114 GOP lawmakers voted against civil rights more than 90% of the time

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A total of 95 House Republicans and 19 Senate Republicans voted with the NAACP less than 10% of the time last Congress.

Some Republicans in Congress expressed outrage this week over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died of asphyxiation when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his throat for more than 8 minutes, prompting days of protests and unrest across the country. But an examination of the voting records of Republicans from the last Congress finds that a huge number lawmakers voted against civil rights at almost every chance.

"I fully understand the anger that so many people feel. I felt that anger when I watched that video. I still feel that anger, and I fully support the right of people to peacefully protest and register their concerns," Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said Monday, referring to footage of the white former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee onto the neck of Floyd. "Americans have the right to peacefully protest, no one has a right to violently riot."

However, the NAACP publishes a legislative scorecard each Congress, indicating which lawmakers voted for the organization's civil rights priorities and which lawmakers voted against them. And in the 115th Congress, Toomey received an "F" rating from the group after voting with the NAACP just 6% of the time. This included votes to confirm Jeff Sessions to be attorney general of the United States despite his history of racism, to roll back nondiscrimination rules for federal contractors, and to make it easier for automobile lenders to discriminate.

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Toomey was not alone. In fact, 18 of his colleagues in the Senate Republican caucus received scores below 10% for their votes in 2017 and 2018.

They included:

  • Richard Shelby of Alabama (6%)
  • Dan Sullivan of Alaska (9%)
  • Tom Cotton of Arkansas (6%)
  • Marco Rubio of Florida (6%)
  • David Perdue of Georgia (9%)
  • James Risch of Idaho (6%)
  • Mike Crapo of Idaho (9%)
  • Rand Paul of Kentucky (9%)
  • John Kennedy of Louisiana (9%)
  • Ben Sasse of Nebraska (6%)
  • James Lankford of Oklahoma (9%)
  • James Inhofe of Oklahoma (9%)
  • Mike Rounds of South Dakota (9%)
  • Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee (6%, based on her votes as a then-member of the House of Representatives)
  • Mike Lee of Utah (9%)
  • Ron Johnson of Wisconsin (6%)
  • John Barrasso of Wyoming (3%)
  • Mike Enzi of Wyoming (3%)

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted Monday: "George Floyd and his family deserve justice. Peaceful protesters deserve to be seen and heard. Looters, rioters, and anarchists deserve consequences. I support the President in restoring law and order. Keep America safe!"

He voted with the NAACP just 9% of the time in the last Congress. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise and House GOP Conference Chair Liz Cheney received identical scores.

In all, 95 current House Republicans had scores under 10%. Three — Reps. George Holding of North Carolina, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, and Brian Babin of Texas —received just a 3% score. Former Rep. John Ratliffe of Texas, who recently became Donald Trump's director of national intelligence, also scored just 3%.

In his newsletter, Popular Information, journalist Judd Legum noted on Tuesday that many of the companies who have been highlighting their support for the Black Lives Matter movement also donated tens or even hundreds of thousands to lawmakers with "F" ratings from the NAACP through their corporate PACs.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.