Frequently, constituents ask me a question about how many bills I have introduced in this session of Congress. This was an important metric because, for my constituent, the number of bills I have introduced served as a tangible measure of my effectiveness in Congress.
But, even as I answered my constituent’s question, I realized that there are other measurements of effectiveness that can be used. The number of bills introduced, or the number of bills passed, is not the only way to measure the effectiveness of a Member of Congress.
For example, killing bills that are bad ideas can be far more important than getting a bill passed with one’s name on it. But killing bad bills is hard to measure.
Amendments, however, provide an objective measure of effectiveness. Whereas an introduced bill might languish in committee due to a lack of leadership support, the strategic use of amendments on the floor can provide a better and more efficient path for good legislative ideas to pass the House and eventually become law. In fact, much of the legislation that passes the House does so as an amendment offered on the floor.
Knowing this, I worked with my staff to take a deeper dive into the data. I was curious to see which Members of Congress had accumulated the most impressive record of success with amendments on the House floor.
Well, the numbers are in. And, as they say, numbers don’t lie. What they are telling us is that, by this metric, the most effective Member of Congress is Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona’s 4th Congressional District.
To do this analysis, we analyzed the cumulative totals of amendments offered and passed on the House floor since the beginning of 2003 through the end of 2018. I selected these dates because they encompass the years I have been in office, and I was primarily interested in seeing how my own legislative efforts compared to those of my colleagues. The important numbers are as follows:
- The current Member of Congress who offered the most amendments to legislation over this period of time (2003-2018) is Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) with 281. But despite only serving for seven years in Congress during the examined period, Rep. Gosar has the second highest number of amendments submitted, with 102 submitted.
- Furthermore, Paul Gosar had 76 amendments adopted over that timeframe, giving him a success rate of 74.51%. That’s the highest success rate of anyone in the top five for total amendments submitted.
- Of the top five current Members in Congress in terms of number of amendments submitted, only one other Member has a success ratio of greater than 50%. The second place Member has offered 96 amendments and scored an adoption rate of 53.13%. Rep. Jackson Lee’s success rate comes in third at 45.55%.
Not only is Paul Gosar consistently outpacing other Members of Congress when it comes to introducing legislation on behalf of his constituents, he is getting three out of every 4 amendments he offers advanced. These are astounding numbers, and they reveal a dedicated public servant who is tirelessly working to successfully advance the interests of his district.
I have always been impressed with Paul’s strong conservative beliefs and his principled record. Further, as a member of the Western Caucus, I have had an opportunity to watch Rep. Gosar serve as its Chairman, and I can attest that this caucus is doing a terrific job advancing policies that promote economic growth and that respect private property rights.
But, until I did the data analysis, I hadn’t realized the extent to which Paul Gosar was successfully using the amendment process to shape the nation’s agenda. Because the amendment process is not as flashy as other legislative strategies, oftentimes individual amendments don’t generate a lot of sustained media attention, and successes can go overlooked. Paul’s constituents deserve to know these facts, and I am honored to share them publicly.
Rep. Gosar should be commended for his stellar utilization of the amendment process. His strategic use of an amendment strategy has earned him the rightful title of “The Most Effective Member of Congress.” After taking a deep dive into the data, I am convinced that Arizona’s 4th District is going far with Paul Gosar.