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Congress Took a Wide Swing to the Left in '87, ADA Claims

February 10, 1988|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Congress made a wider left turn in 1987, posting its highest liberal scores in years and rejecting policies of a conservative, lame-duck President, the Americans for Democratic Action said today.

"The pendulum has surely swung back our way," said Marc Pearl, executive director of the liberal organization that annually evaluates congressional voting on foreign, military, social and domestic policy issues.

The ADA's subjective analysis of 20 Senate and 25 House votes showed both chambers posting averages of more than 50%, meaning each supported ADA positions more than half the time.

"The liberal quotient was at its highest levels in decades," Pearl said at a news conference.

ADA officials were unable immediately to cite the highest ratings in the 40 years the organization has graded Congress. An ADA chart covering the last 12 years showed that 49 was the previous high during that period, with the Senate posting that mark in 1975 and the House doing it in 1983.

Pearl said the leftward shift helped bring defeat for President Reagan on issues ranging from the Senate's rejection of conservative Supreme Court nominee Robert H. Bork to overrides of vetoes on highway aid and clean water legislation.

Four senators, one more than 1986, had perfect 100s last year, meaning they sided with ADA positions in every vote. They were Democrats Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, Donald Riegle of Michigan and Paul Sarbanes of Maryland.

Five senators, down from 15 in 1986, had zeroes: Republicans William Armstrong of Colorado, David Karnes of Nebraska, James McClure of Idaho, Malcolm Wallop of Wyoming and Steve Symms of Idaho.

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