2016 Presidential Candidate Project: U.S. Congress, Sponsored Bills

There are two metrics used involving U.S. Congressional activity: (1) sponsorship of bills and (2) cosponsorship of bills. Here are the parameters around both Congressional metrics:

1) Both bills and resolutions were considered (referred hereafter collectively as “bills”).

2) All bills sponsored or cosponsored by the presidential candidates were considered.

3) All bills about abortion (from all angles) were excluded. (Candidates’ records on abortion are easily accessible and widely reported.)

4) All bills that would, in their sponsors’ or cosponsors’ minds, specifically and actively contribute to child advocacy and victim/survivor advocacy were included. This means that I included bills that I personally believe actually harmed children or victims/survivors. For example, I included bills that rose out of the “war against autism” movement — all of which were opposed by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Though I agree with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, I am nonetheless including the bills because the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors believed they were specifically and actively contributing to child advocacy. As another example: I included all types of “education reform” bills, regardless of personal opinion, if their stated purpose was to help children.

5) Since all the presidential candidates that served in Congress either served at different time periods or for different durations, the most accurate time average seemed to be the following: the most recent and full three years that the candidate served in Congress. For Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Bernie Sanders, this was 2013-2015. For Hillary Clinton, this was 2006-2008. For John Kasich, this was 1997-1999.

6) To find all bills that purported to specifically and actively contribute to child advocacy and victim/survivor advocacy during the aforementioned time periods and durations, I used GovTrack.us and Congress.gov to find all bills sponsored or cosponsored by the respective candidates. Bills were included if they were relevant to one of the following categories: child care, development, education, and safety; child abuse; children’s rights; domestic violence; elder abuse; physical abuse; safety measures in general such as background checks and mandatory reporting; sexual abuse; trafficking (all kinds).

7) Candidates’ voting records were excluded. There are two reasons for this: (1) the vast majority of bills that did pass all passed with unanimous consent, thus specific votes were not recorded; and (2) the vast majority of bills that did not pass never made it far enough to face a general vote. Thus for the purposes of this metric, voting records are not reliable indicators of candidates’ active and specific advocacy for children and abuse victims/survivors.

8) I determined the highest and lowest performers by the number of child and victim/survivor advocacy bills; however, I also include the percentage of advocacy bills in relation to total bills for those that prefer that.

Results:

Hillary Clinton (2006-2008)

2008

S. 3609 (110th): Lead-Safe Housing for Kids Act of 2008

Summary: This bill amends the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992, with respect to lead-based paint hazards in housing, to set the environmental intervention blood lead level as equal to the lower of: (1) ten micrograms of lead per deciliter; or (2) the elevated blood lead level of concern for a child under six years of age recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

S. 3635 (110th): Supporting Mentors, Supporting Our Youth Act of 2008

Summary: This bill amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide student loan forgiveness or cancellation under the Federal Family Education Loan or Direct Loan programs to student borrowers at institutions of higher education who volunteer to mentor an at-risk child for a period of at least one year.

S. 3631 (110th): Medically Fragile Children’s Act of 2008

Summary: This bill amends title XIX of the Social Security Act to establish a State plan option under Medicaid to provide an all-inclusive program of care for children who are medically fragile or have one or more chronic conditions that impede their ability to function.

S. 3520 (110th): Josh Miller HEARTS Act

Summary: This bill establishes a grant program for automated external defibrillators in elementary and secondary schools.

S. 3502 (110th): Children’s Environmental Health and Safety Risk Reduction Act

Summary: This bill provides for the establishment of a task force to address the environmental health and safety risks posed to children.

S.Con.Res. 97 (110th): A concurrent resolution expressing the sense of Congress regarding sexual assaults and rape in the military

Summary: This resolution calls for the Secretary of Defense to develop a comprehensive strategy to increase and encourage investigation and prosecution of sexual assault and rape cases in the military.

