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Sen. Bernard “Bernie” Sanders’s 2016 Report Card

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


These special statistics cover Sanders’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 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 fewest bills among All Senators

Sanders tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 0 of Sanders’s 30 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years the fewest bills out of 47 0
49 bills View All
All Senators the fewest bills out of 100 0
49 bills View All
 

Missed Votes

the most absent among Serving 10+ Years

Sanders missed 28.5% of votes (143 of 502 votes) in the 114th Congress. View Sanders’s Profile »

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Serving 10+ Years the most absent out of 47 0
28% missed votes View All
All Senators 3rd most absent out of 100 0
32% missed votes View All
 

Leadership Score

3rd worst score among All Senators

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 Sanders’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Serving 10+ Years 2nd worst score out of 47
View All
All Senators 3rd worst score out of 100
View All
 

Cosponsors

4th fewest cosponsors among Serving 10+ Years

Sanders’s bills and resolutions had 64 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 »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Serving 10+ Years 4th fewest cosponsors out of 47 11
989 cosponsors View All
All Senators 8th fewest cosponsors out of 100 11
989 cosponsors View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

11th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 1 other

3 of Sanders’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. 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
Serving 10+ Years 11th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 47 0
19 bills View All
All Senators 29th fewest bills (tied w/ 11) out of 100 0
19 bills View All
 

Bills Introduced

12th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years

Sanders introduced 30 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years 12th fewest bills out of 47 8
140 bills View All
All Senators 33rd fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 8
140 bills View All
 

Government Transparency

11th most supportive among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 5 others

GovTrack looked at whether Sanders supported any of 22 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: DISCLOSE Act of 2015; S. 366: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act; S. 1538: Fair Elections Now Act

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Serving 10+ Years 11th most supportive (tied w/ 5) out of 47 0
11 points View All
All Senators 29th most supportive (tied w/ 15) out of 100 0
11 points View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

20th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years

Sanders cosponsored 236 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
Serving 10+ Years 20th fewest bills out of 47 74
426 bills View All
All Senators 45th fewest bills out of 100 74
479 bills View All
 

Working with the House

35th most bills among All Senators; tied with 6 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
Serving 10+ Years 20th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 47 1
40 bills View All
All Senators 35th most bills (tied w/ 6) out of 100 1
40 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 the 114th Congress that got a committee vote sending it to the floor for further consideration.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years the fewest bills (tied w/ 2) out of 47 0
36 bills View All
All Senators the fewest bills (tied w/ 6) out of 100 0
36 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 8th highest score (tied w/ 22) out of 47 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, 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 »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years the fewest bills (tied w/ 4) out of 47 0
15 View All
All Senators the fewest bills (tied w/ 14) out of 100 0
15 View All

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.

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 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.