Senator Reed’s Tweet About Bipartisanship Not Supported by Georgetown Ranking

GoLocalProv News
January 10, 2018

U.S. Senator Jack Reed claimed that fellow Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse works across the political aisle in a "bipartisan spirit," after Whitehouse nabbed a seat on the Senate Finance Committee -- but a research center at Georgetown University ranks the Reed and Whitehouse duo as the second most partisan pair of in the body.

Shortly after Whitehouse's appointment to the powerful Finance Committee on Tuesday, Reed took to Twitter and claimed the Whitehouse is "following [the] bipartisan footsteps of late Sen. John Chafee."

However, data compiled over the past decade by The Lugar Center and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy have produced a non-partisan ranking of how often each member of Congress works across party lines. The research is regularly quoted by The Washington Post, Politico, The Hill and Roll Call.

Reed, Whitehouse "Most Partisan"

The Lugar Center most recently reported that the pair of Rhode Island senators rank 49th out of 50 -- only the Massachusetts combo of Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren are ranked as even more partisan. In addition, Whitehouse was ranked as one of the most partisan senators. He ranks as the 9th most partisan, Reed is ranked as the 20th most partisan, Susan Collins (R-ME) is ranked as the least partisan, and neither the senator majority and minority leader were ranked due to their party leadership positions.

Whitehouse is found to be more partisan than former U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions and now U.S. Attorney General and long-time U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC). 

“Our country is facing significant political and policy challenges– challenges that require lawmakers to work together,” said Michael A. Bailey, interim dean of the McCourt School. “We hope the Bipartisan Index encourages them to cross the aisle more often to get things done on behalf of their constituents.”

Reed claims Whitehouse In a Tweet on Tuesday:

On Tuesday morning, GoLocal received an email from Whitehouse's campaign that ripped the GOP, "Congressional Republicans already used their tax scam to shower billionaires with handouts. Now, their priority is "entitlement reform" – which is what they call cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security when they don't want to actually call them cuts. They claim Medicaid needs more 'flexibility,' but we know what they really mean – after all, they've got to fund those tax breaks for the wealthy somehow."

Multiple times per week, Whitehouse's campaign sends out emails strongly criticizing GOP members of the Senate, House of Representatives as well as Republican President Donald Trump.

Reed's Office Defends Tweet

Reed's press secretary defended the Tweet and claimed that the ranking has limitations.

"The Lugar Center study itself points out it is an imperfect tool for measuring bipartisanship by noting: 'It is essential to understand that one cannot get a clear and fair picture simply by tallying up bipartisan sponsorships and co-sponsorships in a single Congress. Both Senator Reed and Senator Whitehouse have a record of working across the aisle to get things done for Rhode Island," wrote Chip Unruh, spokesman for Reed, in an email to GoLocal on Tuesday night.

In a comprehensive ranking of members of Congress over 20 years, former U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee was ranked as the least partisan, the late John Chafee was ranked as the 15th least partisan, Reed is ranked 124th, Whitehouse 210th of the 240 senators.

This article first appeared on Access it here.