Andy Harris (MD-01)

Notable Headlines
Big federal cuts would ravage Maryland [The Capital, 7/31/11] Harris not worried by economic meltdown claims [Star-Democrat, 7/10/11] Debt Ceiling Fight Worries Rep. Andy Harris’ Constituents [Cecil Times, 6/30/11] Harris feels pressure on water plan [Baltimore Sun, 7/27/11] Look who’s against clean water [Baltimore Sun, Editorial, 7/17/11]

Baltimore Sun: Harris Puts His Right-Wing Ideology Ahead of Constituents on Environmental Issues In July 2011, The Baltimore Sun editorialized that when Harris voted to rewrite the Clean Water Act, he “put his right-wing ideology ahead of his constituents – and not for the first time.” The paper said that Harris has shown a “pattern of anti-environmental behavior” that “out to be anathema to district residents who so cherish and depend on the bay. Certainly, it’s in stark contrast to the congressman’s public face on the subject of the nation’s largest estuary,” referring to the Congressman’s trumpeting of the $1 million worth of research into algae blooms in the Chesapeake, a modest measure. The paper said, “Making his choice all the more head-scratching is the reality that if out-of-state polluters aren’t held accountable, Maryland will have little choice but to tighten restrictions on sources of water pollution within the state. And the first to bear the brunt of this may well be the home builders, farmers, homeowners and others living and working in his district.” [Baltimore Sun, Editorial, 7/17/11]

Budget Issues
Harris Not Surprised by Credit Downgrade In 2011, after voting down the debt deal because he felt the budget cuts did not go deep enough, Harris said he was not surprised by the credit downgrade. “Honestly, I wasn't very surprised because we were told that if the final deal wasn't large enough or convincing enough that we should expect a downgrade,” Harris said. “The silver lining to the downgrade is it'll make us face reality in Washington.” [NPR, 08/10/2011] Harris: I Didn’t Present Solutions to Debt Crisis


In August 2011, Harris defended his vote on the debt ceiling deal in a town hall meeting by saying the budget cuts included did not go far enough. When a constituent told Harris that she did not agree with some of his solutions, Harris responded, “Which solution is that? Because I don't think I presented too many solutions." [,

Defended Debt ‘No’ Vote In August 2011, Harris defended his “No” vote on the debt-ceiling deal. Harris stated that the White House “played up” the threat of default to gain political leverage, but “[he] knew it would never occur.” He add that he “would have voted for a short-term extension” of the debt ceiling while negotiations continued on a broader budget deal. [Cecil Times, 08/15/2011] Voted Against Final Debt Ceiling Compromise Legislation In August 2011, Harris voted against the final debt ceiling compromise legislation, the Budget Control Act of 2011. The framework would cut $917 billion in spending over a decade, raise the debt limit initially by $900 billion and assign a special congressional committee, with members from the House and the Senate and appointed by congressional leadership, to find another $1.5 trillion in deficit savings by late November. If Congress met that deadline and deficit target, or voted to send a balanced budget amendment to the states, the debt ceiling would be raised an additional $1.5 trillion. The plan guaranteed a vote on the balanced budget amendment between October and the end of 2011. If Congress failed to take either step, or debt savings of at least $1.2 trillion were not produced, the plan allows the president to obtain a $1.2 trillion debt ceiling increase. That would trigger automatic spending cuts across the government – including in defense and Medicare – to take effect starting in 2013. The Medicare cuts would only affect provider reimbursements. The legislation included no revenue increases. The bill was passed by the full House, 269-161. [Bloomberg, 8/01/11; S 356, 8/01/11] Said He was “Leaning Against” Final Debt Ceiling Proposal In August 2011, Harris said he was “leaning against” the final debt ceiling proposal worked out between the president and congressional leaders because he was concerned that “the linkage to the balanced budget amendment isn’t strong enough.” Harris predicted the measure would pass, but that “there’s not enough reason for someone to vote for” the amendment. [The Baltimore Sun, 8/01/11] Said He Wished a Balanced Budget Amendment Wasn’t Necessary and that Tea Party Felt “Energized”


In July 2011, Harris said of a possible budget amendment, “I wish we didn’t have to go in and amend the Constitution, but what we have seen in the last couple of decades is that Congress cannot control its spending disorder.” Harris said that after weeks of negotiations, he and his Tea Party compatriots “feel energized.”
[, 7/31/11]

