A new report this week ranks the effectiveness of individual members of Congress and it turns out that a Texas Republican is at the top of the list.
When President Joe Biden and some Uvalde, Texas, residents gathered at the White House to celebrate the passage of the first gun safety law in nearly 30 years, Republican Sen. John Cornyn joined them, too.
Cornyn was a lead negotiator of that legislation and several other bipartisan bills passed in the last Congress, including making Juneteenth a federal holiday and enhancing security for Supreme Court justices.
"He put forward 102 bills, you know, 23 of those directly passed the Senate, 15 became law, and for average senators, that's more like two become law," said Craig Volden, co-director of the Center for Effective Lawmaking. "In addition, he was able to take the language from 10 of his other bills and find ways to incorporate those in legislative vehicles that were moving forward."
Cornyn was scored as the most effective Republican senator in a new study released by the Center for Effective Lawmaking this week.
The joint initiative by the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University considered over a dozen factors, including committee votes and legislative significance in ranking the effectiveness of each senator and representative.
Cornyn, who has been in Congress since 2002, was ranked the second most effective senator, behind Democratic Sen. Gary Peters of Michigan.
"That was very surprising for us is seeing minority party members do so well compared to majority party members," said Volden, who is also a professor of public policy and politics at the University of Virginia. "The idea that the minority party members, if they're working hard, and finding ideas that resonate with both parties, can get a lot done is a different perspective on how Congress works."
Republican strategist Hans Klingler, who has worked for Texans in Congress, says he's not surprised by Cornyn's high ranking. Klinger said he believes lawmakers decide early on whether they “are legislators or they’re communicators.”
"Texas has been very blessed for many, many, many decades, to have legislators from both parties who do not view compromise as a dirty word," Klingler told Spectrum News.
"They view it as a way to move Texas as a whole forward now, to be sure, there are there are partisan, you know, partisan issues that you know, there will never be compromise," he added.
Compromise, though, has not always been welcomed by some members of his own party. Cornyn was booed at the Texas GOP convention last summer for his gun safety law negotiations role. Cornyn reportedly responded that he's never given in to mobs, and just last week, he led a bipartisan delegation to Mexico City to talk about the border and the fentanyl crisis.
"Very rarely does the attitude or mood on the floor of the Republican state convention necessarily dictate how an election is going to go," said Klingler, a former senior staff member of the Republican Party of Texas. "I do not think that Sen. John Cornyn looks at anything through that lens solely."
Cornyn was not available for an interview, but in a statement, he said: "Despite the partisanship that often gripped this chamber last Congress, we managed to actually accomplish quite a bit on behalf of the American people."
The senior senator from Texas is up for re-election in 2026.