S.Res. 630 (110th): A resolution recognizing the importance of connecting foster youth to the workforce through internship programs, and encouraging employers to increase employment of former foster youth

Summary: This resolution (1) recognizes the importance of connecting foster youth to the workforce through internship programs that provide foster youth the foundation upon which to build their careers and to be successful members of the work force and (2) encourages employers of all sectors and federal, state, and local governmental agencies to increase employment of the young men and women who have been discharged from foster care in the United States.

S. 3027 (110th): COACH Act

Summary: This bill amends the National and Community Service Act of 1990 to establish a program to provide college coaches to low- and middle-income high-achieving high school students.

S. 2944 (110th): Child Welfare Workforce Improvement Act

Summary: This bill amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to examine and improve the child welfare workforce.

S.Res. 535 (110th): A resolution recognizing April 28, 2008, as “National Healthy Schools Day”

This resolution recognizes April 28, 2008, as National Healthy Schools Day, a day dedicated to promoting healthy and green school environments for children.

S. 2877 (110th): Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer Survivorship Research and Quality of Life Act of 2008

Summary: This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to expand and intensify CDC’s cancer control programs. It requires the Secretary to: (1) provide guidance to states, in collaboration with the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), on interventions that may be incorporated into state cancer control programs to improve the long-term health status of childhood cancer survivors; (2) encourage states to incorporate strategies for improving their care into their comprehensive cancer plans;( 3) collaborate with the NCI Director to improve or develop systems for tracking cancer survivors; and( 4) enhance control programs to include a focus on childhood cancer survivorship.

2007

S. 2415 (110th): Protection Against Transmission of HIV for Women and Youth Act of 2007

Summary: This bill requires the President and the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator to establish a comprehensive and integrated HIV prevention strategy to address the vulnerabilities of women and girls in countries for which the United States provides assistance to combat HIV/AIDS.

S. 2395 (110th): Adoption Improvement Act of 2007

Summary: This bill directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to carry out a pilot program of grants to child welfare agencies to effect long-range improvements in the adoption process by increasing prospective adoptive parent access to adoption information and strengthening agency responsiveness to prospective adoptive parents.

S. 2341 (110th): FIRST Act

Summary: This bill provides Individual Development Accounts to support foster youths who are transitioning from the foster care system.

S. 2187 (110th): Quality Child Care for America Act

Summary: This bill amends the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to provide for child care workforce development initiatives.

S. 1898 (110th): Military Family and Medical Leave Act

Summary: This bill amends the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to expand family and medical leave for spouses, sons, daughters, and parents of service members with combat-related injuries.

S. 1812 (110th): Mentoring America’s Children Act of 2007

Summary: This bill amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to strengthen mentoring programs.

S. 1712 (110th): Screening for Health of Infants and Newborns Act

Summary: This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to improve newborn screening activities.

S. 1259 (110th): Education for All Act of 2007

Summary: This bill amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to state that it is U.S. policy to work with foreign countries and international and civil society organizations to increase the global commitment to achieving universal basic education by assisting: (1) developing countries to provide all children with a quality basic education; and (2) nongovernmental and multilateral organizations working in developing countries to provide all children with a quality basic education.

S.Res. 176 (110th): A resolution recognizing April 30, 2007, as “National Healthy Schools Day”

Summary: This resolution recognizes April 28, 2008, as National Healthy Schools Day, a day dedicated to promoting healthy and green school environments for children.

S. 1240 (110th): Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act of 2007

Summary: This bill provides for the provision by hospitals receiving Federal funds through the Medicare program or Medicaid program of emergency contraceptives to women who are survivors of sexual assault.

S. 895 (110th): Children’s Health First Act

Summary: This bill amends titles XIX and XXI of the Social Security Act to ensure that every child in the United States has access to affordable, quality health insurance coverage.

S. 820 (110th): Choices in Child Care Act

Summary: This bill amends the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to five to seven states for demonstration projects to provide at-home infant care benefits to low-income families.

