Ashcroft was the only Senator to vote against the continuing resolution to keep the government running in 1999. (RCV# 296, H.J. Res. 68, 98Y-1N, 9/28/99)
Ashcroft received a 0% rating from the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare for the 1997-98 session and a 4% rating for his entire term in the Senate. Ninety-eight Senators, including 53 of 54 Republicans, received higher scores than Ashcroft. It is safe to say that Ashcroft has one of the worst records in the Senate with respect to preserving Social Security. In fact, Ashcroft told a class of middle school students in 1998, "Social Security is a bad thing. It’s in debt and if I had a better deal than Social Security would you [sic] give it up? You bet I would." Fulton Sun-Gazette (Nov. 19, 1998).
Ashcroft introduced bills to further restrict the welfare reform bill in 1995 by including Medicaid, food stamps and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in block grants to the states. (S. 842, 843, 844, 845.)
Senator Ashcroft voted against a compromise on national testing offered by Senator Gregg (R-NH). Ashcroft was a leading right-wing opponent of such testing. The Gregg amendment established that the National Assessment Governing Board has exclusive authority over all policies for establishing and implementing voluntary national tests for 4th grade English and reading and for 8th grade mathematics. (Adopted 87-13, 9/11/97, RCV# 234, S. 1061, FY 1998 Labor-HHS Appropriations.)
Ashcroft voted against anti-tobacco legislation that increased taxes on tobacco products, required cigarette manufacturers to fund health and education programs, and gave the FDA the authority to regulate nicotine. (S. 1415, 57Y-42N, 6/17/98.) And Ashcroft was in a minority of less than one-third of the Senate that voted in 1998 against a national drunk driving standard. (S. 1173, RCV# 20, 62Y-32N, 3/4/98.)
Ashcroft also sponsored an unsuccessful amendment to completely eliminate funding for programs and activities carried out by the National Endowment for the Arts. (Interior Appropriations bill, 9/17/97, 23Y-77N.)