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Sen. Alan “Al” Franken’s 2016 Report Card

Junior Senator from Minnesota
Democrat
Served Jul 7, 2009 – Jan 2, 2018


These special statistics cover Franken’s record during the 114th Congress (Jan 6, 2015-Jan 3, 2017) and compare him to other senators also serving at the end of the session. Last updated on Aug 24, 2017. The statistics were updated on Jan 20, 2017 and Aug 24, 2017 to improve how we counted enacted laws. Originally published on Jan 7, 2017.

A higher or lower number below doesn’t necessarily make this legislator any better or worse, or more or less effective, than other Members of Congress. We present these statistics for you to understand the quantitative aspects of Franken’s legislative career and make your own judgements based on what activities you think are important.

Keep in mind that there are many important aspects of being a legislator besides what can be measured, such as constituent services and performing oversight of the executive branch, which aren’t reflected here.

 

Cosponsored the 3rd most bills compared to All Senators

Franken cosponsored 452 bills and resolutions introduced by other Members of Congress. Cosponsorship shows a willingness to work with others to advance policy goals. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (93rd percentile); All Senators (97th percentile).


 

Ranked 4th most liberal compared to All Senators

Our unique ideology analysis assigns a score to Members of Congress according to their legislative behavior by how similar the pattern of bills and resolutions they cosponsor are to other Members of Congress.

For more, see our methodology. Note that because on this page only legislative activity in the 114th Congress is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Franken’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (5th percentile); All Senators (3rd percentile).


 

Joined bipartisan bills the 7th least often compared to Senate Democrats

Of the 452 bills that Franken cosponsored, 26% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (14th percentile); All Senators (48th percentile).

Only Democratic and Republican Members of Congress who cosponsored more than 10 bills and resolutions are included in this statistic.


 

Bills Out of Committee

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Franken introduced 3 bills in the 114th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 993: Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health ...; S. 2512: Adding Zika Virus to the ...; S. 2805: A bill to modify the ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (48th percentile); All Senators (31st percentile).


 

Powerful Cosponsors

7 of Franken’s bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress had a cosponsor who was a chair or ranking member of a committee that the bill was referred to. Getting support from committee leaders on relevant committees is a crucial step in moving legislation forward.

Those bills were: S. 402: STEM Master Teacher Corps Act ...; S. 439: Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2015; S. 993: Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health ...; S. 1112: Protecting America’s Workers Act; S. 1133: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2015; S. 1639: Education Stability for Foster Youth ...; S. 2512: Adding Zika Virus to the ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (70th percentile); All Senators (70th percentile).


 

Committee Positions

Franken held a leadership position on 0 committees and 2 subcommittees, as either a chair (majority party) or ranking member (minority party), at the end of the session. View Franken’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (18th percentile); All Senators (21st percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 9 of Franken’s bills and resolutions had a companion bill in the House. Working with a sponsor in the other chamber makes a bill more likely to be passed by both the House and Senate.

Those bills were: S. 402: STEM Master Teacher Corps Act ...; S. 476: School Principal Recruitment and Training ...; S. 993: Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health ...; S. 1133: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2015; S. 1412: Housing for Homeless Students Act ...; S. 2512: Adding Zika Virus to the ...; S. 2791: Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act; S. 2805: A bill to modify the ...; S. 2836: Protecting Families with Disabilities Act ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (30th percentile); All Senators (38th percentile).

Companion bills are those that are identified as “identical” by Congress’s Congressional Research Service.


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Franken supported any of 22 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Franken 4 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Franken cosponsored S. 229: DISCLOSE Act of 2015; S. 366: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act; S. 1538: Fair Elections Now Act; S. 1959: Close the Revolving Door Act ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (55th percentile); All Senators (72nd percentile).


 

Bills Introduced

Franken introduced 44 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (52nd percentile); All Senators (57th percentile).


 

Leadership Score

Our unique leadership analysis looks at who is cosponsoring whose bills. A higher score shows a greater ability to get cosponsors on bills.

For more, see our methodology. Note that because on this page only legislative activity in the 114th Congress is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Franken’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (36th percentile); All Senators (31st percentile).


 

Laws Enacted

Franken introduced 2 bills that became law, including via incorporation into other measures, in the 114th Congress. Keep in mind that it takes a law to repeal a law. Very few bills ever become law. View Enacted Bills »

Those bills were: S. 993: Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health ...; S. 2512: Adding Zika Virus to the ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (41st percentile); All Senators (40th percentile).

The legislator must be the primary sponsor of the bill or joint resolution that was enacted or the primary sponsor of a bill or joint resolution for which at least about one third of its text was incorporated into another bill or joint resolution that was enacted as law, as determined by an automated analysis. While a legislator may lay claim to authoring other bills that became law, these cases are difficult for us to track quantitatively. We also exclude bills where the sponsor’s original intent is not in the final bill.


 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

Franken tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 9 of Franken’s 44 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (30th percentile); All Senators (36th percentile).


 

Cosponsors

Franken’s bills and resolutions had 218 cosponsors in the 114th Congress. Securing cosponsors is an important part of getting support for a bill, although having more cosponsors does not always mean a bill will get a vote. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (39th percentile); All Senators (47th percentile).


 

Missed Votes

Franken missed 2.8% of votes (14 of 502 votes) in the 114th Congress. View Franken’s Profile »

Compare to all All Senators (67th percentile).


Additional Notes

The Speaker’s Votes: Missed votes are not computed for the Speaker of the House. According to current House rules, the Speaker of the House is not required to vote in “ordinary legislative proceedings.” In practice this means the Speaker of the House rarely votes but is not considered absent.

Leadership/Ideology: The leadership and ideology scores are not displayed for Members of Congress who introduced fewer than 10 bills, or, for ideology, for Members of Congress that have a low leadership score, as there is usually not enough data in these cases to compute reliable leadership and ideology statistics.

Missing Bills: We exclude bills from some statistics where the sponsor’s original intent is not in the final bill because the bill’s text was replaced in whole with unrelated provisions (i.e. it became a vehicle for passage of unrelated provisions).

Ranking Members (RkMembs): The chair of a committee is always selected from the political party that holds the most seats in the chamber, called the “majority party”. The “ranking member” (sometimes “RkMembs”) is the title given to the senior-most member of the committee not in the majority party.

Freshmen/Sophomores: Freshmen and sophomores are Members of Congress whose first term (in the same chamber at the end of the 114th Congress) was the 114th Congress (freshmen) or 113th (sophomores). Members of Congress who took office within the last few months of a Congress are considered freshmen in the next Congress as well.