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AOC is one of the least effective Democratic legislators, political science professors conclude

Congresswoman’s office would not comment on ranking

A recent study by a pair of political science professors concluded that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the least effective members of Congress on the Democratic side of the aisle.

The self-described democratic socialist New York lawmaker ranked 230 out of 240 Democrat lawmakers in the study by the Center for Effective Lawmaking, led by Vanderbilt Professor Alan Wiseman and University of Virginia Professor Craig Volden.

The pair looked at the performance of hundreds of bills introduced by lawmakers in the 116th Congress, covering 2019 to the first few days of 2021 before the 117th Congress started. The researchers looked at how many bills that were introduced advanced out of committee, the House or Senate and became law.

The congresswoman’s office did not respond to an email request for comment from The College Fix in the last week sent to the general press office email. The Fix shared the Vanderbilt study and asked for comment on the findings.

Her socialist mentor, Bernie Sanders, ranked near the bottom of Senate Democrats, ahead of only Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow. Volden and Wiseman classify Sanders as an independent. However, he caucuses with Democrats and has now run twice for the presidency as a Democrat.

The center studied several different trends in the data, specifically in regards to overall bill sponsorship, the power of committee chairs, and the effectiveness of lawmakers within 21 different policy areas.

“It’s clear that she was trying to get her legislative agenda moving and engage with the lawmaking process,” Wiseman said in an interview with the New York Post. “ But she wasn’t as successful as some other members were…at getting people to pay attention to her legislation.”

She introduced 23 pieces of legislation according to Congress.gov, but only one even made it to the floor for consideration. Many died in committee.

Her failed legislation included a bill to provide COVID-19 relief funds for funerals and the “Green New Deal for Public Housing Act,” according to Congress.gov.

“Her legislation received no action in committees, no floor votes, and none ever became law,” the Post said.

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“While political talking points and ideology-fueled headlines may gather more attention,” Volden said in a news release, “bill advancement is the key to effectiveness for every elected lawmaker in Congress.” Volden did not appear to specifically direct his comments toward AOC.

The policy areas reviewed ranged from immigration to health, and were ranked by how far the bill moved forward to law. The most effective Democrat was New York Representative Nita Lowey.

On the Republican side, the most effective lawmaker was Michael McCaul, with the majority of his success found in foreign policy. However, his Texas colleague Kay Granger, turned out to be the least effective Republican.

The political scientists concluded that Florida Republican Marco Rubio succeeded the most of any Republican Senator in getting his legislation through, while Michigan Senator Gary Peters accomplished the most on the other side of the aisle.

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About the Author
Angelique Clark -- University of Nevada, Las Vegas