WASHINGTON, D.C. – Is Rep. Jim Jordan among the least effective members of Congress? Researchers at the Center for Effective Lawmaking – a joint project between academics at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University – seem to think so.
The organization last week released a report evaluating how successful individual Congress members were at moving their legislative agenda items through Congress over the past two years. It examined the bills each member sponsored, whether they advanced through the legislative process and were signed into law, and the significance of that legislation. It ranked members within their own parties to avoid penalizing those in the legislative minority.
The study rated Jordan as the 202nd most effective Republican in the House of Representatives out of 205 it examined. Cincinnati’s Steve Chabot scored best among Ohio Republicans in the House, ranking 8th. Rocky River’s Anthony Gonzalez weighed in at number 13, Bainbridge Township’s Dave Joyce was 18th and Holmes County’s Bob Gibbs was 144th.
Ohio Democrats in the House of Representatives were in the middle of their party’s pack, while the chairs of the Appropriations, Transportation, Oversight, and Energy and Commerce committees got the top scores because of their ability to power legislation to the finish line.
Columbus’ Joyce Beatty got the highest rating of any Ohio Democrat: 105th out of 240. Tim Ryan of the Niles area was 155th, Marcy Kaptur of Toledo was 190th, and Marcia Fudge of Warrensville Heights was 195th. Fudge left the House last week to become President Joe Biden’s Housing and Urban Development Secretary.
In the U.S. Senate, Rob Portman was 12th out of 54 Republicans and Sherrod Brown was 19th out of 45 Democrats. Totals exceeded 100 in the Senate (which has two Independents) and 435 in the House because of members who left office and were replaced over the two years the report examined.
A spokesman for Jordan questioned the study’s use of sponsored and passed bills to measure effectiveness. Jordan sponsored two bills over the past two years while serving as top Republican on the Oversight, and later the Judiciary Committee. Neither became law.
Jordan’s office said that in addition to introducing the “Protect Speech Act,” which aims to alter the content moderation practices of social media companies like Twitter and Facebook, Jordan cosponsored 99 bills including the “Holding Rioters Accountable Act,” the “Protect America’s Statues Act,” and the “Use your Endowment Act.”
He also secured over $400 million in CARES Act funding for Ohio, defended President Donald Trump from Democratic impeachment efforts, worked to discredit Democratic probes that Jordan believed were politically motivated, and grilled witnesses during investigations conducted by both his committees, his office said.
“Mr. Jordan is undoubtedly one of the most effective and influential members of Congress,” said a statement from spokesman Russell Dye. “As the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, which manages more high profile legislation than any committee in Congress, Mr. Jordan is able to impact and change more legislation than maybe any other Republican in the House of Representatives. But don’t just take our word for it, even Politico named him one of the most influential members of Congress. Any ‘study’ that says otherwise is misguided.”
A statement from a Democratic candidate who has filed to run for office against Jordan, Jeff Sites, declared the study shows “how little Jordan is doing for his constituents.”
“In warehousing, if you won’t do the work, you get fired,” said Sites. “It should be the same for career politicians.”
In an email, Center for Effective Lawmaking co-director Craig Volden said the study focused on “lawmaking effectiveness, rather than on effectiveness at oversight, constituency service, or other elements of being a member of Congress.”
He said his organization envisions “a Congress comprised of effective lawmakers, strong institutional capacity, and the incentive structure needed to address America’s greatest public policy challenges,” and compiles its scores to offer “information about which members of Congress excel at lawmaking in which areas.”
Ohio Members of Congress with better scores were more pleased with the study.
“Since coming to Congress, I have been laser focused on producing tangible results for Northeast Ohio,” said a statement from Gonzalez. “That is what my constituents expect from me as their Congressman and that is what they deserve. I remain committed to working every day as hard as I possibly can for our community to tackle our most pressing issues.”
“I’m humbled to receive this recognition and will continue to do everything I can to prioritize the needs of my fellow Buckeyes and effectively represent them in the people’s House,” Joyce said.
A statement from Chabot said this year marked the third consecutive time he’s been ranked among the ten most effective House Republicans. Chabot said he tries to focus on areas where both parties can work in a bipartisan manner. When he introduces legislation, he tries to identify Democrats to cosponsor it. As the top Republican on the House Small Business Committee over the past two years, Chabot said he worked closely with its Democratic chair, New York’s Nydia Velazquez, to enact, implement and improve the Paycheck Protection Program, which helped small businesses retain employees during the coronavirus pandemic.
“That critical program helped provide over $18 billion in forgivable loans to Ohio small businesses, saving nearly 2 million Ohio jobs during the pandemic,” said Chabot. “Without bipartisan cooperation, I don’t think the program would have been such an overwhelming success.”