2012: Can This Congress Be Saved?
Our 2012 annual vote ratings show a Congress as paralyzed and polarized as ever. But better days may lie ahead.
2011: Divided We Stand
Our polarized Congress is starting to look more and more like a parliament at odds with the nation’s constitutional system.
2010: Pulling Apart
In the long march toward a more parliamentary and partisan Washington, National Journal‘s 2010 congressional vote ratings mark a new peak of polarization.
2009: Politics as Usual
Liberals, moderates, and conservatives stuck to their guns in 2009 — whether for ideological, partisan, parochial, or electoral reasons — stymieing much of Obama’s agenda.
2008: Determined Democratic Liberals
A small group of ideological purists in the House occasionally bucked Democratic leaders because they didn’t think that their leadership’s bills were liberal enough.
2007: The New Center
When Republicans held the majorities, the members at the ideological center voted for the agenda set by President Bush and GOP congressional leaders. Those dynamics changed radically last year.
2006: Left to Right
Legislative track records leave White House contenders open to plenty of pointed questions from voters and the news media — and provide opponents with endless opportunities for mischief and attacks.
2005: Down the Middle
In both the House and the Senate last year, Republican centrists found themselves exercising newfound influence and creating plenty of headaches for President Bush and GOP leaders.
2004: Presidential Wannabes
National Journal took an in-depth look at the Senate voting patterns of seven Republicans and six Democrats senators who are considered potential 2008 presidential candidates.
2003: How They Measured Up
National Journal‘s vote ratings for 2003 offer one measure of what happens when rank-and-file Republican lawmakers seek to be more ideologically pure than their president or GOP congressional leaders.
2002: Keeping Score
Of the seven congressional Democrats who are running for president in 2004 or have indicated they might run, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts had the most liberal voting record last year.
2001: A Shallow Bipartisanship
National Journal‘s annual congressional vote ratings for 2001 reveal little change from previous voting patterns. House and Senate members continued to vote predominantly along partisan lines on most major issues.
2000: Gridlock, By the Numbers
The ratings of House and Senate members, based on key votes they cast last year, show that the unusually partisan patterns that took hold in 1999 continued throughout 2000.
1999: A Congress Divided
During 1999, legislative deal-making became a lost art, votes were cast to highlight partisan political differences, and polarization ruled.
1998: Managing the Middle
Shifting coalitions shaped by Democratic and GOP centrists continued to determine the outcome of key legislative initiatives and the success of both parties’ leadership strategies.
1997: Business as Usual
Last year’s bipartisanship was fleeting. National Journal‘s 1997 congressional vote ratings reveal continuing deep divisions between the two parties on everyday votes.
1996: Soft Center
The legislative agenda and the legislative output moved toward the political center this year. But the voting patterns were as strongly partisan as ever.
1995: Voting in Unison
After waiting 40 years to take control of Congress, Republicans displayed a distinctly conservative voting pattern in 1995.
1994: Epitaph for an Era
Democrats went down swinging on Capitol Hill last year. On most major issues, President Clinton and his party in Congress accentuated their differences with congressional Republicans.
1993: Choosing Sides
On social- and foreign-policy issues, as well as on economic ones, few members of either party were inclined toward bipartisan accommodation, a review of last year’s major votes reveals.