole, Congress squeaked by with a passing grade in 2007, but there is considerable room for improvement. Just 62% of Representatives and 56% of Senators received a C or better. While this middle-class record is far better than the first term of the 109th Congress, the millions of Americans striving to attain--or hold onto--a middle-class standard of living deserve more from their elected representatives.
Andrea Batista Schlesinger is the Executive Director of the Drum Major Institute.