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Sen. John McCain

Former Senator for Arizona

pronounced jon // muh-KAYN


McCain was a senator from Arizona and was a Republican. He served from 1987 to 2018.

He was previously the representative for Arizona’s 1st congressional district as a Republican from 1983 to 1986.

Alleged misconduct & resolution

In 1989, Sen. McCain was accused of improperly intervening with federal banking regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, Jr. and his savings and loan business. In 1991, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics published a report in which charges were dismissed even though they did indicate that McCain had demonstrated poor judgement in attending a meeting with federal regulators on Keating's behalf. McCain remained in the Senate until his death in 2018. In the intervening years, he testified against Keating (the only one of the five to do so) in a civil trial and became an advocate of campaign finance reform.

Nov. 20, 1991 Senate Select Committee on Ethics published a report in which charges were dismissed (Senate Select Comm. on Ethics, Investigation of Sen. Alan Cranston, S. Rep. 102-223, 102d Cong., 1st Sess. (1991))
Photo of Sen. John McCain [R-AZ, 1987-2018]

Analysis

Legislative Metrics

Read our 2017 Report Card for McCain.

Ideology–Leadership Chart

McCain is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 2019 positioned according to our ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).

The chart is based on the bills McCain sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 3, 2013 to Jan 2, 2019. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

McCain was the primary sponsor of 53 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 53 not sound like a lot? Very few bills are ever enacted — most legislators sponsor only a handful that are signed into law. But there are other legislative activities that we don’t track that are also important, including offering amendments, committee work and oversight of the other branches, and constituent services.

We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if at least about half of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).

Bills Sponsored

Issue Areas

McCain sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Armed Forces and National Security (34%) Crime and Law Enforcement (12%) Immigration (12%) Health (10%) International Affairs (10%) Public Lands and Natural Resources (9%) Native Americans (7%) Transportation and Public Works (6%)

Recently Introduced Bills

McCain recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Key Votes

McCain voted Nay

Nomination Confirmed 51/49 on Feb 16, 2017.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC5), a three-term Congressman elected in 2010, was President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as Director of the Office of Management and …

McCain voted Nay

Motion Agreed to 78/21 on Dec 10, 2016.

The WIIN (Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation) Act was a 277-page bill dealing with federal water policies, particularly for drought-stricken areas. It’s so complex …

McCain voted Nay

Motion Agreed to 63/36 on Dec 9, 2016.

The Further Continuing and Security Assistance Appropriations Act, 2017 (H.R. 2028) is a continuing resolution that extended fiscal year 2017 funding for the United States …

McCain voted Yea

Bill Passed 72/26 on Sep 28, 2016.

The Continuing Appropriations and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017, and Zika Response and Preparedness Act (H.R. 5325) is an appropriations …

McCain voted Yea

Conference Report Agreed to 83/16 on Dec 3, 2015.

H.R 22, formerly the Hire More Heroes Act, has become the Senate’s vehicle for passage of the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the …

McCain voted Yea

Joint Resolution Passed 78/22 on Sep 18, 2014.

McCain voted Yea

Motion Agreed to 81/19 on Dec 15, 2010.

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111–312, H.R. 4853, 124 Stat. 3296, enacted December 17, 2010), also known …

McCain voted Nay

Missed Votes

From Jan 1987 to Aug 2018, McCain missed 1,220 of 10,383 roll call votes, which is 11.7%. This is much worse than the median of 1.5% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Aug 2018. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses and major life events.

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Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: