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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.

 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

3rd least bipartisan among Senate Democrats

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

compared to... rank least bipartisan ⇢ most bipartisan
Senate Democrats 3rd least bipartisan out of 44 20
66% of bills View All
All Senators 39th least bipartisan out of 98 11
66% of bills View All

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

 

Ideology Score

7th most liberal among 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.

compared to... rank most liberal ⇢ most conservative
Senate Democrats 6th most liberal out of 44
View All
All Senators 7th most liberal out of 100
View All
 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

8th fewest bills among Senate Democrats; tied with 2 others

Merkley tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 7 of Merkley’s 37 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 8th fewest bills (tied w/ 2) out of 44 3
36 bills View All
All Senators 24th fewest bills (tied w/ 6) out of 100 0
49 bills View All
 

Government Transparency

8th most supportive among All Senators; tied with 4 others

GovTrack looked at whether Merkley supported any of 22 government transparency 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.

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

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Senate Democrats 6th most supportive (tied w/ 3) out of 44 1
11 points View All
All Senators 8th most supportive (tied w/ 4) out of 100 0
11 points View All
 

Leadership Score

11th worst score among 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.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Senate Democrats 11th worst score out of 44
View All
All Senators 25th worst score out of 100
View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

11th fewest bills among 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 11th fewest bills (tied w/ 5) out of 44 0
15 bills View All
All Senators 29th fewest bills (tied w/ 11) out of 100 0
19 bills View All
 

Cosponsors

15th fewest cosponsors among Senate Democrats

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 »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Senate Democrats 15th fewest cosponsors out of 44 73
711 cosponsors View All
All Senators 38th fewest cosponsors out of 100 11
989 cosponsors View All
 

Bills Introduced

16th fewest bills among Senate Democrats; tied with 1 other

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

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 16th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 44 18
87 bills View All
All Senators 40th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 8
140 bills View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

18th most bills among 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 »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 16th most bills out of 44 152
479 bills View All
All Senators 18th most bills out of 100 74
479 bills View All
 

Missed Votes

35th most voting among All Senators; tied with 2 others

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

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
All Senators 35th most voting (tied w/ 2) out of 100 0
32% missed votes 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 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 20th fewest bills (tied w/ 4) out of 44 1
26 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. Merkley 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
Senate Democrats the fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 44 0
19 bills View All
All Senators the fewest bills (tied w/ 6) out of 100 0
36 bills View All
 

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. 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 Merkley’s Profile »

compared to... rank lowest score ⇢ highest score
Senate Democrats 9th lowest score (tied w/ 15) out of 44 0
12 points View All
All Senators 22nd lowest score (tied w/ 34) out of 100 0
16 points View All
 

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 6th fewest bills (tied w/ 12) out of 44 0
9 View All
All Senators 16th fewest bills (tied w/ 24) 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.