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Vern Buchanan, Frederica Wilson.

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U.S. Chamber gives Vern Buchanan high marks, Frederica Wilson low ones

Marco Rubio and Rick Scott scored in the 80s.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued high marks to Rep. Vern Buchanan for his legislative record this year. Rep. Frederica Wilson, on the other hand, did earn a passing grade from the group.

The most prominent pro-business lobby in the nation, the U.S. Chamber just released its annual scorecard for every Senator and Representative in Congress. That included scores in the 80s for both of Florida’s Senators, Republicans Marco Rubio (83% and Rick Scott (86%).

Rubio earned an 89% legislative score based on whether he took the same position as the Chamber on nine issues, voting differently only on a cloture vote for Kimberly Reed’s confirmation as Export-Import Bank president. But he received only a 47% score on leadership as he served as a sponsor on Chamber-backed legislation just twice in the year. The chamber also gives a grade on how often legislators work across the aisle and graded Rubio with a 72% bipartisanship score.

Scott, a freshman Senator, scored an 86% overall score, including an 89% legislative score, but for failing to agree with the Chamber on minting a coin to commemorate the opening of a National Law Enforcement Museum. The Chamber supported that move, but Scott did not. But Scott earned a 96% leadership score, which balanced out just a 53% score for bipartisanship.

In the House, Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican, tallied a higher Chamber grade than any Florida lawmaker, including either Senator.

“I’m honored to be recognized for supporting bipartisan policies that create jobs and grow the economy,” Buchanan said. “With so many people unemployed it’s critical to help workers and small businesses get back on their feet.”

He scored an overall grad of 96%, including a 100% as far as his votes on legislation. That means he held the same view as the Chamber on 18 House actions. He co-sponsored three Chamber-favored bills, earning a score of 63% as far as leadership. But he was buoyed by a 94% score for bipartisanship.

Hollywood Democrat Wilson, meanwhile, boasts the Florida Delegation’s lowest Chamber grade, with a 51%.. She actually supported the Chamber’s legislative agenda this year 60% of the time. But she scored just a 31% leadership score, thanks to co-sponsoring three bills the Chamber opposed and just one the organization supported. The biggest hit to her score, though, came form only a 3% score for bipartisanhip.

As expected, Republicans as a whole performed better on the scorecard than Democrats. Four other Florida Republicans besides earned scores in the 90s: Reps. Gus Bilirakis (94%), Mario Diaz-Balart, (94%), John Rutherford (93%) and Michael Waltz (90%). Retiring Rep. Francis Rooney earned the lowest GOP score from Florida with 59%.

Meanwhile, only three other Florida Representatives earned scores in the 50s besides Wilson, all of them Democrats: Kathy Castor (59%), Alcee Hastings (55%), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (57%). The highest scores for Democrats in the Delegation went to Reps. Charlie Crist and Stephanie Murphy, who both earned a 69%.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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