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Sen. Tom Cotton’s 2018 Report Card

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


These statistics cover Cotton’s record during the 115th Congress (Jan 3, 2017-Jan 3, 2019) and compare him to other senators also serving at the end of the session. Last updated on Jan 20, 2019.

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 influential cosponsors the least often compared to Senate Sophomores (tied with 1 other)

0 of Cotton’s bills and resolutions in the 115th 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.

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


 

Joined bipartisan bills the 2nd least often compared to Senate Sophomores

Of the 230 bills that Cotton cosponsored, 19% were introduced by a legislator who was not a Republican. View Cosponsored Bills »

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (8th percentile); Senate Republicans (20th percentile); All Senators (10th percentile).

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


 

Ranked 3rd 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 115th Congress is considered, the ideology score here may differ from Cotton’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (92nd percentile); Senate Republicans (94th percentile); All Senators (97th percentile).


 

Ranked the 6th 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 115th Congress is considered, the leadership score here may differ from Cotton’s score elsewhere on GovTrack.

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (23rd percentile); Senate Republicans (10th percentile); All Senators (14th percentile).


 

Got bipartisan cosponsors on the 5th fewest bills compared to Senate Republicans (tied with 3 others)

In this era of partisanship, it is important to see Members of Congress working across the aisle. 10 of Cotton’s 30 bills and resolutions had a cosponsor from a different political party than the party Cotton caucused with in the 115th Congress.

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (15th percentile); Senate Republicans (8th percentile); All Senators (12th percentile).


 

Wrote the 8th fewest laws compared to Senate Republicans (tied with 6 others)

Cotton introduced 2 bills that became law, including via incorporation into other measures, in the 115th 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. 1202: Little Rock Central High School ...; S. 2405: Clarifying Commercial Real Estate Loans

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (15th percentile); Senate Republicans (14th percentile); All Senators (22nd 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.


 

Got their bills out of committee the 11th least often compared to All Senators (tied with 4 others)

Most bills and resolutions languish in committee without any action. Cotton introduced 4 bills in the 115th Congress that got past committee and to the floor for consideration.

Those bills were: S. 1202: Little Rock Central High School ...; S. 2405: Clarifying Commercial Real Estate Loans; S. 3523: Full Military Honors Act of ...; S.Res. 515: A resolution honoring the 70th ...

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (15th percentile); Senate Republicans (10th percentile); All Senators (10th percentile).


 

Got the 13th fewest cosponsors on their bills compared to All Senators

Cotton’s bills and resolutions had 105 cosponsors in the 115th 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 Sophomores (31st percentile); Senate Republicans (14th percentile); All Senators (12th percentile).


 

Was 14th most present in votes compared to All Senators (tied with 11 others)

Cotton missed 0.3% of votes (2 of 599 votes) in the 115th Congress. View Cotton’s Profile »

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (8th percentile); All Senators (13th percentile).


 

Introduced the 25th fewest bills compared to All Senators (tied with 1 other)

Cotton introduced 30 bills and resolutions in the 115th Congress. View Bills »

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (31st percentile); Senate Republicans (28th percentile); All Senators (24th percentile).


 

Working with the House

The House and Senate often work on the same issue simultaneously by introducing companion bills in each chamber. 9 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. 219: Safeguard Aquaculture Farmers Act; S. 332: A bill to restrict funding ...; S. 1435: Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act of ...; S. 1620: Taiwan Security Act of 2017; S. 2391: Defending U.S. Government Communications Act; S. 3004: Small Business Audit Correction Act ...; S. 3477: No Early Release for Fentanyl ...; S. 3523: Full Military Honors Act of ...; S. 3662: Stopping Russian Nuclear Aggression Act

Compare to all Senate Sophomores (31st percentile); Senate Republicans (42nd percentile); All Senators (37th percentile).

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 2 subcommittees, 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 Sophomores (23rd percentile); Senate Republicans (16th percentile); All Senators (19th percentile).


 

Bills Cosponsored

Cotton cosponsored 230 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 Sophomores (38th percentile); Senate Republicans (66th percentile); All Senators (36th percentile).


 

Government Transparency

GovTrack looked at whether Cotton supported any of 14 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 Sophomores (0th percentile); Senate Republicans (0th percentile); All Senators (0th 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 115th Congress) was the 115th Congress (freshmen) or 114th (sophomores). Members of Congress who took office within the last few months of a Congress are considered freshmen in the next Congress as well.