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Study: Joyce as effective, but not Ryan and Johnson

A report by the Center for Effective Lawmaking of the last congressional session finds U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce to be one of the nation’s most effective House members while Tim Ryan and Bill Johnson aren’t.

The center, consisting of academics from the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, evaluates members of Congress based on 15 different metrics.

These metrics are largely based on the number of bills sponsored, their importance including whether they were substantive or commemorative (an example of the latter is having a building named for someone), how they move through the legislative process and if they become law.

The study also separates Democrats from Republicans because being in the majority or minority impacts effectiveness.

— Joyce, R-Bainbridge, whose district includes a portion of Trumbull County, fared well. He was ranked 18th among 205 Republicans.

— Johnson, R-Marietta, whose district includes all of Columbiana County and southern Mahoning County, was near the bottom at 159th out of 205 Republicans.

— Ryan, D-Howland, was in the bottom half of Democrats — 155th out of 240 Democrats.

There are more than 435 House members in the study as it included those who left before their terms expired and those who replaced them.

Joyce said: “I’m humbled to receive this recognition and will continue to do everything I can to prioritize the needs of my fellow Buckeyes and effectively represent them in the people’s House.”

He added: “It’s an honor to represent the people of Northeast Ohio in Congress and to serve the communities where I was born and raised. I work to live up to that honor every day by reaching across the aisle to address the challenges facing my constituents and impacting their everyday lives.”

The study showed Joyce sponsored 10 bills of substance with two passing the House and one signed into law, and that he sponsored one commemorative bill that was also signed into law.

HOW THIS WORKS

The study only takes into account sponsored bills and what happens to them, which can skew the results.

For example, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, is ranked as the fourth-least effective House Democrat even though she is arguably its most powerful member.

But in the last legislative session, Pelosi sponsored only one bill, a commemorative one, and while it was approved by the House, it wasn’t signed into law.

The study also doesn’t consider when a member gets a sponsored bill’s language into another bill.

It’s why former U.S. Rep. Nita M. Lowey, D-Harrison, N.Y., was first among Democrats. Lowey retired at the end of 2020, but served as the House Appropriations Committee chairwoman.

As chairwoman of one of the most powerful House committees, she sponsored 29 bills considered substantive by the study, including six considered significant. Of those bills, 14 were approved by the House and seven were signed into law.

The second, third and fourth Democrats in the study chair the Transportation, Oversight, and Energy and Commerce Committees, underscoring the influence of heading a powerful committee in the study.

NONE PASSED

Ryan was ranked 155th out of 240 House Democrats, two spots ahead of U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-Columbia, S.C., who is the House Majority Whip, the No. 3 leadership position among House Democrats.

In the last legislative session, Ryan sponsored 38 substantive bills, none of which passed, and three commemorative bills with one signed into law.

Ryan’s office declined to comment on the study.

Johnson placed 159th out of 205 Republicans in the study.

In the last legislative session, Johnson sponsored 10 bills — nine considered substantive and one commemorative. None of them were even approved by a House committee.

Serving his sixth two-year term in the House, Johnson said: “My focus is on those I work for: the people of the Mahoning Valley and eastern and southeastern Ohio. I’ve had 18 bills signed into law by presidents of both political parties and I’ve assisted countless constituents. In my book, that’s effective. My responsibility is to advocate and vote for what I believe to be in the best interest of those I represent no matter what some university rating system says and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

In the U.S. Senate, Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park, was 12th out of 54 Republicans while Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, was ranked 19th out of 45 Democrats in the study.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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