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Sen. Jefferson “Jeff” Sessions’s 2016 Report Card

Junior Senator from Alabama
Republican
Served Jan 7, 1997 – Feb 8, 2017


These special statistics cover Sessions’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 Sessions’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.

 

Introduced the 2nd fewest bills compared to All Senators (tied with 1 other)

Sessions introduced 10 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (2nd percentile); Senate Republicans (2nd percentile); All Senators (1st percentile).


 

Got their bills out of committee the 3rd least often compared to Senate Republicans (tied with 3 others)

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Sessions introduced 1 bill in the 114th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 527: A bill to award a ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (6th percentile); Senate Republicans (4th percentile); All Senators (7th percentile).


 

Got influential cosponsors the 4th least often compared to Serving 10+ Years (tied with 2 others)

1 of Sessions’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. 527: A bill to award a ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (6th percentile); Senate Republicans (9th percentile); All Senators (8th percentile).


 

Got the 6th fewest cosponsors on their bills compared to Serving 10+ Years

Sessions’s bills and resolutions had 132 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 Serving 10+ Years (11th percentile); Senate Republicans (22nd percentile); All Senators (22nd percentile).


 

Held the 5th fewest committee positions compared to Serving 10+ Years (tied with 3 others)

Sessions 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 Sessions’s Profile »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (9th percentile); Senate Republicans (22nd percentile); All Senators (21st percentile).


 

Ranked 7th most conservative compared to Serving 10+ Years

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 Sessions’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (85th percentile); Senate Republicans (69th percentile); All Senators (83rd percentile).


 

Joined bipartisan bills the 8th least often compared to All Senators

Of the 160 bills that Sessions cosponsored, 14% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Republican. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (9th percentile); Senate Republicans (13th percentile); All Senators (7th percentile).

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


 

Cosponsored the 9th fewest bills compared to All Senators

Sessions cosponsored 160 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 (13th percentile); Senate Republicans (13th percentile); All Senators (8th percentile).


 

Got bicameral support on the 7th fewest bills compared to All Senators (tied with 5 others)

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 3 of Sessions’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. 216: National Prostate Cancer Plan Act; S. 527: A bill to award a ...; S. 1842: Protecting American Lives Act

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (6th percentile); Senate Republicans (7th percentile); All Senators (6th percentile).

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


 

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

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (21st percentile); Senate Republicans (26th percentile); All Senators (34th percentile).


 

Got bipartisan cosponsors on the 10th fewest bills compared to All Senators (tied with 4 others)

In this era of partisanship, it is important to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. 4 of Sessions’s 10 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (11th percentile); Senate Republicans (13th percentile); All Senators (9th percentile).


 

Missed Votes

Sessions missed 2.8% of votes (14 of 502 votes) in the 114th Congress. View Sessions’s Profile »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (66th percentile); All Senators (67th percentile).


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Sessions supported any of 22 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Sessions 0 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

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


 

Laws Enacted

Sessions 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. 527: A bill to award a ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (11th percentile); Senate Republicans (15th 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.


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.