Washington, D.C. -- Clean Water Action released its scorecard on the 115th Congress today. The organization scored the U.S. House of Representatives on 34 votes between January 2017 and August 2018 and scored the Senate on 12. The average score in the House was 45%, the Senate averaged 46%. Votes were chosen for inclusion if they had an impact on water protections or climate policy.
"This is pathetic and a sign of the misplaced priorities in Congress," said Bob Wendelgass, Clean Water Action President and CEO. "Congress got it wrong on nearly every vote that concerned our water, climate, or health over the last 20 months. The consequences aren't theoretical -- because of these abysmal votes, our water will be more polluted and our air less healthy, and we're moving backward in addressing the climate crisis."
Most votes followed party lines — Republicans generally voting against, and Democrats in favor of the environment. 90% of all Republican members of Congress scored zero or in single digits, while 91% of all Democratic Members of Congress scored 90% or higher, including 168 perfect scores of 100%.
"We've warned for years that dark money from the fossil fuel and other powerful special interests is putting our democracy and our government in a stranglehold," said Lynn Thorp, National Campaigns Director. "One of the first bills Congress sent the President was a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to repeal very modest safeguards to shield communities in coal country from the ravages of mountaintop removal coal mining. Republicans in Congress have been acting and voting like a wholly-owned subsidiary of fossil fuel companies and other corporate campaign donors."
The votes scored by Clean Water Action ranged from Congressional Review Act resolutions to repeal agency rules finalized in the last year of the Obama administration, the Tax Reform bill and amendment to allow oil and gas exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, attempts to wipe out the 2015 Clean Water Rule, and more. The organization scored fewer Senate votes because many bills that passed the House of Representatives have not yet moved through the Senate.
"The Clean Water Scorecard is further proof that we need a change in priorities in Congress," Wendelgass continued. "This Congress took every opportunity it had to put the profits of corporate polluters before the well-being of the public and the health of the environment. They may as well have put lobbyists in charge of writing bills."
With the election less than two months away, the organization hopes that voters will use the information in the Clean Water Scorecard to help guide their decisions at the ballot box. " This November's election is a chance to change Congress’ priorities," Wendelgass concluded. “Elections have consequences, but so do votes in Congress. I think Members of Congress are going to learn that playing politics with our water and health was a bad idea -- clean water voters are going to hold them accountable."
The scorecard is online at: cleanwaterscorecard.org
Since our founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking and people power to the table. We will protect clean water in the face of attacks from a polluter friendly Administration and Congress.