WASHINGTON - February 12 - The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) Action Council today released a nonpartisan report that ranks members of Congress according to their 2003 votes on legislation affecting the lives of children. The scoring system is based on 11 key votes cast in the House and Senate last year, including a positive score for co-sponsorship of the Act to Leave No Child Behind (S. 448/H.R. 936), the comprehensive, bipartisan legislation that reflects CDF's mission and is based on policies that have a proven record of helping children.
During 2003 and still today, more than 12 million children are poor, more than 9 million children lack health insurance, an estimated 7 million children are left home alone after school, and more than 900,000 children each year are the victims of abuse and neglect. The CDF Action Council's scorecard makes it clear which Members of Congress are voting to lift children out of poverty.
The 2003 Children's Defense Fund Action Council Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard shows that 13 Senators scored 100 percent, while 29 scored below 10 percent. Fifty-four House Members consistently voted to protect children and had scores of 100 percent, while 211 House Members repeatedly failed to vote in the best interest of children, scoring below 10 percent. The average score for Senators was 50 percent, while House Members came in even lower with an average of 42 percent.
"The 2003 Congressional session was a difficult one for children," said Marian Wright Edelman, president of the Children's Defense Fund. "Congress has the power to give every child in America what he or she needs to have a healthy, fair, safe, and head start in life. This Congress' voting record on issues of critical importance to children is simply unacceptable. Every Member of the House and Senate should be united in a non-partisan cause to Leave No Child Behind®."
The states with the best voting record for children are:
1st: Hawaii (90%), Massachusetts (90%)
3rd: Vermont (89%)
4th: North Dakota (81%), Rhode Island (81%)
6th: Maryland (78%)
7th: Delaware (72%)
8th: Arkansas (68%)
9th: Maine (67%), West Virginia (67%)
States with the worst record are:
40th: Nebraska (22%), Virginia (22%)
42nd: Kansas (21%)
43rd: Alabama (18%)
44th: Utah (17%)
45th: Oklahoma (12%)
46th: Kentucky (10%)
47th: Alaska (8%)
48th: New Hampshire (6%), Wyoming (6%)
50th: Idaho (4%)
"On behalf of children, we thank those Members of Congress who had high scores," said Edelman. "But our children need every Senator and every Representative to cast votes in 2004 that will help improve their lives. We urge Members to cast their votes to meet the needs of children in the second half of the 108th Congress. Our children are counting on them."
The complete Congressional Scorecard featuring charts showing the best and worst Members of Congress on children's issues, the best and worst state delegations for children, and scores for each individual Member by state is available at: http://www.cdfactioncouncil.org/scorecard2003.pdf