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National News

New list rates the most bipartisan members of Congress—and the least

(Credit: Jennifer Shutt/States Newsroom)

Jennifer Shutt, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
May 14, 2024

WASHINGTON — Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick were the most bipartisan members of Congress last year, according to a newly released analysis from the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

The least bipartisan House lawmaker was Ohio Republican Jim Jordan, while Alabama’s Katie Britt, a Republican freshman, placed last among senators.

The latest ranking of the most bipartisan lawmakers comes amid one of the least productive Congresses in the nation’s history and just months before nearly all House lawmakers and about one-third of the Senate face voters at the polls in November.

Maria Cancian, dean of the McCourt School of Public Policy, wrote in a statement announcing the new rankings that “while there is much room for improvement, I am encouraged to see some progress on cross-party collaboration.”

“In these deeply divided times, and with an increasing amount of misleading information online, we need tools like the Bipartisan Index more than ever — an evidence-based and nonpartisan approach for measuring how well policymakers work across the aisle to get things done,” Cancian wrote.

Lugar Center Policy Director Dan Diller wrote that it was “especially disheartening that all eight new Senators who took office in January 2023 ranked in the bottom 30 percent of Senate scores.”

“Bipartisan cooperation on legislation in 2023 was deficient by historical standards, though there were some marginal improvements in scores from the previous Congress,” Diller wrote.

The website with the rankings states that the “Bipartisan Index is intended to fill a hole in the information available to the public about the performance of Members of Congress.”

The Lugar Center, founded by the late U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, a Republican from Indiana, “is a platform for informed debate and analysis of global issues, including nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, global food security, foreign assistance effectiveness and global development, energy security, and enhancing bipartisan governance,” according to its website.

The rankings take into consideration “the frequency with which a member of Congress sponsors bills that are co-sponsored by at least one member of the opposing party” and “the frequency with which a member co-sponsors bills introduced by members of the opposite Party.”

According to the rankings system, this is the fifth consecutive year that Fitzpatrick led the House as the most bipartisan member, making him the only House member who has ever been ranked first in the Bipartisan Index in multiple Congresses.

In 2021, Fitzpatrick joined Democrats as the only Republican member of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure act. The next year, Fitzpatrick joined Democrats to vote for the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which aims to address gun violence. He was again the only GOP member of the state’s delegation to support that legislation. 

This year, Fitzpatrick was part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who introduced a measure to fund U.S. border security and military aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. 

On Tuesday, Everytown For Gun Safety endorsed Fitzpatrick in his bid for reelection over Democrat Ashley Ehasz. He was also awarded the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America candidate distinction by the gun safety organizations. 

Heritage Action for America, a conservative organization, gave Fitzpatrick a 42% score for his voting record this session and a lifetime score of 34%. The average House Republican has a 72% score. 

Who is the most bipartisan?

The top 10 senators were:

  • Collins
  • Michigan Democrat Gary Peters
  • New Hampshire Democrat Maggie Hassan
  • West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin
  • Texas Republican John Cornyn
  • Nevada Democrat Jacky Rosen
  • Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski
  • Kansas Republican Jerry Moran
  • Indiana Republican Todd Young
  • Montana Democrat Jon Tester

The top 10 House lawmakers were:

  • Fitzpatrick
  • New York Republican Marcus Molinaro
  • New Hampshire Democrat Chris Pappas
  • New York Republican Mike Lawler
  • North Carolina Democrat Don Davis
  • Puerto Rico Republican Delegate Jenniffer González-Colón
  • Nevada Democrat Susie Lee
  • Nebraska Republican Don Bacon
  • New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer
  • Iowa Republican Zach Nunn

The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University wrote on their website that their “aim in publishing this Index is not to promote a specific legislative agenda, as is the case for many indexes, but solely the promotion of a bipartisan approach to governance.”

“The credibility of the Index is derived from the objectivity of its methodology; Index scores are computed formulaically from publically available data,” it states. “The Index requires no subjective assessment of specific legislative items.”

The least bipartisan House lawmakers following Jordan were New York Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Missouri Democrat Cori Bush, New York Democrat Jamaal Bowman and Missouri Republican Eric Burlison.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, a Louisiana Republican, ranked 423, but will likely be excluded from future scores since he has now occupied one of the top two leadership posts for at least six months.

The least bipartisan senators following Britt were Missouri Republican Eric Schmitt, Washington state Democrat Patty Murray, Wisconsin Republican Ron Johnson and Arkansas Republican Tom Cotton.

Sean Ross, spokesperson for Britt, wrote in a statement that the ranking is “absurd.”

“Senator Britt has cosponsored 68 pieces of legislation sponsored by Democrats, as well as dozens and dozens of bipartisan pieces of legislation led by Republican sponsors,” Ross wrote.“The bipartisan efforts she is helping lead span a wide range of important topics to Alabamians, including maternal mortality research and maternal care; youth mental health and social media usage; the fentanyl crisis; affordable insulin access; affordable rural housing; telehealth services; agriculture; domestic manufacturing and supply chains; fair trade; work force development; wildlife conservation; supporting law enforcement; and consumer protections.”

Pennsylvania Capital-Star reporter John Cole contributed to this report.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.