A think tank founded by former U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar and a leading university have released its rankings of bipartisanship in Congress, and U.S. Rep. John Katko is near the top of the list.
Katko, R-Camillus, is ranked as the seventh-most bipartisan member of Congress in the annual index released by the Lugar Center and Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy. He was first among the New York delegation and fourth among Republican members.
The Lugar Center and McCourt School use bill sponsorships and co-sponsorships as a measure of how bipartisan a member is. Katko has introduced 23 bills in the current Congress and each of the measures has at least one Democratic cosponsor.
Katko has cosponsored 238 bills in the House, some of which have been introduced by Democratic members.
The Lugar Center and McCourt School explained why it uses bill sponsorships and cosponsorships. The bills a member sponsors or cosponsors reveals "partisan tendencies," according to a summary published on the Lugar Center's website.
"Members' voting decisions are often contextual and can be influenced by parliamentary circumstances," the center wrote. "Sponsorships and co-sponsorships, in contrast, exist as very carefully considered declarations of where a legislator stands on an issue."
Since entering Congress in 2015, Katko committed to introducing bills that would attract Democratic support. Whenever he sponsors a bill, he seeks at least one Democratic original cosponsor to join him.
The bipartisan index is one of several assessments of members' voting records. Other measurements haven't been so kind to Katko. FiveThirtyEight's rating indicates Katko votes with President Donald Trump's position 91.4 percent of the time.
Katko's Democratic foes have used the FiveThirtyEight score to dispute whether he's a moderate Republican, as he has claimed on the campaign trail and throughout his congressional tenure.
But The Lugar Center-McCourt School Bipartisan Index has recognized Katko's legislative work. In 2015, he was ranked as the 30th-most bipartisan member of Congress. By the end of 2016, he improved to 12th in the rankings.
Katko highlighted his legislative record in the 115th Congress. The House has passed 10 of his bills and two have been signed into law by President Trump.
"I have consistently worked to be an independent voice for central New York in Congress," Katko said in a statement. "That means working across party lines to achieve results. I truly believe that by working together we can achieve more, and my record in Congress reflects that."