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Sen. Tom Cotton’s 2016 Report Card

Junior Senator from Arkansas
Republican
Serving Jan 6, 2015 – Jan 3, 2021


These special statistics cover Cotton’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 Cotton’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 bipartisan cosponsors on the fewest bills compared to Senate Freshmen (tied with 1 other)

Cotton tends to gather cosponsors only on one side of the aisle. 1 of Cotton’s 20 bills and resolutions had both a Democratic cosponsor and a Republican cosponsor in the 114th Congress.

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (0th percentile); Senate Republicans (0th percentile); All Senators (1st percentile).


 

Was 2nd most absent in votes compared to Senate Freshmen

Cotton missed 2.8% of votes (14 of 502 votes) in the 114th Congress. View Cotton’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (85th percentile); All Senators (67th percentile).


 

Got their bills out of committee the 3rd least often compared to Senate Republicans (tied with 3 others)

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Cotton introduced 1 bill in the 114th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 3297: Relief from Obamacare Mandate Act ...

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (0th percentile); Senate Republicans (4th percentile); All Senators (7th percentile).


 

Ranked 10th most conservative 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 Cotton’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (77th percentile); Senate Republicans (81st percentile); All Senators (90th percentile).


 

Ranked the 12th bottom follower compared to Senate Republicans

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 Cotton’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (62nd percentile); Senate Republicans (20th percentile); All Senators (22nd percentile).


 

Got influential cosponsors the 9th least often compared to All Senators (tied with 7 others)

1 of Cotton’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. 3076: Charles Duncan Buried with Honor ...

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (23rd percentile); Senate Republicans (9th percentile); All Senators (8th percentile).


 

Introduced the 13th fewest bills compared to All Senators (tied with 5 others)

Cotton introduced 20 bills and resolutions in the 114th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (31st percentile); Senate Republicans (19th percentile); All Senators (12th percentile).


 

Joined bipartisan bills the 17th least often compared to All Senators

Of the 218 bills that Cotton cosponsored, 17% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Republican. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (23rd percentile); Senate Republicans (30th percentile); All Senators (16th percentile).

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


 

Got the 20th fewest cosponsors on their bills compared to All Senators

Cotton’s bills and resolutions had 107 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 Freshmen (54th percentile); Senate Republicans (19th percentile); All Senators (19th percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 8 of Cotton’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. 670: Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act of ...; S. 2344: Liberty Through Strength Act II; S. 3037: Social Security Disability Insurance Return ...; S. 3251: Relief from Obamacare Mandate Act ...; S. 3297: Relief from Obamacare Mandate Act ...; S. 3355: A bill to prohibit funding ...; S. 3497: Safeguard Aquaculture Farmers Act; S.Res. 544: A resolution expressing the sense ...

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (54th percentile); Senate Republicans (35th percentile); All Senators (31st percentile).

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


 

Laws Enacted

Cotton 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. 3076: Charles Duncan Buried with Honor ...

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (31st percentile); Senate Republicans (15th 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.


 

Bills Cosponsored

Cotton cosponsored 218 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 Freshmen (46th percentile); Senate Republicans (52nd percentile); All Senators (34th percentile).


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Cotton supported any of 22 government transparency, accountability, and effectiveness bills in the Senate that we identified in this session. We gave Cotton 0 points, based on one point for cosponsoring and three points for sponsoring any of these bills.

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (0th percentile); Senate Republicans (0th percentile); All Senators (0th percentile).


 

Committee Positions

Cotton held a leadership position on 0 committees and 1 subcommittee, as either a chair (majority party) or ranking member (minority party), at the end of the session. View Cotton’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Freshmen (15th percentile); Senate Republicans (6th percentile); All Senators (5th 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.