Read our 2017 Report Card for Schakowsky.
Schakowsky is shown as a purple triangle ▲ in our ideology-leadership chart below. Each dot is a member of the House of Representatives positioned according to our liberal–conservative ideology score (left to right) and our leadership score (leaders are toward the top).
The chart is based on the bills Schakowsky has sponsored and cosponsored. See full analysis methodology.
Ratings from Advocacy Organizations
Janice “Jan” Schakowsky sits on the following committees:
Schakowsky was the primary sponsor of 3 bills that were enacted:
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We consider a bill enacted if one of the following is true: a) it is enacted itself, b) it has a companion bill in the other chamber (as identified by Congress) which was enacted, or c) if about one third or more of its provisions were incorporated into bills that were enacted (as determined by an automated text analysis, applicable beginning with bills in the 110th Congress).
Schakowsky sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Health (48%)Taxation (17%)International Affairs (7%)Transportation and Public Works (7%)Commerce (7%)Environmental Protection (6%)
Some of Schakowsky’s most recently sponsored bills include...
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|Schakowsky’s Vote||Vote Description|
|Nay||H.R. 1695: Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017|
Apr 26, 2017. Passed 378/48.
This bill would change the appointment process for the head of the U.S. Copyright Office, known as the Register of Copyrights. Currently the Register of Copyrights is hired by the Librarian of Congress (who is the head of the Library of Congress). This bill would ...
|No||H.R. 3038: Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015, Part II|
Jul 15, 2015. Passed 312/119.
|No||H.R. 2146: Defending Public Safety Employees’ Retirement Act|
Jun 18, 2015. Passed 218/208.
This vote made H.R. 2146 the vehicle for passage of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal currently being negotiated. H.R. 2146 was originally introduced as a bill to address issues with retirement funds of federal law enforcement officers and firefighters. ...
|Nay||H.R. 2048: Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ensuring Effective Discipline Over Monitoring Act of 2015|
May 13, 2015. Passed 338/88.
The USA Freedom Act (H.R. 2048, Pub.L. 114–23) is a U.S. law enacted on June 2, 2015 that restored in modified form several provisions of the Patriot Act, which had expired the day before. The act imposes some new limits on the bulk collection of ...
|Nay||H.R. 2: Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015|
Mar 26, 2015. Passed 392/37.
Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), (H.R. 2, Pub.L. 114–10) commonly called the Permanent Doc Fix, is a law that establishes a new way to pay doctors who treat Medicare patients, revising the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. It reform is the ...
|No||H.R. 5771 (113th): Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014|
Dec 3, 2014. Passed 378/46.
|Aye||H.J.Res. 124 (113th): Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015|
Sep 17, 2014. Passed 319/108.
|Aye||H.R. 1249 (112th): Leahy-Smith America Invents Act|
Jun 23, 2011. Passed 304/117.
The Leahy–Smith America Invents Act (AIA) is a United States federal statute that was passed by Congress and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on September 16, 2011. The law represents the most significant change to the U.S. patent system since 1952, and ...
|Nay||H.R. 6707 (110th): Taking Responsible Action for Community Safety Act|
Sep 27, 2008. Failed 243/175.
|No||H.Res. 801 (110th): Providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3688) to implement the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.|
Nov 7, 2007. Passed 349/55.
From Jan 1999 to Mar 2018, Schakowsky missed 279 of 13,122 roll call votes, which is 2.1%. This is on par with the median of 2.3% among the lifetime records of representatives currently serving. The chart below reports missed votes over time.
Show the numbers...
|Time Period||Votes Eligible||Missed Votes||Percent||Percentile|
The information on this page is originally sourced from a variety of materials, including:
Janice “Jan” Schakowsky is pronounced:
JA-nus // shuh-KOW-skee
The letters stand for sounds according to the following table:
|Letter||Sounds As In|
Capital letters indicate a stressed syllable.
- Democratic Member of Congress
- Member of the radical Progressive Caucus
- Co-sponsored a bill to ease trade restrictions against Communist Cuba
Jan Schakowsky was born in Chicago on May 26, 1944 and was raised in that city's Rogers Park section. After graduating from the University of Illinois in 1965 with a BS in elementary education, she worked for two years as a schoolteacher in the Head Start program. In 1969 Schakowsky established National Consumers Unite, a consumer-advocacy group that led a campaign to imprint freshness dates on food packaging in stores. From 1976-85 she was a director of the Illinois Public Action Council, another consumer-advocacy organization. And from 1985-90 she served as executive director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens.
Schakowsky has had close ties to the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and its predecessors since the 1970s. In early 1983 she wrote an article for the DSA publication Chicago Socialist. In 1986, DSA News twice identified her as a member of DSA. In May 2000, at Chicago DSA's annual Eugene Debs/Norman Thomas/Michael Harrington dinner banquet (named in honor of three prominent American socialists), Schakowsky was honored for her “work in Congress and the community.” Four years later she was the keynote speaker at the Debs/Thomas/Harrington dinner.
Author Stanley Kurtz reports that in the late 1980s Schakowsky was “an influential official in the Midwest Academy network,” which was led by socialists.
From 1990-98, Schakowsky served in the Illinois State House of Representatives. When Democrat congressman Sidney Yates in 1998 announced his retirement after having served 48 years representing the Ninth District of Illinois, Schakowsky used her political connections to defeat a veteran state senator in that year's Democratic congressional primary. Then, buoyed by the efforts of some 1,500 activist workers, the endorsement of Chicago DSA, and a $1.4 million donation from EMILY's List, she proceeded to easily win the general election in the heavily Democratic district.
