skip to main content

Sen. Jeff Merkley’s 2015 Report Card

Junior Senator from Oregon
Democrat
Serving Jan 6, 2009 – Jan 3, 2021


These year-end statistics cover Merkley’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 Merkley’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.

 

Joined bipartisan bills the 5th least often compared to Senate Democrats

Of the 227 bills that Merkley cosponsored, 24% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (9th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (43rd percentile); All Senators (44th percentile).

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


 

Ranked the 9th bottom/follower compared to 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 Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (20th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (15th percentile); All Senators (24th percentile).


 

Got the 11th fewest cosponsors on their bills compared to Serving 10+ Years

Merkley’s bills and resolutions had 95 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 »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (23rd percentile); Serving 10+ Years (19th percentile); All Senators (28th percentile).


 

Ranked 12th 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 2015 is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (23rd percentile); Serving 10+ Years (11th percentile); All Senators (11th percentile).


 

Got bipartisan cosponsors on the 13th lowest % of bills compared to All Senators

Merkley tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 15% of Merkley’s 27 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in 2015.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (14th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (14th percentile); All Senators (14th percentile).

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


 

Cosponsored the 15th most bills compared to All Senators

Merkley cosponsored 227 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 (68th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (81st percentile); All Senators (85th percentile).


 

Got influential cosponsors the 26th least often compared to All Senators (tied with 22 others)

2 of Merkley’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. 1858: Equality Act; S. 1947: Income-Based Repayment Debt Forgiveness Act

Compare to all Senate Democrats (30th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (17th percentile); All Senators (25th percentile).


 

Laws Enacted

Merkley 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.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (0th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (0th percentile); All Senators (0th percentile).

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.


 

Bills Introduced

Merkley introduced 27 bills and resolutions in 2015. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (55th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (43rd percentile); All Senators (55th percentile).


 

Bills Out of Committee

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Merkley introduced 0 bills in 2015 that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (0th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (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. 8 of Merkley’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. 1205: National Nurse Act of 2015; S. 1275: Job Creation through Energy Efficient ...; S. 1394: Columbia River Basin Restoration Act ...; S. 1794: Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act ...; S. 1858: Equality Act; S. 2279: Veterans Health Care Staffing Improvement ...; S. 2321: Supporting Working Moms Act of ...; S.Res. 178: A resolution supporting the goals ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (45th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (46th percentile); All Senators (53rd percentile).

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


 

Committee Positions

Merkley 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 Merkley’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (18th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (7th percentile); All Senators (21st percentile).


 

Missed Votes

Merkley missed 1.2% of votes (4 of 339 votes) in 2015. View Merkley’s Profile »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (46th percentile); All Senators (50th percentile).


 

Government Transparency

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

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

Compare to all Senate Democrats (41st percentile); Serving 10+ Years (63rd percentile); All Senators (64th 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 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.