by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
With millions of Instagram followers, celebrity status in popular culture, and a flair for headline-grabbing controversy, members of the so-called Squad have become some of the most recognizable faces in Congress.
Whether that has translated to an effective presence in Congress is a more complicated matter.
The nine liberal members of the Squad have created an informal alliance dedicated to pushing far-left policies that, at times, have proved too radical for the rest of the Democratic conference.
Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) created the Squad after their victories in the 2018 election.
Since then, Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Summer Lee (D-PA), Greg Casar (D-TX), and Delia Ramirez (D-IL) have joined their ranks and helped to grow it into a highly visible influence within the Democratic conference.
That influence has not always led directly to legislative accomplishments, however.
No member of the Squad broke into the ranks of the top five most active House Democrats in the last Congress, according to data analyzed by Leadership Connect, nor did any Squad member top the list of most active members of the House Progressive Caucus, in which every Squad member is also included.
No bill sponsored by a member of the Squad passed both chambers to become law in the 117th Congress, according to that analysis.
In the 116th Congress, which ran from 2019 through 2020, lawmakers accomplished little overall.
The Pew Research Center described the 116th as “one of the least legislatively productive Congresses of the past five decades.”
Squad members were among the least effective lawmakers even within that group.
Omar, for example, ranked 214th out of 240 Democrats in the Center for Effective Lawmaking’s analysis of member effectiveness.