Cleveland Plain Dealer
13 May 2020
WASHINGTON, D. C. – A newly released study of how often members of Congress work across party lines on legislation rated Ohio Republican Rob Portman as the fourth most bipartisan member of the U.S. Senate during 2019, and Champaign County GOP Rep. Jim Jordan fourth from the bottom of the 437 House of Representatives members it examined.
The ratings from the non-partisan Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy declared Maine Republican Susan Collins to be the Senate’s most bipartisan legislator for the seventh consecutive year, and Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick to be most bipartisan House member.
The rankings are based on the frequency with which legislators work with members of the other party on their bill sponsorships and co-sponsorships, excluding non-binding resolutions and ceremonial bills.
“While hyper-partisanship continues in Congress, our latest Bipartisan Index –– a nonpartisan and data-driven tool –– points to a crosscurrent of cooperation among lawmakers,” said a statement from Maria Cancian, dean of Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy. “This offers hope, as our future depends on our ability to work together across the aisle and across differences for the common good.”
Republicans in the Senate tended to get higher bipartisanship scores than their Democratic counterparts, with former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, getting the Senate’s lowest score for the fifth consecutive year. Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown ranked 59th out of the U.S. Senate’s 100 members.
A statement from Portman spokesperson Emily Benavides said her boss works hard to find common ground with his colleagues, and the group’s findings reflect that.
“Whether it’s responding to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic or continuing to secure funding to combat the addiction epidemic, he’s been able to navigate a challenging political environment and deliver results for the people of Ohio,” Benavides said.
Brown said he works regularly with Portman on issues that matter to Ohio and has had “great victories” working bipartisanly to help the state
“I’m bipartisan when it works, and when I see the kind of things that President Trump has done to the state, I stand up for Ohio,” said Brown.
The study found Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives were slightly more bipartisan than their GOP counterparts. Although seven of the 10 most bipartisan House members were Republicans. Republicans had the nine lowest scores, with Alabama Republican Gary Palmer finishing last.
A score above zero from the group indicates that a member scored better than the 20-year average, while one-below zero indicates the member is below average. It describes scores above 1.0 as “outstanding,” those above 0.5 as “very good.”
Columbus Republican Steve Stivers ranked the highest in bipartisanship of any Ohioan, getting the study’s 11th highest score. Niles-area Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan was 35th in Congress, Bainbridge Township Republican Rep. Dave Joyce was 40th, Rocky River Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez was 51st, Toledo Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur was 139th, Warrensville Heights Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge was 247th, Holmes County Republican Rep. Bob Gibbs was 394th and Jordan was 434th.
Stivers posted statements on social media that said he’s “honored to be named the 11th most bipartisan House member,” while a statement from Ryan said he’s proud of the strong relationships he’s forged “with my Republican colleagues and my long record of bipartisan work to bring federal dollars back to Ohio and provide our state with the support and resources we need.”
A press release from Joyce’s re-election campaign highlighted his ratings from the group, and his membership in the House Problem Solvers Caucus, which works across the aisle to find common ground on important issues.
“Despite some in Congress who are hyper-partisan, I’ve remained laser-focused on working side by side with members of both parties to put the health and safety of my constituents first,” said a statement from Joyce. “During this critical time, I’ll continue to put policy over politics to find bipartisan solutions that protect the lives and livelihoods of Northeast Ohio families.”
A spokesman for Jordan said his boss came to Washington to represent the conservative values of Ohio’s 4th district, not “to work with Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi.”
“Either way, it’s clear that Mr. Jordan is one of the most effective members of Congress,” his statement concluded.