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Sen. John McCain’s 2016 Report Card

Senior Senator from Arizona
Republican
Serving Jan 6, 1987 – Jan 3, 2023


These special statistics cover McCain’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 McCain’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.

 

Powerful Cosponsors

7th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 3 others

2 of McCain’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. 167: Clay Hunt SAV Act; S. 1118: National Defense Authorization Act for ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years 7th fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 47 0
19 bills View All
Senate Republicans 10th fewest bills (tied w/ 8) out of 54 0
19 bills View All
All Senators 17th fewest bills (tied w/ 11) out of 100 0
19 bills View All
 

Cosponsors

9th fewest cosponsors among Serving 10+ Years

McCain’s bills and resolutions had 153 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
Serving 10+ Years 9th fewest cosponsors out of 47 11
989 cosponsors View All
Senate Republicans 18th fewest cosponsors out of 54 11
989 cosponsors View All
All Senators 30th fewest cosponsors out of 100 11
989 cosponsors View All
 

Working with the House

9th most bills among Senate Republicans; tied with 1 other

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 17 of McCain’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. 121: Obamacare Opt-Out Act of 2015; S. 122: Safe and Affordable Drugs from ...; S. 152: Keep the Promise Act of ...; S. 397: Foreign Earnings Reinvestment Act; S. 782: Grand Canyon Bison Management Act; S. 847: Transnational Criminal Organization Illicit Spotter ...; S. 1649: Sonoran Corridor Interstate Development Act ...; S. 1873: Border Security Technology Accountability Act ...; S. 1888: USA Act; S. 2395: A bill to reauthorize the ...; S. 2402: A bill to require the ...; S. 2470: A bill to repeal the ...; S. 3339: Halt Tax Increases on the ...; S.Res. 563: A resolution calling on the ...; S.Con.Res. 6: A concurrent resolution expressing the ...; S.J.Res. 27: A joint resolution providing for ...; S.J.Res. 28: A joint resolution providing for ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years 14th most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 47 1
40 bills View All
Senate Republicans 9th most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 54 1
40 bills View All
All Senators 20th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 100 1
40 bills View All

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

 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

10th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 3 others

McCain tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 8 of McCain’s 45 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years 10th fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 47 0
49 bills View All
Senate Republicans 20th fewest bills (tied w/ 2) out of 54 1
49 bills View All
All Senators 31st fewest bills (tied w/ 5) out of 100 0
49 bills View All
 

Bills Out of Committee

13th most bills among All Senators; tied with 1 other

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. McCain introduced 13 bills in the 114th Congress that got a committee vote sending it to the floor for further consideration.

Those bills were: S. 152: Keep the Promise Act of ...; S. 750: Arizona Borderlands Protection and Preservation ...; S. 782: Grand Canyon Bison Management Act; S. 1376: National Defense Authorization Act for ...; S. 1873: Border Security Technology Accountability Act ...; S. 2711: Native American Education Opportunity Act; S. 2943: National Defense Authorization Act for ...; S. 2959: A bill to amend the ...; S. 3296: Protection from ObamaCare Monopolies Act; S. 3516: VA Best-Practices Peer Review Act ...; S.Res. 320: A resolution congratulating the people ...; S.Con.Res. 42: A concurrent resolution to express ...; S.J.Res. 28: A joint resolution providing for ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years 12th most bills out of 47 0
36 bills View All
Senate Republicans 10th most bills out of 54 0
36 bills View All
All Senators 13th most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 0
36 bills View All
 

Government Transparency

12th most supportive among Senate Republicans; tied with 3 others

GovTrack looked at whether McCain supported any of 22 government transparency bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave McCain 2 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Cosponsored: S. 282: Taxpayers Right-To-Know Act; S. 2639: Equal Access to Congressional Research ...

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Serving 10+ Years 17th most supportive (tied w/ 8) out of 47 0
11 points View All
Senate Republicans 12th most supportive (tied w/ 3) out of 54 0
10 points View All
All Senators 45th least supportive (tied w/ 11) out of 100 0
11 points View All
 

Ideology Score

14th most conservative among 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 McCain’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

compared to... rank most liberal ⇢ most conservative
Serving 10+ Years 14th most conservative out of 47
View All
Senate Republicans 23rd most liberal out of 54
View All
All Senators 32nd most conservative out of 100
View All
 

Leadership Score

14th worst score among 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 McCain’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Serving 10+ Years 14th worst score out of 47
View All
Senate Republicans 17th worst score out of 54
View All
All Senators 41st worst score out of 100
View All
 

Committee Positions

12th lowest score among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 5 others

McCain held a leadership position on 1 committee and 0 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 McCain’s Profile »

compared to... rank lowest score ⇢ highest score
Serving 10+ Years 12th lowest score (tied w/ 5) out of 47 0
12 points View All
Senate Republicans 16th highest score (tied w/ 5) out of 54 0
16 points View All
All Senators 35th highest score (tied w/ 5) out of 100 0
16 points View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

15th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years

McCain cosponsored 213 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
Serving 10+ Years 15th fewest bills out of 47 74
426 bills View All
Senate Republicans 27th fewest bills out of 54 74
432 bills View All
All Senators 32nd fewest bills out of 100 74
479 bills View All
 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

15th least bipartisan among Serving 10+ Years

Of the 213 bills that McCain cosponsored, 23% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Republican. View Cosponsored Bills »

compared to... rank least bipartisan ⇢ most bipartisan
Serving 10+ Years 15th least bipartisan out of 46 11
54% of bills View All
Senate Republicans 25th most bipartisan out of 54 11
54% of bills View All
All Senators 31st 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.

 

Laws Enacted

15th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 6 others

McCain introduced 2 bills 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. 167: Clay Hunt SAV Act; S. 2943: National Defense Authorization Act for ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years 15th fewest bills (tied w/ 6) out of 47 0
15 View All
Senate Republicans 21st fewest bills (tied w/ 6) out of 54 0
15 View All
All Senators 41st fewest bills (tied w/ 17) 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.

 

Bills Introduced

20th most bills among Senate Republicans; tied with 2 others

McCain introduced 45 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Serving 10+ Years 22nd most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 47 8
140 bills View All
Senate Republicans 20th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 54 8
140 bills View All
All Senators 39th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 100 8
140 bills View All
 

Missed Votes

28th most absent among All Senators; tied with 5 others

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

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Serving 10+ Years 13th most absent (tied w/ 3) out of 47 0
28% missed votes View All
All Senators 28th most absent (tied w/ 5) out of 100 0
32% missed votes View All

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.