With Democrats on Capitol Hill stampeding to the left and Republicans gravitating toward the center, it’s important to take a detailed and subjective look at their voting habits. The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has done just that with the release of its 30th annual Rating of Congress. Not surprisingly, the number of “A” grades has decreased in the Senate, and the number of “Big Spenders” has increased in the House.

NTU’s Rating is unique from similar scorecards in that it scrutinizes every single vote that impacts tax, spending, and regulatory issues. In all, 286 roll call votes were rated – 182 in the House and 104 in the Senate. Rather than focusing on a handful of “key votes,” NTU rates every vote affecting fiscal policy – appropriations, authorization, and tax bills; budget target resolutions; amendments; and certain procedural votes that could affect the burden on taxpayers.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) became the first Republican Senator to receive a grade of “F” since NTU began issuing letter grades in 1992, with a Taxpayer Score of 12 percent. In the House, former Reps. Ray LaHood (R-IL) and Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD) were the first Republican Members to receive “F” grades in a decade. Their story may give pause to those who say that Republicans need to compromise on principle to win at the polls, as may the fact that Republicans’ average scores in both houses of Congress fell significantly between 2007 and 2008. House Republicans average score dropped four points to 65 percent. The Senate GOP saw a nine point drop to 57 percent.

Friends of the Taxpayer do still exist, however. Rep. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeTrump's attacks on McCain exacerbate tensions with Senate GOP Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar Trump keeps tight grip on GOP MORE (R-AZ) received a 98 percent rating, making him the Best Friend of the Taxpayer for the sixth consecutive year. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) garnered that distinction on the Senate side for the third year in a row with 96 percent rating.

Note: The complete 2008 Rating, a searchable Rating database from 1992-2008, and lists of “Taxpayers’ Friend Award” Winners are available online at http://tinyurl.com/nturates08. For more information, please visit www.ntu.org or text FIGHT to 54608 to join NTU’s Team Taxpayer and fight big government with your mobile phone!