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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 12:10 pm

Hoosier US senators fare well in bipartisanship rankings

BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

U.S. Sen. Todd Young and former senator Joe Donnelly, both of Indiana, ranked high for bipartisanship in ratings the Lugar Center and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy released Tuesday.

Democrat Donnelly ranked fourth among 100 senators for the 2017-18 term of Congress, and Republican Young ranked seventh. Donnelly lost his seat to Republican Mike Braun in the November election.

The Lugar/McCourt bipartisanship scores and rankings are based on how often a federal lawmaker's introduced legislation attracts co-sponsors from members of the opposite party and how often a lawmaker co-sponsors legislation by members of the opposite party.

The highest-rated U.S. House member from Indiana was Rep. Susan Brooks, R-5th, who ranked 41st among 436 legislators. Northeast Indiana Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, ranked 343rd. Rep. Jackie Walorksi, R-2nd, whose district includes parts of Kosciusko County, ranked 89th.

The highest-ranking members of each congressional chamber were Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and former Republican representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. The lowest-ranking members of each chamber were independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill.

Richard Lugar, president of the nonprofit Lugar Center think tank, said in a news release that overall scores in the Bipartisan Index improved for the third straight term of Congress.

"The new Index scores show that even as the rhetoric and overall atmosphere in Washington remains partisan, there is an appetite among many lawmakers for bipartisan problem solving," said Lugar, a Republican senator from Indiana from 1977 through 2012.

Periodic ratings by Lugar Center/McCourt School measure back to 1993. Donnelly left office this year with the second-highest career score for 240 current and former senators, behind former Republican senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. Lugar ranks 26th in career score.