Barbara Boxer

With an approval rating of 17 percent, the 114th Congress is one of the most unpopular in U.S. history. From threats of a government shutdown to extensive gridlock, Congress has been widely criticized on both sides of the aisle.

There are, however, some members who stand out from the pack for their leadership in the House and Senate. InsideGov decided to take a closer look at the top leaders in Congress from the 2015 legislative year.

Using data from GovTrack, InsideGov ranked the current members of Congress in terms of their committee leadership positions (i.e. chairperson or ranking member). GovTrack assigns five points for each full committee leadership position and one point for each subcommittee leadership position. As a result, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., did not make this list even though they have key leadership roles.

Committees serve many important roles in Congress and are an essential part of the lawmaking process. Each political party assigns committee seats and chooses who serves in the leadership positions. Committees are generally led by a chairperson (who is selected by the majority party) and a ranking member (who is selected by the minority party).

Note that these rankings reflect only the committee positions of members of Congress, not the number of bills they may have passed. In the event of a tie, senators are ranked higher than representatives. When ties cannot be broken by office type, members of Congress are ordered by the number of years they have served in their current role and lastly by alphabetical order.

#21. Rep. Trey Gowdy

Score: 6

A vocal opponent of President Obama’s immigration policies, Rep. Gowdy currently serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. He is also chairman of the House’s Select Committee on Benghazi, which has investigated the events surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack.

#20. Rep. Todd Rokita

Score: 6

During his time in the House, Rep. Rokita has largely worked on domestic issues, ranging from transportation infrastructure to education policy. He serves as the vice chairman of the House Committee on the Budget and chairman on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education.

#19. Rep. Virginia Foxx

Score: 6

Rep. Foxx has represented North Carolina’s 5th District for over 11 years. In 2015, she served as vice chairman of the House Committee on Rules and chairman of the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training.

#18. Rep. Randy Neugebauer

Score: 6

In the 2015 legislative year, Rep. Neugebauer was a member of seven different subcommittees, although his highest leadership position was as vice chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture.

#17. Rep. Nita M. Lowey

Score: 6

Rep. Lowey serves as the ranking member of the House Committee on Appropriations. Because it allocates how the U.S. government budgets its money, appropriations is viewed as one of the most powerful committees in Congress.

#16. Rep. Louise McIntosh Slaughter

Score: 6

Rep. Slaughter has represented the same area in New York since 1987, although the district has been re-numbered multiple times. In 2015, she was the ranking member of the House Committee on Rules and a ranking member of one of its subcommittees.

#15. Rep. Christopher H. Smith

Score: 6

Rep. Smith has focused on international affairs during his time in Congress, serving as chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe and chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Heath, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.

#14. Rep. Charles W. Dent

Score: 7

As chairman of the House Committee on Ethics, Rep. Dent helps establish the rules of conduct for the House and launches investigations into whether representatives have violated these rules.

#13. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen

Score: 7

Sen. Shaheen sits on 11 subcommittees and is the ranking member of two: the Subcommittee on Department of Homeland Security and the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation. She is also the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

#12. Sen. John Barrasso

Score: 7

According to GovTrack, Sen. Barrasso has the lowest rank of all senators when it comes to joining bipartisan bills. He does, however, rank high in terms of committee positions, serving as chairman on one full committee and two subcommittees.

#11. Sen. Roger F. Wicker

Score: 7

The Mississippi senator currently sits on a variety of committees, ranging from armed services to environment and public works. Most notably, he is co-chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission.

#10. Sen. Ron Wyden

Score: 7

Sen. Wyden has made natural resource management one of his top priorities in office. His highest leadership position is as ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance.

#9. Rep. Kevin Brady

Score: 10

Rep. Brady succeeded Speaker Paul Ryan as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the U.S. tax code. The Texas congressman also serves as chair of the Joint Economic Committee, further solidifying his influence over domestic economic policy.

#8. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings

Score: 10

Rep. Cummings is the ranking member of two full committees, including the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House’s Benghazi committee.

#7. Sen. Chuck Grassley

Score: 10

The senior senator from Iowa, Chuck Grassley ranks third highest among all senators when it comes to getting cosponsors for his bills and resolutions. As chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Grassley also presides over the hearings of any Supreme Court nominees.

#6. Sen. Orrin G. Hatch

Score: 10

As the longest-serving Republican senator, Orrin Hatch is currently the president pro tempore of the Senate, making him the second highest-ranking official in the Senate. He also serves as chair on the Joint Committee on Taxation and the Senate Committee on Finance.

#5. Rep. Gregg Harper

Score: 11

Along with Rep. Candice Miller, Rep. Harper ranks first among all representatives when it comes to a committee leadership score. He serves as chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library and vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing, two of the oldest committees in U.S. history.

#4. Rep. Candice S. Miller

Score: 11

Rep. Miller had a busy year in 2015. In addition to chairing two full committees and one subcommittee, she also introduced 15 bills and resolutions.

#3. Sen. Johnny Isakson

Score: 11

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, Sen. Isakson has promised sweeping reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs. He also chairs the influential ethics committee.

#2. Sen. Barbara Boxer

Score: 12

Sen. Boxer has been a persistent force in national politics for over 30 years. Among her most important leadership roles in the Senate is her position as ranking member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

#1. Sen. Roy Blunt

Score: 16

With leadership positions on three full committees and one subcommittee, Sen. Blunt takes the top spot. The Missouri senator currently serves as chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library, the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration and the Subcommittee on Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies. He’s the vice chairman of the Joint Committee on Printing.

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