Voted Against Reid’s Debt Ceiling Plan In July 2011, Harris voted against Sen. Harry Reid’s plan to raise the debt ceiling. Reid’s plan called for raising the debt limit by $2.4 trillion, requiring no additional debt ceiling vote until after the 2012 election. The plan included $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts over 10 years, mandatory spending cuts of $100 billion, $1 trillion in savings from winding down combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and $400 billion in interest savings. The legislation included no revenue increases. The CBO score of Reid’s plan said it would reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion. The bill was rejected by the full House, 173-246. [New York Times, 7/25/11; HR 2693, 7/30/11] Voted in Favor of Boehner’s Debt Ceiling Plan In July 2011, Harris voted in favor of Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner’s plan called for an immediate debt ceiling raise of $900 billion, spending cuts of $917 billion over 10 years, and an additional debt ceiling vote in six months. The legislation contained no revenue increases. Under Boehner’s plan, the second debt ceiling raise was conditional on the passage of a balanced budget amendment by both Houses of Congress and the creation of a select joint committee on deficit reduction. The CBO score of Boehner’s plan said it would reduce the deficit by $850 billion. The bill was approved by the full house, 218-210. [ABC News, 7/29/11; S 627, 7/29/11] Harris: Republicans are the Only Thing Standing Between the President and a Credit Downgrade In July 2011, Harris said that Obama and Senate Democrats were putting their 2012 election interests ahead of the nation’s financial well-being. Harris said, “We [Republicans] were the only thing standing between what the president wanted and a downgrade…We have to stand our ground and say, ‘no.’ We have to prove to the world that we are, once and for all, going to deal with our spending disorder. Washington has a spending disorder. [,

Opposed Pell Grant Funding in Debt Ceiling Bill


On July 28, 2011, Harris vocally opposed the inclusion of Pell Grant funding in legislation crafted by Speaker John Boehner to raise the country’s debt limit. The bill would have appropriated $9 billion for Pell Grants in 2012 and an additional $8 billion in 2013. “I really don’t understand why we’re increasing spending in a bill supposed to be cutting spending,” Harris said. “It was negotiated without the input of a lot of members.” [The Hill, 7/28/11] Harris: U.S. Can Only Maintain a AAA Rating through a Balanced Budget Amendment In July 2011, Harris said the only way the United States could maintain a AAA bond rating would be to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Harris said, “Once the balanced budget amendment kicks in, it solves the problem forever of having to deal with federal deficits and having to come back and raise the debt ceiling…If we fall from triple-A to double-A, then the domino effect is that state’s bonds will be looked at for downgrades as well.”
[, 7/28/11]

Said He Would Not Vote to Raise Debt Ceiling Without Balanced Budget Amendment In July 2011, Harris said, “I disagree with the president – we need a balanced budget amendment, and I won’t vote to raise the debt ceiling unless a balanced budget amendment is part of the deal.” [The Baltimore
Sun, 7/26/11]

Harris: Balanced Budget Amendment is “Essential” In July 2011, Harris wrote, “I simply disagree with President Obama and the liberals in Congress who opposed Cut, Cap, and Balance. They don’t think Washington needs a balanced budget amendment to get the job done. They call it a “gimmick”- I call it essential. These politicians just want to keep the neverending cycle going- spend more, then raise the debt ceiling, and then increase job-destroying taxes- which allows them to spend even more! “Cut, Cap and Balance is a common sense solution that will put us on a path to prosperity, instead of bankruptcy. It’s exactly what we need, and we need it now.” [, 7/25/11] Voted in Favor of Cut, Cap and Balance Plan In July 2011, Harris voted in favor of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, legislation requiring deep spending cuts, a federal spending cap and a balanced budget amendment in order to raise the federal debt ceiling. Under Cut, Cap and Balance, discretionary spending in fiscal year 2012 would be reduced below fiscal year 2008 levels except for Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans affairs. The plan provided a universal spending cap after 2012. The legislation contained no revenue increases. The bill was approved by the full House, 234-190. [New York Times, 7/21/11; HR 2560, 7/19/11] Discussed Introduction of Cut, Cap and Balance Bill

In July 2011, Harris met with other congressmen to discuss the introduction of a cut, cap and balance bill that would tie any increase of the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling to passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget. [The Hill, 7/14/11] Said Debt Ceiling Deal was Unlikely to be Struck, but that He Wasn’t Worried In July 2011, Harris said that it was becoming less likely that a deal on the debt ceiling would be struck by the August 2nd deadline, but that he was not worried about the prospect of an economic meltdown. Harris said that previous deadlines in March and May have passed and “nothing has happened.” Harris said, “Right now, there are a significant number of Republicans who are going to insist on a balanced budget amendment as part of the deal,” but he does not think leading Senate and House Democrats will agree to the demand. Harris said that the government can continue funding such programs as Social Security and Medicaid without immediately raising the debt ceiling, and “perhaps there really is more time to work on a deal.”
[, 7/10/11]

