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Sen. Thomas “Tom” Harkin

Former Senator for Iowa

Harkin was a senator from Iowa and was a Democrat. He served from 1985 to 2014.

He was previously the representative for Iowa’s 5th congressional district as a Democrat from 1975 to 1984.

Photo of Sen. Thomas “Tom” Harkin [D-IA, 1985-2014]


Legislative Metrics

Read our 2014 Report Card for Harkin.

Ideology–Leadership Chart

Harkin is shown as a purple triangle in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot was a member of the Senate in 2014 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 Harkin sponsored and cosponsored from Jan 6, 2009 to Dec 12, 2014. See full analysis methodology.

Enacted Legislation

Harkin was the primary sponsor of 45 bills that were enacted. The most recent include:

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Does 45 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

Harkin sponsored bills primarily in these issue areas:

Education (24%) Health (24%) Labor and Employment (17%) Taxation (10%) Transportation and Public Works (9%) Economics and Public Finance (6%) Foreign Trade and International Finance (6%) Agriculture and Food (5%)

Recently Introduced Bills

Harkin recently introduced the following legislation:

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Most legislation has no activity after being introduced.

Voting Record

Key Votes

Harkin voted Yea

Bill Passed 76/16 on Dec 16, 2014.

Harkin voted Yea

Joint Resolution Passed 78/22 on Sep 18, 2014.

Harkin voted Nay

Conference Report Agreed to 81/14 on Dec 21, 2012.

Harkin voted Nay

Conference Report Agreed to 86/13 on Dec 15, 2011.

Harkin voted Nay

Motion Agreed to 81/19 on Dec 15, 2010.

The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111–312, H.R. 4853, 124 Stat. 3296, enacted December 17, 2010), also known …

Harkin voted Nay

Harkin voted Nay

Harkin voted Nay

Missed Votes

From Jan 1985 to Dec 2014, Harkin missed 401 of 10,103 roll call votes, which is 4.0%. This is worse than the median of 2.1% among the lifetime records of senators serving in Dec 2014. The chart below reports missed votes over time.

We don’t track why legislators miss votes, but it’s often due to medical absenses, major life events, and running for higher office.

Show the numbers...

Primary Sources

The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including: