THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: What a Difference a Year Makes

The full rundown from our December 31, 2021 newsletter.

Chanikarn Thongsupa

LBJ Library

Brendan Smialowski, Agence France-Presse


THE COMPLETE 14 PERCENT: What a Difference a Year Makes

Colin Allred (D; TX-32)

Colin’s 2021 Roundup!

Colin had his eyes on voting rights this year! As a voting and civil rights attorney, Colin strongly supports restoring the Voting Rights Act. He is deeply concerned by efforts to erect barriers to voting, and supports measures like expanded early voting and making Election Day a federal holiday to make the process more accessible for all citizens.

Sharice Davids (D; KS-3)

As Vice-Chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Sharice has spent her year working with her colleagues across the aisle to bring economic development to our roadways, airports, railways, local water infrastructure, and more. Davids spent a large portion of her time working towards the passage of the historic bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was signed into law in November.

Conor Lamb (D; PA-17)

Conor spent his year looking at his political figure. Conor’s district was redrawn and after rumors about him launching a Senate run started swirling, the moderate Democrat announced that he would be running. Conor has some high-profile competition but this hasn’t stopped him from kicking his race into high gear! This specific Senate race will be pivotal to determining which party controls the Senate in 2022 so in other words, Connor’s race is one to watch!

Seth Moulton (D; MA-6)

Seth served four tours of duty in Iraq, which likely influenced him in his focus on Afghanistan this year. After the United States completed their withdrawal of troops in Afghanistan in August, Seth responded to President Biden’s claim that Afghans did not want to leave, saying it was “utter BS.” In a major move, Seth flew to Kabul in a secret mission with fellow PP leader Rep. Peter Meijer. This had people talking so, mission accomplished? In addition, Seth introduced and successfully passed the WELCOME Act, which provides Afghan refugees with the same benefits other refugees receive.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D; NY-14)

AOC has proved that she is capable of working on several initiatives at once and this year has been no different. However, Alexandria was particularly focused on infrastructure and spending. As she sees it, moderate Democratic senators “did not really come to the table” to truly negotiate the details of a sweeping $3.5 trillion social spending package that has been at the center of infighting among Democrats. Throughout 2021, Alexandria has repeatedly voiced her frustration with moderate Democrats who are unwilling to vote for larger spending packages. Alexandria has said she owes it to her community to pressure fellow Democrats over the spending plan as tensions have continued to rise this year in Congress.

Abigail Spanberger (D; VA-7)

Abigail has spent her year working on strengthening our nation’s national and cybersecurity. Abigail has introduced the Foreign Agent Disclaimer Enhancement (FADE) Act, which increases transparency by requiring disclaimers attributing political content to a foreign principal to be embedded on the social media posts themselves. She also partnered with fellow PP leader Rep. Andrew Garbarino to introduce the Better Cybercrime Metrics Act, which would improve how the federal government tracks and prosecutes cybercrime. It is also important to note that many of Abigail’s bills are bipartisan.

Rashida Tlaib (D; MI-13)

Rashida has had her focus on Palestine and Israel this year. Rashida is the first and only Palestinian-American in Congress, making this issue a more personal one for her. This year, Rashida has caused a stir after pointing out on Twitter that illegal Israeli settlements currently receive tax-exempt status in America, a contravention of international law. In an open letter, she called on U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to examine the legitimacy of the status of U.S.-based entities supporting settlements that perpetuate the forced removal of Palestinians from their land. However, Rashida’s stance on the Palestine/Israel conflict led to attempts by members of the GOP to censure her.

Mike Gallagher (R; WI-8)

This year, Mike has been one to sound the alarm when it comes to United States relations with China. Mike co-sponsored the bipartisan Endless Frontier Act, which is how he says the U.S. will beat China at their own game by investing in advanced technology research and development and expanding the National Science Foundation. Mike also introduced the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Visa Security Act, which would require the American government to develop a list of scientific and engineering institutions associated with the PLA and prevent people employed or sponsored by these Chinese military institutions from receiving student or research visas to the United States.

Jaime Herrera Beutler (R; WA-3)

Jaime has been laser-focused on safety and care for infants. Jaime has a personal connection to this issue as she has shared that her daughter was born with a rare and dangerous birth condition. Jaime introduced the bipartisan Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, which helps parents and providers prepare for life-threatening conditions by expanding newborn screening programs and ensuring laboratory quality and surveillance. Jaime also partnered with her fellow PP leader Markwayne Mullin to introduce the SHINE for Autumn Act, which provides critical resources to state and federal health departments to better study and collect data on stillborns.

Adam Kinzinger (R; IL-16)

Adam has spent his 2021 concentrating on what the future of the GOP looks like. Adam has been one of, if not the most, vocal and consistent Republican critic of Trump and this year really proved that. He was the first Republican lawmaker to call for Trump’s removal. He was one of ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. His county’s GOP tried to censure him because of Adam’s efforts to impeach Trump. Adam is one of two Republicans on the House Select Committee to Investigate January 6th. Towards the end of 2021, Adam announced that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection for his seat in the House in 2022 but… has hinted at potentially running for Illinois governor or Senator next year.

Guy Reschenthaler (R; PA-14)

Guy has had his eyes on infrastructure this year! After writing a letter to the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) Power Initiative, Guy secured funding for his district to use to construct broadband infrastructure in the area and expand coverage of the unserved and underserved areas of the county. Despite securing this funding, Guy had been critical of other large funding packages involving infrastructure. At one point this year, a group of protesters stood outside Guy’s office to implore him to support President Biden’s Build Back Better plan because it would revamp home caregiver infrastructure. This effort didn’t sway Guy’s opinion though.

