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Sen. Jeff Merkley’s 2016 Report Card

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


These special statistics cover Merkley’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 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 3rd least often compared to Senate Democrats

Of the 368 bills that Merkley cosponsored, 24% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (5th percentile); All Senators (39th percentile).

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


 

Ranked 7th 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 the 114th Congress is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (11th percentile); All Senators (6th percentile).


 

Got bipartisan cosponsors on the 8th fewest bills compared to Senate Democrats (tied with 2 others)

In this era of partisanship, it is important to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. 7 of Merkley’s 37 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (16th percentile); All Senators (23rd percentile).


 

Supported government transparency the 8th most often compared to All Senators (tied with 4 others)

GovTrack looked at whether Merkley supported any of 22 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Merkley 6 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Merkley cosponsored S. 229: DISCLOSE Act of 2015; S. 366: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act; S. 1176: EMPOWER Act of 2015; S. 1538: Fair Elections Now Act; S. 1838: Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act; S. 2212: Real Time Transparency Act

Compare to all Senate Democrats (80th percentile); All Senators (88th percentile).


 

Ranked the 11th 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 the 114th Congress is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (23rd percentile); All Senators (24th percentile).


 

Got influential cosponsors the 11th least often compared to Senate Democrats (tied with 5 others)

3 of Merkley’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. 1858: Equality Act; S. 1947: Income-Based Repayment Debt Forgiveness Act; S.Res. 561: A resolution supporting efforts to ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (23rd percentile); All Senators (28th percentile).


 

Cosponsored the 18th most bills compared to All Senators

Merkley cosponsored 368 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 (64th percentile); All Senators (82nd percentile).


 

Bills Introduced

Merkley introduced 37 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (34th percentile); All Senators (39th percentile).


 

Laws Enacted

Merkley introduced 1 bill 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 »

Those bills were: S. 1394: Columbia River Basin Restoration Act ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (11th percentile); All Senators (15th 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.


 

Missed Votes

Merkley missed 1.0% of votes (5 of 502 votes) in the 114th Congress. View Merkley’s Profile »

Compare to all All Senators (34th percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 12 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. 2592: Medical Debt Relief Act of ...; S. 2760: SAFE Lending Act of 2016; S. 3222: Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty ...; S.Res. 178: A resolution supporting the goals ...; S.Res. 561: A resolution supporting efforts to ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (43rd percentile); All Senators (59th 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); All Senators (21st percentile).


 

Cosponsors

Merkley’s bills and resolutions had 189 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 »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (32nd percentile); All Senators (37th percentile).


 

Bills Out of Committee

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Merkley introduced 0 bills in the 114th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

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