Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has the sizzle but not much substance to show for it, according to a new study.
The Center for Effective Lawmaking reviewed the 21 bills Ocasio-Cortez introduced in the previous Congress and found she got a great big goose egg for results.
Her legislation never was acted upon by a House committee, had no floor votes and resulted in a grand total of zero new laws, the study showed.
“She introduced a lot of bills, but she was not successful at having them receive any sort of action in committee or beyond committee and if they can’t get through committee they cannot pass the House,” Alan Wiseman, a Vanderbilt political scientist and co-director of the center, told the New York Post.
“It’s clear that she was trying to get her legislative agenda moving and engage with the lawmaking process,” Wiseman said. “But she wasn’t as successful as some other members were — even among [other] freshmen — at getting people to pay attention to her legislation.”
The Green New Deal, with which Ocasio-Cortez was linked, was only a resolution, which meant that passage in the Democrat-controlled House accomplished nothing substantive.
Anyone else find it odd that @AOC has never introduced legislation (just a resolution) for her trademark ‘Green New Deal’ plan?
— Jackson Hinkle (@jacksonhinklle) March 30, 2021
The Post quoted “Democratic House insiders” as saying that Ocasio-Cortez alienated many colleagues.
“Tweeting is easy, governing is hard. You need to have friends. You need to understand the committee process, you need to be willing to make sacrifices,” one said. “Her first day in Congress … she decided to protest outside of Nancy Pelosi’s office.”
A second insider said “legislation was never her focus. It was media and narrative.”
The study ranked her 230th out of 240 Democrats, and dead last in the 19-member New York Democratic delegation.
Geez who would have thought that AOC was ineffective?
— The Ant Man (@TheAntMan11) April 3, 2021
The Post noted that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, a pal of Ocasio-Cortez’s in “the squad” of House progressives, introduced 33 bills that went nowhere, landing in 214th place on the list. Fellow squad member Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan made it to 92nd place by having one bill become law while three advanced to a committee.
Former New York Rep. Nita Lowey, who retired last year after a 32-year career in Congress, was declared the House’s most successful Democrat in her final term, a ranking she snagged largely owing to her job as chairwoman of the powerful Appropriations Committee. Of the 29 major bills she introduced, seven ultimately became law.
Just behind Lowey in the Democratic rankings were Oregon Rep. Peter DeFazio and fellow New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
Among Republicans, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas was rated No. 1, followed by New Jersey’s Christopher Smith and New York’s John Katko.
In the upper chamber, Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan was rated as most effective. No. 2 was Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
“While political talking points and ideology-fueled headlines may gather more attention, bill advancement is the key to effectiveness for every elected lawmaker in Congress,” Craig Volden, professor of public policy and politics at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, said in a statement.
“The Center for Effective Lawmaking is committed to undertaking legislative effectiveness research as a valuable tool, allowing American citizens to understand which officials are overcoming gridlock through bill sponsorship and advancement,” Volden said.
Wiseman said in a statement, “Even in these politically challenging times, bipartisanship appears to pay off for those who seek to advance their legislative initiatives.”
“The secret to success for Sen. Gary Peters, the most effective lawmaker of the Senate in the 116th Congress, was in coalition-building,” he said. “Sen. Peters had at least one Republican co-sponsor on each of his successful bills; and it was often the case that more Republicans than Democrats signed onto his bills.
“This alone is an accomplishment, as more than 93 percent of Democratic senators’ bills died in committee in this congress.”
Republicans controlled the Senate in the period covered by the survey, but it is now in Democrats’ hands.
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