If there’s one thing voters have made clear this presidential primary season is that they’ve lost patience with “Inside the Beltway” politics — and a look at the legislative records of this year’s Republican and Democratic presidential “insider” candidates might at least partially explain why.
Nearly every contender in the 2016 race for the White House who’s served in Congress has an abysmal track record of sponsoring legislation, and seeing it through. For the most part, their biggest legislative successes have come in the renaming of government buildings — mostly post offices — and sponsoring honorary resolutions, such as a one that marked the anniversary of the Purple Heart.
To be fair, being the lead sponsor on a piece of legislation from start to finish isn’t an easy task, John Huder, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Government Affairs Institute, told FoxNews.com. Even within their own party, the priorities of some members are pushed to the back.
“It also really depends on the kind of legislator you want to be,” Huder said.
He added that some lawmakers go to Congress to “get things done’” — those are the ones who aren’t seen splashed across the media — while others like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz are often there to pull their party in a particular direction. For Sanders, it’s a progressive lean. For Cruz, it’s conservative.
A review by FoxNews.com shows the candidates with a congressional background still in the running to be president have shockingly low success rates when they look the lead on a piece of legislation.
She scored a slightly weightier win with Senate Bill 1425, which amended the Safe Drinking Water Act to reauthorize the New York City Watershed Protection Program.
While Clinton’s congressional record is brow-raising, Bernie Sanders’ is even worse.
The Vermont senator, who is challenging Clinton for the Democratic nomination, started his Capitol Hill career in the House in 1991 before being elected to the Senate in 2007.
In that time, he has sponsored 362 bills– of which only three were signed by the president, giving him a success rate of 0.8 percent. Of the three he took the lead on, two involved naming post offices in Vermont while the third, Senate Bill 893, increased disability compensation rates for veterans and their families.
It’s not that much better on the Republican side.
Sen. Ted Cruz, who has had plenty of personal issues with members of his own party, sponsored 67 bills since he became a senator in 2013.
Of those, only one has been signed by the president – clocking Cruz’s success rate at 1.5 percent.
The Texas senator scored his lone legislative victory in 2014 when he championed legislation that denied entry to the U.S. to anyone in the United Nations who had engaged in espionage activities against the United States.
The bill, which was introduced on April 1 and signed 17 days later, was specifically intended to stop Iran’s proposed U.N. envoy from entering the country. Cruz had criticized Tehran’s appointment of Hamid Aboutalebi as its top envoy to the United Nations in New York.
Aboutalebi was a member of the student group that led the 1979 hostage situation at the U.S. Embassy in Iran. Aboutalebi acknowledged he worked with the organization that stormed the embassy but said his role in the situation was a small one.
Aside from that, Cruz has not had much success getting legislation he has been the main sponsor on passed.
His rough history of being hammered – and ignored- by members of his own party made him a target during the GOP primaries.
In September 2015, he was rebuffed on the Senate floor by fellow Republicans who failed to allow him a roll call vote. His colleagues ignored his attempts to derail Senate Majority Mitch McConnell’s efforts to fund the government without attacking Planned Parenthood.
GOP front-runner and self-declared “outsider” Donald Trump picked up on the animosity, telling Cruz during a February CNN debate, “You get along with nobody. …You should be ashamed of yourself.”
One-time Cruz challenger Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who has since dropped out of the 2016 race, didn’t mince words when he told Fox radio, “Ted has chosen to make this really personal and chosen to call people dishonest in leadership and call them names which really goes against the decorum and also against the rules of the Senate, and as a consequence he can’t get anything done legislatively.”
The current candidate with the best congressional record is one who left Washington more than 15 years ago. Before becoming Ohio’s governor, John Kasich served in the House in 1983-2000. During that time, he sponsored 89 bills. Six of those were signed by the president, giving him a success rate of 6.7 percent.