Greg Steube (R; FL-17)

Greg Steube has been focused on Afghanistan this year. Greg introduced the bipartisan Prioritize Evacuation of U.S. Citizens in Afghanistan Act, which would direct the Secretary of Defense and State to submit a plan to Congress regarding the evacuation of American citizens trapped in Afghanistan. Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Greg also introduced the Taliban Rare Earth Minerals Sanctions Act, which looks to impose sanctions on anyone engaging with the Taliban in transactions of these rare earth minerals. The concern for many people, including Greg, is that this opens the door to commerce with China, which he thinks threatens our national security.

Tom Cotton (R; AK)

Tom has spent his 2021 concentrating on issues involving China. Since taking office, Tom has been one of the outspoken critics of the Chinese Communist Party. This year, Tom and a group of bipartisan colleagues wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin asking why the report identifying Chinese military companies operating in the U.S. was delayed and demanding it be released ASAP. Tom has warned of the potential for China and its military to begin weaponizing biotech. Tom also joined a small group of Republican senators in writing to Commerce Secretary Raimondo, urging the department to blacklist China Chinese Al companies that help arm the People’s Liberation Army. This would mean identifying and stopping the flow of American technologies, exports, and investments to Chinese Al companies.

Ritchie Torres (D; NY-15)

Ritchie had his eyes on the Child Tax Credit this year. As a kid who grew up poor and in public housing, Ritchie wants to make the expanded child tax credit a permanent program. The first payments of the child tax credit went out in July and were projected to cut child poverty by 50%. Ritchie has made sure to note that 98% of children in his district will benefit from the expanded tax credit. That’s a huge number! He’s spent much of his 2021 trying to gain support for the Build Back Better Act, which would solidify the tax credit as an American policy.

Jamaal Bowman (D; NY-16)

Jamaal has been focused on the fun and hot topic of infrastructure this year! Jamal introduced the Broadband Justice Act, which would require the department of housing and urban development to classify broadband Internet as a utility. Jamaal also wrote an op-ed making a strong case for why infrastructure isn’t just steel and concrete, arguing the need to rethink how we think about infrastructure. After meeting with President Biden at the White House, Jamaal joined a rally crowd outside to double down on his calls for sweeping infrastructure reform. As we get ready to go into the new year, Jamaal says this is the moment!

Cori Bush (D; MO-1)

Cori Bush spent her 2021 working on criminal justice reform. Cori has spoken countless times about the need for “community-based solutions,” which focuses more on community-based intervention programs. Cori has introduced legislation to end criminal penalties for drug possession at the federal level. This bill would expunge existing records and provide resentencing opportunities for those already convicted. Cori also introduced a bill called the People’s Response Act. The bill ultimately seeks to limit the number of encounters between citizens and armed law enforcement by creating a new division within the Health and Human Services. Plus, she put her activism to work in getting the Biden administration to extend the eviction moratorium. Sometimes it just takes one person with a megaphone to enact change.

David Valadao (R; CA-21)

One of David core issues is water conservation and we understand why… his district contains some of California’s most precious agricultural land. This year, David has introduced the Responsible, No-Cost Extension of Western Water Infrastructure Improvements Act, which extends many of the provisions and looks to keep much of the decision-making regarding California’s water in the hands of State officials who know their needs best. After many Democrats did not consider his bill, David took the floor to speak about how his bill addresses the effects of CA droughts on farmers. David also co-sponsored the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, which revises the 2015 Water of the United States (WOTUS) rule that placed the majority of water in the U.S. under federal regulation, negatively affecting farmers, ranchers, and businesses.

Kat Cammack (R; FL-3)

Kat had her eyes on border patrol, policing, and defense this year. Kat is on the Homeland Security Committee which makes sense with her background in national defense and military strategy from the United States Naval War College. Kat is married to a first responder, making the issue of police reform personal to her. This year, Kat has acknowledged that improvements are needed in the system but believes that defunding the police isn’t the way to do it. Kat also voiced her concern over unaccompanied minors crossing our southern border at record rates. Kat also introduced the DHS Border Support Services Contract Review Act, which would require federal agents to patrol parts of the U.S./Mexico border.

Byron Donalds (R;FL-19)

Byron has spent much of his year diving into the issue of Critical Race Theory. Byron joined the conservative criticism against teaching the theory, saying that liberals have been pushing their ideologies into the system for far too long. Instead of focusing more on race, Byron wants to focus more on how a capitalist system has created more opportunity for Americans and rejects Democrats framing our country through the lens of race. Byron wrote an op-ed on how divisive critical race theory spits on the Civil Rights Movement. Byron also held press conferences in his district to voice opposition to Critical Race Theory being taught in schools.

Ashley Hinson (R; IA-1)

Ashley spent her 2021 working on immigration reform. Like many Americans, Ashley is deeply concerned about what’s happening at our southern border as migrants continue to flood at record rates. She introduced the See the Crisis Act which unfortunately for her, was blocked on the House floor. The bill would have held the administration accountable by blocking Vice President Harris from using taxpayer dollars to fly internationally until she visits the southern border. Though the Vice President did eventually visit the southern border, Ashley continued to discuss and criticize the Biden administration’s handling of the situation. In interviews, Ashley decried the lack of leadership from Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas on the border situation that is still taking place.

