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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.

 

Writing Bipartisan Bills

the fewest bills among 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.

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Freshmen the fewest bills (tied w/ 1) out of 13 1
12 bills View All
Senate Republicans the fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 54 1
49 bills View All
All Senators 2nd fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 100 0
49 bills View All
 

Missed Votes

2nd most absent among Senate Freshmen

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

compared to... rank most voting ⇢ most absent
Senate Freshmen 2nd most absent out of 13 0
3% missed votes View All
All Senators 28th most absent (tied w/ 5) out of 100 0
32% missed votes View All
 

Bills Out of Committee

3rd fewest bills among 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 a committee vote sending it to the floor for further consideration.

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

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Freshmen the fewest bills (tied w/ 2) out of 13 1
8 bills View All
Senate Republicans 3rd fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 54 0
36 bills View All
All Senators 8th fewest bills (tied w/ 12) out of 100 0
36 bills View All
 

Laws Enacted

5th fewest bills among Senate Freshmen; tied with 3 others

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Freshmen 5th fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 13 0
4 View All
Senate Republicans 9th fewest bills (tied w/ 11) out of 54 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.

 

Ideology Score

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

compared to... rank most liberal ⇢ most conservative
Senate Freshmen 3rd most conservative out of 13
View All
Senate Republicans 10th most conservative out of 54
View All
All Senators 10th most conservative out of 100
View All
 

Leadership Score

12th worst score among 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.

compared to... rank worst score ⇢ best score
Senate Freshmen 5th best score out of 13
View All
Senate Republicans 12th worst score out of 54
View All
All Senators 23rd worst score out of 100
View All
 

Powerful Cosponsors

9th fewest bills among 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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Freshmen 4th fewest bills (tied w/ 2) out of 13 0
5 bills View All
Senate Republicans 6th fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 54 0
19 bills View All
All Senators 9th fewest bills (tied w/ 7) out of 100 0
19 bills View All
 

Bills Introduced

13th fewest bills among All Senators; tied with 5 others

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

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Freshmen 5th fewest bills (tied w/ 2) out of 13 10
46 bills View All
Senate Republicans 11th fewest bills (tied w/ 3) out of 54 8
140 bills View All
All Senators 13th fewest bills (tied w/ 5) out of 100 8
140 bills View All
 

Joining Bipartisan Bills

17th least bipartisan among All Senators

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

compared to... rank least bipartisan ⇢ most bipartisan
Senate Freshmen 4th least bipartisan out of 13 12
37% of bills View All
Senate Republicans 17th least bipartisan out of 54 11
54% of bills View All
All Senators 17th least 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.

 

Cosponsors

20th fewest cosponsors among 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 »

compared to... rank fewest cosponsors ⇢ most cosponsors
Senate Freshmen 6th most cosponsors out of 13 15
163 cosponsors View All
Senate Republicans 11th fewest cosponsors out of 54 11
989 cosponsors View All
All Senators 20th fewest cosponsors out of 100 11
989 cosponsors View All
 

Bills Cosponsored

35th fewest bills among All Senators

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 »

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Freshmen 7th fewest bills out of 13 94
372 bills View All
Senate Republicans 26th most bills out of 54 74
432 bills View All
All Senators 35th fewest bills out of 100 74
479 bills View All
 

Working with the House

32nd fewest bills among All Senators; tied with 6 others

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 ...

compared to... rank fewest bills ⇢ most bills
Senate Freshmen 4th most bills (tied w/ 2) out of 13 2
11 bills View All
Senate Republicans 20th fewest bills (tied w/ 4) out of 54 1
40 bills View All
All Senators 32nd fewest bills (tied w/ 6) out of 100 1
40 bills View All

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

 

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. 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 Cotton’s Profile »

compared to... rank lowest score ⇢ highest score
Senate Freshmen 3rd lowest score (tied w/ 8) out of 13 0
2 points View All
Senate Republicans 4th lowest score (tied w/ 8) out of 54 0
16 points View All
All Senators 6th lowest score (tied w/ 15) out of 100 0
16 points View All
 

Government Transparency

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

compared to... rank least supportive ⇢ most supportive
Senate Freshmen least supportive along with 5 others out of 13 0
7 points View All
Senate Republicans least supportive along with 27 others out of 54 0
10 points View All
All Senators least supportive along with 27 others out of 100 0
11 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 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.