Representative Stephanie Herseth
Democrat of South Dakota

331 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 16414
Phone: 202-225-2801
Fax: 202-225-5823
Website: http://www.house.gov/herseth/
E-mail Rep Herseth
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Progressive Action Score: 19

A score of 19 means that Rep. Herseth has acted to support 19% of a slate of progressive policies in the 109th Congress.
Progressive, forward-looking actions Rep. Herseth has taken to merit a PAS of 19:
  • If you believe that making it easier to vote in elections is a good thing, you will be happy to hear about the introduction of H.R. 63, which would make each November's Election Day a federally-recognized holiday. With the passage of H.R. 63, people who are faced with extraordinarily long lines at their polling places would not have to decide between their voting rights and their job. We applaud Representative Herseth for cosponsoring H.R. 63 and lending support to the continued expansion of institutional respect for democracy in the United States.

  • Any reasonable person who believes that trust in America's democratic institutions is important can see the value in being able to determine with assurance how a person has voted. It should be a matter of common sense, for instance, that when an electronic voting machine malfunctions and loses votes (as has happened in the past), a backup paper record of the actions of the machine would help elections officials set things right and make sure that every person's vote has been counted. Yet today, despite a history of malfunctioning electronic voting machines, there is no requirement for a backup paper trail. It's as easy as attaching a printer to a voting machine. Thanks to Congressperson Herseth for supporting H.R. 550, a bill which would require the establishment of such a paper trail.

  • We may think we live in modern times, but the U.S. Constitution still does not guarantee that individual rights shall apply equally to men and women. Without such a constitutional guarantee, all it could take is a rogue judge or an emboldened conservative Congress to take women's rights away by a simple majority vote. On the other hand, this nation is still encumbered with unfair legal notions that, all other things being equal, give mothers custody advantages over fathers. The current state of unequal protection is unfair to both women and men, and devalues our common underlying humanity.

    Stephanie Herseth has formally supported H.J. Res 37, which would amend the United States Constitution to simply state the following: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification." It's simple, it's obvious, and it's about time something was done to enshrine this principle in the Constitution for men and women alike. Thank you, Rep. Herseth, for pushing the too-long-lingering ERA forward.


    Progressive political actions that Rep. Herseth could have taken but unfortunately chose not to take:

    • Rep. Herseth failed to vote "no" on the Tyranny Act, H.R. 6166. Rep. Herseth swore a solemn oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. That oath was violated when Rep Herseth failed to oppose H.R. 6166, which is a direct attack upon the Constitution, and through its attack upon the Constitution an attack upon the freedom of every American and every person living under American jurisdiction.

      Passed into law, the Tyranny Act installs undemocratic executive committees without review to designate citizens and noncitizens alike as enemy combatants without standards for proof. It grants George W. Bush amnesty for his current violations of law. It allows the thoroughly untrustworthy George W. Bush supreme authority to decide whether an interrogation technique qualifies as torture. It allows hearsay evidence to be used to convict an accused person. It permits indefinite detention without review.

      All of these provisions in the bill are unconstitutional. That makes this bill unAmerican. And Representative Herseth betrayed the dream of America by allowing this bill to pass into law without a vote of opposition. It bears saying again: Rep. Herseth has betrayed the dream of America.

    • By voting "no" on the Farr Amendment, Rep. Herseth voted to keep Section 102 in H.R. 418, giving a Bush administration bureaucrat the ability to nullify any law without judicial review of that decision. Where I come from, they call that dictatorship.

    • The Patriot Act is a betrayal of the great American tradition of liberty because it encourages the government to spy on the legal, personal activities of Americans who have not broken the law. The Bush Administration is using that power to grab information out of commercial and public databases and assemble them into a single giant computer database through which the private affairs of every American citizen can be tracked by government officials. Rep. Herseth failed to vote against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, empowering the Bush administration to continue to dismantle American liberties and erect a Big Brother edifice in their place.

