WASHINGTON -- Sixth District Rep. Roscoe Bartlett was the only Maryland congressman dubbed a "taxpayer's hero" Tuesday by the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.
The Western Maryland Republican voted in the taxpayers' interest 80 percent of the time, earning the conservative lobbying group's acclamation, members of the council said.
Twenty congressional spending votes, cast between January and August, were studied by the group. All of the spending proposals were deemed wasteful by the group, formerly headed by Maryland Republican Alan Keyes.
"We're talking about hundreds of billions of dollars, a significant drain on the federal treasury," said CCAGW President Thomas A. Schatz. "Taxpayers have a right to know exactly who is part of the waste problem and who is part of the solution."
Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Prince George's, received the lowest rating in the Maryland delegation, with a score of 10 percent. Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes, both Democrats, had scores of 15 percent.
Mr. Hoyer disputed the group's ratings. He said his membership on the Appropriations Committee -- a key spending committee in the House -- ensured that he would be voting for those measures on the floor of the House.
Mr. Bartlett, who ran on a campaign pledge to help cut the deficit, said he was pleased to be the group's highest-rated Maryland member.
"I support 100 percent of their efforts," he said.
Among the measures the council listed as wasteful were $100-a-week grooming stipends for youth participants in federal work and education programs.
It also listed $16 million in subsidies for 3,000 to 5,000 beekeepers, and $190 million in wool and mohair subsidies, designed to provide stockpiles of wool products for military uniforms.
Only five representatives -- all Republican -- voted as the group would have wanted on all 20 votes. They were awarded caricatures of themselves, portrayed as super heroes in capes and tights.
Mr. Bartlett was among 104 who voted favorably on most, but not all, issues.
Republican Reps. Wayne Gilchrest of the Eastern Shore and Constance Morella of Montgomery County received the second-highest ratings among Maryland members at 60 percent.
Rep. Ben Cardin of Baltimore was Maryland's highest-rated Democrat, with a score of 50 percent -- 5 percentage points higher than Rep. Helen Delich Bentley of Baltimore County, the state's lowest-rated Republican.
Democratic Reps. Kweisi Mfume of Baltimore and Al Wynn of Prince George's County had scores of 35 percent and 30 percent respectively.
Mr. Bartlett lost points for four votes. He supported $1.2 billion in new defense spending in a supplemental bill.
"We are cutting far too deeply in the military," Mr. Bartlett said.
He also voted for funds for NASA's Space Station Freedom, which would become an orbiting laboratory; for the Superconducting Super Collider, a Texas-based project that supporters hope will help scientists discover the origins of matter; and for 100 projects in the agriculture and rural development funding bill totaling $88 million.
Mr. Bartlett called the space station a "high-profile" program that will inspire the nation's youth to pursue science and mathematics.
"I feel very strongly that we need to have something as a country that captures our imagination," he said.