Victoria Spartz (R; IN-5)

Victoria has been focused on all things healthcare this year, ranging from COVID-19 vaccines to opioids. This year, Victoria was appointed to serve on the Healthy Future Task Force, putting her at the forefront of the Republican agenda for healthcare. Victoria introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolution, which looks to nullify the Labor Department’s “COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard.” In regard to opioids, Victoria joined a group of colleagues to introduce the IMPACT Act, which would extend the timer physician may hold long-acting injectable buprenorphine (medication for opioid use disorder) to 14 days to 60 days.

Tony Gonzales (R; TX-23)

Tony has spent his 2021 diving into the issue of border control and immigration. That’s why it was fitting that his first bill in Congress, the Security First Act, was centered around increasing funding for local law enforcement who augment border patrols. Tony also teamed up with a group of bipartisan representatives and senators to introduce the Bipartisan Border Solutions Act, which improves the management of unaccompanied children, reduces the impact on local communities, ensures humane treatment of migrants, and ultimately deters anyone without a realistic asylum claim for making the dangerous journey to the U.S. border.

Blake Moore (R; UT-1)

Blake used his 2021 to focus on the environment. Early on in the year, Blake was appointed to the House Natural Resources Committee. He joined other Utah politicians in criticizing President Biden on his action to halt energy leases on federal lands. In response to this action, Blake and his colleagues in the Natural Resources Committee introduced the POWER Act, which would prevent the President from blocking energy leasing on federal lands and waters without Congressional approval. Blake introduced the Forest TECH Improvement Act this year, which is set to accelerate the integration of advanced technologies for reforestation activities. He also partnered with PP leader Rep. Joe Neguse to introduce the bipartisan Modernizing Access to our Public Lands Act, which essentially digitizes all Federal land mapping.

August Pfluger (R; TX-11)

August had his eyes on immigration this year. He wrote a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services criticizing the process in which a new facility for migrant children was opened in his district. August also introduced the Migrant Facility Transparency Act, which requires HHS to coordinate with federal and local officials in establishing temporary influx facilities as well as give local officials a say in the final decision-making process for site selection. If that all wasn’t enough to convince you that August is focused on border security, he also introduced the Border Security for America Act, which would require that the federal government renew border wall construction contracts and hire additional CBP officers.

Melanie Stansbury (D, NM,1)
Melanie has spent her 2021 focusing on clean energy. Melanie partnered with her fellow PP leader Rep. Anthony Gonzalez to introduce the bipartisan Partnerships for Energy Security and Innovation Act, which would establish a nonprofit under the Department of Energy that channels funding for research and brings energy innovations to underserved communities. Melanie also secured $7.1 million dollars in funding an airport in her district to outfit itself with the latest green technology.

Pete Aguilar (D; CA-31)

Pete has had his vision set on the American Rescue Plan this year. Pete and other members of the Hispanic Caucus met with President Biden to discuss making the Child Tax Credit permanent. After the meeting, President Biden agreed to extend it temporarily, citing concerns about the Senate passing a permanent version of the policy. But if there is anything Pete likes to talk about, it is how much funding he is bringing back to his district. Thanks to Pete, medical residents training in the Inland Empire now have greater means to advance their skills through federal funding. Thirty-two medical residents will receive financial aid to the tune of $320,000 as part of the American Rescue Plan.

Brendan Boyle (D; PA-2)

Brendan has been focused on healthcare this year. Brendan reintroduced legislation to expand access to recovery for certain disorders at Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD). Brendan also reintroduced Katherine’s Lung Cancer Early Detection and Survival Act. This bicameral legislation would expand healthcare coverage for lung cancer screenings. Brendan, along with some of his Democratic colleagues, introduced the Choose Medicare Act, which would establish a new Medicare program (Medicare Part E) that any individual not already qualified for Medicare or business can opt into. If that wasn’t enough, he also introduced the bipartisan Dietary Supplement Tax Fairness Act, which would allow people to use their health savings accounts to reimburse for out-of-pocket expenses on vitamins or other dietary nutrition purchases.

Jared Golden (D; ME-2)

Jared spent his 2021 working on infrastructure. As a member of the Problem Solvers Caucus, Jared released a detailed bipartisan framework for infrastructure that calls for $1.25 trillion in spending over eight years. For a while, Jared was pretty secretive when it came to his true feelings about Democrats’ large “human infrastructure.” But after progressive groups put pressure on moderates like Jared over delaying a vote on the large Democratic spending package, Jared stood his ground. Jared also caught (a lot) of media attention and hate from Democrats over being the only Democrat to vote against the Build Back Better bill. Jared tried to justify his vote by saying he felt Democrats could “do better”.

Andy Kim (D; NJ-3)

Andy has been focused on our national security this year. Andy was among the first to publicly endorse then-Defense Secretary-designee Lloyd Austin and call on the House to approve a special waiver for his confirmation. As the first Democratic member of Congress of Korean descent, the increase in Asian hate crimes this year left a personal impression on Andy. Andy also introduced the bipartisan National Guard Cybersecurity Support Act, which would give state governors the power to deploy their National Guard to respond to cyber security threats against critical government programs. He teamed up with PP leader Rep. Peter Meijer to introduce the Afghanistan War Commission Act to create a non-partisan and independent commission that would conduct a comprehensive examination of the war on Afghanistan. And, let’s not forget Andy’s moment in the spotlight when a photo of him cleaning up the Capitol Rotunda after the Jan. 6th attacks went viral.