S. 764 (110th): Legal Immigrant Children’s Health Improvement Act of 2007

Summary: This bill amends titles XIX (Medicaid) and XXI (Children’s Health Insurance) (SCHIP) of the Social Security Act to grant states the option of covering certain categories of eligible pregnant women and child resident aliens, including targeted low-income children, under the Medicaid and SCHIP programs.

S. 694 (110th): Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007

Summary: This bill directs the Secretary of Transportation to issue regulations to reduce the incidence of child injury and death occurring inside or outside of light motor vehicles.

S. 661 (110th): Kinship Caregiver Support Act

Summary: This bill authorizes the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families of the Department of Health and Human Services to make grants for kinship navigator programs to state agencies, metropolitan agencies, or tribal organizations with experience in addressing needs of kinship caregivers or children and connecting them with services and assistance.

2006

S. 3945 (109th): Compassionate Assistance for Rape Emergencies Act

Summary: This bill provides for the provision by hospitals of emergency contraceptives to women, and post-exposure prophylaxis for sexually transmitted disease to individuals, who are survivors of sexual assault.

S. 3909 (109th): Education for All Act of 2006

Summary: This bill amends the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to state that it is U.S. policy to work with foreign countries and international organizations to: (1) assist developing countries committed to serious reforms to provide all children with quality elementary and secondary education; and (2) provide incentives to encourage educational system reform and educational service improvement in countries lacking such commitment.

S.Res. 566 (109th): A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate concerning the importance of preventing child abuse and neglect before they occur and achieving permanency and stability for children who must experience foster care

Summary: This resolution calls for Congress to: (1) increase funding to provide for additional child welfare service caseworkers and associated administrative costs; (2) encourage states to set goals for decreasing caseloads of caseworkers in order to ensure quality service for the most vulnerable children; and (3) encourage states to implement policies with increased educational and professional development expectations for caseworkers.

S. 3797 (109th): Choices in Child Care Act

Summary: This bill amends the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 1990 to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to five to seven states for demonstration projects to provide at-home infant care benefits to low-income families.

S. 3743 (109th): Screening for Health of Infants and Newborns Act

Summary: This bill amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop guidelines that states may follow in reporting data from newborn screening tests.

Ted Cruz (2013-2015)

2015

N/A

2014

N/A

2013

N/A

John Kasich (1997-1999)

1999

N/A

1998

N/A

1997

N/A

 

Marco Rubio (2013-2015)

2015

S. 802: Girls Count Act of 2015

Summary: This bill authorizes the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to provide assistance to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries, and for other purposes.

2014

S. 2591 (113th): Girls Count Act of 2014

Summary: This bill authorizes the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to provide assistance to support the rights of women and girls in developing countries, and for other purposes.

2013

S. 1823 (113th): Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Human Trafficking Act of 2013

Summary: This bill amends part E of title IV of the Social Security Act to better enable State child welfare agencies to prevent human trafficking of children and serve the needs of children who are victims of human trafficking, and for other purposes.

S.297 – Educational Opportunities Act

Summary: This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow individual taxpayers a tax credit for charitable contributions to a scholarship granting organization and defines “scholarship granting organization” as a tax-exempt entity whose exclusive purpose is to provide scholarships for the tuition and other expenses of elementary and secondary school students from low income households (i.e., household income not exceeding 250% of federal poverty guidelines).

Bernie Sanders (2013-2015)

2015

S.1506 – Employ Young Americans Now Act

Summary: This bill requires the Department of Labor to make certain Fund allocations to each state with an approved workforce investment system plan modification, other specified requests for funds, and Native American program grantees to provide summer and year-round employment opportunities to low-income youth.

S.570 – Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2015

Summary: This bill increases the federal medical assistance percentage for oral health services and amends the Public Health Service Act to establish, revise, and extend funding for grant programs for providing oral health services to low-income and underserved individuals and building, operating, or expanding dental clinics in schools.

