WASHINGTON – Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has not breached his party’s Contract with America or his commitment to a smaller, less intrusive government during his three years in Congress, a study of his voting record shows.
“He’s obviously the most conservative member of the Maryland delegation and probably one of the most conservative Republicans as a whole,” said Jim Gimpel, an assistant professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland and author of the book, “Legislating the Revolution.”
Now in his second term and seeking a third, Bartlett maintains that he’s more wedded to his limited government ideology than to politics.
The Frederick Republican has backed term limits, lobbying disclosure and barring members of Congress from accepting gifts or meals.
He has sponsored legislation to tie congressional pay to members’ effectiveness in cutting the deficit and has promised to limit his stay in Congress to four years if the deficit is not cut in half by that time.
A staunch supporter of a strong national defense, Bartlett this year broke ranks with the GOP by voting against passage of the final defense appropriations bill.
Bartlett called it a vote of conscience to protest the court martial sentence of a U.S. soldier who refused to wear U.N. insignia during his deployment in Macedonia. The congressman introduced a resolution to overturn the soldier’s sentence.
A farmer, businessman, engineer and research scientist who holds 20 patents, Bartlett, 69, has advocated funding more basic research.
A strong proponent of NASA’s Space Station, Bartlett said he supports the project because it creates business, generates national pride and inspires young people to pursue careers in science, math and engineering.
“Our economic competitiveness and national security depend on encouraging young people to achieve in those fields,” Bartlett said.
However, the congressman introduced legislation that would prohibit the government from spending money to develop national standards for educational content, performance and opportunity.
He called the standards unnecessary federal meddling. He criticized a proposed curriculum for giving more weight to the Sierra Club’s contribution to history than to George Washington’s, said his press secretary, Lisa Lyons Wright.
Bartlett also has called for a commission to consider consolidating the Energy Department’s national laboratories.
“Clearly our mission has changed now that the Cold War is over,” Bartlett said, adding that a commission was needed to “depoliticize” making the changes.
Called a “taxpayers’ friend” by the National Taxpayers Union, Bartlett has suggested making federal income taxes due on election day. He said that, with a tax bill in hand, voters could better determine whether they were getting their money’s worth from the government when they cast their ballots.
Some environmental groups don’t consider Bartlett a friend.
The League of Conservation Voters gave Bartlett a score of 13 out of 100 for environmental votes cast in 1993 and 1994, and an eight for 1995.
In 1995, the only Bartlett vote the league noted as a pro- environment was his support of funding renewable energy sources.
“We can have a good environment without impacting business,” said Bartlett. “It’s not cost-effective to protect against lightning strikes … on a sunny day.”
Bartlett wants to downsize and take power from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which he believes have gone beyond their authority in writing and enforcing regulations.
Bartlett has said he wants to reduce dependence on social programs, but favors letting seniors earn more money without seeing reductions in their Social Security benefits.
Steve Crawford, 53, a Frederick Democrat and university professor who has raised the most money among Bartlett’s challengers, draws distinctions between himself and Bartlett.
Crawford calls himself “a fiscal conservative who is more socially inclusive.”
Bartlett opposes abortion and sponsored a bill to repeal a ban on assault weapons.
Crawford said he “decries” abortion but advocates choice. He said he doesn’t support more gun control, but wants current laws, including the assault weapons ban, to be enforced.
Bartlett increased his level of support in the 6th District from 54 percent in the 1992 general election to 66 percent in 1994.
In the Republican Primary March 5, the incumbent faces two challengers, Fredric M. Parker, 35, an engineer from Ellicott City who sought the nomination in 1994, and John J. Kubricky, 48, also of Ellicott City, a telecommunications company manager.
In the Democratic Primary, also March 5, four candidates are seeking the nomination. Joining Crawford are David L. Osmundson, 55, a retired National Security Agency intelligence analyst from Sykesville; David L. Koontz, 32, an advertising executive from Frederick; and Don Allensworth, 61, a land use planning consultant from Hagerstown.
“We take all elections seriously,” Bartlett said.
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