The Drum Major Institute (“DMI”) and TheMiddleClass.org just released their annual rankings and grades on how each Senator and Representative voted on issues important to the middle class. And since “middle class” is a very broad and vague term, this is how DMI describes it as it relates to a slew of votes and issues:
The middle class is more than an income bracket. Over the past fifty years, a middle-class standard of living in the United States has come to mean having a secure job, a safe and stable home, access to health care, retirement security, time off for vacation, illness and the birth or adoption of a child, opportunities to save for the future and the ability to provide a good education, including a college education, for one’s children. When these middle-class fundamentals are within the reach of most Americans, the nation is stronger economically, culturally and democratically.
Most Americans identify themselves as middle class. Yet DMI is concerned not only with those who currently enjoy a middle-class standard of living, but also with expanding the middle class by increasing the ability and opportunities of poor people to enter the middle class. The middle class is strengthened when more poor people are able to work their way into its ranks. In a nation that is increasingly polarized between the very wealthy and everyone else, DMI sees the poor and middle class as sharing many of the same interests. Simply put: what strengthens and expands the middle class is good for America.
Now, readers may think that this is a progressive organization and the votes will be skewed towards Democrats. However, in the latest scorecard, Rep. Chris Smith got an A and Frank LoBiondo got a B for last year. In fact, 65% of ALL Congressional officials (House and Senate) received passing grades, with another 15% receiving an incomplete. That leaves only 20% who received failing grades – and, not surprisingly, only one in New Jersey – Scott Garrett, who also has the honor of a 0% rating for 2009 so far.
Only 5 Senators received 0% grades for 2009, and of the House members with a 0% grade, Garrett is the only one north of PA (there are 2 Reps in PA) with such a disastrous score. In fact, Garrett has received an F for every year since 2003 (here is a link to all of his applicable votes over the seven year period).
This is truly stunning – even for those who follow Garrett’s record and stances. There is no bigger enemy to the middle class in the entire Northeast. From his very first year in Congress through his 2009 votes against the biggest middle class tax cut in history and to preserve the AIG bonuses (where he was once again the only NJ Representative to vote in this way) -he is NOT voting in the interest of his constitutents.
It’s time to Retire Garrett. The good people of his District deserve someone who will represent them, especially in an economy as bad as this.