Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 22, 2014

Heritage Drowns Cruz’s Perfect Score

Updated 7:22 p.m. | Sen. Ted Cruz no longer has a 100 percent rating on Heritage Action for America’s scorecard — he just may not know it yet.

While Heritage Action didn’t send out a press release like it normally does warning members and the press that it was key voting the flood insurance bill in the Senate, the group told CQ Roll Call it is including the vote on its official scorecard.

Heritage Action Communications Director Dan Holler told CQ Roll Call that the reason the key vote hadn’t showed up online, and the reason Cruz still has a 100 percent score, is that the “hamsters” hadn’t updated the site yet.

“We’ll get the scores up and running sooner than Healthcare.gov is running,” Holler said.

But senators, and GOP leadership for that matter, might be wondering why they weren’t told in advance that the flood insurance bill would be key voted.

“It sounds like Heritage Action got caught trying to cover for some senators,” a senior GOP aide told CQ Roll Call on Friday. “Their conservative principles seem pretty flexible.”

The aide added: “These games are one reason why Heritage’s credibility is in crisis on the Hill.”

Holler noted that Heritage has always reserved the right to “retroactively” key vote, though he said that wasn’t the case in this instance.

Part of the problem may be that the Senate vote to clear the House-passed flood insurance bill came up rather abruptly Thursday after a deal was worked out with several senators that avoided a protracted amendment process.

“I only knew 30 minutes before the final vote,” supporter Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., said. “There were several individuals that wanted votes on their ideas or their bills or their amendments.”

Landrieu said one particular issue arose with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, but his legislation was considered with just a voice vote, with her side prevailing on the underlying compromise bill 72-22. (Lee is now the only senator with a 100 percent Heritage score.)

“There were people here that thought, you know, soundness of the program was more important than affordability, and we beat them badly,” Landrieu said. “It’s done. We won. They lost.”

When CQ Roll Call initially contacted Heritage Action about the group seeming to have key voted the bill in the House but not in the Senate, Heritage told us that something didn’t look right and that they wanted to figure out what it was.

Shortly after, Holler called us back to confirm that the vote is on the scorecard — or at least it will be.

Holler said he couldn’t remember an instance when Heritage had not notified members officially that they were key voting a piece of legislation, but he said, “I’m sure we have at times.”

Holler also said he could “guarantee you folks in the Senate knew where we were on it.”

Indeed, Heritage Action did make their position well known, which is why it seemed all the more puzzling they weren’t including it on their scorecard. Heritage Action insists this is just a technology issue, and that there was nothing nefarious going on with them not notifying senators they were key voting the bill.

Update: Cruz also will likely have a blemish on his Club for Growth score. Spokesman Barney Keller said they are in the same boat as Heritage and will likely score the vote retroactively, noting that they key voted against the legislation in the House. Keller said the club has frequently retroactively key voted legislation.

Cruz and Lee were the only two senators with a perfect Club score in 2013.

Niels Lesniewski and Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

  • Ed

    Sad, tragic really. For those of us that worked with Mike Needham, this is simply another low that he has brought the institution to. To early to the Chief of Staff, utterly unqualified for the Director of Asian Studies–bolting for the Giuliani campaign simply preserved and reinforced an ego that desperately needed to be humbled. How much further will the powers-that-be let him go? Is his knowledge of Heritage’s money operation really worth the demise of its reputation? Conservatives are supposed to be the ones for whom the cost-benefit analysis is the most critical of considerations. Given this, it has finally reached the point where Mike must step down. Anything less is the final nail in the coffin.

  • Don

    Cruz already had a less than perfect score with conservatives because of this:

    “Sen. Cruz Files Additional Amendments to Immigration Legislation”

    “Cruz 1324: Green Card (LPR) reform to modernize, streamline and expand legal immigration”

    “This amendment would streamline and simplify our legal immigration system by consolidating segmented visas, creating real and transparent caps, eliminating the diversity visa lottery, and treating all immigrants equally by eliminating the per-country caps.”

