Capitol Hill (CNSNews.com) - The National Taxpayers Union has issued its annual "Taxpayers Score," which rates members of Congress based on their fiscal voting records, and the group said one freshman senator stands out.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) "earned the dubious distinction of being the lowest-scoring member of the Senate in 2001, with a 3 percent [rating]," NTU said in its announcement.
"This is the worst score for a Senate freshman in their first year in office that NTU has ever recorded," the group added.
Clinton's fellow New York Democrat, Charles Rangel, was identified as the "biggest spender" in the House of Representatives, with a 6 percent score.
The "Taxpayer Score" is based on every roll call vote affecting fiscal policy, according to the group. The numerical rating is designed to serve as an indication of the commitment each member of Congress has, or does not have, "to reducing or controlling federal spending, taxes, debt, and regulation."
CNSNews.com contacted the offices of both Clinton and Rangel for comment regarding their scores. Those calls were not returned prior to publication of this story.
A total of 155 House and 194 Senate roll call votes were selected for the 2001 assessment.
NTU rated votes involving obvious tax issues, such as the Republican tax relief bill and the vote to temporarily repeal the estate tax, also called the "death tax." The group also rated less obvious votes, including consideration of public funding for congressional races and proposals to extend "loan forgiveness" to certain Head Start teachers.
In addition to "honoring" the 235 lawmakers who earned an "F" with the "Big Spender" label, NTU also awarded the "Taxpayers Friend" designation to lawmakers who scored an "A."
In 2001, 65 members of Congress received the "Taxpayers Friend" award, down from an all time high of 121 lawmakers in 1995.
Texas Republican Ron Paul earned the highest score in the House, 88 percent. This is the third year in a row Paul has received the House's high score. Colorado Republican Senator Wayne Allard took top honors in the Senate, also with a score of 88 percent. His colleague Jon Kyle (R-Ariz.) was "just a fraction of a point behind Allard."
NTU says that, despite the 2001 tax cuts, the average scores for both the House and Senate were down slightly from 2000. The House average dropped 4 points to 41 percent. The Senate lost one point, down to a 46 percent average rating.
"Congress made a promising start for overburdened Americans last year by passing modest tax relief, but the months that followed were a disappointing finish for fiscal responsibility," NTU President John Berthoud said announcing the 2001 scores.
"Congress will need to pay more attention to making every dollar count in 2002, not only for the War on Terror but also for pro-growth tax cuts to get our economy moving again," he added.
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