Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among least effective lawmakers in Congress: study

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Aug. 24, 2020

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on Aug. 24, 2020. (Tom Williams/Pool Photo via AP, File)

NEW YORK — Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was one of the least effective lawmakers in Congress over the past two years, ranking 230th out of 240 Democratic members, a new study found.

The nonpartisan Center for Effective Lawmaking, a joint project by the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, assigned legislative effectiveness scores to each member of Congress based on more than a dozen metrics, including the number of bills a lawmaker sponsored and how far each of those bills advanced through the legislative process.

The scores are compiled biannually after the conclusion of each Congress.

“While political talking points and ideology-fueled headlines may gather more attention, bill advancement is the key to effectiveness for every elected lawmaker in Congress,” said the study’s co-director, Craig Volden, who is also a professor at the University of Virginia’s Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.

Ocasio-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, introduced 21 bills during the 116th Congress — from January 2019 to January 2021 — but none of them made it out of their respective committees, according to the study. 

Among the 19 Democratic congressional members in New York, Ocasio-Cortez ranked last in effectiveness, according to the Center for Effective Lawmaking.

Alan Wiseman, a Vanderbilt political scientist and co-director of the center, told the New York Post that while the freshman lawmaker worked hard to advance her legislative agenda, she struggled to get fellow lawmakers to support it.

“She introduced a lot of bills, but she was not successful at having them receive any sort of action in committee or beyond committee, and if they can’t get through committee they cannot pass the House,” Wiseman said.

PIX11’s request for comment from Ocasio-Cortez’s office on Saturday was not immediately returned.

Meanwhile, former New York Rep. Nita Lowey, who retired and did not seek re-election in 2020 after serving over three decades, was declared the most effective New York legislator and one the most effective Democrats in the 116th Congress.

She was joined by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.), as well as Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

Peters secured the highest legislative effectiveness score. He sponsored 86 public bills, 24 of which advanced out of committee to the Senate floor. Fourteen of the bills passed in the Senate and 10 became law, according to the Center for Effective Lawmaking.

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