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Sen. Arlen Specter

Former Senator for Pennsylvania

Specter was a senator from Pennsylvania and was most recently a Democrat (2009-2010) and previously a Republican (1981-2009). He served from 1981 to 2010.

Photo of Sen. Arlen Specter [D-PA, 1981-2010]

Analysis

Ideology–Leadership Chart

Specter is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 2010 positioned according to our liberal–conservative ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills Specter sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 24, 2005 to Dec 22, 2010. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Specter was the primary sponsor of 47 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 47 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

Specter sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Foreign Trade and International Finance (26%) Law (18%) Government Operations and Politics (13%) Crime and Law Enforcement (11%) International Affairs (9%) Health (9%) Taxation (7%) Armed Forces and National Security (7%)

Recent Bills

Some of Specter’s most recently sponsored bills include...

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Voting Record

Key Votes

Specter voted Yea

Motion Agreed to 81/19 on Dec 15, 2010.

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111–312, H.R. 4853, 124 Stat. 3296, enacted December 17, 2010), also known ...

Specter voted Nay

Specter voted Yea

Missed Votes

From Jan 1981 to Dec 2010, Specter missed 318 of 10,588 roll call votes, which is 3.0%. This is worse than the median of 2.0% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Dec 2010. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses and major life events.

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Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: