2017 Scorecard Methodology

Club for Growth publishes the Club for Growth Foundation’s scorecard study so our members and the public can monitor the actions and the voting behavior of Members of Congress on economic growth issues.

The Foundation conducted a comprehensive examination of each lawmaker’s record on votes related to pro-growth policies and computed an Economic Growth Score on a scale of 0 to 100. A score of 100 indicates the highest support for pro-growth policies. Those lawmakers scoring 90 or higher in 2016- and who also have a lifetime score of 90 or higher-receive the Defender of Economic Freedom award from the Club.

The Foundation examines legislative votes related to the Club’s immediate pro-economic growth policy goals, including:

  • Reducing income tax rates
  • Death tax repeal
  • Limited government through limited spending and budget reform, including a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution
  • Social Security reform with personal retirement accounts for younger workers
  • Expanding trade freedom (free trade)
  • Ending abusive lawsuits through medical malpractice and tort reform
  • Replacing the current tax code (flat tax, fair tax)
  • Expanding school choice
  • Implementing Term Limits  (3 House and 2 Senate terms)
  • Regulatory reform and deregulation

Not all of these policy goals will come up for a vote in each session of Congress.

The Foundation also examines votes on bills that would directly harm these  goals.

Whenever possible the Club sends a “key vote” alert to Capitol Hill prior to an expected roll call vote or pending legislative action important to the Club’s goals. Notwithstanding the Club’s “key vote” alerts, the Foundation reserves the right to include any vote or action in the study.

Legislative Actions Considered

The Foundation’s study includes 23 House votes and 19 Senate votes. 


Scores are computed on a scale of 0 to 100. Each vote or action in the rating is assigned a certain number of points depending on its relative importance. Absences are not counted, though the Foundation reserves the right to do so if, in its judgment, a Member’s position was otherwise discernible.

To provide some additional guidance concerning the scores, each lawmaker was ranked. Members with 0% scores are, by default, ranked #435 in the House and #100 in the Senate. Scores and ranks cannot be directly compared between the House and Senate, as different votes were taken in each chamber. The study also records a “Lifetime Score” for each Member of Congress. This is a simple average of the scores from 2017 and all previous years where the lawmaker earned a score in the Club’s scorecards.

In some cases a lawmaker was not present for enough votes for a meaningful score or ranking to be computed. In such cases “n.a.” for not applicable appears. In computing lifetime scores, years with “n.a.” listed instead of a score are not included. Comparing such scores to other members without “n.a.” years may be misleading.

Additional Factors

A study of roll call votes on the floor of the House and Senate and legislative actions is just that. It cannot account for a lawmaker’s work in committee, advocacy in his party’s caucus meetings, and effectiveness as a leader in advocating pro-growth policies.

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