Children's Defense Fund Action Council Releases 2007 Congressional ScorecardSome Gains Made for Children, But Much Work Remains to Be Done
For Immediate Release
February 27, 2008
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WASHINGTON, DC—The Children's Defense Fund Action Council (CDFAC) today released its 2007 Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard, showing some important legislative successes but noting some missed key opportunities to improve the lives of children in 2007.
The average scores for Members of Congress in both the House of Representatives and the Senate improved from the previous three years with more Members scoring 100 percent than in 2004, 2005 or 2006. However, Congress failed to provide health coverage for even one-third of the children currently uninsured in America. The Scorecard, which grades every Member of the House and Senate based on ten key votes affecting children, calls on voters to hold their legislators accountable for their votes.
"While Congress did take some important strides forward for children and families in 2007, much work remains," said CDFAC President Marian Wright Edelman. "In the richest nation on earth, 9.4 million children still are without health coverage and nearly 13 million live in poverty—5.5 million of them in extreme poverty. We must demand that our leaders commit to helping children as a condition of our vote."
As the 2007 CDF Action Council Scorecard reports:
- The average score for a Senator was 69 percent, up from 48 percent in 2006.
- The average score for a Representative was 66 percent, up from 56 percent in 2006.
- 25 Senators and 173 Representatives scored 100 percent.
- 13 Senators and 132 Representatives scored 30 percent or below.
- The Hawaii and Rhode Island Congressional delegations were rated the best advocates for children.
- The Oklahoma and Wyoming delegations were rated the two worst for children; this is the third time over the last four years that Wyoming has had the lowest score of all 50 states.
The Scorecard highlights Congress's failure to override President Bush's veto of legislation to extend health coverage to 3.1 million more uninsured children. But it also credits Members for making important progress for children and families in 2007 by passing:
- The first increase in the minimum wage in a decade, bringing it from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour by 2009, which is expected to benefit the parents of approximately 6.4 million children under 18.
- Access and quality improvements in Head Start to help more young children start school ready to succeed.
- Additional funds for student loans to help many more youth attend college.
"Whether Members of Congress are liberal, conservative or moderate; Democrat, Republican or Independent, children need all of them to vote, lobby, speak for and protect them," Edelman said. "In this election year, we must all listen carefully to what candidates say they will do for children and families and then hold them accountable once they are in office."
CDFAC developed an interactive map and other online tools to show how Members of Congress voted by state. To see the interactive map as well as the 2007 Congressional Scorecard in its entirety, which includes the grades of all Members of Congress, visit: http://www.cdfactioncouncil.org/.