How are PA lawmakers doing on bipartisanship?

Allentown, PA, Morning Call
April 1, 2019

This article first appeared in The Morning Call, April 1, 2019. Read the original here.

On polarized, partisan Capitol Hill, it can seem like lawmakers from opposite sides of the aisle can barely agree on what day it is.

But an annual analysis on bipartisanship from The Lugar Center and the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University found a glimmer of optimism.

Its yearly Bipartisan Index measures how often a member of Congress introduced bills that have support from members of the other party, and how often they co-sponsor bills from the opposite side of the aisle. It excludes items that often draw unanimous support, such as non-binding resolutions and ceremonial bills.

Scores from the last congressional session rose compared to past years, according to the institute.

“Overall Bipartisan Index scores improved for the third straight Congress after bottoming out in 2011-2012,” said Richard Lugar, the institute’s president and who served for 36 years as a Republican senator from Indiana.

Near the top of the list was Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., who finished second to now-retired Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. Fitzpatrick had the highest score among House members serving in the 116th Congress.

Three other Pennsylvanians ranked among the top 30 House members in the institute’s analysis, and all three are Republicans who are no longer in Congress: Reps. Ryan Costello of Chester County; Pat Meehan of Delaware County; and Charlie Dent of the Lehigh Valley.

In the Senate, Republican Sen. Pat Toomey was ranked 21, and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey was ranked at 54.