09 Mar BPC Honors Sens. Hassan and Young; and Reps. Bacon, Blunt Rochester, Kinzinger and Phillips with Legislative Action Awards in Government Reform
At the Bipartisan Policy Center and BPC Action, we recognize the willful tenacity required in Congress to tackle the challenges facing our nation and make a difference in the lives of Americans. That is why we created the Legislative Action Award (LAA), to recognize creative and courageous members who exemplify productive partisanship. LAA was founded to recognize more junior members of Congress who are breathing new life into the legislative process.
This year—as acrimony increases in our political dialogue and tensions have risen—reaching across the aisle is essential. We are pleased to recognize six leaders with the skills to tackle substantive issues in the face of political challenges and a proven ability to forge successful working relationships across the aisle:
Senator Maggie Hassan (D–NH): Sen. Hassan has frequently voiced the need for bipartisanship and has demonstrated that willingness through her legislative record. Last Congress, 48 of her 54 bills and resolutions had a cosponsor from a different party. Nearly 40 percent of the bills she cosponsored we introduced by a senator who was not a Democrat, and the legislation she introduced to strengthen America’s national security became law with bipartisan support. BPC has also been proud to work with her on critical matters from paid leave to behavioral health and a variety of other issues.
Senator Todd Young (R–IN): Sen. Young exemplifies the ideal of a proud member of a party who understands the importance of reaching across the aisle. He has been noted for his leadership ability in gaining cosponsors on bills and, in the last Congress, 38 of 51 bills he sponsored had a Democratic co-sponsor. Of the 329 bills Sen. Young cosponsored, 46 percent were introduced by a legislator who was not a Republican. Recently, he wrote: “No doubt, politics are important—but increasingly we see those who vote differently than us not as fellow Americans with different opinions, but instead as adversaries with the worst intentions. We must not define ourselves or our fellow citizens by how we vote.”
Representative Don Bacon (R-NE): Rep. Bacon has demonstrated a consistent commitment to results and the common good as primary drivers of his public service. He is ranked high (31 out of 437) on the Lugar Bipartisanship Index, while in the last Congress nine of his 13 bills were cosponsored by a Democrat. Congressman Bacon has advanced bipartisan legislation on issues ranging from homeland security to the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act and the Growing Climate Solutions Act. Pairing with Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA), he was among the first to participate in BPC’s American Congressional Exchange (ACE) program—where members from opposite parties visit each other’s districts—and together they have introduced amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act as well as authoring a letter regarding food security during COVID.
Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE): Rep. Blunt Rochester is a proud Democrat who has shown her interest and enthusiasm for working in a bipartisan fashion. As she has stated, “The focus is always on the work…[to] be able to be in Congress and actually have passed bipartisan legislation has been important to me.” One of the bills she introduced that became law and received bipartisan support was a safe drinking water measure to improve federal coordination and provide aid to states responding to public health challenges posed by contaminants. She has also championed bipartisan legislation to prevent fraud targeting seniors and Indian tribes. Rep. Blunt Rochester was also one of the first participants in BPC’s ACE program.
Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL): Rep. Kinzinger has demonstrated his disposition to work with members from the opposite party as measured by his high rank in the Lugar Bipartisan Index, the frequency with which the bills he introduced had a Democratic cosponsor, and how often he cosponsored bills authored by Democrats. BPC also recognizes and appreciates his independence and political courage at a pivotal moment for our democracy. Rep. Kinzinger’s willingness to be a forceful voice in support of the health and integrity of our institutions, and the checks and balances that are foundational to the viability of our republic, plays a critical role in assuring the resiliency of our democratic system of government.
Representative Dean Phillips (D–MN): Rep. Dean Phillips has a high Lugar Index ranking of 27. In the last Congress, he was also the seventh most often to join bipartisan bills among House Democrats. 18 of Phillip’s 31 bills and resolutions had a cosponsor from the opposite party. Legislation he introduced that became law, related to the forgiveness of loans under the paycheck protection program, received significant bipartisan support. Other bipartisan legislation he introduced included a measure improving telehealth coverage. As he has stated, “We have to listen to perspectives that are in many cases opposite our own.” BPC was pleased that, in 2019, Rep. Phillips joined our first House Freshman-Sophomore Members’ retreat which was focused on bolstering lawmakers’ abilities to work in a collaborative fashion.
Awardees will be recognized at a BPC reception.