2014

S. 1982 (113th): Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014

Summary: This bill amends federal veterans provisions to revise or add provisions concerning medical services and other benefits provided to veterans and/or their dependents through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) relating to the following areas: mental health care, including an education program and peer support program for family members and caregivers of veterans with mental health disorders; health care related to sexual trauma, including appropriate counseling and treatment and a screening mechanism to detect incidents of domestic abuse; the revision of claims based on military sexual trauma; etc.

S. 2849 (113th): Developing Innovative Partnerships and Learning Opportunities that Motivate Achievement Act

This bill authorizes the Secretary of Education to award renewable five-year grants to states and, through them, subgrants to local consortia that include a local educational agency and other community partners to: (1) ensure the academic, physical, social, emotional, and civic development of disadvantaged youth; and (2) strengthen their families and communities.

S.2849 – DIPLOMA Act

Summary: This bill requires each state grantee to develop and implement a state youth strategy that assesses the needs of youth and the assets within the state that can be mobilized, coordinated, and integrated to achieve quantifiable progress toward goals that include ensuring that: (1) youth are ready for school; (2) students are engaged and achieving in school; (3) students are not chronically absent; (4) students are physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally healthy; (5) schools and neighborhoods are safe and provide a positive climate for learning; (6) families and communities are engaged in the education of their youth as equal partners; (7) students are ready for postsecondary education at institutions of higher education and 21st Century careers; and (8) students are contributing to their communities.

S.2832 – Employ Young Americans Now Act

Summary: This bill requires the Department of Labor to make certain Fund allocations to each state with an approved workforce investment system plan modification, other specified requests for funds, and Native American program grantees to provide summer and year-round employment opportunities to low-income youth.

2013

S. 1581 (113th): Survivors of Military Sexual Assault and Domestic Abuse Act of 2013

Summary: This bill authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide counseling and treatment for sexual trauma to members of the Armed Forces, to require the Secretary to screen veterans for domestic abuse, and to require the Secretary to submit reports on military sexual trauma and domestic abuse.

S.1522 – Comprehensive Dental Reform Act of 2013

Summary: This bill increases the federal medical assistance percentage for oral health services and amends the Public Health Service Act to establish, revise, and extend funding for grant programs for providing oral health services to low-income and underserved individuals and building, operating, or expanding dental clinics in schools.

S.1170 – Youth Jobs Act

Summary: This bill requires the Department of Labor to make certain Fund allocations to each state with an approved workforce investment system plan modification, other specified requests for funds, and Native American program grantees to provide summer and year-round employment opportunities to low-income youth.

S.735 – Survivor Benefits Improvement Act of 2013

Summary: This bill authorizes the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to provide, to any spina bifida-affected child of a veteran who served on active duty in Thailand beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, and was exposed to a herbicide agent during such service, the same health care, vocational training and rehabilitation, and monetary allowance required to be paid to a similarly-affected child of a Vietnam veteran.

S.844 – Supporting Community Schools Act of 2013

Summary: This bill amends part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) to authorize local educational agencies (LEAs) to use school improvement funds to transform schools identified as needing improvement, corrective action, or restructuring into community schools and requires such schools to be based on research into successful practices in: (1) improving student achievement or growth, (2) closing achievement gaps between groups of students, and (3) increasing student attendance and graduation rates.

Candidates this metric does not apply to

Jeb Bush

Donald Trump

Ben Carson

Carly Fiorina

Chris Christie

Results

Hillary Clinton: 31 (out of 321 bills; 9.66%)

Bernie Sanders: 11 (out of 185; 5.95%)

Marco Rubio: 4 (out of 204; 1.96%)

John Kasich: 0 (out of 25; 0%)

Ted Cruz: 0 (out of 167; 0%)

Highest performer(s) of metric: Hillary Clinton

Lowest performer(s) of metric: John Kasich and Ted Cruz

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