As both you regular blog readers know, last month we released the NAM Vote Ratings for the 109th Congress. Recall that these are votes determined by manufacturers large and small — our members, not our staff. There are no social issues in there. Instead you find votes on taxes, legal reform, trade, and energy, among others. Members of Congress are told in advance which votes will be candidates for NAM “Key” votes. Anyone who votes with us 70% of the time or more wins our NAM Award for Manufacturing Legislative Excellence. Every two years, both Republicans and Democrats with the award.
Turns out six Members of Congress — all Democrats and all from Michigan — wrote NAM President John Engler to complain. In the course of their letter is this statement, “…[B]etween the 106th and 109th Congresses, Michigan’s six Democratic U.S. Representatives scored an average 13% voting record on NAM’s supposed ‘key votes.'” Why on earth they decided to tout this fact is beyond us, but sadly they are dead-on right. And, there’s nothing “supposed” about our key votes. They are actual key votes. As determined by manufacturers. Problem is, these folks get so used to dealing with lefty groups like the AFL-CIO where these vote ratings are all handled as far away from the membership as possible that they just assume we all do it the same way. We don’t.
So yesterday, Gov. Engler wrote back to the six, pointing out that indeed their calculations were sadly right and that they had scored an embarrassingly low grade on some pretty important issues to their state. He enclosed the vote ratings of some of their other colleagues from Michigan who fared quite a bit better because they consistently supported manufacturing.
As Gov. Engler said in his letter, we stand ready to work with them to improve their scores in the next Congress — even if it means that they have to stay after school for special help.
By the way, if you live in any of their Districts, please drop them a note and urge them to be more more supportive of manufacturing.
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