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Sen. Alan “Al” Franken’s 2017 Report Card

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


These special year-end statistics cover Franken’s record during the 2017 legislative year (Jan 3, 2017-Dec 31, 2017) and compare him to other senators serving at the end of that period. Last updated on Jan 6, 2018.

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.

 

Ranked 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 2017 is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Franken’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (0th percentile); All Senators (0th percentile).


 

Cosponsored the 4th most bills compared to All Senators

Franken cosponsored 328 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 (91st percentile); All Senators (96th percentile).


 

Joined bipartisan bills the 6th least often compared to Senate Democrats

Of the 328 bills that Franken cosponsored, 20% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (11th percentile); All Senators (22nd percentile).

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


 

Got bipartisan cosponsors on the 7th fewest bills compared to Senate Democrats (tied with 2 others)

Franken tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 4 of Franken’s 23 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in 2017.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (13th percentile); All Senators (17th percentile).


 

Was 8th most absent in votes compared to All Senators (tied with 4 others)

Franken missed 4.0% of votes (13 of 325 votes) in 2017. View Franken’s Profile »

Compare to all All Senators (88th percentile).


 

Ranked the 10th bottom follower compared to Senate Democrats

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 2017 is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Franken’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (20th percentile); All Senators (22nd percentile).


 

Got the 11th fewest cosponsors on their bills compared to Senate Democrats

Franken’s bills and resolutions had 114 cosponsors in 2017. 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 (22nd percentile); All Senators (36th percentile).


 

Got their bills out of committee the 25th least often compared to All Senators (tied with 14 others)

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Franken introduced 3 bills in 2017 that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 502: A bill to modify the ...; S.Res. 297: A resolution supporting Lights On ...; S.Res. 306: A resolution recognizing the month ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (28th percentile); All Senators (24th percentile).


 

Committee Positions

Franken held a leadership position on 0 committees and 0 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 (0th percentile); All Senators (0th percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 6 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. 283: Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare ...; S. 434: Housing for Homeless Students Act ...; S. 537: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2017; S. 620: Community College to Career Fund ...; S. 771: Improving Access To Affordable Prescription ...; S. 1370: Mental Health in Schools Act ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (30th percentile); All Senators (37th percentile).

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


 

Powerful Cosponsors

4 of Franken’s bills and resolutions in 2017 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. 283: Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare ...; S. 537: Arbitration Fairness Act of 2017; S. 1000: Protecting America’s Workers Act; S. 1986: Justice for Native Survivors of ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (57th percentile); All Senators (60th percentile).


 

Laws Enacted

Franken introduced 0 bills that became law, including via incorporation into other measures, in 2017. Keep in mind that it takes a law to repeal a law. Very few bills ever become law.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (0th percentile); All Senators (0th 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.


 

Bills Introduced

Franken introduced 23 bills and resolutions in 2017. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (26th percentile); All Senators (37th percentile).


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Franken supported any of 8 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Franken 1 point, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Franken cosponsored S. 1189: Close the Revolving Door Act ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (41st percentile); All Senators (54th 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 2017) was the 115th Congress (freshmen) or 114th (sophomores). Members of Congress who took office within the last few months of a Congress are considered freshmen in the next Congress as well.