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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.

 

Cosponsors

3rd most cosponsors among 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 »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 2nd most cosponsors out of 41 9
894 cosponsors View All
Senate Democrats 3rd most cosponsors out of 53 23
894 cosponsors View All
Serving 10+ Years 2nd most cosponsors out of 54 9
894 cosponsors View All
All Senators 3rd most cosponsors out of 100 9
894 cosponsors View All
 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

3rd least bipartisan among 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 »

compared to... rank least bipartisan ⇢ most bipartisan
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 3rd least bipartisan out of 40 14
70% of bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 4th least bipartisan out of 53 14
70% of bills View All
Senate Democrats 8th least bipartisan out of 53 12
48% of bills View All
All Senators 8th least bipartisan out of 98 12
70% of bills View All

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

 

Leadership Score

4th best score among 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.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 3rd best score out of 41
View All
Senate Democrats 4th best score out of 53
View All
Serving 10+ Years 4th best score out of 54
View All
All Senators 4th best score out of 100
View All
 

Bills Out of Committee

6th most bills among All Senators

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Harkin introduced 14 bills in the 113th Congress that got a committee vote sending it to the floor for further 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 4th most bills out of 41 0
30 bills View All
Senate Democrats 5th most bills out of 53 0
30 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 4th most bills out of 54 0
30 bills View All
All Senators 6th most bills out of 100 0
30 bills View All
 

Working with the House

6th most bills among 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 3rd most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 41 0
25 bills View All
Senate Democrats 5th most bills (tied w/ 1) out of 53 0
32 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 5th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 54 0
25 bills View All
All Senators 6th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 100 0
32 bills View All

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

 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

7th lowest % of bills among 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.

compared to... rank lowest % of bills ⇢ highest % of bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 8th lowest % of bills out of 35 8
57% of bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 11th lowest % of bills out of 49 8
61% of bills View All
Senate Democrats 7th lowest % of bills out of 51 8
65% of bills View All
All Senators 22nd lowest % of bills out of 90 5
65% of bills View All

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

 

Laws Enacted

5th most bills among 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 6th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 41 0
7 laws View All
Senate Democrats 5th most bills (tied w/ 5) out of 53 0
7 laws View All
Serving 10+ Years 6th most bills (tied w/ 5) out of 54 0
7 laws View All
All Senators 8th most bills (tied w/ 9) out of 100 0
7 laws View All

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.

 

Ideology Score

8th most liberal among 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.

compared to... rank most liberal ⇢ most conservative
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 8th most liberal out of 41
View All
Senate Democrats 20th most liberal out of 53
View All
Serving 10+ Years 12th most liberal out of 54
View All
All Senators 21st most liberal out of 100
View All
 

Government Transparency

8th most supportive among Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs

GovTrack looked at whether Harkin supported any of 8 government transparency 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.

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

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 8th most supportive out of 41 0
8 points View All
Senate Democrats 15th most supportive (tied w/ 9) out of 53 0
8 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 10th most supportive (tied w/ 2) out of 54 0
8 points View All
All Senators 17th most supportive (tied w/ 12) out of 100 0
8 points View All
 

Bills Introduced

17th most bills among All Senators

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

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 9th most bills out of 41 7
107 bills View All
Senate Democrats 15th most bills out of 53 9
107 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 12th most bills out of 54 7
107 bills View All
All Senators 17th most bills out of 100 7
107 bills View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

24th fewest bills among Senate Democrats

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 »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 19th fewest bills out of 41 51
375 bills View All
Senate Democrats 24th fewest bills out of 53 95
449 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 26th fewest bills out of 54 51
375 bills View All
All Senators 48th fewest bills out of 100 51
449 bills View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

22nd most bills among All Senators; tied with 11 others

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 11th most bills (tied w/ 4) out of 41 0
20 bills View All
Senate Democrats 16th most bills (tied w/ 7) out of 53 0
20 bills View All
Serving 10+ Years 16th most bills (tied w/ 5) out of 54 0
20 bills View All
All Senators 22nd most bills (tied w/ 11) out of 100 0
20 bills View All
 

Missed Votes

28th most absent among All Senators

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

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Senate Cmte. Chairs/RkMembs 14th most absent out of 41 0
20% missed votes View All
Serving 10+ Years 17th most absent out of 54 0
17% missed votes View All
All Senators 28th most absent out of 100 0
20% missed votes View All
 

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. 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 Harkin’s Profile »

compared to... rank lowest score ⇢ highest score
Senate Democrats 5th highest score (tied w/ 15) out of 53 0
16 points View All
Serving 10+ Years 9th highest score (tied w/ 26) out of 54 0
16 points View All
All Senators 10th highest score (tied w/ 26) out of 100 0
16 points View All

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 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.