    “Provisions of his amendment include:
    •Doubling the overall worldwide green card caps from 675,000 visas per year to 1.35 million per year (not including refugees and asylees)”

    “Cruz 1325: Increase high-skilled temporary worker visas (H-1B visas) five-fold”

    “This amendment would improve our nation’s legal immigration system by increasing the H-1B cap from 65,000 to 325,000. It would also help America retain the people it educates by authorizing dual-intent student visas and address the need for high-skilled labor by creating a block grant to promote domestic high-skilled workers.”

    http://www.cruz.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=344112

    • blfdjlj

      That amendment was never voted on the floor of the Senate, and Cruz voted against the immigration bill. He is known as one of the most headbanging opponents of immigration reform, routinely screaming “no amnesty!” to satisfy the fringes of the Republican base.

      • Don

        It doesn’t matter if it was never voted on. It is what Ted Cruz supports and what Ted Cruz proposed as amendments to legislation.

        Instead of debating where Ted Cruz stands on immigration, let’s see and hear Ted Cruz tell us himself where he stands on immigration!

        “Sen Ted Cruz Wants to DOUBLE Immigration”

        “Published on Jul 27, 2013″

        Ted Cruz – the “controlled opposition.”

        “Yeah, he wants to close the border and stop illegal immigration. BUT he wants to DOUBLE “legal” immigration…”

        • blfdjlj

          Wasn’t the main conservative claim that they’re against illegal immigration, but for legal immigration? If so, what’s wrong with Cruz’s amendments? Also, while some legal immigration would increase, other categories would be eliminated.

          • Don

            In my opinion, blfdjlj, you are being disingenuous in that you conveniently managed to fail to address any of the statements which Ted Cruz made in the above posted video. Why is that, blfdjlj? We can see and hear his own words verbatim as he spoke them before Congress. Is there something you wish to avoid addressing?

            Secondly, why don’t you answer your own question which is: “Wasn’t the main conservative claim that they’re against illegal immigration, but for legal immigration?” Provide documentation, with links to your sources, establishing that as “the main conservative claim”. The burden of proof for that is on you and it is premature to move on to “If so,…” unless and until you prove whether it is so or not!

          • blfdjlj

            The GOP has always supported guest worker programs like H1B, in fact that’s one of the few reasons Republicans would have to support an immigration bill. Ted Cruz’s plan to double work-based permanent immigration (and decrease family reunification) is also a view commonly pushed by Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and other conservatives.

          • Don

            In my opinion, you are again being disingenuous, blfdjlj! That won’t work, LOL!
            First, you have NOT provided any proof that “the main conservative claim” is that they are against illegal immigration, but for legal immigration, as you previously stated. You seem to just want to skip over hard facts and assert your subjective opinions!
            Secondly, the issue is NOT, as you seek to frame it, whether or not Republicans support guest worker programs like H-1B. The issue is that Ted Cruz proposed a 500% INCREASE in the annual cap on H-1B visas.
            Finally, you have still failed to directly address any of the statements which Ted Cruz made before Congress as shown in the above video.
            You want to stay in the realm of your own subjective opinions and impressions while completely ignoring any hard, objective facts. I wonder why that is, LOL!

  • Kat Saved

    Since immorality and irresponsibility are incompatible with liberty, prosperity, and civilization we must see through the ever-shifting mirage of collectivist illusions and we must root out plunder at every turn.

  • Bundle Up

    Since it is hard to see how instinct restraint enables civilization, the morals that restrain our primitive instincts tend to be despised.

    • Don

      “But Communism abolishes eternal truths, it abolishes all religion, and all morality, instead of constituting them on a new basis; it therefore acts in contradiction to all past historical experience.” – Manifesto of the Communist Party, Chapter 2: Proletarians and Communists by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
      Spoken like a true, well indoctrinated Marxist, “Bundle Up”! Where is your evidence that “morals that restrain our primitive instincts tend to be despised”? Despised by who?

  • Phillip Wilson

    Since our minds develop along with the culture in which we grow up, we tend to be ignorant of the unseen history of the customs we practice.

  • Bob Stauskas

    Since those who preach from collectivism’s altar hold an irrational confidence in human reason, they object to that which is not controlled.

  • Thomas Brady

    Since liberty enables the continuous mutually adjusting efforts of millions of people, free markets and free societies are able to make use of infinitely more knowledge than one mind, or a few minds, could ever hope to control.

  • The Roadster

    The rate at which progress in the West has nearly halted, due to socialist tendencies, is one of the prominent features of recent history.

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