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October 06, 2002

More on Lautenberg's Record

Robert Gregory was surprised at my lauding of Lautenberg's progressive record, so I thought I'd add a bit more detail on his strengths-- and a few of his progressive blindspots.

AFL-CIO Voting Card
Lifetime rating 89%
In his strong pro-labor record, the issues where he voted against AFL-CIO over the years were mostly trade-related votes such as permanent normal relations with China, expanded H1B high-tech visas, steel import restrictions, the Caribbean free trade agreement, fast track. along with supporting the 1997 tax agreement.

National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
2000 rating- 100%

Childrens Defense Fund
2000 100%
1999 100%

1999-2000 67%
1997-1998 50%
Voted against ACLU by-- supporting McCain-Feingold, voting wrong on wiretap legislation, for Defense of Marriage Act, and against certain welfare benefits for immigrants.

League of Conservation Voters
2000 100%
1999 78%
1998 100%
1997 100%
1996 100%
1995 100%
Lautenberg's almost perfect environmental record in his last term was marred only by one vote against increased funds for renewable energy (although there was a rules process issue at stake on the vote beyond the particular enviro point.)

Gay Rights- Human Rights Campaign
Along with a good voting record, the HRC put Lautenberg in their "Hall of Fame" in 1997 for being one of the first in Congress to extend Family and Medical Leave Act benefits to lesbians and gay domestic partners in his office.

NARAL- Abortion Rights
2000 100%
1999 100%

Peace Action
2000 66%
Bad votes on supporting the regular defense budget, supporting military aid for Columbia in 2000

While Lautenberg was a strong supporter of Israel, he was also a strong supporter of the peace process. See this profile which discusses his positions on Israel and his liberal ratings by various groups. In 1988, he signed a letter criticizing Israeli prime minister Yitzchak Shamir's opposition to a territories-for-peace deal.

Posted by Nathan at October 6, 2002 02:33 AM

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One thing I am looking at is the rating from United Electrical (www.ranknfile-ue.org), which gave Lautenberg a 52% rating from 1996-2000. That is compared to 92% for Russ Feingold and 95% for Paul Wellstone, and it is equal to the 52% rating that the anti-labor Dianne Feinstein of California got.

I would give more weight to the UE ratings than the AFL-CIO, which is more forgiving on labor issues than UE is.

His 66% from Peace Action compares to 100% for Wellstone and Feingold.

Lautenberg is very progressive on environmental and consumer issues. Elsewhere I don't think he is all that good. Not bad, just not somebody I'd rank up there with Paul Wellstone.
- Robert

Posted by: Robert Gregory at October 6, 2002 07:36 PM

Actually, the AFL-CIO cited most of the issues that UE did-- it's just that UE rates politicians on fewer issues with a massive emphasis on trade issues. These are critical to a manufacturing union like UE but I think there overemphasis on them is a bit unfair to someone like Lautenberg whose one major blind spot on workers issues is trade.

Posted by: Nathan Newman at October 6, 2002 07:53 PM

Lautenberg voted for the increase in the H1-B program.
This has imported almost a million foreign workers, most still here in the midst of a deep tech recession.
This is nothing but corporate welfare. Let's not forget Lautenberg is worth at least 30 Million from ADP (conflict of interest anyone?)
I'm from NJ, I don't recall him doing anything for us that great with the exception of helping us get rid of the dreaded HOV lanes on rt. 80 (they caused massive traffic jams).

Posted by: James Bews at October 8, 2002 09:54 PM

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