Saturday, December 9, 2017
Fifteen still in Congress for at least 37 years, so far!
The longest serving members of the U.S. Congress –both Democrats and Republicans—prove by their voting records that the longer they’re in there, the further from the people they drift. I flinch when I see the reference to “serving” because it implies that they serve the people by honoring the rule of law and keeping their oaths of office. A study of their records shows that, by far, most of them tend to serve themselves, --first, by making getting reelected Job One. Many have become very rich in office. Harry Truman said, “You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.”
They’re not all bad guys. But most have long since offered innovative ideas or examined long-outdated programs and damn few have tried to limit spending. Hence, our $20 trillion --and growing! -- national debt. This criticism applies to the hundreds who have been in Congress for too many years in addition to these old boys.
National Taxpayers Union (NTU) is the non-partisan Voice of America's Taxpayers. NTU mobilizes elected officials and the general public on behalf of tax relief and reform, lower and less wasteful spending, individual liberty, and free enterprise. It rates individual members of Congress by their voting records. We’ll use their ratings to some extent help understand each of those referenced here.The late Sen. Robert Byrd (D- WV), a former Ku Klux Klan leader, holds the record in the Senate at 57.5 years, he retired in 2010. Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) beat that record –he was At The Trough since 1955! –a total of 59 years!
--Connect to the links indicated by the blue letters for details on the members for whom we have produced posters. –
Those still in Congress with exceptionally long tenure are:
In office for 53 years is Rep. John Conyers NTU: Big Spender (D-MI) currently in the news for sexual harassment. He’ll not be running again in 2008.
Sen. Thad Cochran NTU:C (R-MS) has been in Congress for 45 years as has Rep. Don Young NTU: B- (R-AK)
Sen. Patrick Leahy NTU:F Big Spender (D-VT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley NTU:B (R-IA) are at 43 years and counting. Grassley doesn’t have the worst overall record, but he has insured his reelections by becoming the “Godfather of the Corn Ethanol Lobby” by pandering to farmers with the costly law mandating the addition of ethanol to gasoline.
Rep. Ed Markey NTU: D Poor (D-MA) and Sen. Orin Hatch NTU: C (R-UT) 41 years and still spending like mad. All but one of the career pols mentioned here have contributed more than their share to grow the national debt.
The exception in this 37+-years group that proves the rule is our one NTU: A Taxpayers’ Friend, James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI) who has served 39 years, so far. Also, still in there at 39 years and counting is Sen. Richard Shelby NTU: C+ (R-AL).
Several are still in there after 37 years in Congress: Of these, all Democrats, are rated “F” by NTU, Big Spenders, all. They are Sen. Ron. Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers NTU: B (R-KY), Sen. Pat Roberts NTU: B (R-KS), and Rep. Chris Smith NTU: C+ (R-NJ) are all at about 37 years, so far.
We’ve highlighted 15 of the top 110 who are still at the trough for more than 36 years as of this date and we’ll feature more of them in future posters. Interestingly, only nine of the entire 110 were defeated in a general election. Yet, some people wonder why we need term limits. On average, 95% of incumbents are reelected because of the advantages of incumbency with its name recognition and the massive amounts of money that lobbyists bestow on their “honest politicians.” BTW, they define their honest pols as those who, once bought, stay bought.
Most begin their “service” with good intentions and reasonable-sounding promises of spending restraint but the longer they’re in there the more they accede to their political party leadership and their supporting lobbyists’ demands for special interest favors and government spending on their behalf.
For the list of the 110 of those with the longest tenure in Congress, go here. You’ll find more interesting historical data on them.
As you would expect, all the Republicans are more taxpayer-friendly than the Democrats but, except for Sensenbrenner, they, too, have room for improvement.
Request of my readers: please send me the names of congress-critters you’d like to see profiled here as a poster child. You’re welcome to write the piece which I’ll work over with you for publication. -Thanks, -Geo.