Harris: In Debt Crisis Everything Except Tax Increases is Up for Discussion In June 2011, Harris commented on the debt crisis and said, “I think we can’t raise taxes in a recession… everything else is up for discussion.” Harris said the federal government and must cut spending while also cutting regulatory burdens to “get government out of the way of business.” [The Cecil Times, 6/30/2011] Signed Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge In June 2011, Harris joined with more than 40 conservative groups and 20 members of congress to sign the “Cut, Cap, Balance,” pledge committing “to opposing any effort to raise the debt ceiling that does not come with substantial spending cuts beginning in fiscal 2012, enforceable spending caps and congressional passage of an amendment to the US Constitution that would require a balance budget, spending limits and a super-majority for rising taxes.” [Politico, 6/22/2011] Harris Signed Republican Study Committee Letter Advocating a “Cut, Cap, Balance” Solution In June 2011, Harris signed a Republican Study Committee letter calling for a “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan to resolve the debt crisis. The plan calls for immediate spending cuts, spending caps to reduce federal spending to 18% of GDP, and “House and Senate Passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution with protections against tax increases.” [Office of Congressman Harris, 6/06/2011] Harris Urged Not to Cut Funding for Army Command Center in Maryland In June 2011, Harris signed a letter with three other Congressmen urging the Army secretary not to get rid of funding for Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) in the budget cut process. A recent Army review of the command stated that it had “not added enough value to be continued.” RDECOM is headquartered in Maryland. [Defense News, 6/06/2011]


Voted Against Clean Debt Ceiling Raise In May 2011, Harris voted against HR 1954, a clean federal debt ceiling raise of $2.4 trillion. The bill was rejected by the full House, 97-318. [HR 1954, 5/31/11] Harris Consulted With House GOP About How To Present Ryan Budget To Constituents In a May 2011 article on Harris’ town hall meetings, the Associated Press reported that Harris consulting with his House colleagues on developing a town hall presentation. The presentation he developed showed four slides that established the drag of entitlement spending on the economy; emphasized that GOP budget proposal would change Medicare only for people under 55; acknowledged that it's a tough plan, but insisted that it's necessary if the United States is to remain economically viable. At a May town hall meeting, after giving the presentation, Harris asked for questions, but received none about Medicare. Harris said, “What we find is that if we explain those to people, they usually don't have any more questions about it.” [Associated Press, 5/21/11] Harris Gave Conditional Support For Debt Ceiling Vote In May 2011, The Baltimore Sun reported that “To get his support to raise the limit, Harris said, leaders must also pass the budget amendment, approve a cap on future spending and reduce next year's deficit by 50 percent, or roughly $700 billion. He said he'd be "hard pressed" to support a debt limit increase without those conditions. "I think a lot of the skepticism that's out there is that people don't believe that Washington can ever actually control its spending," Harris, who represents the Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties, said in an interview. "I share their skepticism." [The
Baltimore Sun, 5/16/11]

Supported Sticking to $62 Billion in Cuts to Federal Budget On April 7, 2011, Harris supported the government shutting down if that were what it took for the House to pass $62 billion in spending cuts to the 2011 federal budget. “We need to control our spending, and if that’s what it takes, then that’s what it takes,” said Harris.
[, 4/07/11]

Called Government Shutdown an Actual “Slowdown” In April 2011, Harris said that the government “shutdown” is actually more of a “slowdown” since
many federal functions would continue: the U.S. Postal Service would deliver mail, Social Security payments would go out, air traffic controllers would report to work and national security operations would continue.

“That’s why I don’t call it a ‘shutdown,’ because two-thirds of the (federal) budget is unaffected by it,” Harris said. [, 4/07/11] Supported the Continuation of Troop Pay


In April 2011, Harris supported the ability for troops to still receive pay even though they would not receive their pay checks until after a government shutdown were over. “If we don’t pass an extension bill, at least for the soldiers, we need to make sure they don’t (get) caught up in this,” Harris said, adding that he supports a House bill that would pay troops through the end of September. [, 4/07/11] Harris Announced Spending Cuts In an editorial for the Baltimore Sun, Harris announced the new rules passed on the first day of congress. “It was a real cut,” Harris said, “and I have 5 percent less money for expenses, staff salaries and mail than the previous representative.” [Baltimore Sun, 1/17/11]

Business and Consumer Issues Campaign Finance Issues Crime & Public Safety Issues
Advised Against Adopting Regulations for Bus Transportation In June 2011, The Baltimore Sun editorialized that federal regulations were needed to protect the more than 750 million passengers who utilize bus transportation. Recently, federal authorities shut down four motor coach operators for presenting an “imminent danger” to the public. The House committee on transportation and infrastructure has been discussing additional regulations, and Harris “advised his colleagues not to embrace rules that ‘punish the good companies almost more than the bad companies.’” [The Baltimore Sun, 6/22/2011] Harris Added Security Following Giffords’ Shooting In February 2011, Harris said he added security as a precautionary measure. “When you're out in [a] public place, it makes sense to make sure that local law enforcement is informed, to make sure that you've consulted with them to see if any additional measures need to be taken,” Harris said. “I think that's what we're going to see members do.” [NPR, 2/6/11] Harris Said Violent Rhetoric Had Nothing to do With Shooting, Stricter Laws Wouldn’t Stop Crimes In January 2010, Andy Harris said, “I've been around long enough in other settings, including” the MD legislature “to know that rancor in politics is not something new to America or to state legislatures. I think that putting the blame for this event on political dialogue is misplacing the blame for this event.” Harris


also said stricter gun control laws wouldn't keep 'unstable' people from coming violent crimes. “We're in a free society,” Harris said. “Those occurrences will occur. We need to just make them as rare as we can”
[National Journal, 1/18/11]

