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Local senators ranked high on bipartisanship

PARKERSBURG — Three U.S. senators from West Virginia and Ohio are in the top 12 among 250 senators measured on bipartisanship, according to a report jointly issued by the Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University.

The updated Bipartisan Index rankings released on June 11 of senators who have served since 1993 measures to what degree the lawmakers work to cross party lines,

The index ranked Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., as seventh. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, were ranked 11th and 12th, respectively.

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was ranked 172nd among the 250 senators on the list.

Last at No. 250 was former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who served from 2005-2013, and No. 1 was former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., who served in the Senate from 1999-2007. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, was the top-scoring sitting senator at second on the list.

Manchin said he was honored to be recognized for introducing legislation with Republicans, but it’s not the only way to encourage bipartisanship.

“Although introducing bipartisan legislation is a great start, casting hard votes – especially in this hyper-partisan environment – is when it counts,” Manchin said in a statement on Monday which cited CQ Roll Call that said he was the most bipartisan member of Congress, crossing party lines 53.3 percent of the time.

“That’s something I take pride in and will continue to strive for because it means that I will stand up to both Democrat and Republican leadership to do what is right for our state,” Manchin said. “The Senate was created to ensure bipartisan compromise and although in recent decades this foundation has been chipped away at for political gain, I have always and will always think of how our Founding Fathers built this body and wanted it to operate when things get tough.”

Capito tweeted Monday that finding common ground with the other side when she could “is a good thing.”

“I’m proud to have good relationships (with) my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” she said. “I’ll continue working in a bipartisan way to find real solutions that better the lives of (West Virginians.)

The rankings were based on bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship. The rankings included results from the 115th Congress in 2017 and 2018 and listed 250 senators with at least 10 months of service from 1993 to 2018.

“The new data provides historical context for the challenges to bipartisan collaboration in the Senate over the last 26 years,” said Lugar Center Executive Director John Lugar. “But it also shows that legislators can work to build consensus with members of the opposite party regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.”

The scores show a wide variance among Democratic presidential candidates, the report said. former Vice President Joe Biden, a former senator who served from 1973-2009, was ranked 47th, highest among the candidates, while Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., was ranked 247th of the 250 senators. Sanders ranked the lowest of any senator currently serving, but Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who is running for president, was one better at 246th.

Five other Democratic presidential candidates were scored.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., was ranked 78th, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., ranked 143rd, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was 195th, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., was 214th, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. was 234th.

Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine, a Republican who served in the Senate from 1995-2007, was ranked 36th.

The late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., who died in 2010, was ranked 180th. He served 51 years in the Senate.

Former Sen. Jay. Rockefeller, D-W.Va., was ranked 132nd. He served from 1985 to 2015.

The late Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, was ranked 155th. Metzenbaum , who died in 2008, served in the Senate from 1976-1995.

The late Sen. John Glenn, America’s first astronaut to orbit the earth, was ranked 95th. Glenn, who served in the Senate from 1974-1999, died in 2016.

The rankings are at tinyurl.com/y6boa3f4.

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