How Lawmakers Voted on Our Civil and Human Rights Priorities During the 117th Congress

This week, we released our scores for every member of Congress for the 117th Congress — documenting how lawmakers voted on our civil and human rights priorities.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has issued a Voting Record for every Congress since 1969 to be a tool for public education and to help readers understand the records of their elected officials on key civil and human rights issues. Crucially, our Voting Record is neither an endorsement nor condemnation of any member of Congress and represents just a sample of votes taken.

Our Voting Record for the 117th Congress examined 31 House of Representatives and 67 Senate votes taken by members of Congress from January 2021 through September 2022. Our scores address civil rights issues including the census, voting rights, economic justice, education, workers’ rights, health care access, immigration, key judicial and executive branch nominations, and more. Overall, 222 House members and 48 senators supported our positions on 95 percent or more of the votes included in the report.

In many ways, the votes taken by representatives and senators looked very different: While the House passed a slew of civil and human rights bills, more than three quarters of the votes we scored in the Senate were taken on the confirmation of executive (19) and judicial (32) nominees — including civil rights champions Vanita Gupta and Kristen Clarke to key positions at the Department of Justice, civil rights lawyers like Myrna Pérez and Holly Thomas to federal circuit courts, and Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson to serve as the nation’s first Black woman and first former public defender on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Just 12 of the votes — relating to seven bills — were final passage votes on legislation that was ultimately signed into law. Those seven measures included the American Rescue Plan Act, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, two Congressional Review Act resolutions that undid Trump-era regulations, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, and a version of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.

As the Senate worked to confirm qualified and diverse nominees to important positions in the executive branch and on our federal courts, Republicans used Senate procedures to block the consideration of voting rights and other legislation passed by the House. By the end of the Congress, well over a dozen civil rights bills passed by the House remained languishing in the upper chamber. This includes legislation to protect LGBTQ people against discrimination, provide stability to immigrant youth, close the gender pay gap, strengthen legal protections for pregnant workers, ensure access to abortion, make DC the 51st state, end the federal criminalization of marijuana, and much more.

Some of this legislation is already bipartisan and should come up for a vote in the Senate before the year ends. The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, for example, passed the House by a vote of 315-100, with 99 House Republicans voting for the measure. In August 2021, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced the bill by a bipartisan vote of 19-2, but it still awaits a vote by the full Senate.

At the end of the 117th Congress, many priorities of our civil and human rights coalition — from voting rights to justice reform to economic justice — remain incomplete. We will continue to fight until all of our priorities are a reality because this is how we create a more just society.

To see how your members of Congress scored, view our Voting Record for the 117th Congress here.