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Sen. Thomas “Tom” Harkin’s 2014 Report Card

Junior Senator from Iowa
Democrat
Served Jan 3, 1985 – Jan 3, 2015


These special statistics cover Harkin’s record during the 113th Congress (Jan 3, 2013-Jan 2, 2015) and compare him to other senators also serving at the end of the session. Last updated on Jan 12, 2015. Although Rep. Suzan DelBene [D-WA1], Rep. Thomas Massie [R-KY4], Rep. Donald Payne [D-NJ10], and Sen. Brian Schatz [D-HI] served in the 112th Congress, they took office within the last two months of the 112th Congress and here are grouped with other freshmen for the 113th Congress.

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 Harkin’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.

 

Got the 3rd most cosponsors on their bills compared to All Senators

Harkin’s bills and resolutions had 584 cosponsors in the 113th 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 Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (95th percentile); Senate Democrats (94th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (96th percentile); All Senators (97th percentile).


 

Joined bipartisan bills the 3rd least often compared to Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs

Of the 229 bills that Harkin cosponsored, 15% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Democrat. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (5th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (6th percentile); Senate Democrats (13th percentile); All Senators (7th percentile).

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


 

Ranked the 4th top leader compared to All Senators

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 113th Congress is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Harkin’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (93rd percentile); Senate Democrats (92nd percentile); Serving 10+ Years (93rd percentile); All Senators (96th percentile).


 

Got their bills out of committee the 6th most often compared to All Senators

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Harkin introduced 14 bills in the 113th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 531: Promoting Physical Activity for Americans ...; S. 622: Animal Drug and Animal Generic ...; S. 689: Mental Health Awareness and Improvement ...; S. 959: Pharmaceutical Quality, Security, and Accountability ...; S. 1094: Strengthening America’s Schools Act of ...; S. 1284: Departments of Labor, Health and ...; S. 1302: Cooperative and Small Employer Charity ...; S. 1561: CHIMP Act Amendments of 2013; S. 1737: Minimum Wage Fairness Act; S. 2223: Minimum Wage Fairness Act; S. 2452: Strong Start for America’s Children ...; S. 2511: A bill to amend the ...; S. 2917: Adding Ebola to the FDA ...; S.Res. 595: A resolution recognizing Nobel Laureates ...

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (90th percentile); Senate Democrats (91st percentile); Serving 10+ Years (93rd percentile); All Senators (94th percentile).


 

Got bicameral support on the 6th most bills compared to All Senators (tied with 2 others)

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 19 of Harkin’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. 168: Fair Pay Act of 2013; S. 410: Wall Street Trading and Speculators ...; S. 460: Fair Minimum Wage Act of ...; S. 475: Eunice Kennedy Shriver Act; S. 531: Promoting Physical Activity for Americans ...; S. 544: Rebuild American Manufacturing Act of ...; S. 567: Strengthening Social Security Act of ...; S. 631: Healthy Families Act; S. 1033: FIT Kids Act; S. 1391: A bill to amend the ...; S. 1534: Freedom and Mobility in Consumer ...; S. 1737: Minimum Wage Fairness Act; S. 1864: A bill to require a ...; S. 2223: Minimum Wage Fairness Act; S. 2515: Community Integration Act of 2014; S. 2658: Accelerating Biomedical Research Act; S. 2888: Exercise and Fitness For All ...; S. 2917: Adding Ebola to the FDA ...; S.Res. 128: A resolution expressing the sense ...

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (88th percentile); Senate Democrats (89th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (87th percentile); All Senators (92nd percentile).

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


 

Got bipartisan cosponsors on the 7th lowest % of bills compared to Senate Democrats

Harkin tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 20% of Harkin’s 60 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 113th Congress.

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (20th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (20th percentile); Senate Democrats (12th percentile); All Senators (23rd percentile).

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


 

Wrote the 5th most laws compared to Senate Democrats (tied with 5 others)

Harkin introduced 3 bills that became law in the 113th 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. 309: A bill to award a ...; S. 622: Animal Drug and Animal Generic ...; S. 2917: Adding Ebola to the FDA ...

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (76th percentile); Senate Democrats (81st percentile); Serving 10+ Years (80th percentile); All Senators (83rd percentile).

A bill or joint resolution is considered enacted if it or an exactly identical bill to it is enacted as law. We only consider bills that the legislator was the primary sponsor of. While a legislator may lay claim to authoring other bills that became law, such as through incorporation into larger bills, these cases are difficult for us to track quantitatively.


 

Ranked 8th most liberal compared to Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs

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 113th Congress is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Harkin’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (17th percentile); Senate Democrats (36th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (20th percentile); All Senators (20th percentile).


 

Supported government transparency the 8th most often compared to Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs

GovTrack looked at whether Harkin supported any of 8 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Harkin 2 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Harkin cosponsored S. 375: Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act; S. 1467: FISA Court Reform Act of ...

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (80th percentile); Senate Democrats (55th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (78th percentile); All Senators (71st percentile).


 

Introduced the 17th most bills compared to All Senators

Harkin introduced 60 bills and resolutions in the 113th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (78th percentile); Senate Democrats (72nd percentile); Serving 10+ Years (78th percentile); All Senators (83rd percentile).


 

Powerful Cosponsors

6 of Harkin’s bills and resolutions in the 113th 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. 309: A bill to award a ...; S. 689: Mental Health Awareness and Improvement ...; S. 959: Pharmaceutical Quality, Security, and Accountability ...; S. 1561: CHIMP Act Amendments of 2013; S. 2511: A bill to amend the ...; S. 2917: Adding Ebola to the FDA ...

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (63rd percentile); Senate Democrats (57th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (61st percentile); All Senators (67th percentile).


 

Committee Positions

Harkin 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 Harkin’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Democrats (62nd percentile); Serving 10+ Years (35th percentile); All Senators (64th percentile).


 

Bills Cosponsored

Harkin cosponsored 229 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 Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (44th percentile); Senate Democrats (43rd percentile); Serving 10+ Years (46th percentile); All Senators (47th percentile).


 

Missed Votes

Harkin missed 4.4% of votes (29 of 657 votes) in the 113th Congress. View Harkin’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs (66th percentile); Serving 10+ Years (69th percentile); All Senators (72nd 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 113th Congress) was the 113th Congress (freshmen) or 112th (sophomores). Members of Congress who took office within the last few months of a Congress are considered freshmen in the next Congress as well.