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Valley representatives reach across aisle

Ryan, Joyce rank 35th, 40th in report on bipartisanship

A public policy institution report ranks Mahoning Valley U.S. Reps. Tim Ryan and Dave Joyce high in bipartisanship work, with U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson in the bottom half of House members.

Ryan, D-Howland, finished 35th and Joyce, R-Bainbridge Township, who represents northern Trumbull County, was 40th among all U.S. House of Representatives members last year in bipartisanship, according to a study from the Lugar Center and Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

Johnson, R-Marietta, finished 281st among the 435 House members last year in terms of bipartisanship, the study indicates.

Each year, the center — a public policy institution founded by former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar, an Indiana Republican — and the McCourt School review every bill, excluding resolutions, to determine if those introduced by members receive co-sponsorship from members of the opposite party as well as how often members add their names in support of a bill introduced by a member of the other political party. Also considered is the amount of bipartisan support for a bill.

Ryan was 35th overall in the House — and second among Ohio’s 16 U.S. House members.

“The only way we will be able to truly move our country forward is by setting aside our differences and finding common ground,” Ryan said. “This is more important now than ever as our nation combats this worldwide pandemic.

“I am proud of the strong relationships I have forged with my Republican colleagues and my long record of bipartisan work to bring federal dollars back to Ohio,” he said.

During the 2017-18 U.S. House session, Ryan — who represents most of Mahoning and Trumbull counties — ranked 97th on the survey and was 72nd during the 2015-16 term.

Joyce also was among the top bipartisan House members on the survey at 40th overall and third in Ohio. During the 2017-18 session, Joyce, whose district includes communities in northern Trumbull County, was 56th, and was 29th during the 2015-16 session.

“Americans deserve a good-faith effort from their elected officials to drop the partisan bickering and work together to solve the challenges facing our nation, especially during the COVID-19 crisis,” Joyce said.

“Regardless of where you land on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree that it’s the American people who pay the price when partisanship prevents Congress from addressing our nation’s problems. I’m very proud to be in the top 10 percent of the most bipartisan members of Congress,” Joyce said.

Johnson has not done as well as Ryan and Joyce in these surveys — and last year was no different. He finished 281st overall and 12th among Ohio’s 16 House members.

During the 2017-18 term, Johnson was 149th and was 205th during the 2015-16 session, according to the study.

“There are lots of various lists out there using different criteria to rank members of Congress,” Johnson said. “I don’t get caught up in it, and I don’t make legislative decisions based on what my ranking on some list might be. My focus is on being effective for those I work for — the hardworking people in eastern and southeastern Ohio.”

Johnson said he works across the aisle to benefit his constituents and has had 17 pieces of bipartisan legislation signed into law by Presidents Barack Obama, a Democrat, and Donald Trump, a Republican.

“In the end, my responsibility is to vote for what I believe to be in the best interest of those I represent, no matter what an inside-the-beltway university’s rating system might say,” he said.

Johnson’s district includes southern Mahoning County and all of Columbiana County.

On the Senate side, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican, ranked high in the survey.

He was fourth among 100 senators. During the 2017-18 session, he was second; and he was third during the 2015-16 session, according to the study.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Cleveland Democrat, was another story.

He finished 2019 as the 59th-most bipartisan senator. He was 58th during the 2017-18 session and was 68th in the 2015-16 term.

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