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The 2022 State of Bipartisanship in the US Congress

by Veronica Magan, FiscalNote

A data-driven overview of bipartisanship in the U.S. Congress over the last decade.


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There’s been a lot of talk about bipartisanship in recent years. While the constant clashes between parties around high-profile bills in Congress may make it seem like a dying concept, how strong is bipartisanship in the United States, really?

To find out, our data science team dove into the wealth of historic data in FiscalNote. We looked at the last decade, automatically scoring each enacted bill to assess how bipartisan it is and kept track of how many sponsors each bill had from a given party.

To come up with the yearly score, we assigned metrics to each enacted bill to try to account for how bipartisan each one is: a bill that has balanced sponsorship gets a bipartisan score of 1, while a bill that is partisan (only has sponsors of a single party) gets a zero. For example, a bill that has 45 Republican sponsors and 1 Democrat gets a score slightly above 0, but a bill that has 6 Democrat sponsors and 5 Republicans gets a score near 1. The score is then averaged across all bills in a year.

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The result of that research is below. Overall, for the period between 2011 and 2021, there were a total of 5,071 bills enacted of which 66 percent were bipartisan, giving the last decade an average bipartisanship score of 0.575.

US Congress Yearly Bipartisanship Score

As you’ll see in the chart below, bipartisanship has fluctuated consistently between a score of 0.5 to 0.6. The trendline slopes slightly upward, indicating that there have been small changes over time that show compromise from both parties. Notably, the spikes from 2015-2016 show a slightly higher average bipartisanship score. 

The best year for bipartisanship in the last decade was 2016 with the highest score at 0.704, when Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate, while the worst year was 2011 with the lowest score at 0.462.

US Congress Bipartisanship Score by Year

Bipartisan Bills in Congress

Looking specifically at the volume of bipartisan bills in Congress, the numbers never dip below 53 percent. 

It might be hard to reach a compromise, but in any given year over the last decade, more than half of the enacted bills have had at least one Democrat and one Republican cosponsor.

Enacted Bipartisan Bills By Year

In terms of the enacted bills with the most bipartisan support over the last decade, there are more than 1,000 with the perfect score of 1 (meaning the same amount of Democrats and Republicans supported them) on topics ranging from civil rights, families and children, to crime. 

As for bipartisan bills with the lowest score, H RES 908 in 2020 had a 0.012 score with 157 Democrat and one Republican sponsors. This resolution called on public officials to condemn all forms of anti-Asian sentiment as related to COVID-19, and for federal officials to investigate and document all credible reports of hate crimes and threats against the Asian-American community and prosecute perpetrators.

With a score of 0.268, the second bill with the lowest score is HJRES 34. With 294 Republicans and 2 Democrats, this bill nullified a Department of Health and Human Services rule regarding subrecipients of family planning grants under Title X (which bans federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion counseling or referrals or that advocate for the provision of abortion).

Bipartisanship by Party

Looking at the levels of compromise between the two major parties, overall, both parties have shown increased participation in sponsoring legislation; a typical bill has roughly the same number of sponsors from both parties.

Congress Median Sponsor Count On Bipartisan Bills

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