Joe Neguse (D; CO-2)

Joe has had his eyes on the environment this year. Joe partnered with PP leader Nanette Diaz Barragán to introduce a resolution to reaffirm the federal government’s responsibility to provide access to clean drinking water for Native communities. Joe also partnered with a group of bipartisan colleagues to introduce the Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership Act, which would better support forest and grassland restoration projects across public and private lands. Joe also presented three bills to the U.S subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands. Joe passed an amendment through the House that would increase federal funding for wildfire management by $2 million. On the topic of wildfires, Joe released a resource guide on wildfire safety. Joe also attended the Climate Change Conference in Scotland and remains hopeful about the work that the global community can do.

Chris Pappas (D; NH-1)

Chris spent his 2021 working on issues related to veterans. Chris held a Veteran’s town hall centered around mental health. He introduced the PAWS Act, which increases access to service dogs for folks with PTSD. Chris introduced and successfully passed the VA New England Healthcare System’s (VISN 1), to increase the number of vaccinated veterans. Chris was the original co-sponsor of a bill that has passed the House, the bipartisan VA Transparency and Trust Act of 2021, which would require the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to report to Congress on the much-needed emergency funding given to the Department to respond to COVID-19. He also teamed with PP leader Elise Stefanik to introduce legislation that would permanently re-authorize the Highly Rural Veterans Transportation Program. Chris introduced legislation to establish an LGBTQ Veterans Advisory Committee at the VA. Just when you think Chris couldn’t do any more for Vets… he also partnered with PP leader Rep. Tracey Mann to introduce the bipartisan Reaching Every Homeless Veteran Act.

Darren Soto (D; FL-9)

Darren spent his 2021 focusing on immigration. Early on this year, Darren urged Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to be given to Refugees from Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador due to hurricanes that ravaged the countries in late 2020. Darren wrote an op-ed to discuss solutions to reforming our immigration system. In a call with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and GOP state Rep. Rene Plasencia, Darren also made a case for including immigration reform in the next budget reconciliation process.

Eric Swalwell (D; CA-15)

Eric has used his year to dive into the issue of gun control and safety. Since taking office, Eric has made gun violence one of the pillars of his agenda. He noted that by February of this year, more people in the U.S. are killed by gun violence than in other countries during an entire year. Eric sponsored the bipartisan NICS Denial Notification Act, which requires federal law enforcement to notify state authorities within 24 hours when an eligible person tries to purchase a firearm by lying on a background check. After a shooting in Indiana where a gunman legally bought two semi-automatic rifles months after a gun was seized from him over his mental health, Eric tweeted that the 3 step road to preventing tragic situations like these are universal background checks, a federal red flag law, and a ban on assault weapons.

Lauren Underwood (D; IL-14)

Lauren Underwood has had her eyes on healthcare this year. She hosted a virtual series with various health groups and experts, which she turned into videos, so various constituents can access them and understand how the American Rescue Act lowers health plan costs. Lauren introduced a bill that would invest $1 billion in nursing schools to bolster education and address the shortage of qualified healthcare workers. Lauren recently celebrated her first bill signing ceremony and it was for a bill that she introduced! The bipartisan Protecting Moms Who Serve Act is one of 12 bills in the Momnibus package to address the maternal health crisis in America. This is step one out of 12 so we can definitely expect to see more of these signed into law soon! Another key provision in her bill package passed in the House in December with unanimous bipartisan support which is huge!

Jim Banks (R; IN-3)

Jim has had his vision set on the future of the GOP this year. Jim chairs the Republican Study Committee, the largest group of conservatives within the House, making many people think of him as an unofficial leader of the GOP. Jim spoke at the CPAC conference in Florida and caught the attention of national news. He sees the future of the GOP with Trump still ruling the party. After being nominated for the Select Committee to Investigate January 6th by House Minority Leader McCarthy, Jim was rejected by Speaker Pelosi. As one could expect, he wasn’t too happy about this. Pelosi came out and said that Jim was a “participant in the Big Lie” (narrative that Trump won the presidential election). Jim wasn’t too happy about that either.

Matt Gaetz (R; FL-1)

Matt is about as pro-Trump as they come so it would make sense for his 2021 agenda to be centered around the former president. Matt was one of the Republican lawmakers to oppose the certification of the 2020 presidential election results and spoke on the House floor to make that known. Insisting that Trump’s defense team in the impeachment trial was shaping up to be inadequate, Matt said that “if the President called me and wanted me to go defend him on the floor of the Senate, that would be the top priority in my life.” Over the summer, Matt started fundraising off a promise for Trump to become Speaker of the House. Installing Trump as House Speaker was still on Matt’s mind in December, when he said at a press conference that he had spoken to Trump recently about the idea.

Lance Gooden (R; TX-5)

Lance spent his 2021 working on big tech. At the GameStop hearing earlier this year, Lance was one of the politicians who got this… joined progressives Democrats to criticize tech execs and Wall Street giants. Lance introduced the bipartisan Ending Platform Monopolies Act, which looks to effectively restore fairness to the digital marketplace. Lance came out in support of Trump’s decision to sue the Big Tech companies on Twitter. Lance was also made co-chair of the Freedom from Big Tech Caucus, which was introduced this year. In response to the Facebook accusations that the social media platform is harming kids, Lance and his fellow PP leader Sen. Josh Hawley teamed up to introduce a bill that would give parents the ability to hold social media companies accountable if their platform causes a child mental or bodily injury.

Dusty Johnson (R; SD)

Dusty was heavily focused on farming and agriculture this year. Dusty reintroduced his DIRECT Act, which would allow state-inspected (not just federally-inspected) meat to be sold across state lines. Dusty partnered with PP leader Rep. Abigail Spanberger to introduce the bipartisan Butchers Block Act. The USDA announced that it would implement legislation that Dusty sponsored as part of the American Rescue Plan. Dusty was awarded the Outstanding New Member of Congress Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation and South Dakota Farm Bureau for his commitment to farmers and ranchers.