Schakowsky today is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The Almanac of American Politics describes her as “one of the leftmost members of the Democratic Caucus.” “I don't think I can be defined as too far left in a district like this,” says Schakowsky, who once told a local DSA writer: “The American people are not ideological; therefore, the way to go is to attack private power.”
In 2003 Schakowsky served on the advisory committee of the Progressive Majority (PM), a political networking group dedicated to electing leftist candidates to public office. For a list of aaditional PM advisory board members, click here.
In 2004 Schakowsky co-sponsored a bill to ease restrictions on U.S. trade with the Communist dictatorship in Cuba. Nine years later, she was one of 59 House Members who signed a letter urging President Barack Obama to “support travel to Cuba by granting general licenses for ALL current categories of travel.” (Emphasis in original)
In March 2004, while Schakowsky was bidding for re-election to Congress, her husband, Robert Creamer (then-executive director of the Illinois Public Action Fund, or IPAF), was indicted in federal court on 16 counts of bank fraud. Schakowsky was a member of the IPAF board when the crimes occurred. In August 2005, Creamer pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five months in prison and eleven months of house arrest. Schakowsky nonetheless said she was proud of her husband, describing him as “a constant crusader for social and economic justice in this country and beyond,” and as a man who had “for his entire adult life devoted himself to fighting for a better future for others.”
In 2005 Schakowsky was a founding member of the Out of Iraq Congressional Caucus, along with John Conyers, William Delahunt, John Lewis, Barbara Lee, Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters, and Lynn Woolsey. To view a list of all the Caucus's members, click here.
During the healthcare-reform debates of 2009, Schakowsky denounced Tea Party protests against Obamacare as “despicable” examples of “Obama-bashing” carried out by “right-wing Republicans” seeking to “cheapen a significant, honorable moment of American history with a shameful political stunt.”
In April 2009 Schakowsky told a group of supporters that a government-run health-insurance system, which she favored, would put private insurers out of business. She candidly stated that this was in fact the primary purpose of the healthcare legislation that she and her fellow Democrats were pursuing:
“The goal of health care reform is not to protect the private health insurance industry. And I am so confident in the superiority of a public health care option ... I know that many of you here today are single-payer advocates and so am I ... This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there, and I believe we will.”
In the fall of 2011, Schakowsky, a longtime advocate of higher tax rates on the wealthy, expressed support for the nationwide anti-capitalism/anti-corporate rallies of Occupy Wall Street (OWS). To view a list of additional noteworthy individuals and organizations that endorsed the OWS movement, click here.
Schakowsky believes that corporations should “pay a living wage to the people who make their profits possible” -- i.e., enought to enable those workers “to provide for their families.” She also contends that all workers should be allowed “to join a union.”
In 2012 Schakowsky was a national co-chair of Obama for America, an activist group committed to re-electing President Obama. (It later became known as Organizing for America.)
Schakowsky has long supported amnesty for illegal immigrants. At a September 23, 2000 “March and Rally for a New Amnesty in Chicago,” for instance, she told the 8,000+ attendees: “I support complete amnesty, total restoral of benefits … and an end to employer sanctions.” Thirteen years later, on October 8, 2013, Schakowsky was one of eight members of Congress (all Democrats) who were arrested when they sat in the middle of Washington, DC's Independence Avenue and blocked rush-hour traffic during a large rally intended to promote legislation allowing illegal immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship. Also arrested were U.S. Representatives Joseph Crowley, Keith Ellison, Al Green, Raul Grijalva, Luis Gutierrez, John Lewis, Charles Rangel, and Jan Schakowsky.
In early 2013, just weeks after a madman's deadly shooting spree that killed 20 innocent children in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school, Schakowsky helped lead a vocal crusade against so-called “assault weapons.” She further acknowledged to a reporter that she was firmly “against handguns,” and that her longterm goal was “absolutely” to enact a ban on the possession of all firearms.
At a January 2017 rally in Chicago, Schakowsky spoke out against President Donald Trump's executive order placing a temporary restriction on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries that were hotbeds of terrorism. At the event, the congresswoman stood alongside Rasmea Odeh, mastermind of a February 1969 supermarket bombing in Jerusalem which members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine murdered two young Jewish men. As author Ari Lieberman writes: "Odeh and her gang were apprehended days [after the bombing] by Israeli police. Physical evidence obtained at the scene undeniably linked her to the crime and she confessed to her role almost immediately. Odeh was sentenced to life imprisonment but was released in a prisoner swap after serving just ten years. Following her release, she lived in Lebanon for four years and then moved to Jordan. From Jordan, she moved to the United States." In addition to her involvement in the Jerusalem bombing, Odeh was also convicted of trying to blow up a British consulate.
Schakowsky serves as a vice president of Americans for Democratic Action, along with such notables as Elijah Cummings and Eleanor Holmes Norton. She is also a policy-council member of Citizen Action of Illinois, a board-of-directors member of Illinois Public Action, and a member of the NAACP and the National Organization for Women.
In her numerous political campaigns, Schakowsky has received strong support from such such organizations as the Council for a Livable World, EMILY's List, J Street, and Planned Parenthood.
For an overview of Schakowsky's voting record on a variety of key issues during her years in Congress, click here.
For additional information on Schakowsky, click here.