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IN THE NEWS: Non-partisan fact checker verifies claims of Joe’s legislative effectiveness in the Senate

Joe Donnelly has worked in a bipartisan way to cut through gridlock in Congress and deliver real legislative results for everyday Hoosiers – and you don’t have to take our word for it.

PolitiFact yesterday examined Joe’s claim that 43 of his Senate legislative proposals have been signed into law, including 21 during the Trump Administration alone – and found it “mostly true,” writing that “Donnelly co-sponsored bills, wrote amendments and crafted language that made its way into 43 laws during his single Senate term.” While Republicans in Washington have tried to distort Joe’s record and poke holes in his history as an effective worker for Indiana, their claims simply don’t hold up.

From PolitiFact: The facts behind Joe Donnelly's Senate effectiveness

Joe Donnelly, incumbent senator running for re-election in Indiana, touted his effective lawmaking during a seven-day campaign trip around the state.

"43 of Joe’s legislative proposals have become law, including 21 since President Trump took office," an Aug. 8 press release from the Donnelly campaign read.

Language from Donnelly’s bills, and from amendments he proposed, have also made their way into law, mostly through annual budget acts. In all, these add up to 43 total…

For example, Donnelly introduced a bill in 2013 to improve suicide prevention efforts in the military. The bill didn’t get far on its own, but Donnelly got the proposal passed in the National Defense Authorization Act in 2014 as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

More recently, Donnelly helped author Right to Try, a bill aimed at getting drugs that had not been FDA-approved to terminally ill patients. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., was the sponsor of the bill, so Donnelly didn’t get that credit on Congress.gov — but Johnson gave it to him at a press conference.

"My primary co-sponsor, Sen. Donnelly, was a stalwart," Johnson said. "This would not have happened without Joe Donnelly."

Experts told us being in the minority in a divided Congress makes it harder for Donnelly to have gotten much passed anyway…

"As you can see, passing the version he sponsors would let him claim credit easily — incorporating it elsewhere would not," said Corrine McConnaughy, political science professor at George Washington University. "Partisans busy undermining each other absolutely may seek ways to prevent credit-claiming by the other party's members."

That said, Donnelly has demonstrated willingness to cross the aisle.

The Lugar Center's Bipartisan Index (named for former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.) measures the frequency with which a member gets co-sponsors for their bills from the other party and the frequency with which they co-sponsor bills introduced by the other party. They ranked Donnelly fourth among senators and first among Democratic senators.

Our ruling
Donnelly’s campaign said, "43 of Joe’s legislative proposals have become law, including 21 since President Trump took office."

None of those were the bills he sponsored on his own that became law. But in a gridlocked Congress, that’s not unusual for a senator in the minority. Instead, Donnelly co-sponsored bills, wrote amendments and crafted language that made its way into 43 laws during his single Senate term.

We rate this statement Mostly True.

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