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Sen. Jeff Merkley’s 2018 Report Card

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


These statistics cover Merkley’s record during the 115th Congress (Jan 3, 2017-Jan 3, 2019) and compare him to other senators also serving at the end of the session. Last updated on Jan 20, 2019.

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 2nd least often compared to Senate Democrats

Of the 487 bills that Merkley cosponsored, 20% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (11th percentile); Senate Democrats (2nd percentile); All Senators (13th percentile).

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


 

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 the 115th Congress is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (4th percentile); Senate Democrats (2nd percentile); All Senators (2nd percentile).


 

Got bipartisan cosponsors on the 8th fewest bills compared to Serving 10+ Years (tied with 5 others)

In this era of partisanship, it is important to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. 14 of Merkley’s 69 bills and resolutions had a cosponsor from a different political party than the party Merkley caucused with in the 115th Congress.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (15th percentile); Senate Democrats (26th percentile); All Senators (22nd percentile).


 

Cosponsored the 11th most bills compared to All Senators

Merkley cosponsored 487 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 Serving 10+ Years (89th percentile); Senate Democrats (77th percentile); All Senators (89th percentile).


 

Got their bills out of committee the 12th least often compared to Serving 10+ Years (tied with 6 others)

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Merkley introduced 8 bills in the 115th Congress 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. 3315: Predation Reduction of Salmon Act; S.Res. 357: A resolution expressing the sense ...; S.Res. 376: A resolution urging the Governments ...; S.Res. 541: A resolution expressing the sense ...; S.Res. 562: A resolution expressing the sense ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (24th percentile); Senate Democrats (38th percentile); All Senators (29th percentile).


 

Supported government transparency the 14th most often compared to All Senators (tied with 8 others)

GovTrack looked at whether Merkley supported any of 14 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Merkley 5 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Merkley cosponsored S. 210: Global Health, Empowerment and Rights ...; S. 298: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act; S. 1989: Honest Ads Act; S. 2159: ME TOO Congress Act; S. 2236: Congressional Harassment Reform Act

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (78th percentile); Senate Democrats (62nd percentile); All Senators (78th percentile).


 

Introduced the 19th most bills compared to All Senators

Merkley introduced 69 bills and resolutions in the 115th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (74th percentile); Senate Democrats (70th percentile); All Senators (81st percentile).


 

Got the 23rd most cosponsors on their bills compared to All Senators

Merkley’s bills and resolutions had 407 cosponsors in the 115th 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 Serving 10+ Years (67th percentile); Senate Democrats (64th percentile); All Senators (77th percentile).


 

Wrote the 23rd fewest laws compared to All Senators (tied with 13 others)

Merkley introduced 2 bills that became law, including via incorporation into other measures, in the 115th 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. 1285: Oregon Tribal Economic Development Act; S. 3315: Predation Reduction of Salmon Act

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (22nd percentile); Senate Democrats (28th percentile); All Senators (22nd 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.


 

Powerful Cosponsors

5 of Merkley’s bills and resolutions in the 115th 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. 1006: Equality Act; S. 1508: A bill to amend the ...; S. 3189: Income-Based Repayment Debt Forgiveness Act; S.Res. 124: A resolution expressing the sense ...; S.Res. 708: A resolution expressing the need ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (30th percentile); Senate Democrats (32nd percentile); All Senators (40th percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 10 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. 1508: A bill to amend the ...; S. 2446: Safe Staffing for Nurse and ...; S. 2708: Choose Medicare Act; S. 3312: EPA Act of 2018; S. 3427: Elementary and Secondary School Counseling ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (39th percentile); Senate Democrats (32nd percentile); All Senators (41st 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 Serving 10+ Years (4th percentile); Senate Democrats (23rd percentile); All Senators (19th 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 the 115th Congress is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Merkley’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (37th percentile); Senate Democrats (49th percentile); All Senators (51st percentile).


 

Missed Votes

Merkley missed 1.7% of votes (10 of 599 votes) in the 115th Congress. View Merkley’s Profile »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (63rd percentile); All Senators (62nd 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 115th Congress) 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.