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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.

 

Government Transparency

2nd most supportive among All Senators; tied with 1 other

GovTrack looked at whether Leahy supported any of 22 government transparency 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.

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

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

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Senate Democrats 2nd most supportive out of 44 1
11 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 2nd most supportive out of 47 0
11 points View All
All Senators 2nd most supportive (tied w/ 1) out of 100 0
11 points View All
 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

12th most bipartisan among Serving 10+ Years

In this era of partisanship, it is encouraging to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. Of the 286 bills that Leahy cosponsored, 34% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

compared to... rank least bipartisan ⇢ most bipartisan
Senate Democrats 22nd most bipartisan out of 44 20
66% of bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 12th most bipartisan out of 46 11
54% of bills View All
All Senators 27th most 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.

 

Bills Introduced

12th fewest bills among Senate Democrats; tied with 1 other

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

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 12th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 44 18
87 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 13th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 47 8
140 bills View All
All Senators 35th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 100 8
140 bills View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

14th fewest bills among Senate Democrats

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 »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 14th fewest bills out of 44 152
479 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 16th most bills out of 47 74
426 bills View All
All Senators 36th most bills out of 100 74
479 bills View All
 

Bills Out of Committee

13th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 5 others

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Leahy introduced 3 bills in the 114th Congress that got a committee vote sending it to the floor for further 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 17th most bills (tied w/ 6) out of 44 0
19 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 13th fewest bills (tied w/ 5) out of 47 0
36 bills View All
All Senators 32nd fewest bills (tied w/ 13) out of 100 0
36 bills View All
 

Working with the House

18th fewest bills among Senate Democrats; tied with 1 other

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 18th fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 44 1
26 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 21st fewest bills (tied w/ 2) out of 47 1
40 bills View All
All Senators 42nd most bills (tied w/ 7) out of 100 1
40 bills View All

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

 

Leadership Score

20th 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 Leahy’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Senate Democrats 18th best score out of 44
View All
Serving 10+ Years 20th worst score out of 47
View All
All Senators 50th worst score out of 100
View All
 

Missed Votes

19th most voting among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 2 others

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

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Serving 10+ Years 19th most voting (tied w/ 2) out of 47 0
28% missed votes View All
All Senators 48th most voting (tied w/ 5) out of 100 0
32% missed votes View All
 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

20th fewest bills among Serving 10+ Years; tied with 3 others

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.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 19th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 44 3
36 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 20th fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 47 0
49 bills View All
All Senators 40th most bills (tied w/ 6) out of 100 0
49 bills View All
 

Ideology Score

23rd most liberal among 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.

compared to... rank most liberal ⇢ most conservative
Senate Democrats 22nd most liberal out of 44
View All
Serving 10+ Years 13th most liberal out of 47
View All
All Senators 23rd most liberal out of 100
View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

31st most bills among All Senators; tied with 6 others

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 14th most bills (tied w/ 3) out of 44 0
15 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 19th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 47 0
19 bills View All
All Senators 31st most bills (tied w/ 6) out of 100 0
19 bills View All
 

Cosponsors

37th most cosponsors among All Senators

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 »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Senate Democrats 17th most cosponsors out of 44 73
711 cosponsors View All
Serving 10+ Years 21st most cosponsors out of 47 11
989 cosponsors View All
All Senators 37th most cosponsors out of 100 11
989 cosponsors View All
 

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. 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 Leahy’s Profile »

compared to... rank lowest score ⇢ highest score
Senate Democrats 4th highest score (tied w/ 14) out of 44 0
12 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 8th highest score (tied w/ 22) out of 47 0
12 points View All
All Senators 10th highest score (tied w/ 24) out of 100 0
16 points View All
 

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Democrats 6th fewest bills (tied w/ 12) out of 44 0
9 View All
Serving 10+ Years 6th fewest bills (tied w/ 8) out of 47 0
15 View All
All Senators 16th fewest bills (tied w/ 24) 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.

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.