Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick is the first Democrat since 2006 to be named a “Taxpayer Hero” by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, a group that decries “pork-barrel spending” and tracks congressional votes on “wasteful programs.” The group’s president, Tom Schatz, said in a news release today, “Rep. Minnick is the first Democratic Taxpayer Hero since 2006 and deserves special recognition for this achievement. His vote rating shows that it is not impossible for Democrats to vote to cut wasteful spending, reduce the tax burden, and make government more accountable to taxpayers, and it stands in stark contrast to the average of 4 percent for his House colleagues.”
Minnick’s voting record garnered him an 83 percent rating from the group; anyone over 80 percent is deemed a “Taxpayer Hero,” which, for 2009, included 89 of the 435 House members, and 29 of 100 senators. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch also made the list, with ratings of 91 and 92 percent respectively; Rep. Mike Simpson got a 34 percent rating from the group.
Minnick, a conservative “Blue Dog” Democrat in his first term, has introduced legislation to ban earmarks, to impose a version of a line-item veto, and is an original co-sponsor of a measure calling for a constitutional amendment to require a balanced federal budget. “Unlike members of Congress who talk about voting to cut waste back home but then vote to raise taxes and spending in Washington, Rep. Minnick has been consistent in both his rhetoric and his actions,” Schatz said. “If more of his Democratic colleagues voted as he did last year, the budget deficit and national debt would both be lower.”