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Sen. Patrick Leahy’s 2016 Report Card

Senior Senator from Vermont
Democrat
Serving Jan 14, 1975 – Jan 3, 2023


These special statistics cover Leahy’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 Leahy’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.

 

Supported government transparency the 2nd most often compared to All Senators (tied with 1 other)

GovTrack looked at whether Leahy supported any of 22 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Leahy 10 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Leahy sponsored S. 1838: Stop Super PAC-Candidate Coordination Act; S. 2639: Equal Access to Congressional Research ...

Leahy cosponsored S. 229: DISCLOSE Act of 2015; S. 337: FOIA Improvement Act of 2016; S. 366: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act; S. 1538: Fair Elections Now Act

Compare to all Senate Democrats (95th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (96th percentile); All Senators (97th percentile).


 

Introduced the 12th fewest bills compared to Senate Democrats (tied with 1 other)

Leahy introduced 31 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (25th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (26th percentile); All Senators (34th percentile).


 

Ranked 23rd most liberal compared to All Senators

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 Leahy’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (48th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (26th percentile); All Senators (22nd percentile).


 

Bills Out of Committee

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Leahy introduced 3 bills in the 114th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 125: Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program ...; S.Res. 392: A resolution expressing the sense ...; S.Res. 469: A resolution commemorating the 100th ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (48th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (26th percentile); All Senators (31st percentile).


 

Powerful Cosponsors

6 of Leahy’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. 1402: Patents for Humanity Program Improvement ...; S. 1501: American Job Creation and Investment ...; S. 2231: A bill to express the ...; S. 3056: CREATES Act of 2016; S. 3359: A bill to amend title ...; S.Res. 392: A resolution expressing the sense ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (61st percentile); Serving 10+ Years (55th percentile); All Senators (63rd percentile).


 

Committee Positions

Leahy held a leadership position on 1 committee and 1 subcommittee, as either a chair (majority party) or ranking member (minority party), at the end of the session. View Leahy’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (59th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (36th percentile); All Senators (66th percentile).


 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

Of the 286 bills that Leahy cosponsored, 34% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (50th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (74th percentile); All Senators (72nd percentile).

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


 

Bills Cosponsored

Leahy cosponsored 286 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 Senate Democrats (30th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (66th percentile); All Senators (64th percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 11 of Leahy’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. 23: Copyright and Marriage Equality Act; S. 40: Online Competition and Consumer Choice ...; S. 569: Farm to School Act of ...; S. 1158: Consumer Privacy Protection Act of ...; S. 1402: Patents for Humanity Program Improvement ...; S. 1659: Voting Rights Advancement Act of ...; S. 2506: Restoring Statutory Rights and Interests ...; S. 2612: Promoting Travel, Commerce, and National ...; S. 2639: Equal Access to Congressional Research ...; S. 3252: Automatic Voter Registration Act of ...; S.Res. 222: A resolution expressing the sense ...

Compare to all Senate Democrats (39th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (43rd percentile); All Senators (51st percentile).

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


 

Leadership Score

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 Leahy’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (59th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (40th percentile); All Senators (49th percentile).


 

Laws Enacted

Leahy 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. 125: Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program ...

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


 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

Leahy tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 14 of Leahy’s 31 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

Compare to all Senate Democrats (48th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (40th percentile); All Senators (54th percentile).


 

Cosponsors

Leahy’s bills and resolutions had 265 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 Senate Democrats (61st percentile); Serving 10+ Years (55th percentile); All Senators (63rd percentile).


 

Missed Votes

Leahy missed 1.6% of votes (8 of 502 votes) in the 114th Congress. View Leahy’s Profile »

Compare to all Serving 10+ Years (38th percentile); All Senators (47th 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 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.