Scoring the Performance of Congressional Committees

Friday, July 13th, 2012 and is filed under Blog, Issues

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Much of the dirty work performed in Washington is orchestrated on a congressional committee level.  For all the talk of partisan bickering between the two parties, there is actually a bipartisan love fest taking place on a committee level.  Most Republican House committee chairmen are big government types and have cordial relationships with their Democrat counterparts.  They work hand in glove with them to grow government.

Unfortunately, once bill clear committee with the blessing of party leadership, the committee chairman, and the committee ranking minority member, they are destined to pass.  That’s why we feel it is important to show the conservative performance of the House committees in an effort to focus attention on these panels that are largely unknown outside the corridors of the Capitol.

Following our formulas for individual members, we gathered together the members of each committee and averaged out their legislative scores from Heritage Action and the Club for Growth.  We then tallied up the scores of those members and gave an average committee score for all standing committees.  We also show the chairman’s score for each committee.  You can view the spreadsheet here.

Notice how some of the most important committees have dismal scores.  The average score for the Appropriations Committee, not surprisingly, is the lowest of any panel.  The members in charge of the purse check in at a near-failing 60 grade, and if not for the near-perfect scores of stalwarts Jeff Flake and Tom Graves, it would have been much lower.  Other important committees, such as Ways and Means, Energy & Commerce, and Transportation & Infrastructure also check in in the low to mid 60s.

The real problem is the chairmen scores for most of the committees.  Most of them score at or near failing grades:


Chairman’s Score


75.5 (Ryan)


59.5 (Lamar Smith)


74.5 (Issa)

Veterans’ Affairs

88.5 (Jeff Miller)

Natural Resources

54.5 (Hastings)


54.5 (Dreier)

Science, Space, & Tech

69.5 (Hall)

Foreign Affairs

44 (Ross Lehtinen)

Small Business

64.5 (Sam Graves)


51.5 (Lucas)

Financial Services

62.5 (Bachus)

Homeland Security

47.5 (Peter King)

Armed Services

53 (McKeon)

House Administration

56 (Lungren)


68.5 (Kline)


63 (M. Rogers-Michigan)

Transportation & Infrastructure

66 (Mica)

Energy & Commerce

52 (Upton)

Ways and Means

54.5 (Camp)


52.5 (Bonner)


52 (Hal Rogers)

While it is imperative that we elect more conservatives to Congress, we must not stop there.  Towards the end of the year, we need to advocate for more conservative committee chairmen.  Most of the current chairmen are part of the problem.

Cross-posted from the Madison Performance Index