7 Trends to Watch When Congress Returns from Recess

August 15, 2019

January 2019 saw a transition of power in the House of Representatives, new faces in the House and Senate, and a restart on attempts to pass substantive legislation on issues such as healthcare, gun control, immigration, and more.

So in the first seven months leading up to the current August recess, what has the 116th Congress done? Before legislators return to DC, we took a dive into the activity of legislators so far this Congress using Quorum Federal. To see the full report, download here.

Here are seven trends we’ve seen so far this year to look out for continuation when Congress returns:

1. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris lead the way in missed votes in the Senate.

The presidential campaign trail is taking all seven Senators running for president away from their legislative duties, but none more than Booker and Harris who have missed 45 and 44 percent of votes this year, respectively. Sens. Gillibrand and Sanders have also missed greater than 40 percent of their votes, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren has missed the fifth most votes with 28 percent. All of the top seven Senators who have missed the most votes are presidential candidates.

2. The House and Senate have introduced more bills so far this year than at this point in the past 10 Congresses. However, very little is being enacted.

As of July 31st, the House had introduced 4,200 bills, but only 254 passed the House and only 21 have been enacted. The Senate had introduced 2,463 bills and enacted 15.

3. No House freshmen have had their legislation enacted — yet.

Six freshmen representatives have had bills pass both the House and Senate, moving to the President’s desk next. While three of those bills are for the renaming of post offices, three are for substantial legislation—those from Reps. Lucy McBath (D-GA-6), Ben Cline (R-VA-6), and Antonio Delgado (D-NY-19).

4. Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-7) is the least bipartisan member of “the Squad” with 3 percent of her cosponsorships having a Republican as a lead sponsor.

This rate makes her the second-least bipartisan Democrat in the House behind Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA-9). Other members of the foursome aren’t crossing party lines too frequently either, however. Reps. Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib’s percentages of cross-party cosponsorships are 4%, 5%, and 6%, respectively.

5. Kyrsten Sinema is a Senator to watch.

Not only has Sinema enacted more legislation than any of her first term colleagues, but she has enacted more than every Senator except Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), who has also enacted two pieces of legislation in 2019. While it is a small sample, Sinema’s 33 percent success rate (2 bills enacted out of six introduced) is noteworthy. She does this all while being one of the most bipartisan Democratic senators, with 58 percent of Sinema’s cosponsorships being for bills with a Republican as a lead sponsor.

6. Amy Klobuchar is running for President, but her team is also busy drafting legislation.

Despite crisscrossing the country from New Hampshire to Iowa securing votes and dollars in the Democratic primary, Sen. Klobuchar has also introduced the most legislation in the Senate so far in 2019 with 69 bills introduced.

7. Sen. Susan Collins maintains her bipartisan title, cosponsoring a higher percentage of legislation for the opposite party than any other senator (64 percent).

This rate of 64 percent is higher than her career average of 58 percent. Collins is expected to have one of the closest Senate races in 2020, facing Democratic Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon next November.

Bonus: Do you follow Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN-6) on Instagram? He has posted more on the social network than any other freshman representative—207 times! (Though we bet he hasn’t logged as many minutes on Instagram stories as classmates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez).

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