Tar Heel Blue Dogs Fare Poorly on Taxpayer Rankings

Group names four N.C. Republicans ‘taxpayer heroes’
By David N. Bass
August 16, 2010

RALEIGH — North Carolina’s three centrist Democrats scored in single digits on new congressional rankings that judge how well lawmakers protected taxpayers’ interests in 2009.

U.S. Reps. Heath Shuler, D-11th, and Mike McIntyre, D-7th, scored 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively, in the rankings by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, a conservative group based in Washington, D.C. Shuler and McIntyre are members of the Blue Dog Coalition, an alliance of House Democrats who claim to be “independent voices for fiscal responsibility and accountability.”

Rep. Larry Kissell, a Democrat representing the 8th Congressional District, isn’t a member of the coalition but has parted company with party leaders several times during his year-and-a-half in the House. He garnered 5 percent on the scorecard.

In contrast, the group named four Tar Heel Republicans “taxpayer heroes,” meaning they scored 80 percent or above: Reps. Virginia Foxx, R-5th (99 percent); Patrick McHenry, R-10th (99 percent); Sue Myrick, R-9th (95 percent); and Howard Coble, R-6th (89 percent).

The rankings scored 120 votes in the House and 74 votes in the Senate. Lawmakers faced a bevy of tough votes in the congressional term, due to quick action on President Barack Obama’s agenda.

North Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican, scored 92 percent, compared to 8 percent for Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat.

Rep. Walter B. Jones of the 3rd Congressional District was the lowest scoring Republican at 51 percent. Reps. David Price, D-4th; G.K. Butterfield, D-1st; Bob Etheridge, D-2nd; Mel Watt, D-12th; and Brad Miller, D-13th, scored zero percent.

Nationwide, seven lawmakers (none from North Carolina) earned the distinction of “taxpayer super hero,” with a grade of 100 percent.

“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 the $13 trillion debt, the taxpayer heroes and super heroes give taxpayers hope for the future,” said CCAGW president Tom Schatz in a statement.

David N. Bass is an associate editor of Carolina Journal.

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