New rankings of the Senate's most liberal members -- a list including Harry Reid and powerful committee chairmen Carl Levin and Patrick Leahy -- suggest moderates are fading from the scene on Capitol Hill.
Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-Nev.), who was elected to a fifth term in November, has become more liberal in his voting record in the past three years, the National Journal
said in its annual rankings. The magazine had the Senate leader as the 22nd most liberal lawmaker in 2009 and 25th on its list the year before that.
Writer Ronald Brownstein said the vote ratings marked a peak in polarization
in the Senate. For only the second time since 1982, every Senate Democrat last year earned a more liberal rating than every Republican -- and every Republican had a more conservative voting record than every Democrat.
The magazine monitors votes on a range of economic, social and foreign policy issues to measure ideology. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) tied with seven other Republican senators on the most conservative
Reid's fellow liberals include Levin of Michigan, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and Vermont's Leahy, who heads the Judiciary Committee which screens Supreme Court nominations as well as other federal judicial appointments. Also tied for first on the liberal list: Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio; Ben Cardin of Maryland; Barbara Mikulski, also of Maryland; Debbie Stabenow of Michigan; Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. All are Democrats except Sanders, an independent, who caucuses with the Democats.
Seven House members shared first place on the National Journal's
most liberal list -- all are Democrats, four of them are women. They are: Reps. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin; Judy Chu of California; John Lewis of Georgia; Jerrold Nadler of New York; John Olver of Massachusetts; Jan Schakowsky of Illinois and Linda Sanchez of California.
Tagged: barbara mikulski
, Ben Cardin
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, carl levin
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, National Journal
, patrick leahy
, sheldon whitehouse
, Sherrod Brown