It’s certainly not the first adjective that comes to mind when one considers the political record of House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), but according to the latest scorecard from Heritage Action, Ryan is firmly in the middle of the pack among House Republicans, with an overall rating of 78 percent.
For the most part, Ryan’s score suffered as a results of his voting with leadership on several key measures that Heritage Action opposed, such as:
- The short-term continuing resolution passed in early April.
- Patent-reform legislation.
- The budget proposal drafted by the conservative Republican Study Committee.
- The so-called “Boehner plan” to raise the debt ceiling and cut spending.
- The Budget Control Act, or final compromise to raise the debt ceiling.
The scores were compiled based on two factors — vote percentage (how often a member voted in compliance with the official Heritage Action position) and sponsorship percentage (whether or not a member signed on to a key piece of legislation as identified by the group). Ryan’s overall vote percentage was 80 percent, largely due to the votes outlined above. His sponsorship percentage was just 40 percent, having put his name to just two of the five key measures Heritage Action chose to highlight. They were:
- Legislation to end the taxpayer bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (Ryan sponsored).
- The A-PLUS Act, to allow states to opt out of the No Child Left Behind initiative (Ryan sponsored).
- Welfare-reform legislation introduced by RSC chair Jim Jordan (R., Ohio) to set a cap on total welfare spending.
- Legislation to prevent federal regulations imposed under the guise of “global warming.”
- A letter to House GOP leaders urging them not to bring the debt-ceiling “contingency plan” offered by Senate Majority Mitch McConnell to a vote in the House.
As the scorekeepers at Heritage Action acknowledge: “[Our] legislative scorecard isn’t graded on a curve — it is tough and we don’t apologize. After all, we are conservatives, not tenured university professors.”