News Story

Conservative Scorecard Doesn’t Grade on a Curve

Heritage Action for American, an arm of the Heritage Foundation, has released a “Legislative Scorecard” aimed to help citizens keep their elected officials accountable. The scorecard is an easy-to-use map that tracks 30 select votes on issues ranging from bailouts to entitlement spending to defense.

“With each vote cast in Congress, freedom either advances or recedes,” Heritage Action’s CEO Michael A. Needham said. “Heritage Action’s scorecard will empower Americans to hold their members of Congress accountable to conservative principles.”

Overall, 13 Senators and 27 Representatives received scores above 95 percent. For Michigan, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Grand Rapids, with a 90 percent, was the only legislator to score above 85 percent. Overall, the Michigan congressional delegation scored 41 percent while Republicans averaged 69 percent. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow were the two lowest scores for the state, while Stabenow was the lone Michigan legislator to receive a score of 0 percent.

On one issue, farm subsidies, as many Democrats voted for the “conservative position” as Republicans. The specific bill was an amendment to the “Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012.” The amendment was sponsored by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-AZ, and “would reduce farm subsidy payments to those earning over a certain income.” Only four representatives from Michigan supported the amendment, two Democrats and two Republicans. The Republicans who supported spending less on farm subsidies were Rep. Amash and Rep. Dan Benishek, R-Iron County; the Democrats were Rep. Sander Levin, D-Royal Oak, and Rep. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Hills. Six Republicans and four Democrats voted against the amendment. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter, R-Livonia, did not vote.

As Congress votes, Heritage Action will continue to update the scorecard.

To see the scorecard, visit To see votes by your state legislators, visit

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.