CREDIT: AP Photo/Molly Riley
House Republicans voted in line with environmental interests on key environmental legislation an average of just 5 percent of the time in 2013, according to a new scorecard.
The scorecard, released each year from the League of Conservation Voters, tallied 13 Senate and 28 House votes on key energy, conservation and other environmental measures during the first session of the 113th Congress. It found that environmental voting scores for House Republicans have dropped from 17 percent in 2008 to 10 percent in 2012, and down again to 5 percent last year — a decline the LCV attributes to the influence of the Tea Party. The House GOP caucus’ score this year was the lowest they had ever received from the LCV, which has been publishing scorecards since 1970.
“The issue is that the tea party has been such a drag on the Republican party writ large,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at LCV, said on a press call Tuesday.
Senate Republicans scored an average of 17 percent, with Senate Democrats scoring a 92 percent and House Democrats scoring 87 percent on average. The report found that, in particular, freshmen Democrats were “overwhelmingly pro-environment,” with 44 out of 50 of them voting to oppose a bill that would have legislatively approved the Keystone XL pipeline, and scoring an overall average of 88 percent.
Sittenfeld said that she hopes Congress can soon get back to the days of bipartisan support of clean air and water legislation of a few decades ago. She said that with polls that showed that, among young people, even those who don’t support the president approve of his climate action plan, she’s hopeful that sort of bipartisan support isn’t too far off.
The Scorecard isn’t the only report to rank the House of Representatives poorly on environmental issues. Last month, a report from Henry Waxman (D-CA) found that in 2013, the House voted in favor of anti-environment positions 109 times. According to Waxman’s report, the House voted 51 times to “protect the interests of the oil and gas industry at the expense of the environment and human health,” including voting to ramp up drilling on public lands and fast-track the approval process of the Keystone XL pipeline.