Who are the congressional slackers? Nonpartisan center ranks least effective members

Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., left, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, walk to an elevator on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Who are the congressional slackers? Nonpartisan center ranks least effective members

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Congress is often criticized for being unproductive, but the 117th session was one of the most accomplished in recent years.

Not every member contributed equally to that legislative hustle, however. A recent ranking from the nonpartisan Center for Effective Lawmaking, a partnership between Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia, identified the least effective members of both chambers at advancing legislation.


Congressional leaders are often straddled with management tasks that can muffle their ability to propel their own legislation forward. That can skew results and earn them a low Legislative Effectiveness Score rating, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they were skipping out on their congressional duties. The average LES is 1.0.

Here are the least effective members:

House GOP: Reps. Granger, Finstad, and Alderholt

There was a three-way tie for ineffectiveness among House Republicans between Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX), Brad Finstad (R-MN), and Robert Alderholt (R-AL). All three clinched a 0.0 LES.

Granger is now the head of the House Appropriations Committee. Finstad ascended to office in August of last year during a special election. Alderholt has been serving since 1997.

Notable mentions include Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), now the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who scored a 0.009 LES. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who departed the lower chamber at the start of 2022 to helm the Trump Media & Technology Group, was marked a 0.019 LES. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) nabbed 0.028.

House Democrats: Marcia Fudge

Among House Democrats, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) had a 0.0 LES score, but that was likely because she exited the lower chamber to join the Biden administration and serve as the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in early 2021.

Notable mentions include Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who was serving as House speaker at the time. She scored 0.101. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), whose effectiveness has been scrutinized before, landed an LES of 0.739, putting her a notch below the middle of the pack.

Senate Republicans: Cindy Hyde-Smith

Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) was the least effective Republican with an LES of 0.022. She has served in the upper chamber since 2018. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) was the next lowest with a 0.038 LES. He resigned at the beginning of the year to become the president of the University of Florida.

Senate Democrats: Chuck Schumer

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) topped Democrats at 0.326. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) was the next-lowest Senate Democrat with a 0.328 LES. For comparison, Schumer’s counterpart, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), eked a 0.184 LES, putting him in eighth place among Republicans.

The Senate Democrats’ caucus leaned on two independent politicians, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Angus King (I-ME), during the 117th session. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) recently joined them as an independent at the tail end of last year. Sanders scored 0.20, while King nabbed 0.678 and Sinema rang in at 0.742.


Powerhouse members

The most effective members of the House featured Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) with a 7.142 LES for Democrats and Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE) with a 6.137 LES for Republicans. On the Senate side, Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) topped Democrats at 6.725, and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) led Republicans at 4.487.

Salaries for the House and Senate start at $174,000. The GOP has since flipped control of the House from the Democrats, who, in turn, managed to expand their tiebreaker majority in the Senate to full-fledged control during the midterm elections.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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