US Capitol
Category: General News, Research, University News

Title: The Lugar Center and McCourt School unveil Bipartisan Index rankings for the 117th Congress

Date Published: May 3, 2022

“The Bipartisan Index provides an important indicator of the state of congressional collaboration. While it is disappointing that collaboration has declined over the last year, I am encouraged by the lawmakers who are steadfastly committed to working across differences to advance the common good.”

Maria Cancian, dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy

In the House, Rep. Fitzpatrick once again topped the Bipartisan Index by a wide margin. No other House member in the history of the BPI has exceeded the scores he posted in each of the last three years. He co-sponsored more bipartisan bills in 2021 than the combined total of the next three highest House members. For the third year in a row, Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) had the best score among House Democrats. He ranked second only to Rep. Fitzpatrick in 2021.

The Bipartisan Index is based on a formula applied uniformly to all members that considers both the absolute numbers of bipartisan bills sponsored and co-sponsored and the percentage of such bills in a member’s portfolio. It excludes non-binding resolutions and ceremonial bills. It also includes a metric that gives members credit for the number of bipartisan co-sponsors on their sponsored bills. The Index uses a historical standard based on 29 years of data to compare current members to historical averages. No subjective judgments are made about individual members or bills.

Scores in the two chambers of Congress are based on separate data, so the scores of House members are not comparable to those of senators.

In the Senate, two moderate Democrats who last year sometimes thwarted President Biden’s plans in the evenly-divided chamber continued their record of bipartisanship: Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona ranked fourth and Joe Manchin of West Virginia ranked seventh. Two freshmen Democratic senators elected in 2020, who are being challenged for re-election this fall, also had strong bipartisan scores: Raphael Warnock of Georgia ranked 18th and Mark Kelly of Arizona ranked 22nd. Republican Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who faces another re-election battle this fall, ranked 14th.

Potential Republican presidential candidates in the Senate generally ranked near the bottom. An exception was Marco Rubio of Florida, who ranked 23rd. Oft-mentioned possible contenders Tom Cotton (R-AR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Rick Scott (R-FL) all ranked 90th or below. Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT), was the lowest ranking member of the Democratic caucus at 87th.

In the House, the 30 lowest-scoring House members were all Republicans. Mary Miller (R-IL) sat at the very bottom in 435th place. Other Republicans near the bottom of the rankings included Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), who became a vocal Trump defender during the former president’s first impeachment, fell from 13th in the previous Congress to 100th last year. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), a strong conservative who was drummed out of GOP House leadership for supporting President Trump’s impeachment and rejecting his false charges of massive election fraud, continued to have a negative BPI score, but her ranking rose from 421st in the 116th Congress to 368th in 2021.

To see current and previous Bipartisan Index rankings, click here.