2011 Congressional Report Card
View the entire Congressional Report Card. To view Representatives' grades state-by-state, see menu bar on left.
The Secular Coalition for America is pleased to present its report card for the U.S. House of Representatives for the the 1st session of the 112th Congress. The Secular Coalition chose seven issues covering aspects of protecting and eroding religious liberty, religious privileging in law, discrimination against nontheistic Americans, the influence of religious dogma on the availability of health care and educational choices, and the effect of religious bias in science.
Please see Legislation and Grading for descriptions of the legislation that the House voted on and how and why the Secular Coalition graded each vote.
The Secular Coalition believes it is vital to hold elected officials accountable for every vote they cast on behalf of their constituents. The Secular Coalition urges all nontheistic and secular Americans and every American who believes in the separation of church and state to contact their U.S. Representative and ask him or her to account for the votes as presented in this report card.
*The total will not be exactly 435 due to members who did not vote, who have left Congress, and who were absent.
- No member of the House received a perfect score because of the voice vote for HR 473, the vote to approve a land conveyance to a Boy Scout council. Due to the fact that the House approved the conveyance by a voice vote, meaning no one asked for a record of the vote, the Secular Coalition chose to give every member of the House a negative score rather than not count this vote at all.
- The grades were calculated by the number of correct votes (as determined by the Secular Coalition) and then divided by the total number of votes taken by each individual member. So a member who voted all seven times, but only voted the correct way 5 times, received a score of 71 percent and an A grade. A member who voted only six times, but voted correctly four times, would receive a score of 67 percent and a B grade. It should be noted that some members who did not vote the full seven votes may have higher or lower grades than accurately reflects their stances on issues. This illustrates the importance of our elected officials doing their jobs—voting.
To Be Noted
- A startling fact that emerged from the vote totals was the low number of Representatives who were present for all seven of the votes, which came at different times of the year. Of the 435 members of the House, and acknowledging Rep. Giffords’ absence as well as the tradition of the Speaker of the House (Rep. Boehner) not to vote, and the partial terms of Representatives Amodei, Hahn, Hochul, and Robert Turner, only 279 Representatives voted in all seven votes—and that is giving all 433 members a pass on HR 473, which was a voice vote. At least 156 members of the House missed one or more votes.
- For Roll Call 601, the Church Investment Plan, about 28 percent of the House didn’t vote. Of about 433 eligible members, 120 of them didn’t bother to vote on this legislation. If they chose not to vote, their constituents should demand an accounting of their time.
- For Roll Call 816, the reaffirmation of “In God We Trust” as the national motto, nine members voted “nay” against 396 who voted “aye.” While the Secular Coalition asserts the correct vote was “nay”, we take particular issue with the 28 members who stated “present” or chose to not vote at all. We applaud the nine members for taking an unpopular stand and thank them for it. Alternatively we reproach the majority of the U.S. House of Representatives for voting “aye” on a measure that merely entrenches the idea that the Judeo-Christian God is favored in this country over all other gods and religions—and that being religious is akin to being patriotic. The Secular Coalition for America represents thousands of patriotic Americans who have no belief in any gods and simply ask their elected representatives to also represent them.