Government Bytes


Graves and Scalise Vie for RSC Chair

by Nan Swift / /

Reps. Tom Graves (R-GA) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) are vying for the chairmanship of the Republican Study Committee (RSC). Founded in 1973, the RSC an internal think tank of sorts for the Republican Caucus – trying to keep Republicans honest by churning out conservative legislative initiatives, leading the fight against bad ideas, and churning out insightful research that unpacks what are often extremely complicated bills. You can learn more about the RSC mission here.

Rep. Graves had originally been selected to succeed current RSC chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) by the RSC’s founding members and past chairman, but Rep. Scalise has mounted an internal campaign, forcing a vote this afternoon. Scalise claims his leadership will help make the RSC a more “member-driven organization.”

While NTU is not endorsing in this race, here is a quick breakdown of the two candidates’ NTU Congressional Ratings. Please note that NTU examines and weights every single tax and spending vote taken by Congress:

  • Rep. Scalise has a consistent B+ rating. His lowest score is a 79% and his top rank in the House is 42 in 2008.
  • Rep. Graves moved from a B+ up to an A with a score of 91% in 2011 to earn a NTU Taxpayer Friend Award. He was ranked 5th in the House last year.

NTU Foundation’s Bill Tally project is also a good measure of the fiscal agenda of legislators. Here’s how it works:

Since 1991, the BillTally cost accounting system has computed a “net annual agenda” for each Member of Congress. The results are based on each Senator's or Representative's individual sponsorship or cosponsorship of legislation, and provide an in-depth look at the fiscal behavior of lawmakers, free from the influence of committees, party leaders, and rules surrounding floor votes. All cost estimates for bills are obtained from third-party sources or are calculated from neutral data.

Here’s how the two candidates stack up on Bill Tally:

  • Rep. Scalise’s combined net annual agenda is a total cut of $217,323 million.
  • Rep. Grave’s combined net annual agenda is a total cut of $468,333 million.