Markwayne Mullin (R; OK-2)

Markwayne spent his year working on energy and the environment. Markwayne is co-chair of the House Energy Action Team (HEAT) and after Biden took office and issued Executive Orders banning new oil and gas leases on federal land, HEAT wasn’t happy. Markwayne joined several of his Republican colleagues in writing a letter to the Secretary of Interior regarding the 60-day suspension of new gas and oil leases on federal lands. In an Environment and Climate Change and Energy Subcommittee hearing, Markwayne talked about the importance of nuclear energy to the U.S. ‘s plan and reducing emissions.

Bryan Steil (R; WI-1)

Bryan spent this year with his eyes on jobs and employment. Early on in 2021, Bryan met with workers in his district who work for the Wisconsin-based companies who had been awarded the Keystone XL pipeline construction contract—which was halted because of one of Biden’s Executive Orders. Bryan toured a Wisconsin business, KANDU Industries, which employs intellectually disabled individuals to help with things like assembly. The business has a special certificate (Section 14C from the Fair Labor Standard Act) that allows them to pay lower wages to their disabled workers based on productivity. Bryan argued to keep the certificate intact. Bryan led a group of his Republican colleagues in launching the Investing in Innovation Initiative, which promotes policies that will strengthen capital markets by supporting small business investment opportunities, inspiring entrepreneurship, and making the United States more competitive internationally.

Lee Zeldin (R; NY-1)

Lee has had his eyes on the NY Governor’s office this year. Earlier in 2021, Lee’s criticism of former Governor Cuomo grew exponentially. Lee raked in $2.5 million in the first ten days after announcing his candidacy and yes… you read that right! Lee secured enough party endorsements to lock in the GOP nomination for Governor and did so by gaining the approval of 30 different Republican Party County Chairs, amounting to around 52% of the state’s party members. Since being in full fundraising mode, Lee has made several comments and votes that show him moving towards the middle of the Republican Party instead of the far-right. It’ll be interesting to see how Lee’s race pans out in 2022!

Kyrsten Sinema (D; AZ)

Kyrsten has had her eyes on infrastructure … and making headlines this year. Kyrsten was one of the 10 senators who introduced the bipartisan $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill. Kyrsten did get the job done, serving as the lead Democrat negotiator on the successfully passed $1.3 trillion infrastructure bill. Krysten did however come under fire from Progressives for not putting her initial support behind the $3.5 trillion spending bill. She eventually supported it and the bill passed along party lines. Kyrsten traveled to the San Luis Port of Entry to talk about her infrastructure bill, which passed with a two-thirds majority in the Senate. She led a roundtable discussion with Transportation Secretary Buttigieg and AZ Senator Mark Kelly in which infrastructure was very much a topic of discussion.

Jake Auchincloss (D; MA-4)

Jake had his vision for the year set on infrastructure. When President Biden proposed his $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill earlier this year, Jake came out swinging saying that Republicans could either get on board or watch Democrats pass one of the most monumental pieces of legislation without them. Ouch! Jake voted for the INVEST in America Act out of his Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as it means nearly $4.4 billion in infrastructure for his state. After the INVEST in America Act passed the House with a slim amount of bipartisan support, Jake applauded the measures he successfully secured for his district and state. The act passed the Senate and was signed into law by President Biden in November.

Sara Jacobs (D; CA-53)

Sara was focused on issues impacting children and families this year. In February, Sara co-sponsored a bill called the American Families Act, which proposed to make the Child Tax Credit fully refundable with an annual credit of $3,000 to $3,600 per child. Sara joined PP leader Ritchie Torres in writing a letter to President Biden urging him to make the expanded Child Tax Credit permanent and monthly. Sara, along with a group of her bipartisan colleagues introduced the Military Child Care Expansion Act, which would equip the Pentagon with new tools to upgrade military child development centers across the country. Sara also recently introduced a bipartisan resolution that calls on the U.S. and international community to prioritize children in their COVID-19 rebuilding efforts. If you missed our interview with her, check it out, it was one of our favorites.

Madison Cawthorn (R; NC-11)

Madison had his eyes on a lot this year but was especially vocal about vaccines. After Biden’s call for door-to-door vaccinations efforts, many right-wing conservatives including Madison jumped at the opportunity to expose the dangers of such a program. In an interview at the annual CPAC event, Madison insisted that if they begin with door-to-door shots, soon they’ll be coming around door-to-door for people’s guns. Madison introduced the Justice For All Businesses Act (JABS Act) which would prevent the Secretary of Labor from enforcing any government mandate requiring employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Peter Meijer (R; MI-3)

Being that Peter is an Army veteran, it makes perfect sense that he’s been focused on issues impacting veterans this year. Peter, along with a group of bipartisan colleagues, introduced a bipartisan bill that would repeal the outdated Authorizations for Use of Military Force, which empowers the executive branch to effectively start a war. Peter also introduced the bipartisan VA Medicinal Cannabis Research Act, which helps to create a new initiative to use cannabis to treat PTSD and other chronic pain ailments. Peter teamed up with PP leader Ritchie Torres to introduce the Combating Veteran Homelessness Act of 2021. Peter also introduced the SERVICE Act, which would direct the justice department to create a grant program for various local law-enforcement agencies to respond to veterans in crisis or emergency.

