USA*ENGAGE/NFTC Congressional Report Card Reveals Bipartisan Support for Trade and Engagement

Tuesday, 5 September 2000

"We are pleased to report that the number of House members who received a superior grade has gone up in each of the three years we have conducted this rating," said Frank Kittredge, President of the National Foreign Trade Council and Vice Chairman of USA*ENGAGE. "This year, 120 House members earned an ‘A’ or ‘A+,’ up from 96 members last year and only 25 in 1998.

"What is most encouraging is the bipartisan nature of the list of members with a grade of ‘A’ or higher," Kittredge said. "Of that list, 62 are Republicans and 58 are Democrats, which indicates that the importance of trade and engagement is clearly not lost on either party." He also noted that for the first time, a majority of members (229) earned a grade of "B" or higher in the survey.

Kittredge stressed that the record number of high marks is not due to grade inflation. "To the contrary, this year’s grades were based on member’s performance on major issues, which were often highly contentious issues," he said. "Issues that factored into the grades included China, Cuba, Africa and US membership in the World Trade Organization."

The 2000 House report card was prepared at the request of USA*ENGAGE and NFTC member companies and associations. It examines key House votes, and gives "extra credit" to those members who co-sponsored legislation (H.R. 1244) that would reform the way future sanctions laws are considered. In the 1998 report card, high grades were an indicator of strength in the election, as all House members who received an "A" or higher were reelected.

Because of the importance of the upcoming China PNTR vote, a companion report card on the record of the US Senate in 2000 will be released later this year.

Grades for the House report card reflect member’s voting record on eight key issues. All votes were evenly weighted, except for the vote on permanent trading status for China – given the importance of this issue, the vote on this measure was counted twice.

Click here to see the grading criteria for this year's report card.

USA*ENGAGE is a coalition of 670 small and large businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations working to seek alternatives to the proliferation of unilateral US foreign policy sanctions and to promote the benefits of US engagement abroad.

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