Congress’ most effective lawmakers aren’t generally its household names

Despite high approval ratingsor wide popularity, well-known members of Congress are not the most effective lawmakers, according to a report from the Center for Effective Lawmaking.

The center recently released its effectiveness scores for members of the 116th Congress, which ran from Jan. 3, 2019, to Jan. 3, 2021. The bottom line: The lawmakers often in the news — particularly from the House of Representatives — aren’t generally the ones sponsoring bills that make significant headway through Congress or making substantial policy proposals. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is one exception.

Through a partnership between the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Vanderbilt University, the Center for Effective Lawmaking, created in 2017, aims to understand and communicate the effectiveness of lawmakers and the congressional legislative process.

“We’re the Center for Effective Lawmaking, so we’re particularly interested in the lawmaking component of what members of Congress do, so we set aside oversite and constituency services and so on,” said Volden, who also is a professor of public policy and politics at the University of Virginia. “In that lawmaking space, we’ve generated the legislative effectiveness scores.”

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