It has been said that failure has many fathers, but in Senate committees, failure has many motions. Bills are passed by indefinitely, continued to the following session, stricken, and occasionally left in committee. In the House, bills are also frequently left in committee or tabled. In this post, we’ll take a look at some numbers that help to illustrate just how significant committees are in the legislative process.
In previous posts, we’ve served up some statistics on how Virginia State Senators compared to each other during the 2014 session — but now we’re handing over the reins. Using the script embedded below, select any State Senator to see a list of how often they voted with each colleague, with the majority of the Senate as a whole, and with the average member of each party. Then, clicking on the hyperlinked name of any Senator will take you to a table listing each bill (floor votes) on which the two Senators disagreed.
On Monday, we looked at how member vote patterns illustrate party cohesion and offered a table providing some insight into which members are the most likely to buck the chamber’s consensus. Today we’ll examine which members are the most likely to vote with the average Democrat or Republican, then delve into some of the more interesting legislative pairings. Continue reading
Even though floor votes indicate a considerable degree of unity on the macro level, clear trends are evident in individual voting patterns—trends that shed light on party unity and cohesion, ideological fervor, and the personal predilections of individual Senators.
A political observer might postulate that, on the whole, the Democratic Party is currently the more unified, and the data in the Senate of Virginia bear that out. Seventeen (of 20) Democrats voted with the average member of their party at least 98% of the time, a threshold not cleared by a single Republican.
The average Republican voted with the majority of his or her party 96.6% of the time, compared to 98.3% for Democrats. Only three Democrats voted with their average party colleague less than 98% of the time: Petersen (96.4%), Deeds (96.2%), and Lewis (95.6%).