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Grading Congress: New CPA Trade Grades

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CPA has refined our trade grade system for this 111th Congress. We use math to figure out where Congress people really stand on trade policy and fixing our economy… because their words are so unreliable.

You may look at this data and get discombobulated. Mostly because your favorite Congressman has a horrible grade and you “just don’t understand how that could be.” The reason is that you don’t follow their votes… you just listen to what your Rep says, and your Rep talks a good game but doesn’t perform. Or you may just simply like your Congressional representative for other reasons.

CPA is all about trade, growing America’s economy and creating jobs here. We don’t, as an organization, deal with social issues. Our CPA Board (consisting of representatives of agriculture, manufacturing and workers) determines which important bills should be supported or opposed.

If your Representative co-sponsors a good bill, he/she gets credit. If your Representative votes against a good bill, we take points away.

Below are the summary grades for all House members. Of course an A is very good. And an F is very bad.

Oh… an “n/a” means that the Member is a freshman who has had zero votes on trade, so remains unrated. The green cells also show freshman Members.

The methods we use are explained here. The full data set is here. You can click each rated bill and see the summary of that bill, if you wish.


6 Responses to “Grading Congress: New CPA Trade Grades”

  1. Jim Schollaert says:

    Too many A’s, especially for the Democrats on this list. And some surprising C’s, for some Republicans with stellar anti free trade agreement voting records, like John Duncan, (R-TN), and Ron Paul (R-TX). All in all, too much emphasis on signing letters, which are much less important than votes. And too much reliance on the steel industry agenda. Much better to factor in voting history on all important trade legislation such as all FTA’s, as well as votes on Most Favored Nation Treatment for China, Fast Track. Far too many Congreessman on this list got an A, even though they voted for MFN for China, Fast Track, and many FTA’s.

  2. Ken Ammann says:

    How did some freshmen congressmen get rated and others received a n/a rating? Did not all freshmen have the same opportunity to support the issues? Or did many dodge the issues?

    • The only scoring opportunity for 2011 Freshmen is to co-sponsor the currency manipulation bill HR 639. Freshman so far have only one scoring opportunity, which makes the grades for them the least reliable (one data point). They could have signed letters, but letters contribute zero points towards grades. We include letters just for information purposes, because who signs what letter gives some insight into their position. We don’t grade the letters because letters are often vague, or a do-nothing Congressman may sign a letter just to tell a constituent group that he/she did something… when they really are doing nothing. Votes and co-sponsorships matter, so we grade those actions.

  3. Ron Petrucci says:

    I see most of our Cong. in Illinois have received an (A). With our economy really in the tank–I see your system to be flawed. I thought for sure–they were given an (E) or (F) rating. Ron

    • Ron. Take a look at this link with the actual votes and co-sponsorships rated. Our board – consisting of manufacturing, agriculture and worker organizations – chose votes and co-sponsorships on bills relating to currency manipulation, trade agreements, national manufacturing strategy, for example. If we missed some trade relevant bills, feel free to suggest including them.


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