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Rep. Joseph Kennedy III

Former Representative for Massachusetts’s 4th District

pronounced JOH-sif // KEH-nuh-dee


Kennedy was the representative for Massachusetts’s 4th congressional district and was a Democrat. He served from 2013 to 2020.

Photo of Rep. Joseph Kennedy [D-MA4, 2013-2020]

Analysis

Legislative Metrics

Read our 2020 Report Card for Kennedy.

Ideology–Leadership Chart

Kennedy is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the House of Representatives in 2020 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 Kennedy sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 6, 2015 to Dec 28, 2020. See full analysis methodology.

Ratings from Advocacy Organizations

Planned Parenthood Action Fund: 100% United States Chamber of Commerce: 50% The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws: D

Enacted Legislation

Kennedy was the primary sponsor of 7 bills that were enacted:

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Does 7 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

Kennedy sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Health (45%) Civil Rights and Liberties, Minority Issues (17%) Crime and Law Enforcement (11%) Taxation (9%) International Affairs (6%)

Recent Bills

Some of Kennedy’s most recently sponsored bills include...

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Voting Record

Key Votes

Kennedy voted Nay

Passed 327/85 on Dec 21, 2020.

This bill became the vehicle for passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, a major government funding bill, which also included economic stimulus provisions due …

Kennedy voted Nay

Kennedy voted Nay

Kennedy voted Nay

Passed 359/49 on Jun 28, 2018.

H.R. 6157 provides $674.6 billion in total discretionary budget authority for the Department of Defense for fiscal year (FY) 2019. The bill provides $606.5 billion …

Kennedy voted Nay

Passed 371/48 on Mar 8, 2017.

H.R. 1301 reflects the final, bicameral agreement on fiscal year 2017 Department of Defense spending. If enacted, H.R. 1301 would result in discretionary budget authority …

Kennedy voted Yea

Passed 338/88 on May 13, 2015.

The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048, Pub.L. 114–23) is a U.S. law enacted on June 2, 2015 that restored in modified form several provisions of …

Kennedy voted Nay

Passed 219/206 on Dec 11, 2014.

This bill became the vehicle for passage of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 [pdf], which was approved by the House on December …

Kennedy voted No

Kennedy voted Nay

Missed Votes

From Jan 2013 to Dec 2020, Kennedy missed 215 of 4,693 roll call votes, which is 4.6%. This is worse than the median of 2.3% among the lifetime records of representatives serving in Dec 2020. 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: