Sen. Marco Rubio and six Florida congressmen -- all Republicans -- earned top scores from the conservative Club for Growth for their votes on key issues last year.
Rubio's 97 percent score ranked him 10th in the Senate and garnered a "Defender of Economic Freedom Award." Other senators receiving the award were Pat Toomey, R-Pa.; Dan Coats, R-Ind.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Jon Kyl, R-Ariz; and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.
Five senators boasted perfect scores in 2011: Jim DeMint, R-S.C.; Tom Coburn, R-Okla.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; and Mike Lee, R-Utah.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., posted a 14 percent score, ranking him 60th out of 100 senators on Club for Growth's scorecard.
The Club graded lawmakers on roll-call votes ranging from the repeal of Obamacare and the elimination of various government subsidies to the rejection of a continuing appropriations resolution.
In the House, six Florida congressmen posted scores of 80 percent or higher. Their scores (and their House rank):
- Rep. Connie Mack, R-Naples: 98 percent (14th).
- Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland: 96 percent (21st).
- Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Tallahassee: 96 percent (26th).
- Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala; 87 percent (48th).
- Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Pensacola: 86 percent (49th).
- Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge: 80 percent (74th).
The only Democrat in the delegation to hit double digits was Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, at 13 percent. The lowest finisher was Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, at 1 percent.
Nine House members -- all Republicans -- posted perfect 100 percent scores; six members -- all Democrats -- scored zeros.
Rubio, in a statement, said, I ran for the U.S. Senate promising Floridians that I would stand up to Washingtons reckless spending and its assault on the free enterprise system.
"I made clear promises that I would support conservative alternatives to restore fiscal discipline and promote our free enterprise system, and Im pleased that the groups entrusted with holding me and my colleagues accountable are validating my fulfillment of those promises," said Rubio, who earlier earned an "A+" from Americans for Prosperity and is ranked the second most conservative senator on the Heritage Action for America scorecard.
Ross called it "an honor" to be recognized by the Club for Growth.
"Before I came to Congress, I spent over 20 years signing the front of paychecks, defending entrepreneurs against the trial bar, and providing employment to dozens of my fellow Floridians. The Club recognizes, as I do, that balancing the budget, growing revenues, and expanding economic and employment opportunities are directly related to economic growth."
But Deutch had a decidedly different perspective on the report card.
If my votes to uphold the Medicare guarantee, stop American jobs from being shipped overseas, and end tax subsidies for oil companies get me an F from the Club for Growth, at least I know Im getting an A from my constituents, Deutch told Sunshine State News.
Interestingly, Rep. Allen West, a tea party favorite considered to be among the most conservative members of Congress, scored only 64 percent. The Plantation Republican placed 11th in Florida's 25-member House delegation and 142nd overall.
"Congressman West votes on what he believes is best for the constituents of his district, not a scorecard," said West spokeswoman Angela Melvin.
Analyzing House roll calls from 2011, the Washington, D.C.-based organization awarded points for votes cast on the following issues ("yes" votes unless otherwise stated):
Repealing Obamacare; striking funding for a drug intelligence center; eliminating the Legal Services Corp.; cutting energy subsidies; striking funding for No Child Left Behind; cutting Amtrak grants; reducing most continuing appropriations spending by 5.5 percent; stopping many new leases for oil and gas drilling (no); rolling back most spending to 2006 levels; limiting the Davis Bacon Act; passage of continuing appropriations bill (no); approving Washington, D.C., school vouchers; barring EPA from passing greenhouse gas regulations; disapproving Internet regulations; approving the Republican Study Committee budget; barring funding for speech regulations; cutting Agriculture Department spending by 5 percent; and cutting the ethanol subsidy.
The Senate scorecard measured a slightly different set of votes.
Chris Chocola, president of the Club for Growth, applauded lawmakers "who fought tooth and nail for economic freedom in 2011."
The Club for Growths 2011 Scorecard is intended to help our members and the general public differentiate between those who talk a good game about economic growth, and those who actually vote for pro-growth policy.
"Defenders of economic freedom are hard to find, but we hope that those who are currently serving redouble their efforts to save America from fiscal ruin in 2012.
See full House and Senate scorecards here, along with previous years' results.
Contact Kenric Ward at email@example.com or (772) 801-5341.