With 2016 in the rapidly fading past and special elections in Kansas and Georgia in the news, it seemed to be a good time to take a look at the record of Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, who is up for re-election in 2018.
That was the plan anyway.
The problem is that the senator does not have much of a record to look at. In his four years in the Senate, Donnelly has been the primary sponsor on only 78 pieces of legislation, the fewest of his Democratic Senate colleagues.
Of Donnelly’s 78 sponsored pieces of legislation, only 26 were actual bills that could be signed into law. Others have been resolutions honoring certain charity groups or other similar organizations. These are nice but don’t actually affect issues like health care or the economy.
None of his 26 bills passed. As our senator, Donnelly has not had a single piece of legislation signed into law. It’s a little difficult to judge an elected official on his or her legislative record when they don’t have one. Of course, Donnelly was previously a representative, so it might be fair to go back and look at his record in the House of Representatives.
When he was in the House, Donnelly was the primary sponsor of 37 pieces of legislation, of which 31 were bills. Once again, none of them were signed into law, and only one made it out of the House before dying in the Senate.
Passing legislation is the basic duty of any member of Congress, much less a senator. Donnelly has spent his time in office touting himself as a non-partisan problem solver who goes to Washington, D.C., to get work done for Hoosiers.
Call me cynical, but an elected official who has been in Congress for a decade without a single bill being passed into law does not seem like much of a doer, much less a problem solver.
We all agree we need more bipartisanship in Washington, D.C., but bipartisanship and moderation mean results, not just empty talk punctuated by joint press conferences. Talking back and forth on hot-button social issues simply cannot replace a real record. Doing nothing is fine, but doing nothing on a six-figure salary paid for the by the public is another story.
Indiana holds its elected officials to high standards. We have a history of sending public servants to Washington, D.C., who get results for our state, and we are rightly proud to count great legislators as Hoosiers.
Right now, Donnelly is not living up to that record. Good thing 2018 is right around the corner.