    • By voting "no" on the Scott Amendment, Rep. Herseth voted to keep language in H.R. 27 that allows organizations to engage in government-funded religious discrimination in hiring. We had thought that bigotry was old hat, and that the separation of church and state was secure. With this vote, Rep. Herseth has helped to weaken the constitution and bring bigotry back in style.

    • To members of Congress, talk of patriotism comes easy. But what about action to preserve what is great about America? What about protecting the symbol of America, the bald eagle itself? On September 29, 2005, a slim majority of member of the United States House of Representatives voted for H.R. 3824, an attack upon the landmark law that brought the American bald eagle back from the brink of extinction. Without the Endangered Species Act, the American bald eagle would probably not exist any more, except on the backs of our quarters and as a graphic on Republican web sites promoting corporate pollution.

      We've seen the American bald eagle fly, and we think that it is worth protecting. 229 members of the House of Representatives disagreed. They voted to seriously weaken the protection of endangered species like the American bald eagle. They did it for the sake of profits for big business. A NO vote would have represented a courageous stand for the Endangered Species Act. In a telling betrayal, Representative Herseth failed to vote NO. For shame.

    • Rep. Herseth has not yet cosponsored H.R. 2412, which would provide more information to the public about contacts between lobbyists and politicians, and which would slow down the revolving door of politics in which politicians move into cushy corporate jobs after they retire in exchange for favors. What is Representative Herseth's problem with ethics?

    • Rep. Herseth has not yet cosponsored H.R. 40, which would acknowledge the injustices of slavery and racial discrimination and establish a commission to study them.

    • Rep Herseth has not yet cosponsored H.R. 759, which would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions through market-based systems.

    • Rep. Herseth has not yet cosponsored H.R. 952, which would put an end to the practice of "extraordinary rendition," in which Bush Administration officials send people into the custody of certain nations, knowing full well (some would say intending) that they will be tortured there. Extraordinary rendition is another stain on the moral clarity of the United States. It is a horrible irony that in a "War on Terror," the United States government would allow the use of terror as a tool. Why is Rep. Herseth unwilling to stand against American complicity in the use of torture?

    • Stephanie Herseth has not yet signed on as a cosponsor to H.R. 1157, which would keep government agents from riffling through your bookstore receipts and library records without your permission or knowledge. Why is Rep. Herseth standing against privacy, against individual liberty, and with Big Brother? That's not a rhetorical question.

    • Stephanie Herseth has not yet cosponsored H.R. 1440, which would keep members of the Federal Communication Commission from using their appointed positions to censor cable, satellite or internet programs they consider to be indecent. These "narrowcast" programs are accessed only by those who specifically request them, so why should the government make it their business to keep people from seeing what they want to see? Why has Rep Herseth not yet lent support to this sensible, freedom-defending bill?

    • Rep. Herseth has not yet cosponsored H.R. 567, which would preserve and protect the pristine coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from short-sighted, unnecessary development.

    Contact Rep Herseth by E-mail, Phone (at 202-225-2801), or Fax (at 202-225-5823) to ask why they have chosen not to take the progressive path in these matters.
  • Regressive Conservative Score: 54

    A score of 54 means that Rep. Herseth has acted to support 54% of a slate of conservative, wrongheaded policies in the 109th Congress.
    Regressive, destructive, and downright unAmerican actions Rep. Herseth has taken that contribute to a RCS of 54:

  • Rep. Herseth voted YES on the Tyranny Act, H.R. 6166. Rep. Herseth swore a solemn oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. That oath was violated when Rep Herseth voted for H.R. 6166, a bill that makes a direct attack upon the Constitution, and through its attack upon the Constitution makes an attack upon the freedom of every American and every person living under American jurisdiction.

    Passed into law, the Tyranny Act installs undemocratic executive committees without review to designate citizens and noncitizens alike as enemy combatants without standards for proof. It grants George W. Bush amnesty for his current violations of law. It allows the thoroughly untrustworthy George W. Bush supreme authority to decide whether an interrogation technique qualifies as torture. It allows hearsay evidence to be used to convict an accused person. It permits indefinite detention without review.