Economic and Financial Issues
Said He Would Not Support Any Tax Increases In July 2011, Harris criticized Obama’s tax hike proposal and said he would not support anything amounting to a tax increase. Harris said, “I don’t care whether we call it expenditures in our tax code or revenues, what they are taxes on our job creators and our job creators have responded by not creating jobs.” [, 7/12/11] Harris Opposed Toll Hike Proposed for Maryland In June 2011, Harris opposed toll hikes in Maryland commenting, “I oppose the O’Malley toll hikes because they will destroy jobs and disproportionately hurt rural and suburban Maryland families…The State of Maryland does not have a revenue problem- it has a spending problem.” [Office of Congressman
Harris, 6/06/2011]

Education Issues
Voted to Cut Funding for Pell Grants In 2011, Harris voted to cut pell grants for Maryland college students. Harris’ district had a total of 14, 273 pell grant recipients, ranking as the third highest district of pell grant recipients in the state of Maryland. In total, the state of Maryland could lose $71 million in financial aid affecting more than 100,000 Maryland students. [, 03/10/11]

Energy Issues
Called for “Careful Consideration” of Government Role in Energy Technology In June 2011, Harris “articulated his concerns with the focus and direction of DOE’s clean tech programs. ‘While we have only begun to review this spending in detail, indications of wasteful, duplicative, and inappropriate spending abound, and are a cause for great concern…At a more fundamental level, I believe the growing attention to and importance of energy policy warrants more careful consideration of the appropriate role of government in energy technology development.” [Committee on Science, Space, and


Harris Claimed HR 1229 Could Create 1.2 Million Jobs And Would Protect Chesapeake Bay In May 2011, Harris issued a press release which stated, “According to Louisiana State University professor and economist Dr. Joseph Mason, these bills could create 1.2 million long-term jobs.” Harris went on to say, “High gas prices are threatening our economic recovery, particularly on the Eastern Shore. While the liberals in Congress just want to raise taxes and slow down American energy production, I am voting to increase American energy production, help create American jobs and reduce the price of gas all while protecting our Chesapeake Bay.” [Office of Congressman Andy Harris, 5/11/11] Harris Criticized DOE Stimulus Grants And Called For Greater Disclosure of DOE Stimulus Spending. In a May 2011 press release issued by the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Harris, criticized DOE stimulus grants used for the purchase of natural gas fueled vehicles. The release specifically highlighted a $1.6 million grant to Manhattan Beer Distributors to convert diesel trucks to run on compressed natural gas, and a $15 million grant issued to the Puget Sound Clean Cities Coalition, through the Clean Cities Program, which supported the purchase of 200 natural gas taxis and shuttle buses. The release also stated that for-profit corporation were receiving stimulus money and that the precise, separate contributions of the DOE, other federal agencies, state , local and private funding to specific was not clear, but should be. In the letter, Rep. Harris says that such awards “raise serious questions regarding the appropriateness of providing taxpayer dollars to private companies to purchase and deploy vehicles.” [House Committee on
Science, Space and Technology, 5/05/11]

Claimed DOE Had Failed in Achieving Energy Independence In March 2011, Harris said that the Department of Energy had failed in helping the United States become more energy independent. During a town hall meeting discussing energy independence, Harris questioned what the department's purpose was when it was created as the audience responded with cries of “Abolish it!” [The Aegis, 3/25/11] Proposed Mining Coal “Everywhere We Can” In 2011, Harris claimed that the US has the largest fossil reserves (if you include coal and natural gas) in the world and wondered “why we are not mining coal everywhere we can.” [The Aegis,

Changed Opinion on Nuclear Energy after Japan Incident In 2011, after the tragedy in Japan, Harris changed his mind on the use of nuclear energy as an alternative energy source. "After everything in Japan, it's thrown a little cold water on that. If we need more energy, let's use natural gas," he said. [, 3/23/11]


Supported Drilling In ANWR In 2011, Harris said that he supported drilling in ANWR. "I'm a supporter of drilling in ANWR. Let's be realistic, we have to have energy. Here's my prediction: We're never going to decrease our energy use." [, 3/23/11] Supported Nuclear Energy Again After Opposing It Two Days Prior On March 25, 2011, Harris said that nuclear plants should be allowed to continue to develop. He also declared his belief that plants in this country, including Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, are generally safe. “Let us not stop nuclear energy in the tracks because of what happened in Japan,” he said. [The Aegis,

Opposed Nuclear Energy after Japan Incident On March 23, 2011, after the tragedy in Japan, Harris changed his mind on the use of nuclear energy as an alternative energy source. "After everything in Japan, it's thrown a little cold water on that. If we need more energy, let's use natural gas," he said. [, 3/23/11] Supported Nuclear Energy in the United States On March 17, 2011, Harris supported the use of nuclear energy as an alternative energy resource. “I support an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy approach that emphasizes American-produced oil, natural gas, clean coal, and nuclear, and renewable sources such as solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal. [Harris Press Release, 03/17/11]