Jake LaTurner (R; KS-2)

Jake spent his 2021 looking at the issue of abortion. Jake joined 200 of his fellow GOP colleagues in signing a letter forcefully arguing for the renewal of the Hyde amendment, a decades-old ban formed on the funds from federal programs like Medicaid going towards abortions. Jake later took the House floor to defend the Hyde Amendment. Jake furthered his pro-life stance by writing an op-ed in support of his continued quest to overturn Roe v. Wade. Jake lent his name to the controversial Born-Alive Abortion Surviviors Protection Act, which would require healthcare workers to provide just as much life-saving effort to a baby that survives an abortion as it would any other child, with a punishment of prison time if they failed to do so.

Nancy Mace (R; SC-1)

Nancy was specifically focused on veterans this year. Nancy introduced legislation to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to create an outreach program to educate veterans on cyber risks. Nancy also introduced the Veterans CARE Act, which also directs the VA Secretary to conduct research on the use of medical cannabis to treat veterans suffering from PTSD. In addition, she introduced the Military Sexual Trauma Retirement Pay Equity Act, which allows veterans who have been sexually assaulted to receive both their full retirement and disability compensation. She teamed up with PP leader Rep. Sara Jacobs to cosponsor the Ending Veterans Homelessness Act to make the Shallow Subsidy program permanent and more robust. In a final move for veterans and others, Nancy introduced a bill to federally legalize marijuana, which is the first Republican bill introduced on marijuana.

Nicole Malliotakis (R; NY-11)

Nicole Malliotakis had her eyes on infrastructure this year. Nicole was, however, enraged at the Progressive Squad, for holding up the passing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the House. Nicole was one of the 13 Republicans to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill and despite the backlash from those within her party, she stands by her decision. Despite her vote, she managed to stay in Trump’s good graces.

Jon Ossoff (D; GA)

Jon, the youngest member of the Senate, spent his 2021 working on voting rights. After the Georgia state legislature voted to limit ballot access, John wasn’t happy and said the new laws will make absentee voting more restrictive, potentially confuse voters, and give more power to Republican lawmakers. Jon and other Democratic senators introduced the Right to Vote Act, which establishes the first-ever statutory right to vote in federal elections— protecting U.S. citizens from laws that make it harder to cast a ballot.

Nanette Diaz Barragán (D; CA-44)

Nanette had her eyes set on the environment this year and if you did not get a chance check out our interview with her where we talk all about it. Nanette reintroduced the Energy Resilient Communities Act, which will create the first federal program to build 100% clean energy microgrids to power critical infrastructure for communities in the aftermath of natural disasters. Nanette partnered with a bipartisan group of colleagues to introduce legislation to provide a historic one-time $500 million for urban parks. Nanette led a group of 28 Democratic Representatives and Senators to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline during its court-ordered environmental review. She also reintroduced the Outdoors for All Act, a bipartisan bill that would expand outdoor recreational opportunities in urban and low-income communities.

Jason Crow (D; CO-4)

Jason used his year to focus on the military and veterans. Jason introduced the bipartisan Military Spouses Retirement Security Act, which would help spouses of active duty service members save for retirement by expanding their access to retirement plans. Jason served as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan during his time in the military, which helps to explain why he is so eager to find out what went wrong there. He added an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill that calls for a full investigation into the mishaps of the entire 20-year mission in Afghanistan. Jason introduced the Justice-Involved Veterans Support Act to aid incarcerated veterans, many of whom are struggling with mental health issues, alcoholism, and homelessness.

Antonio Delgado (D: NY-19)

Antonio spent his year working on issues impacting veterans. Antonio partnered with fellow PP leader Nancy Mace to introduce the bipartisan VA Peer Support Enhancement for MST Survivors Act, which establishes a peer support program at the Veterans Benefits Administration for survivors of military sexual trauma. Antonio also reintroduced the Military Spouse Hiring Act, bipartisan legislation that incentivizes employers to hire spouses of members of the United States Armed Forces.

Ruben Gallego (D; AZ-7)

Ruben had his eyes on immigration this year. Ruben is the son of Hispanic immigrants, giving him a personal connection to the issue. Ruben was one of a few dozen Congressional leaders to sign a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas calling for ICE to cut ties with local police. Ruben was the original cosponsor of the Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs (ALLIES) Act, a bill designed to expedite the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) process as the U.S withdrew from Afghanistan. Also, he might have a big year in store in 2022 as some Democrats have hinted at running him against Kyrsten Sinema in the Arizona Senate primary.

Josh Harder (D; CA-10)

Josh spent his year working on wildfires. Josh reintroduced the Wildfire Emergency Act, which seeks to reduce fire risk, protect critical infrastructure, and train new fire professionals. Josh put it bluntly saying “when every year is ‘the worst fire year on record,’ we have to do something real to address wildfire safety.” He teamed up with PP leader Jamie Herrera Beutler to send a letter to the U.S. Forest Service Chief, requesting that the department expand incentives to retain and recruit federal firefighters. Josh joined the bipartisan Wildfire Caucus with the hope of helping his California constituents with this ongoing threat. He pushed to lift a pay cap that is impacting more than 500 firefighters and first responders.

Ro Khanna (D; CA-17)

Ro set his vision on cybersecurity this year. Ro partnered with PP leader Nancy Mace to introduce and successfully pass a bipartisan bill that looks to bolster our cybersecurity workforce in order to better meet the threats we face today. Ro introduced the 21st Century Jobs Act, which would allocate $900 billion in R&D funding for emerging technologies like cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology. Ro says this huge technology investment will spread digital opportunities across the U.S. to create regional centers for job creation and industries of the future.

