Americans for Constitutional Action on the Ford Years

Gerald Ford will probably be one of the forgotten presidents as more time passes by, as he had one of the shortest terms in presidential history and wasn’t even elected to the office! This is too bad because Ford was a good guy and he was more than a placeholder president.

In 1974, the Congressional Republicans get hammered in the midterms, providing a difficult environment for the unelected President Ford who wishes to both heal the nation and hold the line on spending in the face of stagflation. The young liberal Democratic freshmen, known colloquially as the “Watergate Babies”, make their presence felt promptly as the driving forces in the ousters of committee chairman F. Edward Hebert (D-La.), William R. Poage (D-Tex.), and Wright Patman (D-Tex.). The former two are outed for being too conservative and the latter over alleged infirmity. This signals, as I have written in the past, that seniority alone does not make for committee chairmanships, and this pushes the party more towards liberalism, a trend that has only accelerated. The new Congress pushes a lot of liberal legislation, much of which entails spending over what the president wants. Ford stands as a fiscal conservative. He opposes legislation regarding strip mining, spending $6.5 billion on aiding ailing railroads, funding public works for job creation, childcare services, agriculture, and spending for the Labor-HEW Department. Ford also opposes tax reductions without budget caps, a vintage conservative position as of late. He stands for the free market as well in his support for deregulating oil prices, but this would not happen until the Reagan Administration. On foreign policy and military policy conservatism, Ford is for partial lifting of an embargo on Turkey, opposes more Congressional oversight over U.S. international arms sales, and is against postponing the development of B-1 Bombers. On the liberal side supports pay increases for government, foreign aid, energy conservation legislation, and bailing out New York City. His scores are:

1975 (House) – 73%

1976 (House) – 100%

1975 (Senate) – 80%

1976 (Senate) – 89%


100% in 1975:


Rousselot, R-Calif.
Burgener, R-Calif.
Symms, R-Idaho
Crane, R-Ill.
Hutchinson, R-Mich.
Robinson, R-Va.


Goldwater, R-Ariz.

100% in 1976:


Steiger, R-Ariz.
Clawson, R-Calif.
Kelly, R-Fla.
Symms, R-Idaho
Hansen, R-Idaho
Montgomery, D-Miss.
Latta, R-Ohio
Hall, D-Tex.
Poage, D-Tex.


Fannin, R-Ariz.
McClure, R-Idaho
Curtis, R-Neb.
Helms, R-N.C.
Bartlett, R-Okla.
Thurmond, R-S.C.
Scott, R-Va.
Hansen, R-Wyo.

ACA-Index Basis for 94th Congress:

ACA Scoresheets for:

1975 (House)

1975 (Senate)

1976 (House)

1976 (Senate)

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