Environmental Issues
Altered Legislation Impacting Chesapeake after Facing Criticism from Environmentalists In July 2011, legislation sponsored by Harris to fund a study of “dead zones” in the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico faced criticism from environmentalists who were concerned that the measure would prioritize research over action. Harris said he would amend the bill to ensure that efforts to reduce dead zones aren’t hampered by additional study. [The Baltimore Sun, 7/27/11]


Baltimore Sun: Harris Puts His Right-Wing Ideology Ahead of Constituents on Environmental Issues In July 2011, The Baltimore Sun editorialized that when Harris voted to rewrite the Clean Water Act, he “put his right-wing ideology ahead of his constituents – and not for the first time.” The paper said that Harris has shown a “pattern of anti-environmental behavior” that “out to be anathema to district residents who so cherish and depend on the bay. Certainly, it’s in stark contrast to the congressman’s public face on the subject of the nation’s largest estuary,” referring to the Congressman’s trumpeting of the $1 million worth of research into algae blooms in the Chesapeake, a modest measure. The paper said, “Making his choice all the more head-scratching is the reality that if out-of-state polluters aren’t held accountable, Maryland will have little choice but to tighten restrictions on sources of water pollution within the state. And the first to bear the brunt of this may well be the home builders, farmers, homeowners and others living and working in his district.” [The Baltimore Sun, Editorial, 7/17/11] Voted for Bill that could Harm Chesapeake Clean-up Efforts In July 2011, Harris voted to bar the EPA from imposing water-quality standards over a state’s objections. The measure also would prohibit the federal agency from objecting to pollution discharge permits issued by a state. Maryland’s five Democratic representatives opposed the legislation. Congressman Sarbanes said the bill could undermine prospects for cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. If one of the six states in the Bay watershed set a water-quality standard that the EPA feared would undermine the “pollution diet” it recently set for restoring the Bay, the agency would be powerless to force the state to revise it. [The Baltimore Sun, 7/14/11] Harris Flip Flopped on Clean Water Issues In June 2011, Harris “voted to cut conservation funding to help farmers reduce pollution and then, he supported a bill that would severely restrict the federal government’s ability to protect water quality from pollution.” Harris had previously expressed concerns over harmful algae blooms and dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay, but in February he voted to cut funding to clean up pollution causing those dead zones. Harris most recently voted to overturn elements of the Clean Water Act. [, 7/02/2011] Harris: Funding of National Climate Service was “Absolutely Atrocious” In June 2011, Harris called the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s request to reorganize the agency and create a National Climate service “atrocious.” The Climate Service would provide “longweather and climate information” that is “vitally important for property but also for stimulating business.” Harris commented that the Climate Service had the potential to be a “propaganda source” that would produce “sensational” literature. “You are asking Congress, when we have to borrow 41 cents on every dollar- most of that from the Chinese- for you to set up a climate service to publish this? This is absolutely atrocious.” [Nature News Blog, 6/22/2011]


Harris Stressed Importance of Addressing Harmful Algal Blooms In June 2011, Harris expressed concerns regarding harmful algal blooms (HABs) in the Chesapeake Bay and pledged to introduce legislation on the matter. “The collaborative efforts reauthorized in legislation I will introduce help harness the ingenuity and resources available from the private sector, academics, local governments and non-profits, as well as the federal government…Given the importance of these issues to human health, economic prosperity and the environment, I think it is important for us to ensure that these research programs continue and work on providing multiple ways of addressing HABs and hypoxia in the future.” [House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, 6/01/2011] Harris Criticized EPA Fracking Study, Said There Were No Cases Of Drinking Water Contamination From Fracking According to Inside EPA in May 2011, Harris called EPA's draft fracking study plan a “totally shotgun approach," saying the language from the appropriations committee gave generous discretion to the agency to have conducted a retrospective review of natural gas extraction practices and concluded the study wasn't necessary given a lack of evidence of contamination. Harris said, “It's striking to me that we have confirmed that no one knows of one case of documented drinking water contamination.” [Inside EPA,

Former Bush EPA Official: EPA Study Cleared Coal-Bed Methane Fracking, Not Shale Fracking. In a May 2011 post on the Clean Water America Alliance, former Bush EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles wrote that a 2004 EPA study which concluded “that fracking presented ‘little or no risk’ to underground drinking water” was addressing coal bed methane fracking, not shale fracking. [Clean Water American Alliance, 5/16/11] Former Bush EPA Official: EPA Fracking Study Was Not Meant As A “Perpetual Clean Bill Of Health For Fracking.” In a May 2011 post on the Clean Water America Alliance, former Bush EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles wrote of an EPA report on fracking that, “As EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water at the time, I signed off on the report and testified to Congress about the findings. EPA, however, never intended for the report to be interpreted as a perpetual clean bill of health for fracking or to justify a broad statutory exemption from any future regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” [Clean Water American Alliance, 5/16/11]

Ethics Issues
Under Fire for Reports of Underage Intern Drinking In January 2012, Harris faced heat in light of reports that an underage intern was allowed to drink alcohol at a farewell party on a veranda of the U.S. Capitol.


