Press Release: 120 Lawmakers Prioritize Children
First Focus Campaign for Children 2018 Congressional Scorecard ranks child protectors
2018 was a terrible year for children. It was the year they were caged at the U.S.-Mexico border and that two of them died in U.S. custody. That the number of children enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reportedly fell by more than 840,000. And that the Center for Homeland Defense and Security recorded 56 children — the highest number in any single year — killed in their classrooms at the hands of a shooter.
First Focus Campaign for Children, the leading multi-sector bipartisan children’s advocacy group, has identified 120 members of Congress who had the courage to put children first. These lawmakers introduced bills to safeguard children’s programs, supported beneficial measures and voted against those that would harm children. Some even defied their party leadership to protect children’s interests.
“Kids don’t vote and they don’t have political action committees,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “That’s why it’s up to lawmakers to protect their interests. We commend these 120 members of Congress for defending children and hope they will inspire their colleagues to do the same.”
First Focus Campaign for Children honors these members of Congress in the Champions and Defenders of Children 2018 Congressional Scorecard, which rates actions that occurred in the 115th Congress. The 33-page report outlines key votes on health-related bills and tax legislation amendments, including two House votes on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), two Senate votes on child tax credit amendments, and four votes between the two chambers on the Affordable Care Act.
Some key takeaways from the 2018 Scorecard:
- Women were nearly three times as likely as men to be Champions or Defenders.
- Percentage of delegations who are Champions or Defenders breaks along regional lines:
- 40% of lawmakers from Western states are Champions or Defenders
- 33% of lawmakers from the Northeast are Champions or Defenders
- 23% of lawmakers from the Midwest are Champions or Defenders
- 13% of lawmakers from the Southwest/Plains states are Champions or Defenders
- 10% of lawmakers from the Southeast are Champions or Defenders. Without Florida, this figure drops to less than 5% of lawmakers from the Southeast.
- States with the poorest child outcomes according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count 2018 Data Book also have the lowest support from their Congressional delegations.