There were some high points – and some low points – for U.S. Rep. Tom Reed in doing the work voters sent him to Washington, D.C., to do in 2013.The Leader recently took a look at some statistics on Reed's performance last year in Congress, retrieved from www.govtrack.us, a nonpartisan website that tracks bills and votes in the House and Senate. First, the good news:
Reed was among the top members of Congress when it came to attracting bipartisan co-sponsors for the bills he proposes. In 2013, 65 percent of the bills Reed put forward had a Democrat signed on as a co-sponsor. He ranks 16th out of 435 members of the House in this category, putting him among the House's top writers of bills with bipartisan support. Another high point: Reed introduced 17 bills last year, the 59th highest total in the House. The most last year was 45, from Democrat Alan Grayson of Florida.
In 2013, Reed also gathered a large number of co-sponsors for his own bills, at 275 (76th highest), and had three bills introduced with a companion bill in the Senate, a fairly rare occurrence that usually indicates broad support for a proposal. However, none of those bills have become law – or even gotten a vote in the House.
That wasn't uncommon in a year during which very little got done in Congress. Only 46 members of the House had a bill signed into law, although Mike Coffman of Colorado and Hal Rogers of Kentucky, both Republicans, each managed to get three bills passed and signed by the president last year. And Reed's record on bipartisanship was mixed. While he gathered a number of Democratic co-sponsors for his bills, only 21 of the 126 bills Reed co-sponsored last year were written by Democrats.
Does that mean he was offering bills that attracted more support – or that Democrats were more willing to reach across the aisle to support the other party's legislation than Reed was? In general, Democrats were more likely to co-sponsor Republican bills than Republicans were to co-sponsor Democrats. Among House Republicans, the member with the best record tallied 40 percent of bills they co-sponsored that were written by a member of the other party. For most, including Reed, it was less than 20 percent. For one Democratic member, in contrast, 73 percent of bills co-sponsored were written by Republicans. The average among Democrats was around 40 percent.
Reed said he was confident in his record of bipartisan cooperation. “We're proud of our legislative record in partnering with colleagues on the other side of the aisle. When you offer fair, common sense policy that cares for the needs of constituents, gaining support from both parties takes care of itself,” he said in a statement.