Ryan Nawrocki, a spokesman for Harris confirmed that the party took place but noted that aides in the office did not realize the intern, a senior in college, was under 21. When the incident was brought to him, Harris reportedly disciplined his chief of staff, Kevin Reigrut. In his blog, Joe Steffen, a former aide to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, reported that Reigrut tried to shift blame for the underage drinking incident to a former legislative aide, Laurel Schmuck. Schmuck denied that assertion. [Baltimore Sun, 1/04/12] Intern Excused From Program In January 2012, reported that the intern in question was kicked out of her program when she showed up “trashed” at her supervised dorm room after curfew. [, 1/04/12]

Foreign Policy Issues
Voted Against Authorization to Remain in Libya
In June 2011, Harris voted against a resolution “that would have authorized President Barack Obama to continue US military involvement in Libya for one year.” [The Baltimore Sun, 6/24/2011]

Harris Said Bin Laden’s Death Should Renew Debate About US Purpose In Afghanistan Claiming US Achieved “One Of The Major Goals Of Having Gone To Afghanistan.” In May 2011, The Baltimore Sun reported that, Harris said bin Laden's death should at least prompt renewed debate about the nation's involvement in Afghanistan, and whether the effort is still worth the cost in lives and money. Harris said, “I think Americans will insist on the folks in power taking another look. We have achieved one of the major goals of having gone to Afghanistan.” [The Baltimore Sun, 5/03/11]

Gay and Lesbian Issues Gun Issues Health Care Issues
Attended Herman Cain Address to Congressional Healthcare Caucus In October 2011, Harris was one of a few House members present for Herman Cain’s speech to the Congressional Healthcare Caucus where he talked about repealing healthcare reform. [LA Times, 11/02/2011] Opposed More Money For Health Reform Amid Legal Setbacks In August 2011, Harris opposed Maryland receiving $27.2 million in funding to implement health insurance exchanges, due to pending legal challenges against the law.

Harris stated that he does not “think Obamacare is the solution. [He thinks] in the end it will be overturned, and a lot of money will be spent to no good end. But Obamacare is the law of the land, and implementation is going forward." [Baltimore Sun, 08/12/2011] Harris Said Non-Smokers And Non-Overweight Should Pay Lower Health Care Premiums According to Maryland Politics, in April 2011, at a town hall meeting, “Harris, an anesthesiologist, said that patients who quit smoking or lose weight should pay lower insurance premiums.” [Maryland Politics,

Refused Government Health Insurance In 2011, Harris did not accept the Congressional health insurance plan, opting to continue with his own private plan. [USA Today, 03/09/11]

Immigration and Border Issues
Called for Holder’s Resignation Following Operation Fast and Furious In October 2011, Harris was one of 28 members of Congress calling for Attorney General Holder’s resignation following Operation Fast and Furious. The Obama administration had recently released over 650 pages of documents to congressional investigators to defend Holder. [, 10/31/2011] Opposed Wage- Based Assessment for Social Security Taxes In 2011, Harris opposed a wage- based assessment on Social Security taxes. He said it would impose a costly burden on small businesses that would have to match employee’s contributions. [Cecil Times, 3/23/11] Suggested Investing Social Security Funds in Chinese Bonds In 2011, Harris suggested that Social Security funds could be invested in foreign bonds, namely to “buy bonds from China.” He noted that half of US government-issued bonds are now owned by foreign interests and foreign governments use US securities to stabilize their own portfolios. Social Security trust funds, by law, can only be invested in interest-bearing US government bonds or notes as a way to ensure safety and stability. Harris said the Social Security trust funds shouldn’t be “lent back to the government” because it only props up deficit spending by Washington. [Cecil Times, 3/23/11] Harris Supported Birthright Citizenship Bill


In February 2011, Numbers USA reported that Harris supported the Birthright Citizenship Bill, which would require one parent of a newborn child to be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States in order for that child to automatically be granted citizenship. [NumbersUSA, 2/16/2011]

Israel Labor and Working Family Issues
Fought Labor Department Ruling With Seafood Firms In September 2011, Harris worked with seafood industry representatives to change new Department of Labor regulations that would require increased wages and better living conditions for seafood processors on H2-B visas. Harris spoke of two routes of action. Under the first route, Congress would reverse the new regulations, but he said that approach would take to long to save seafood companies before 2011. The second route would be to issue a resolution restriction funding for the Department of Labor to implement such regulations. [, 09/15/2011] Opposed Wage Increase for Seafood Workers In August 2011, Harris wrote a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis opposing a pay boost for foreign seafood industry workers. He wrote that he had “spoken to countless struggling small business owners, all highly reliant on the H2-B program, who advise that this policy change may well put them out of business.” [Daily Press, 08/09/2011]

