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Ron Johnson Put Washington Politics Ahead of Wisconsin, Voting with GOP 97% of the Time

As Congress returns from recess, vulnerable Senators and Senate candidates are back at work trying to cover up their problematic voting records. We took a look at how often they’ve actually put their party and the special interests ahead of the people they were elected to represent.

Over the course of his time in Washington, Senator Ron Johnson has voted with the Republican Party 97 percent of the time – a partisan record that he won’t be able to erase in the face of a tough reelection this fall.  Johnson’s allegiance to the GOP has come at the expense of Wisconsinites, whose interests he ignored by voting to gut Medicare, force cuts to Social Security, block measures to make college more affordable and against a federal minimum wage increase.

“Ron Johnson likes to talk about bipartisanship, but a closer look at his voting record shows he puts his own party ahead of Wisconsin a whopping 97 percent of the time,” said DSCC National Press Secretary Lauren Passalacqua. “Senator Johnson will have to explain to thousands of Wisconsin families why he put Washington special interests ahead of the families in his state.”

BACKGROUND

Johnson Voted With The Republican Party 97% Of The Time In The Senate. According to CQ vote studies of party unity, Johnson voted with the Republican Party 97% of the time in the Senate. [CQ Vote Studies]

Johnson Voted For The FY 2012 Ryan Budget. In May 2011, Johnson supported a “yes” vote on a: “Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the concurrent resolution that would allow $2.859 trillion in new budget authority for fiscal 2012.” The motion was rejected 40-57. [H.Con.Res. 34, Vote 77, 5/25/11]

  • Wall Street Journal: Ryan Plan “Would Essentially End Medicare.” “Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington. The budget has been prepared by Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the new chairman of the House Budget Committee. […] The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/4/11]
  • National Journal: Ryan Budget Policies “Would Begin Affecting Millions of Seniors Almost Immediately By Increasing Costs For Prescription Drugs And Probably Long-Term Care.” “The policies in the House GOP budget, if enacted, would begin affecting millions of seniors almost immediately by increasing their costs for prescription drugs and probably long-term care. Further, Medicare costs could rise over time if healthier seniors choose to abandon the traditional benefit program.” [National Journal, 6/2/11]
  • FY 2012 Ryan Budget Contained Largest Reduction In Pell Grants In History. “The budget lays out little in terms of cuts to specific programs, instead simply decreeing caps on levels of spending. But one cut is explicitly proposed in the document — a cut to the Pell Grant program, which provides college tuition assistance to low-income students. […] If implemented, this would be the largest reduction in Pell Grants in history, more than eight times higher than the previous record, which was a $100 reduction in the maximum award in 1994. These cuts ‘will reduce the number of low income students receiving Bachelor’s degrees each year by about 61,000.’” [ThinkProgress, 4/5/11]
  • Headline: “House GOP Budget Slashes Billions From Pell Grants, Bumps Millions Of Students Out Of The Program”[ThinkProgress, 4/5/11]

Johnson Voted For The Cut, Cap & Balance Plan. In July 2011, Johnson supported a “no” vote on a: “Reid, D-Nev., motion to table (kill) the Reid motion to proceed to the bill that would make an increase in the debt limit contingent upon the passage of a balanced-budget constitutional amendment. The bill also would set fiscal 2012 discretionary spending at $1.019 trillion and enforce statutory caps that limit spending as a percentage of gross domestic product in fiscal 2012 through 2021.” [CQ, 7/22/11; H.R. 2560, Vote 116, 7/22/11]

  • CBPP: Cut, Cap And Balance Bill “Would Necessitate Deep Cuts” To Social Security And Medicare, “Big Cuts” To Social Security And Medicare Would Be “Inevitable.” “The legislation would inexorably subject Social Security and Medicare to deep reductions. The measure does not cut Social Security or Medicare in 2012. And it does not subject them to automatic cuts if its global spending caps are missed. It is inconceivable, however, that policymakers would meet the bill’s severe annual spending caps through automatic across-the-board cuts year after year; if they did, key government functions would be crippled. Policymakers would have little alternative but to institute deep cuts in specific programs. And as noted elsewhere in this statement, before the debt limit could be raised, Congress would have to approve a constitutional balanced budget amendment that essentially requires cuts even deeper than those in the Ryan budget. Reaching and maintaining a balanced budget in the decade ahead while barring any tax increases would necessitate deep cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. After all, by 2021, total expenditures for these three programs will be nearly 45 percent greater than expenditures for all other programs (except interest payments) combined. Big cuts in these programs would be inevitable.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 7/16/11]

Johnson Voted Against Increasing The Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10. In April 2014, Johnson supported a “no” vote on a: “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed to the bill that would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 by 2016. It would gradually increase the minimum cash wage for workers who receive tips until it equals 70 percent of the federal minimum wage for other workers. It also would amend the tax code to extend through 2016 the $500,000 cap for small business expensing of investments eligible for deductions, including allowances for computer software and qualified real property.” [CQ, 4/30/14, S. 2223, Vote 117, 4/30/14]

  • Increasing The Federal Minimum Wage To $10.10 Would Mean A Raise For Nearly 600k People In Wisconsin.According to the Economic Policy Institute, 587,000 workers in Wisconsin would be affected by increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10. [Economic Policy Institute, 12/19/13]

Johnson Voted Against Advancing A Bill That Would Allow Eligible Borrowers Who Took Out Student Loans Prior To July 1, 2013 To Refinance Those Loans To Rates Offered To New Borrowers. In June 2014, Johnson voted against a: “Motion to invoke cloture (thus limiting debate) on the Reid, D-Nev., motion to proceed the bill that would allow eligible borrowers who took out student loans prior to July 1, 2013 to refinance those loans to rates offered to new borrowers. It would be offset by increasing taxes on those who earn more than $1 million a year.” The motion was rejected 56-38. [CQ, 6/11/14; S.2432, Vote 185, 6/11/14]

  • More Than 500,000 Wisconsin Student Loan Borrowers Would Benefit From Student Loan Refinancing Proposal.According to the Department of Education, 515,000 Wisconsin student loan borrowers would benefit from legislation that let them refinance their student loans at lower rates. [U.S. Department of Education, 2014]

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