Pass or fail: The surprising rankings of our congressional delegation

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According to a November Gallup poll, public approval of Congress has fallen to its lowest approval rating this year, just two percentage points higher than its all-time low — sitting at an abysmal 11%.

Which is why Alabama Today decided it was a good time to see whether or not Alabama lawmakers are actually “earning” their low approval ratings or if the American public has simply had its fill of partisan politics, with our first Congressional Effectiveness Ranking.

The results? A mixed bag. In a red state we certainly would not have guessed the #1.

In theory, all members of Congress work hard, but as a whole Alabama lawmakers don’t have much to show for 2015. Only one member — Alabama’s sole Democrat in Congress, Terri Sewell — has even seen a bill become law, proving the point you do not need to be in the majority party to be an effective lawmaker.

The effectiveness score is simple – take the percentage of bills/amendments sponsored by each lawmaker over the number that went on to pass committee. Should Members tie, a higher-weight is given to any bills that pass the floor or become law.

While most of Alabama’s representatives are electorally safe heading into next fall’s elections, voters do not always consider just how effective the incumbent members are. Here’s how the Alabama delegation ranks from most-effective to least-effective members of Congress. See where your representative ranks on the list:

#1 U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07)

Terri Sewell OfficialEffectiveness Score: 63%
Total Sponsored Bills/Amendments: 8
Bills Passed Committee: 5
Serving Since: 2011

Legislation/amendments sponsored in the 114th Congress:

  1. H.Amdt.832 to H.R.1737
    1. Most recent action: Agreed to by voice vote on 11/18/15.
  2. H.Amdt.754 to H.Amdt.734
    1. Most recent action: Agreed to by voice vote on 11/03/15.
  3. H.Amdt.753 to H.Amdt.734
    1. Most recent action: Agreed to by voice vote on 11/03/15.
  4. H.Amdt.540 to H.R.2822
    1. Most recent action: Agreed to by voice vote on 6/25/15.
  5. H.R.2867: Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015
    1. Most recent action: Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on 7/9/15.
  6. H.R.1781: Workforce Development Tax Credit Act of 2015
    1. Most recent action: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means on 4/14/15.
  7. H.R.1780: Helping Working Families Afford Child Care Act
    1. Most recent action: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means on 4/14/15.
  8. H.R.431: To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
    1. Most recent action: Became Public Law No: 114-5 on 3/7/15.
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