National Security Issues
Harris Had Concerns With Patriot Act Reauthorization, Was Leaning Against It. In May 2011, the Associated Press quoted Harris as saying of the Patriot Act extension vote, “I still have some concerns, and at this point I'm leaning against (voting for) it.” Harris subsequently voted against the legislation. [Associated Press, 5/19/11; S990, vote no. 376, 5/26/11]

Other Social Issues Stem Cells Tax Issues

Suggested Corporate Taxes Cuts Would Reduce the Federal Deficit In March 2011, Harris claimed that corporate taxes discourage job growth and are key to reducing the deficit. “Taxes are not the solution. Corporate taxes discourage job growth” and “we have to start on a path to reducing the deficit…we have to say that enough is enough”. [The Aegis, 3/25/11]

Tea Party Transportation Issues
Prepared For Showdown on Highway Funds In 2011, Harris said there was “no chance” that Congress would let funding run out for highway and transportation projects, but also questioned the length of a spending extension. Harris said the funding represented "so much of the economy, I don't think that anyone is going to take that chance." [Baltimore
Sun, 08/26/2011]

Harris Said States Should Have Less Discretion Over Spending Of Federal Highway Money In May 2011, The Baltimore Sun reported that Harris said that Maryland officials have unfairly targeted rural areas of the state for toll increases and suggested Congress should consider withholding federal transportation money from states unless they demonstrate they will spend it equitably, saying, “I don't think we're going to stand by and watch systematically the rural areas of the country getting shortchanged.” When asked whether the Republican majority in the House would consider making federal transportation funding to states contingent on the issue, Harris said: “If you accept the federal dollars, I think you're going to have to show that your state is not preferentially spending its transportation dollars in one area at the expense of the rural areas.” [The Baltimore Sun, 5/19/11] Harris’ Federal Highway Comments Were Related To His Opposition To Toll Hike On Eastern Shore Bridges In May 2011, The Baltimore Sun reported that the Maryland Transportation Authority's staff has proposed a four-year, $210 million package of toll increases on several facilities, including the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels and the Bay and Key bridges The $2.50 toll on the bridges would double in 2011 and increase to $8 in 2013 under the proposal. [The Baltimore Sun, 5/19/11]

Women’s Issues
Featured Speaker for an Organization that Compares Abortions with the Nazi Holocaust


In April 2011, Harris was the featured speaker at the spring banquet of Students for Life of America. The organization is known for its stance that associates abortions with the Nazi holocaust.

student group's annual award is named for Sophie and Hans Scholl, German college students who were executed for speaking against Hitler's regime. The SFLA gives its award "to students who, like Sophie and Hans Scholl, speak out every day in defense of the preborn and against the injustice of abortion on their campus." Harris was invited to speak about “the importance of pro-life medical professionals from his experience as a pro-life doctor.” [The Baltimore Sun, 4/10/11]

Used Taxpayer Dollars to Send Letters to Constituents About Irrelevant Bills In December 2011, Harris sent letters out to Eastern Shore residents “prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense” that discussed pro-hunting and Second Amendment protection bills. While it is true that Harris did not solicit funds in these letters, the purpose behind these letters is ambiguous. Harris ignored issues like payroll tax cuts set to expire or yet another specter of government shutdown. None of the four bills addressed in the letter seem to have no real relevance at the moment.
[, 12/22/12]

Endorsed Newt Gingrich for President In November 2011, Harris endorsed Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. “I am supporting Newt Gingrich because I believe he is the best candidate with the critical experience to turn this economy around and resolve our nation's debt crisis,” he said. [Star Democrat, 11/30/11] Spent $244.94 on Bottled Water From July-September 2011, Harris spent $244.94 on bottled water from Deer Park. [2011 3nd Quarter
Statements of Disbursement, 10/5/11]

Reimbursed Himself $1,220.94 in Travel Expenses From July-September 2011, Harris was reimbursed $1,220.94 in private auto mileage. [2011 3nd Quarter
Statements of Disbursement, 10/5/11]

Spent $21,803.43 on Franked Mail From July-September 2011, Harris spent $21,803.42 on franked mail distributed via the U.S. Postal Service. [2011 3nd Quarter Statements of Disbursement, 10/5/11] New Congressional Districts Could Threaten Seat


In October 2011, the Democrats of the General Assembly of Maryland came out with redistricting plans that could harm Harris’ chances of reelection. Under the first scenario, Harris’ district would become more Republican. Under the second scenario, Democrat population would increase in Harris’ district, and the boundary changes would be “radical”. A Harris spokesman said he would not discuss the maps until he had a chance to study the new proposed boundaries of the 1st congressional district.[Baltimore Sun, 10/1/2011] O’Malley and MD Dems May Target Bartlett’s Seat Instead In October 2011, Maryland Dems and Governor O’Malley had two redistricting scenarios that could unseat one or both Republican congressmen. Under the second scenario, Harris’ district would bring the rural district into northern Prince George’s County, which would double the percentage of African American voters. This would giver former Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr. a chance in a rematch against Harris. [Washington Post,

