TLC Update: New Bipartisan Index Scores Released
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I write to share new developments regarding The Lugar Center’s Bipartisan Index and ask that you consider a contribution that would help us to make the most of this opportunity to improve the functions of our government.
This week, The Lugar Center released the second installment of our Bipartisan Index. This groundbreaking research included lifetime scores for 227 Senators who have served since 1993. It also included Senate scores for each of the 10 individual Congresses between 1993 and 2012.
This is a chance to stand up against the heated rhetoric and destructive partisan mindset that too often undermines national unity.
Most major interest groups that push their own agenda “grade” members of Congress on how often they support their priorities. Almost all these scoring systems are designed to push a particular special interest.
In contrast, the Bipartisan Index measures the degree to which a member acts in a bipartisan manner for the benefit of the American people. Together with scholars at Georgetown University, we have developed a working computer program that analyzes the bill sponsorship and co-sponsorship records of each member of Congress.
Using our formula, we can rank members top to bottom on how frequently and effectively they work with members of the opposite party when sponsoring or co-sponsoring legislation.
Our new round of research shows even more clearly that Congress has experienced a sharp decline in bipartisan cooperation since 2000 and that the last two Congresses have been the most partisan in recent memory.
Good governance demands more.
As I wrote in an op-ed this week, bipartisanship can be practiced by ALL members of Congress, no matter how conservative or liberal they may be.
We are off to a great start. The results of the Index have been widely referenced in the media. The New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Post, Sirius/XM Radio, Real Clear Politics, MSNBC and C-Span’s Washington Journal, among many others have featured the Bipartisan Index in stories.
Members of Congress also have taken notice. The Index will provide incentive to members to make their own bills more attractive to members of the other party and to work harder to recruit bipartisan co-sponsors. Both acts would improve the functions of a dysfunctional Congress.
We need your help. We have devoted countless hours to the development of the Bipartisan Index, but to continue to produce research and make it a visible part of the political landscape, we need funding for staff, computer assets, and outreach.
I believe that there are few “good government” projects that would have a more direct effect on Member behavior than our Bipartisan Index. For the first time, Members of Congress would know that their willingness to work with the other party on behalf of our country would not only be examined, but also measured by a fair and objective formula.
I ask you to join us in this endeavor by making a donation to The Lugar Center to carry on this work.
United States Senator (Ret.)
President, The Lugar Center
P.S. Please visit our website www.thelugarcenter.org to have a look at the Bipartisan Index for yourself. I hope that you will find it enlightening and that you will support the Lugar Center with a donation.