Mike Levin (D; CA-49)

Mike spent his year working on issues impacting veterans. Mike reintroduced his bipartisan Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act of 2021 with PP leader Rep. Nancy Mace to provide parity in GI Bill benefits for members of the National Guard and Reserve. Mike and a bipartisan group of colleagues introduced the Supporting Families of the Fallen Act to increase the maximum life insurance coverage for service members and veterans. In addition, Mike and a group of bipartisan colleagues reintroduced the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach Act, which would authorize federal funding for county veteran service officers who are oftentimes the best resource to help veterans and their families understand resources at their disposal, file benefit claims, and represent veterans in VA hearings. Additionally, let us not forget Mike’s unwavering support for various environmental initiatives as well!

Stephanie Murphy (D; FL-7)

Stephanie had her eyes on infrastructure this year. Stephanie was not happy with Speaker Pelosi when she decided to postpone the vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. As the leader of the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, Stephanie felt as though this delay had the potential to harm future negotiations and further complicate President Biden’s agenda. Stephanie came into the spotlight as she became an unofficial spokesperson for the centrist Democratic POV, especially on the infrastructure bill battle. Stephanie was interestingly one of the few House Democrats who wanted to separate the vote between the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act.

Ilhan Omar (D; MN-5)

Ilhan has had her focus on several issues this year but has been especially vocal about the need for criminal justice reform. Ilhan introduced a package of bills to address police brutality in the misuse of force. The most significant piece of legislation that Ilhan dealt with would establish an independent federal agency to investigate deaths that happened under police custody, officer-involved shootings, and uses of force that resulted in severe bodily injury. Ilhan and a Democratic colleague cosponsored the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2021 (MORE) to eliminate federal criminal penalties, clear criminal records, and create social equity programs.

Elissa Slotkin (D; MI-8)

Elissa was incredibly focused on our national security this year. Elissa is the Chairwoman of the Intelligence & Counterterrorism Subcommittee within the House Committee on Homeland Security. One of her main goals this year was to focus on the rise of domestic terrorism. She believes domestic terrorism is the “greatest threat to our national security.” Elissa’s K-12 Cybersecurity Act was signed into law, a bipartisan bill that helps to protect schools from emerging cyber threats. After a recent school shooting in Michigan that left four students dead, Elissa spoke on the House floor and led a moment of silence for the students. She pleaded with other lawmakers to actually do something.

Haley Stevens (D; MI-11)

Haley spent her 2021 working on issues involving manufacturing. Haley introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen U.S. supply chains readiness and help American companies respond to future disruptions. Haley and a group of bipartisan colleagues proposed the creation of an Office of Manufacturing and Industrial Innovation Policy to advise the president. Haley and PP leader Rep. Peter Meijer teamed up to introduce legislation that will make major investments in Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) Programs. In addition, Haley and several others pressed Speaker Pelosi to quickly pass the CHIPS Act, which would inject about $2 billion in funding to domestic chip manufacturers as well as provide tax incentives for them to ramp up production quickly.

Kelly Armstrong (R; ND)­

Kelly had his mind on criminal justice reform this year. Kelly and a group of bipartisan Representatives and Senators introduced the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act of 2021, which would prohibit judges from increasing sentences based on conduct for which the defendant has already been acquitted by a jury. He spoke about the EQUAL Act, which would eliminate the 18:1 penalty difference between crack and powder cocaine in federal sentencing guidelines. Kelly is one of only two Republicans to sign onto this bill and he referenced his previous work as a defense attorney and his experience working with law enforcement.

Dan Crenshaw (R; TX-2)

Dan was extremely vocal about COVID-19 policies this year. Dan introduced the End Lockdowns Now Act, which would require states and localities to submit economic reopening plans in order to qualify for Covid relief money. Dan’s a fan of Twitter and had a lot to say… or tweet about the CDC-suggested mask mandate this summer. Dan joined a group of other Republican lawmakers to introduce the Prevent Unconstitutional Vaccine Mandates for Interstate Commerce Act, which would prevent seven federal agencies like the Department of Transportation from enforcing vaccine requirements for Americans engaging in interstate commerce and travel.

Anthony Gonzalez (R; OH-16)

Anthony had his eyes on nuclear energy this year. Anthony introduced a bill to enhance the educational and research capabilities of nuclear science engineering, to meet the workforce needs in the nuclear industry, and to accelerate the advancement of nuclear technologies. He is one of the strongest proponents of nuclear energy in Congress and his legislative agenda reflects that. He introduced legislation that would spur innovation and increase private sector investment in advanced nuclear reactor technologies by eliminating review fees that can reach tens of millions of dollars. Check out episode 8 of our Political Playlist Happy Hour podcast where we revisited an interview we did with Anthony about his time in Congress!

Trey Hollingsworth (R; IN-9)

Trey kept an eye out for senior citizens this year. Trey introduced a bipartisan bill (which passed the House with flying colors) that would establish a ‘Senior Investor Task Force’ within the SEC to identify problems that senior investors might encounter. Trey and his colleagues looked to restore protections under the longstanding Age Discrimination Employment Act. Trey is also one of the few politicians for term limits so we are interested to see if he dedicates some of his 2022 time to this issue.

Brian Mast (R; FL-18)

Brian spent his 2021 focusing on the environment. Brian reintroduced the South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act which would amend existing federal law aimed at combating harmful algal blooms. Brian joined nearly every member of Florida’s congressional delegation in calling for the USS Bonhomme Richard to be repurposed as an artificial reef off our coast. He introduced the bipartisan Local Water Protection Act which aims to reduce water pollution in communities across our country. He offered an amendment to this year’s Energy and Water Appropriations bill that would increase funding for South Florida Ecosystem Restoration to $725 million for 2022.

