About Report Cards
Published by Voter Information Services (VIS) since 1995, the non-partisan VIS Report Cards help interested citizens understand what kind of legislation each member of the U.S. Congress supported or opposed. Report Cards are based on verifiable, recorded actions by Congress members.
Each “VIS Congressional Report Card” consists of three separate reports: Report Card, Report Card Detail, and Action Detail.
Report Card Report
This is the first report you get after you select Congress members and information providers. It shows bar graphs. Each bar graph represents a VIS Score between 0 and 100 with the score displayed below the graph.
Each VIS Score reflects the level of agreement between the actions of a Congress member and the actions an information provider (typically a special interest or advocacy group) wanted the members to take on legislation of interest to the provider. One score is based on actions a Congress member took in one year. The Report Card Report will include scores for up to six most recent years for each provider if the data is available.
The higher the score, the closer the match between the member’s actions and the actions wanted by the provider. The following actions increase a Congress member’s VIS Score:
- Voting “Yea” during a recorded vote when the provider wanted the Congress members to vote “Yea”.
- Voting “Nay” when the provider wanted the members to vote “Nay”.
- Being on record as an official co-sponsor of a bill supported by the provider.
- Not being a co-sponsor of a bill opposed by the provider.
Report Card Data Order
- Senators followed by House members.
- By state, congressional district.
- Last name.
Info Providers within one member:
- By most recent available score (highest to lowest).
Report Card Detail Report
Accessed by clicking a score graph in the Report Card Report or a "Report Card Detail" link in the Action Detail Report, this report shows:
- Actions taken by the member and the actions preferred by the provider, including links to Action Detail Report if the action was of interest to more than one provider.
- Provider’s explanation of why they wanted the Congress members to take the action preferred by the provider. This is often an explanation of why the provider considered a piece of legislation to be “good” or “bad”.
Action Detail Report
Accessed from the Report Card Detail Report by clicking the “Action Detail” link included for any action (vote or co-sponsorship) for which there is information available from more than one provider.
This report shows information about one action from all providers.
The Congress members' scores published in VIS Report Cards have been calculated by Voter Information Services (VIS). The VIS scores have NOT been endorsed by the respective information providers unless stated otherwise.
Many of the information providers included in VIS Report Cards publish their own scores of members of Congress. These providers' scores and the VIS scores are likely to be very similar, but they are not meant to be identical. Possible differences are explained in Report Cards FAQs.