    All of these provisions in the bill are unconstitutional. That makes this bill unAmerican. And Representative Herseth betrayed the dream of America by helping to push this bill into law. It bears saying again: Rep. Herseth has betrayed the dream of America.

  • The Patriot Act is a betrayal of the great American tradition of liberty because it encourages the government to spy on the legal, personal activities of Americans who have not broken the law. The Bush Administration is using that power to grab information out of commercial and public databases and assemble them into a single giant computer database through which the private affairs of every American citizen can be tracked by government officials. Unfortunately for the Amercan tradition of liberty, the Patriot Act reauthorization passed, with Rep. Herseth casting a craven YES vote.

  • To members of Congress, talk of patriotism comes easy. But what about action to preserve what is great about America? What about protecting the symbol of America, the bald eagle itself? On September 29, 2005, a slim majority of member of the United States House of Representatives voted for H.R. 3824, an attack upon the landmark law that brought the American bald eagle back from the brink of extinction. Without the Endangered Species Act, the American bald eagle would probably not exist any more, except on the backs of our quarters and as a graphic on Republican web sites promoting corporate pollution.

    We've seen the American bald eagle fly, and we think that it is worth protecting. 229 members of the House of Representatives disagreed. They voted to seriously weaken the protection of endangered species like the American bald eagle. They did it for the sake of profits for big business. A NO vote would have represented a courageous stand for the Endangered Species Act. In a telling betrayal, Representative Herseth voted YES for the gutting of the Endangered Species Act. For shame.

  • Section 102 of H.R. 418 authorizes the Secretary of Homeland Security to nullify any law she or he deems necessary to build roads and fences in the vicinity of a national border. Furthermore, Section 102 of H.R. 418 makes it legally impossible for any court or agency of the government to review the Secretary of Homeland Security's decision to nullify any law. In short, Section 102 places the Bush administration untouchably above the law.

    The Farr Amendment would have stricken this language, and only this language, from H.R. 418, making a vote against the Farr Amendment a vote against the rule of law. Shame on you, Representative Herseth, for voting "no" on the Farr Amendment. You stand in disgraceful historical company among those who favor arbitrary dictatorship. That's downright unAmerican.

  • By voting for the Hostettler Amendment to H.R. 2862, Rep. Herseth voted to keep a ruling of a federal court from being enforced. Why? Because a judge decided that a religious monument on the grounds of the Gibson county courthouse was an unconstitutional endorsement of one religion over others. Rep. Herseth has apparently decided that any personally distasteful court ruling can be overturned, just because. That's not the rule of law. That's an arbitrary violation of the separation of powers. And, in this case, it allows pushy and vocal religious groups to shove their beliefs down everybody else's throats. That's not just wrong, it is downright unAmerican.

  • By voting "no" on the Scott Amendment, Rep. Herseth voted to keep language in H.R. 27 that allows organizations to engage in government-funded religious discrimination in hiring. We had thought that bigotry was old hat, and that the separation of church and state was secure. With this vote, Rep. Herseth has helped to weaken the constitution and bring bigotry back in style.

  • One of the more purely nationalist pieces of legislation to enter the U.S. Congress so far this year is House Joint Resolution 10, which would amend the United States Constitution so that "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

    The amendment would transform the American flag from a symbol of liberty into a nationalist idol to be worshipped in the cult of the Homeland. Just consider the language used in the amendment. The amendment proposes to prohibit the "physical desecration" of the American flag. Let's be clear: to desecrate something means to demean its sacred status.

    Sacred status? Sacred? In traditional American democracy, the American flag is not sacred. There is no official cult of flag worship. Flag worshipping cults, like the Boy Scouts, have been private organizations. However, this amendment would elevate a physical object, the American flag, into a special religious realm of untouchability and spiritual transcendence. The amendment would insert the notion of sacred idols into the United States Constitution for the first time.

    In supporting House Joint Resolution 10, Representative Herseth stands against good sense and with the nationalist mob. We need fewer, not more, demagogues like Herseth in the Congress.