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Sen. John McCain’s 2017 Report Card

Senior Senator from Arizona
Republican
Served Jan 6, 1987 – Aug 25, 2018


These year-end statistics cover McCain’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 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.

 

Was 3rd most absent in votes compared to All Senators

McCain missed 13.2% of votes (43 of 325 votes) in 2017. View McCain’s Profile »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (93rd percentile); All Senators (97th percentile).


 

Ranked 8th most liberal compared to Senate Republicans

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 McCain’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (63rd percentile); Senate Republicans (13th percentile); All Senators (55th percentile).


 

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

McCain’s bills and resolutions had 93 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 Serving 10+ Years (22nd percentile); Senate Republicans (38th percentile); All Senators (29th percentile).


 

Ranked the 10th 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 2017 is considered, the leadership score here may differ from McCain’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (22nd percentile); Senate Republicans (27th percentile); All Senators (32nd percentile).


 

Held the 9th fewest committee positions compared to Serving 10+ Years (tied with 7 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 »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (20th percentile); Senate Republicans (60th percentile); All Senators (59th percentile).


 

Joined bipartisan bills the 13th most often compared to Senate Republicans

In this era of partisanship, it is encouraging to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. Of the 120 bills that McCain cosponsored, 31% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Republican. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (60th percentile); Senate Republicans (75th percentile); All Senators (66th percentile).

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


 

Wrote the 12th most laws compared to All Senators (tied with 11 others)

McCain introduced 2 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. View Enacted Bills »

Those bills were: S. 84: A bill to provide for ...; S. 1519: National Defense Authorization Act for ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (76th percentile); Senate Republicans (63rd percentile); All Senators (77th 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.


 

Cosponsored the 25th fewest bills compared to All Senators (tied with 1 other)

McCain cosponsored 120 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 (24th percentile); Senate Republicans (46th percentile); All Senators (24th percentile).


 

Bills Introduced

McCain introduced 24 bills and resolutions in 2017. View Bills »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (39th percentile); Senate Republicans (50th percentile); All Senators (42nd percentile).


 

Bills Out of Committee

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. McCain introduced 7 bills in 2017 that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 84: A bill to provide for ...; S. 146: Border Security Technology Accountability Act ...; S. 772: AMBER Alert in Indian Country ...; S. 829: AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization ...; S. 1519: National Defense Authorization Act for ...; S. 1894: A bill to exempt Puerto ...; S.Res. 279: A resolution reaffirming the commitment ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (46th percentile); Senate Republicans (48th percentile); All Senators (62nd percentile).


 

Powerful Cosponsors

5 of McCain’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. 146: Border Security Technology Accountability Act ...; S. 772: AMBER Alert in Indian Country ...; S. 829: AFG and SAFER Program Reauthorization ...; S. 1403: 21st Century Conservation Service Corps ...; S. 2060: Burma Human Rights and Freedom ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (54th percentile); Senate Republicans (65th percentile); All Senators (67th 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 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. 64: Safe and Affordable Drugs from ...; S. 84: A bill to provide for ...; S. 551: Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act; S. 772: AMBER Alert in Indian Country ...; S. 992: Veteran Overmedication Prevention Act of ...; S.Res. 61: A resolution calling on the ...

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (41st percentile); Senate Republicans (44th 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. 8 of McCain’s 24 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in 2017.

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (46th percentile); Senate Republicans (50th percentile); All Senators (47th percentile).


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether McCain supported any of 8 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave McCain 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).


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.

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