Casey Strikes Out Looking

Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey’s streak of unsuccessful legislation extends more than five years

Bob Casey / Wikimedia Commons
August 2, 2012

Democratic Pennsylvania senator Bob Casey has sponsored 199 bills in the 112th Congress, and not a single one has become law.

Casey has now sponsored 324 consecutive bills that have not been enacted into law, a streak dating back to April 20, 2007—just three months after he took office following a 2006 electoral victory over Rick Santorum.

It is unclear whether Casey holds, or is approaching, the individual record for most consecutive failed bills sponsored by a senator.

"That is not an issue that we track," Betty Koed, associate historian at the U.S. Senate Historical Office, told the Free Beacon.

Casey has sponsored only one bill in the 112th Congress that passed the Senate—the Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act. That bill did not pass the House.

Despite his losing streak in sponsoring bills, Casey has sponsored 11 symbolic resolutions in the 112th Congress that have passed the Senate.

Casey’s successful resolutions have included supporting the ideals of Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Week, designating a "National Hunger Awareness Day," expressing support for the designation of a "National Day on Writing," commending the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, and recognizing the American Revolution Center for its efforts in promoting Revolutionary War history.

Casey also passed resolutions commending disability assistance organization Achieva on its 60th anniversary, congratulating Pennsylvania State University’s charity "dance marathon," and affirming the importance of exercise and physical activity as key components of a healthy lifestyle.

In the 111th Congress, Casey sponsored 98 bills that failed to become law, but managed to pass 12 symbolic Senate resolutions, including resolutions congratulating the Pittsburgh’s Penguins and Steelers on their respective championships and honoring the life of artist Andrew Wyeth.

In the 110th Congress, Casey sponsored 27 bills that failed to become law. He sponsored 10 Senate resolutions, including resolutions celebrating the first female victor in the Siemens Competition in math, science, and technology, and recognizing the 40th anniversary of the resolution that established the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs.

"Senator Casey's record speaks for itself: zero," Megan Piwowar, spokeswoman for the campaign of Casey’s 2012 Republican challenger Tom Smith, told the Free Beacon.

"Senator Zero has done nothing to create jobs for Pennsylvanians. Rather, he has simply served as a rubber stamp for failed Obama policies like the health care takeover, tax hikes and a war on coal," Piwowar said.

"I don’t think Bob Casey had a lot of legislative experience, and I think that’s showing. Clearly, he’s not being taken seriously" on Capitol Hill, Pennsylvania state representative Scott Boyd said. "It’s a loss for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Casey’s history of failure raises questions about his effectiveness as a senator, in light of statements he made during the 2006 campaign.

"When you have two politicians in Washington that agree 98 percent of the time, one of them is really not necessary. We could have a machine have that kind of votes," Casey said in a Meet the Press debate with Santorum in 2006.

Casey has voted with Democrats 93 percent of the time in the 112th Congress, 97 percent of the time in the 111th Congress, and 94 percent of the time in the 110th Congress, according to the Washington Post.

Casey supported President Obama 93 percent of the time in 2011, 98 percent of the time in 2010, and 97 percent of the time in 2009, according to CQ Roll Call.

"He’s pretty much delegated to being a follower," Rep. Boyd said.

Satisfied with Casey’s level of effectiveness at work, the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO began airing pro-Casey television ads in December 2011.

"Sometimes he operates quietly and not out on the forefront and we thought it was time people recognized the good work he’s doing," Pennsylvania AFL-CIO president Rick Bloomingdale told a reporter in December 2011.

Many voters in Pennsylvania seem to be souring on Casey, endangering the Democrat’s re-election chances.

Smith, a former coal company owner, has pulled to within 10 points of Casey (46 to 36 percent), according to the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling. Smith previously trailed by 16 points.

Unknown spring manufacturer Joe Vodvarka gained 133,683 votes (19.1 percent) in the Democratic Senate primary against Casey this summer. Vodvarka reportedly raised less than $1,400 for his campaign.

"I got 28 percent of the vote in Allegheny County. I was in the 20s in the counties all around Allegheny. I got almost 20 percent statewide. And no one knew what I stood for and no one ever heard of me!" Vodvarka told the Free Beacon.

Senator Casey’s Washington, D.C., office did not return a request for comment.

Published under: Bob Casey , Congress