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Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders’s 2015 Report Card

Junior Senator from Vermont
Independent
Serving Jan 4, 2007 – Jan 3, 2019


These special year-end statistics cover Sanders’s record during the 2015 legislative year (Jan 6, 2015-Dec 31, 2015) and compare him to other senators serving at the end of that period. Last updated on Jan 9, 2016.

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 Sanders’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.

 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

the lowest % of bills among All Senators

Sanders tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 0% of Sanders’s 29 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in 2015.

compared to... rank lowest % of bills ⇢ highest % of bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs the lowest % of bills out of 37 0
71% of bills View All
Serving 10+ Years the lowest % of bills out of 50 0
71% of bills View All
All Senators the lowest % of bills out of 87 0
71% of bills View All

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

 

Leadership Score

2nd worst score among Serving 10+ Years

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 2015 is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Sanders’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 2nd worst score out of 40
View All
Serving 10+ Years 2nd worst score out of 54
View All
All Senators 5th worst score out of 100
View All
 

Cosponsors

4th fewest cosponsors among Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs

Sanders’s bills and resolutions had 55 cosponsors in 2015. 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 »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 4th fewest cosponsors out of 40 10
485 cosponsors View All
Serving 10+ Years 6th fewest cosponsors out of 54 10
579 cosponsors View All
All Senators 20th fewest cosponsors out of 100 10
579 cosponsors View All
 

Missed Votes

7th most absent among All Senators

Sanders missed 8.3% of votes (28 of 339 votes) in 2015. View Sanders’s Profile »

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 3rd most absent out of 40 0
17% missed votes View All
Serving 10+ Years 5th most absent out of 54 0
28% missed votes View All
All Senators 7th most absent out of 100 0
35% missed votes View All
 

Government Transparency

8th most supportive among Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs; tied with 5 others

GovTrack looked at whether Sanders supported any of 19 government transparency bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Sanders 3 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Cosponsored: S. 229: Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting ...; S. 366: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act; S. 1538: Fair Elections Now Act

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 8th most supportive (tied w/ 5) out of 40 0
11 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 12th most supportive (tied w/ 8) out of 54 0
11 points View All
All Senators 21st most supportive (tied w/ 15) out of 100 0
11 points View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

12th fewest bills among Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs; tied with 7 others

3 of Sanders’s bills and resolutions in 2015 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. 878: A bill to establish a ...; S. 964: Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Act of ...; S. 2142: Workplace Democracy Act

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 12th fewest bills (tied w/ 7) out of 40 0
12 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 22nd fewest bills (tied w/ 8) out of 54 0
12 bills View All
All Senators 40th most bills (tied w/ 12) out of 100 0
12 bills View All
 

Bills Introduced

17th fewest bills among Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs; tied with 1 other

Sanders introduced 29 bills and resolutions in 2015. View Bills »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 17th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 40 6
125 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 26th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 54 6
125 bills View All
All Senators 40th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 100 4
125 bills View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

20th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 1 other

Sanders cosponsored 151 bills and resolutions introduced by other Members of Congress. Cosponsorship shows a willingness to work with others to advance policy goals. View Cosponsored Bills »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 16th fewest bills out of 40 49
295 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 20th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 54 49
301 bills View All
All Senators 43rd fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 49
301 bills View All
 

Working with the House

19th most bills among All Senators; tied with 4 others

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 12 of Sanders’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. 570: Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of ...; S. 1041: End Polluter Welfare Act of ...; S. 1206: Too Big To Fail, Too ...; S. 1364: Medicaid Generic Drug Price Fairness ...; S. 1366: A bill to amend the ...; S. 1506: Employ Young Americans Now Act; S. 1631: Keep Our Pension Promises Act; S. 1677: Responsible Estate Tax Act; S. 2023: Prescription Drug Affordability Act of ...; S. 2054: Justice is Not For Sale ...; S. 2142: Workplace Democracy Act; S. 2242: Save Oak Flat Act

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 11th most bills out of 40 1
30 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 15th most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 54 1
30 bills View All
All Senators 19th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 100 0
30 bills View All

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

 

Bills Out of Committee

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Sanders introduced 0 bills in 2015 that got a committee vote sending it to the floor for further consideration.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs the fewest bills (tied w/ 5) out of 40 0
25 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years the fewest bills (tied w/ 8) out of 54 0
25 bills View All
All Senators the fewest bills (tied w/ 18) out of 100 0
25 bills View All
 

Committee Positions

Sanders held a leadership position on 1 committee and 1 subcommittee, as either a chair (majority party) or ranking member (minority party), at the end of the session. For comparison to other Members of Congress, we assigned a score giving five points for each full committee leadership position and one point for each subcommittee leadership position. View Sanders’s Profile »

compared to... rank lowest score ⇢ highest score
Serving 10+ Years 9th highest score (tied w/ 22) out of 54 0
12 points View All
All Senators 10th highest score (tied w/ 24) out of 100 0
16 points View All
 

Laws Enacted

Sanders introduced 0 bills that became law in 2015. Keep in mind that it takes a law to repeal a law. Very few bills ever become law. View Enacted Bills »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs fewest bills along with 19 others out of 40 0
3 laws View All
Serving 10+ Years fewest bills along with 27 others out of 54 0
3 laws View All
All Senators fewest bills along with 58 others out of 100 0
3 laws View All

A bill or joint resolution is considered enacted if it or an exactly identical bill to it is enacted as law. We only consider bills that the legislator was the primary sponsor of. While a legislator may lay claim to authoring other bills that became law, such as through incorporation into larger bills, these cases are difficult for us to track quantitatively.

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.

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 2015) 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.