This week one of Rep. John Tierney’s primary challengers, Seth Moulton, tweeted a devastating, though brilliantly crafted, image. Coined TierneyTimeline.com, the website shows all of Tierney’s “legislative accomplishments.”
There’s only one.
That’s right, since Tierney was sworn into Congress in 1997 only one bill he sponsored became law. H.R.1339 (from the 112th Congress 2011-2012), which designated the City of Salem, Massachusetts, as the Birthplace of the National Guard of the United States.
At the bottom of the timeline Moulton placed a brief poll asking visitors to vote for their favorite Tierney legislation, but only offering the one bill. Ouch.
So, in an effort at fairness, I took a look at Congress.gov website, which shows all the legislation sponsored and co-sponsored by our senators and representatives. Moulton’s correct, but there’s a little more to the story.
Tierney, according to Congress.gov, has sponsored 107 bills in his Capitol Hill career and co-sponsored 2,768. Of the bills he has cosponsored, 105 became law. Quite a few of them, typical by the way, are commemorative coin acts and designations of names for post office buildings in Massachusetts (though not in the 6th district).
On average, about 5 percent of bills eventually become law, though in recent years partisan bickering has led to legislative gridlock. Though Republicans control the House in recent years, they haven’t been in the majority during the entirety of Tierney’s service, so gridlock alone cannot be a yardstick for legislative achievement.
Tierney is fighting to hold onto his seat at the primary level, and Moulton is giving serious competition. He even visited Tewksbury on Saturday, stopping by small businesses, police and fire stations, and snagging lunch at Jimbo’s. Moulton is taking his campaign to our streets, as well as launching a snark-offensive with the Tierneytimeline.com tweet.
I, for one, look forward to watching this campaign play out.
Where do you stand on the primary, right now?
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