Elise Stefanik (R; NY-21)

Elise worked on a lot this year as the GOP’s No. 3 leader in the House but was specifically focused on issues impacting children and families. Elise introduced the Family Child Care Networks Act, which would allow states to repurpose funds from the American Rescue Plan and use them to establish Family Child Care Networks. Last year, Elise teamed up with fellow PP leader Josh Harder and secured $10 million in grants for education in rural communities. Recently, they wrote to Secretary of Education Cardona to release the funds for the grants ASAP. Rural students have faced unique challenges throughout the pandemic and these grants will without a doubt spur innovation, improve access to higher education, and prepare students for credentials to step into high-demand jobs.

William Timmons (R; SC-4)

William spent his 2021 working to modernize Congress. William serves as Vice-chairman of the Select Committee of Modernization of Congress to make our government work better. The committee held a big meeting over the summer to discuss the functionality of Congress. A big hot-button issue for discussion on the committee has been staff retention. It’s no surprise that it’s hard to keep staff on the Hill but increasing salaries might get them to stay! A recent study showing that House staffers are averaged to work over 50-hour weeks surprised William as he believed the data would balance out when their Congressperson was in the district, which wasn’t what the data showed.

Mondaire Jones (D; NY-17)

Mondaire used this year to advocate for voting rights. Mondaire and PP leader Cori Bush introduced an amendment to H.R 1, the For the People Act, which would grant voting rights to convicted felons and allow them to vote from prison. The amendment failed (by a landslide) but activists are hopeful that this was the beginning of the debate over voting rights for prisoners. Mondaire also managed to get his voting rights bill with fellow PP leader Ruben Gallego incorporated into the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Josh Hawley (R; MO)

Josh has his mind on immigration reform this year. He wrote a letter to the president imploring him to keep the freeze on temporary foreign workers in place until the national unemployment numbers further recover. Josh joined a group of Republican senators to introduce the Securing the Homeland from International Entrants with Life-threatening Diseases (SHIELD) Act to codify the Trump administration’s public health order under Title 42 that required U.S. border officials to promptly remove illegal immigrants to stop the spread of COVID-19. Josh and a group of Republican senators wrote a letter to the DHS Secretary arguing that President Biden‘s new border policies make it difficult for ICE officers to make arrests in the field, leading to a sharp drop in the number of apprehension and arrests.

Nikema Williams (D; GA-5)

Nikema had her mind on voting rights this year. Nikema had some harsh words for Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp after he released a statement refuting Democrat claims that the restrictive Georgia voting laws are akin to those from the Jim Crow era. As a result, she doubled down on efforts to pass H.R. 1, the Voting Rights Act. Nikema introduced the Stay In Line To Vote Act, which targets voter suppression tactics by allowing food and drink to be provided to voters while standing in line. She also introduced the Move Registration Act, which would make it easier to register to vote as we change residences. She cosponsored the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act that would reinstate federal oversight of states with a history of voting rights violations, which was lost after a 2013 Supreme Court decision.

Lauren Boebert (R: CO-3)

None of us are surprised that Lauren was focusing on guns and 2nd Amendment protection this year. Two hours after 10 people were fatally shot at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, Lauren’s campaign sent an email with the subject line “I told BETO ‘HELL NO’ to taking our guns. Now we need to tell Joe Biden.” However, Lauren is not one to care about controversy so this probably didn’t phase her at all. Lauren was invited to attend a 2nd Amendment rally by PP leader August Pfluger in his district to talk about the importance of gun rights and criticize Democrats’ attempts at gun control legislation. Lauren recently shared a photo of her kids posing for a Christmas photo with guns and responded to an SNL sketch making fun of her.

Tracey Mann (R; KS-1)

Tracey spent his 2021 working on issues involving agriculture. Tracey sits on the House Committee of Agriculture. He was also selected to serve on two different agricultural subcommittees to bring his experience as a self-proclaimed ‘farm boy’ to aid farmers in Kansas and across the country. He led an overwhelmingly bipartisan coalition to introduce a resolution honoring National FFA, which seeks to promote agricultural education in middle school and high school students across the country. The resolution designates a National FFA Week in February, highlighting the organization’s creation of career opportunities for young people. Tracey recently established a bipartisan caucus in the House called the FFA Caucus to help foster the next generation of agricultural leaders and students pursuing agriculture, food, and the related sciences.

Andrew Garbarino (R; NY-2)

Andrew had his eyes on cybersecurity this year. Andrew is the Ranking Member on the House Homeland Security Committee which earlier this year, approved the DHS Industrial Control Systems Capability Enhancement Act of 2021. Andrew joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce a bill that would create a grant program for state and local governments to beef up their cybersecurity. Andrew also introduced the Small Business Cybersecurity Training Act, which would help Small Business Development Centers become better trained to assist small businesses with cybersecurity and strategy needs.

Julia Letlow (R; LA-5)

After officially being sworn into office this April, Julia used her first year in office to focus on parents and education. Julia introduced a bill that would enact a Parent’s Bill of Rights. This legislation comes after the nationwide surge of disagreements between parents and their children’s school boards. This bill seemed to fall directly in response to Republican Glenn Youngkin’s surprise gubernatorial win in Virginia that emerged from a campaign heavily focused on education. Julia’s bill has over 100 Republican co-sponsors which isn’t too shabby. It’ll be interesting to see how the issue of parent choice and education pans out in next year’s midterm elections.