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Sen. Jeff Merkley’s 2017 Report Card

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


These year-end statistics cover Merkley’s record during the 2017 legislative year (Jan 3, 2017-Dec 31, 2017) and compare him to other senators serving at the end of that period. Last updated on Jan 6, 2018.

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.

 

Ranked 3rd 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 2017 is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (2nd percentile); All Senators (2nd percentile).


 

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

Of the 283 bills that Merkley cosponsored, 19% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (9th percentile); All Senators (21st percentile).

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


 

Introduced the 8th fewest bills compared to Senate Democrats (tied with 1 other)

Merkley introduced 17 bills and resolutions in 2017. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (15th percentile); All Senators (24th percentile).


 

Cosponsored the 12th most bills compared to All Senators

Merkley cosponsored 283 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 (74th percentile); All Senators (88th percentile).


 

Held the 12th fewest committee positions compared to Senate Democrats (tied with 12 others)

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 »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (24th percentile); All Senators (20th percentile).


 

Laws Enacted

Merkley introduced 0 bills that became law, including via incorporation into other measures, in 2017. 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); All Senators (0th 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.


 

Bills Out of Committee

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Merkley introduced 4 bills in 2017 that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 669: Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty ...; S. 1223: Klamath Tribe Judgment Fund Repeal ...; S. 1285: Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act; S.Res. 357: A resolution expressing the sense ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (52nd percentile); All Senators (39th percentile).


 

Powerful Cosponsors

3 of Merkley’s bills and resolutions in 2017 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. 1006: Equality Act; S. 1508: A bill to amend the ...; S.Res. 124: A resolution expressing the sense ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (41st percentile); All Senators (45th percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 6 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. 669: Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty ...; S. 987: 100 by ‘50 Act; S. 1006: Equality Act; S. 1106: National Nurse Act of 2017; S. 1109: Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization ...; S. 1285: Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act

Compare to all Senate Democrats (30th percentile); All Senators (37th percentile).

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


 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

In this era of partisanship, it is important to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. 7 of Merkley’s 17 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in 2017.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (37th percentile); All Senators (39th percentile).


 

Cosponsors

Merkley’s bills and resolutions had 170 cosponsors in 2017. 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 (50th percentile); All Senators (63rd percentile).


 

Leadership Score

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 2017 is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (43rd percentile); All Senators (42nd percentile).


 

Missed Votes

Merkley missed 1.2% of votes (4 of 325 votes) in 2017. View Merkley’s Profile »

Compare to all All Senators (53rd percentile).


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Merkley supported any of 8 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Merkley 1 point, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Merkley cosponsored S. 2159: ME TOO Congress Act

Compare to all Senate Democrats (41st percentile); All Senators (54th 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 2017) was the 115th Congress (freshmen) or 114th (sophomores). Members of Congress who took office within the last few months of a Congress are considered freshmen in the next Congress as well.