IAVA Grades Congress on Supporting Our Troops (Updated)
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the first and largest group of its kind, has given letter grades to every Representative and Senator based on their voting history on issues that affect soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, war veterans, and military families. The methodolgy used by the non-profit and non-partisan group was straightforward:
To calculate the Ratings, IAVA reviewed all legislation voted on in the Congress since September 11, 2001. For each piece of legislation that affected troops, veterans or military families, IAVA took a position either in support of, or in opposition to its passage. The letter grades were derived from the percentage of times that each legislator’s vote matched the official IAVA stance.
The results in the Senate are surprising, but certainly not shocking: the worst grade received by a Democratic senator was higher than the best grade received by a Republican senator. Here’s the full list:
Actions do indeed speak louder than words.
Hat-Tip: Bob Geiger.
UPDATE: I should have made clear that the table of grades was compiled by Bob Geiger, not by the IAVA itself. Reflecting its non-partisan nature, the IAVA reports its grades by state, not by party affiliation. Indeed, the IAVA does not even identify party affiliation on its list; you have to search for an individual member of Congress to learn his or her affiliation.
UPDATE 2: One commenter implies that the Republicans might have received lower grades because they voted against trimming “budgetary fat.” Here is a list of some of the measures Lincoln Chafee — the Republican with the best grade, a “C” — voted against; I leave it to the reader to decide whether the proposed expenditures were “budgetary fat” or necessary to ensure the well-being of those who risked their lives for their country:
- Voted against allocating $2,000,000 for research into the treatment of brain injuries, a very common injury among Iraq veterans.
- Voted against providing eligibility for retired pay for non-regular military service.
- Voted against providing $1,975,183,000 for medical care for Iraq veterans.
- Voted against protecting servicemembers and veterans from means testing in bankruptcy.
- Voted against assuring that funding is provided for veterans health care each fiscal year to cover increases in population and inflation.
- Voted against reducing the age for receipt of military retired pay for nonregular service from 60 to 55.
- Voted against prohibiting profiteering and fraud relating to military action, relief, and reconstruction efforts.
- Voted against expressing the sense of Congress that the removal of Saddam Hussein enhanced the security of Israel and other United States allies.
- Voted against providing pay protection for members of the Reserve and the National Guard.