Congressman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott is currently serving his eleventh term in Congress. Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Scott served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1978 to 1983 and in the Senate of Virginia from 1983 to 1993.
During his 15-year tenure in the Virginia General Assembly, Rep. Scott successfully sponsored laws that are critical to Virginians in healthcare, education, employment, economic development, crime prevention, social services and consumer protection. His legislative successes included laws that improved healthcare benefits for women, infants and children, increased the Virginia minimum wage and created the Governor’s Employment and Training Council. He also sponsored the Neighborhood Assistance Act, which provides tax credits to businesses for donations made to approved social service and crime prevention programs.
In November 1992, Rep. Scott was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Through this election, Rep. Scott made history by becoming the first African American elected to Congress from the Commonwealth of Virginia since Reconstruction and only the second African American elected to Congress in Virginia’s history. Having a maternal grandfather of Filipino ancestry also gives Rep. Scott the distinction of being the first American with Filipino ancestry to serve as a voting member of Congress.
Rep. Scott currently serves on the Committee on the Judiciary, where he is the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations and a member of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. Rep. Scott also serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce where he is a member of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education and the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.
In his almost 20 years in Congress, Rep. Scott has become known as a champion of the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights, fighting to protect the rights and civil liberties of all Americans. For example, in 1997, he protected the right of all children with disabilities to obtain a free and appropriate education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by leading a successful effort to defeat amendments aimed at curtailing that right for some children. Another example is a bill Rep. Scott sponsored, the Death in Custody Reporting Act, which requires states and localities to report information regarding the death of any person in the custody of law enforcement officials. It was signed into law by President Clinton on October 17, 2000. In 2010, Rep. Scott successfully led efforts in the House to pass the Fair Sentencing Act, which reduced the crack and powder cocaine sentencing disparity from a ratio of 100:1 to 18:1. Rep. Scott is also a leading critic against warrantless wiretapping and the leading opponent of efforts to permit employment discrimination in federally funded programs.
As a former member of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Scott has developed a reputation as a deficit hawk. He was an ardent opponent of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that were skewed towards the wealthiest Americans and created huge deficits. He also opposed the 2008 taxpayer bailout of Wall Street and the 2010 extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. He is dedicated to restoring fiscal sanity to the federal budget process in order to balance the federal budget. In the 111th Congress, he advocated for the return of Statutory Pay-As-You-Go budget rules, which helped bring the federal budget from deficit to surplus in the 1990s.
Rep. Scott was an early and consistent opponent of the War in Iraq, having voted against the initial resolution authorizing President Bush to use force against Iraq. At the same time, Rep. Scott is a strong supporter of our nation’s military readiness as well as our troops and their safety. He is a leading advocate for improving and increasing funding for veterans’ benefits and health care, especially mental health care, and was the lead sponsor in the House of Senator Jim Webb’s Post-9/11 G.I. Bill that was signed into law on June 30, 2008. For the 111th Congress, Rep. Scott received an “A” from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America for his service and commitment to veterans.
From the beginning of his tenure in Congress, Rep. Scott has led efforts to pass comprehensive juvenile justice reform and crime prevention legislation and is doing so now by sponsoring the Youth PROMISE Act, which would provide resources to state and local governments for evidenced-based strategies and programs to prevent juvenile crime. He is also leading efforts to enact legislation designed to reduce high school dropout rates and increase access to a college education for all students with the Every Student Counts Act. And, as a part of developing universal health care for all, Rep. Scott sponsored the All Healthy Children Act to ensure that the 9 million uninsured children in the United States have access to quality health care.
In 2010, Rep. Scott was recognized by The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, as one of the 25 hardest working Members of Congress. The Hill later recognized Rep. Scott in 2012 as one of Capitol Hill’s 50 most beautiful people.
Rep. Scott was born on April 30, 1947 in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Newport News, Virginia. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School. After graduating from law school, he returned to Newport News and practiced law from 1973 to 1991. He received an honorable discharge for his service in the Massachusetts National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.
Rep. Scott is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Newport News and is a member of many professional, community and civic boards and organizations.