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U.S. Chamber Doles Out Grades to Florida Congressmen

March 11, 2014 - 7:00pm

On Wednesday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced that 32 members of the U.S. Senate -- including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. -- and 206 members of the U.S. House, including 16 from Florida, earned the Spirit of Enterprise award for their votes in 2013.

2013 was challenging, but a number of legislators from both sides of the aisle worked to pass legislation and enact policies that will keep our country moving forward economically, said Thomas Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber, on Wednesday. The Spirit of Enterprise Award recognizes the men and women who have demonstrated their commitment to supporting pro-growth policies in the 113th Congress.

The U.S. Chamber graded senators and congressmen on a variety of issues including approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, legal reform, free trade, delaying the employer mandate included in President Barack Obamas health-care law, immigration reform, reopening the federal government after the shutdown and raising the national debt ceiling.

Rubio scored a 71 on the U.S. Chambers report card, giving him a career grade of 78 since entering the Senate in 2011. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., receieved a 38, far below his average score of 53 since entering the Senate back in 2001. Legislators who earned grades of 70 or above won the Spirit of Enterprise Award.

On the congressional side, five Republicans led the Florida delegation with scores of 85: U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Ander Crenshaw, Jeff Miller and Dan Webster. Three other Republicans from the Sunshine State garnered scores of 83: the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, who passed away in October, as well as U.S. Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., was the only Democrat from the Sunshine State to win the Spirit of Enterprise Award. He scored a 77, the same grade as Republican Congressmen Ron DeSantis, John Mica, Tom Rooney, Dennis Ross and Steve Southerland. Former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., who resigned in January after pleading guilty to cocaine possession, scored a 73. So did U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Fla.

With a 64, U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla., was the highest scoring Democrat in Florida who did not win the award. Two Republicans from Florida -- U.S. Reps. Bill Posey and Ted Yoho -- earned grades of 54. So did U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla.

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., scored a 42, followed by U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., with a 38. Three other Florida Democrats -- U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- garnered grades in the 30s. Wasserman Schultz took a 36 while Castor earned a 33 and Frankel took a 31. U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., earned a 25, while U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., had the lowest score in Florida with a 23.

The U.S. Chamber was active in backing Republican David Jollys successful bid to replace Young in Congress, spending $2 million to support his campaign.

Reach Kevin Derby at

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