Redistricting Panel Approved Proposed Redistricting Map In October 2011, Governor O’Malley approved a redistricting map that would add more conservatives to Harris’ district. Harris’ district would gain conservative parts of Bartlett’s 6th district, including northern Carroll and Baltimore counties, a good part of Harford County, and Cecil County. [Daily Record, 10/4/2011] Received 78% Score From Heritage Action for America Harris received 78 percent score from Heritage Action for America in 2011. [Heritage Action for America,
accessed 8/29/11]

Harris one of Three House Republican Freshman Yet to Introduce Legislation In July 2011, The Hill reported that Harris is one of three Republican freshmen whose next congressional bill will be their first. Another five GOP freshman are not credited with being the main author of any legislation. Harris predicted in September that it wouldn’t take long for his party to make its mark. Harris said, “There will be no learning curve for the legislative process.” [The Hill, 7/12/11] Spent $57,121 on Mass Mailings After Criticizing Opponent for Sending Unsolicited Mail In July 2011, reported that between January and March 2011, Harris spent $57,121 on mass mailings. That is $5,455 more than former Rep. Frank Kratovil spent in the first three months of 2009. As a candidate, Harris criticized Kratovil for sending unsolicited mail to constituents at the expense of taxpayers.


Harris’s spending went toward automated calls announcing town hall meetings, mass emails, two print newsletters, an office sign and plain, black-and-white letters stating his positions on legislation including the Patriot Act, a ban on federal funding for abortions and the budget. [, 7/10/11] Criticized EPA Decision to Approve Sale of Higher Ethanol Fuel Blends In July 2011, Harris criticized the EPA’s decision to approve the sale of higher ethanol fuel blends. Critics have said that further research needs to be done to ensure that the blend will not corrode vehicle engines and can be used safely with existing filling station pumps and tanks. Harris said the EPA’s decision was not “science-based” but part of a pattern of “EPA strangling the economy…on the basis of weak science.” [, 7/7/11] Harris Did Not Propose A Single Piece Of Legislation In His First 6 Months In Office According to the Library of Congress, Harris had not sponsored a single piece of legislation as of July 6, 2011. [Library of Congress, accessed 7/6/11] Harris: Building Auburn Park Using Federal Funds “Highly Unlikely” In June 2011, Harris expressed doubts about building a Harriet Tubman National Park in Auburn using federal funds. The bill creating the park is sponsored by Senators Gillibrand and Schumer in the Senate but has no sponsor in the House. Supporters of the park said it could be an “economic boon” for the area. Harris said a bill creating the park using federal funds was “highly unlikely” to pass in this Congress.
[AuburnPub, 6/21/2011]

Harris: No Clear Front-Runner for Republican Presidential Nominee In June 2011, Harris commented on the Republican field for the 2012 presidential race. “This is a very different year from four years ago…At this point last time, the majority of Republicans were satisfied with the candidates…and there were clear front-runners. I do believe that some of the middle primaries may help elect the nominee.” [The Baltimore Sun, 6/19/2011] Signed Letter Against Recess Appointments In June 2011, Harris signed a letter to House leadership “requesting all appropriate measures be taken to prevent any recess appointment by the President for the remainder of the 112th Congress.” The coalition signing the letter “offered to man the floor in order to prevent either body of Congress to go into recess.”
[Office of Congressman Landry, 6/16/2011]

Disputed Administrations Decision to Terminate Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository In June 2011, Harris and the Committee on Science, Space and Technology released a report asking the Obama Administration to provide more details on the decision to terminate Yucca Mountain as a nuclear waste repository.


Harris said, “This report demonstrates President Obama’s lack of concern for scientific data regarding Yucca Mountain. We have increased rates on ratepayers and invested nearly $15 billion on this facility only to cancel it without any regard for facts.” [Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, 6/08/2011] Harris Appointed to Coast Guard Board In June 2011, Harris was appointed as a member of the Annual Board of Visitors to the US Coast Guard Academy, which “makes recommendations on the operations of the Coast Guard Academy.” [Office of
Congressman Harris, 6/02/2011]

Harris Hired Former Americans for Prosperity Maryland Director In February 2011, the Baltimore Sun reported that Andy Harris named David Schwartz, the former state director of Americans for Prosperity, his communications director. [Baltimore Sun, 2/8/11]

2012 Campaign
Democrat Wendy Rosen Launched 2012 Campaign In November 2011, Democrat Wendy Rosen launched her campaign against Harris in 2012 and emphasized small businesses as the means to reviving the economy. Rosen, a former Republican, switched parties a few years ago. She downplayed the importance of political labels and said, “There are traditional Republicans, like the kind I was. And then there are Tea Party Republicans, which are more about obstructionism and destructionism, and that's basically what I'm fighting against.” [, 11/28/2011]


Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful