Read our 2017 Report Card for Clyburn.
Clyburn 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 Clyburn has sponsored and cosponsored. See full analysis methodology.
Ratings from Advocacy Organizations
Clyburn was the primary sponsor of 7 bills that were enacted:
- H.R. 3004 (114th): To amend the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Act to extend the authorization for the Gullah/Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission.
- H.R. 2131 (114th): To designate the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 83 Meeting Street in Charleston, South Carolina, as the “J. Waties Waring Judicial Center”.
- H.R. 6379 (112th): To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 6239 Savannah Highway in Ravenel, South Carolina, as the “Representative Curtis B. Inabinett, Sr. Post ...
- H.R. 3287 (108th): To award congressional gold medals posthumously on behalf of Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs, and Levi Pearson in recognition of their contributions to the ...
- H.R. 1055 (108th): To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 1901 West Evans Street in Florence, South Carolina, as the “Dr. Roswell N. Beck Post ...
- H.R. 3018 (106th): An Act to designate certain facilities of the United States Postal Service in South Carolina.
- H.R. 4543 (103rd): To designate the United States courthouse to be constructed at 907 Richland Street in Columbia, South Carolina, as the “Matthew J. Perry, Jr. United States Courthouse”.
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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).
Clyburn sponsors bills primarily in these issue areas:
Public Lands and Natural Resources (56%)Government Operations and Politics (22%)Crime and Law Enforcement (22%)
Some of Clyburn’s most recently sponsored bills include...
View All » | View Cosponsors »
|Clyburn’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 ...
|Nay||S. 2040: Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act|
Sep 28, 2016. Passed 348/77.
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal commission was created to fact-find as much information as possible about the planning, funding, and carrying-out of the attacks. The final report ran more than 500 pages, but much intrigue has centered around 28 pages redacted ...
|Not Voting||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. ...
|No||H.R. 2353: Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2015|
May 19, 2015. Passed 387/35.
|Yea||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 ...
|Yea||H.R. 83 (113th): Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015|
Dec 11, 2014. Passed 219/206.
This bill became the vehicle for passage of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 [pdf], which was approved by the House on December 11, 2014 and by the Senate on December 13, 2014. The bill was originally introduced on January 3, 2013 by ...
|Aye||H.J.Res. 124 (113th): Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015|
Sep 17, 2014. Passed 319/108.
|Yea||H.R. 6190 (112th): Asthma Inhalers Relief Act of 2012|
Dec 12, 2012. Failed 229/182.
|Aye||H.R. 6233 (112th): Agricultural Disaster Assistance Act of 2012|
Aug 2, 2012. Passed 223/197.
|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 ...
From Jan 1993 to Mar 2018, Clyburn missed 586 of 16,771 roll call votes, which is 3.5%. This is worse than 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:
James “Jim” Clyburn is pronounced:
jaymz // KLĪ-bern
The letters stand for sounds according to the following table:
|Letter||Sounds As In|
Capital letters indicate a stressed syllable.
|House Assistant Democratic Leader|
January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Chris Van Hollen(Assistant to the Leader)|
|House Majority Whip|
January 3, 2007 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Roy Blunt|
|Succeeded by||Kevin McCarthy|
|Chair of the House Democratic Conference|
January 16, 2006 – January 3, 2007
|Preceded by||Bob Menendez|
|Succeeded by||Rahm Emanuel|
|Vice Chair of the House Democratic Conference|
January 3, 2003 – January 16, 2006
|Preceded by||Bob Menendez|
|Succeeded by||John B. Larson|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from South Carolina's 6th district
January 3, 1993
|Preceded by||Robin Tallon|
|Born||James Enos Clyburn|
(1940-07-21) July 21, 1940 (age 77)
Sumter, South Carolina, U.S.
|Education||South Carolina State University(BA)|
James Enos Clyburn (; born July 21, 1940) is an American politician of the Democratic Party serving as the U.S. Representative for South Carolina's 6th congressional district since 1993, and the House Assistant Minority Leader since 2011. He was previously House Majority Whip, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011. His congressional district includes large portions of Columbia and Charleston, as well as several rural areas between them. Clyburn is the current dean of the South Carolina congressional delegation.
As Assistant Democratic Leader, he is the third-ranking Democrat in the House behind House Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi and Minority WhipSteny Hoyer.
Early life and education
Clyburn was born in Sumter, South Carolina, the son of Enos Lloyd Clyburn, a fundamentalistminister, and his wife, Almeta (née Dizzley), a beautician. A distant relative of his was George W. Murray, an organizer for the Colored Farmers Alliance (CFA), who was elected as a Republican South Carolina Congressman in the 53rd and 54th U.S. Congresses in the late nineteenth century. He and other black politicians had strongly opposed the 1895 state constitution, which essentially disfranchised most African-American citizens, a situation that the state maintained for more than half a century until passage of federal civil rights legislation in the mid-1960s.
Clyburn graduated from Mather Academy (later named Boylan-Haven-Mather Academy) in Camden, South Carolina, then attended South Carolina State College (now South Carolina State University), a historically black college in Orangeburg. He was initiated into the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and graduated with a bachelor's degree in history.
For his first full-time position after college, Clyburn taught at C.A. Brown High School in Charleston.
Early political career
After an unsuccessful run for the South Carolina General Assembly, he moved to Columbia to join the staff of GovernorJohn C. West in 1971. He was appointed as the first minority advisor to a South Carolina governor. In the aftermath of the Orangeburg massacre of 1968, when protesting students at South Carolina State were killed by police, West appointed Clyburn as the state's human affairs commissioner. He served in this position until 1992, when he stepped down to run for Congress.
U.S. House of Representatives
Following the 1990 census South Carolina's district lines were redrawn. Due to prior racial discrimination before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Supreme Court required the 6th district, which had previously included the northeastern portion of the state, to be redrawn as a black-majority district. Before this ruling, African Americans were a minority in all six of South Carolina's districts.
The reconfigured 6th stretched across most of South Carolina's Black Belt, but swept south to include most of the black precincts around Charleston and west to include most of the black precincts around Columbia, including Clyburn's home. Five-term incumbent Robin Tallon's home in Florence was in the district, but he chose to retire. Five candidates, all of whom were African American, ran for the Democratic Party nomination for the seat. As this district was heavily Democratic, the primary was understood to be the real contest. Clyburn's campaign was led by NAACP activist Isaac W. Williams.
Clyburn secured 55% of the vote in the primary, eliminating the need for an expected run-off. As expected, he won the general election in November handily. He has been reelected eight times with no substantive Republican opposition. From 1998 to 2006, his opponent was Gary McLeod, a conservative Republican from Clarendon County.
See also: United States House of Representatives elections in South Carolina, 2008 § District6; and United States House of Representatives elections in South Carolina, 2010 § District6
Clyburn defeated the Republican candidate Nancy Harrelson by 68%-32%.
Clyburn defeated the Republican candidate Jim Pratt, 65% to 34%.
Clyburn defeated the Republican candidate Anthony Culler, 73% to 25%.
Jim Clyburn was elected as vice-chairman of the House Democratic Caucus in 2003, the third-ranking post in the caucus.
He became the chairman of the Democratic Caucus in the House in early 2006 after the caucus chairman Bob Menendez was appointed to the Senate. After the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in the 2006 election, Clyburn was unanimously elected as Majority Whip in the 110th Congress.
Clyburn would have faced a challenge from Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel, but Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi persuaded Emanuel to run for Democratic Caucus Chairman. Clyburn was interviewed by National Public Radio's Morning Edition on January 12, 2007, and acknowledged the difficulty of counting votes and rallying the fractious Democratic caucus, while his party held the majority in the House.
After the 2010 elections, the Democrats lost their majority in the House. The departing Speaker Nancy Pelosi ran for the Minority Leader position in order to remain the House party leader, while Clyburn announced that he would challenge Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking Democrat in the House and the outgoing Majority Leader, for the Minority Whip post. Clyburn had the support of the Congressional Black Caucus, which wanted to keep an African-American in the House leadership, while Hoyer had 35 public endorsements, including three standing committee chairs. On November 13, Pelosi announced a deal whereby Hoyer would stand as Minority Whip, while a "number three" leadership position styled Assistant Leader would be created for Clyburn. The exact responsibilities of Clyburn's assistant leader office remain unclear, though it is said to replace the Assistant to the Leader post previously held by Chris Van Hollen. He had attended all leadership meetings but was not in the leadership hierarchy.
In August 2014, Clyburn warned that he expects President Barack Obama to be impeached should Republicans hold onto control of the House of Representatives in November 2014. Republicans suggested that they do not plan to do so at this time and commentators considered the remark an effort to generate support for Democrats in the midterms.
In November 2017, Clyburn defended Representative John Conyers Jr. when it was revealed that the latter had paid a settlement to a woman accusing him of sexual harassment. Clyburn said, "You can’t jump to conclusions with these types of things. For all I know, all of this could be made up."
Clyburn is regarded as liberal in his political stances, actions and votes. A recent ranking by the National Journal ranked him as the 77th most liberal of all 435 US congressional representatives, and with a score of 81, indicating that the conductors of this study found his voting record to be more liberal than 81 percent of other members of the US House of Representatives based on their recent voting records.
Clyburn has an established liberal stance on health care, education, organized labor and environmental conservation issues, based on his legislative actions as well as evaluations and ratings by pertinent interest groups.
In 2009, Clyburn introduced the Access for All Americans Act. The $26 billion sought by this Act would provide funding to quadruple the number of community health centers in the US that provide medical care to uninsured and low-income citizens.
The American Public Health Association, the American Academy of Family Physicians, The Children’s Health Fund, and other health care interest groups rate Clyburn highly based on his voting record on pertinent issues. Other groups in this field, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, give Clyburn ratings of zero.
Despite his opposition to partial-birth abortion, Clyburn is regarded to be pro-choice on the issue of abortion, as shown by his high ratings from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, and low rating from the National Right to Life Committee.
Clyburn has continuously sought new and additional funding for education. He has gained additional funding for special education and lower interest rates on federal student loans. In many sessions has Clyburn sought, sponsored and/or voted for improvements in Pell Grant funding for college loans.
The National Education Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals rate Clyburn very high, as do other education interest groups.
Although he was criticized for a previous expenditure of 160 million dollars to expand South Carolina's ports, he stated he would continue to make funding available for further expansions. The plan is to deepen the ports to allow for larger commercial ships to arrive from the Panama Canal which is currently being expanded to allow for larger ships to pass through. This is due primarily because of larger commercial ships coming from China, and also China's extremely high demand of soy beans, which are produced in South Carolina, but must be sent to larger ports for exporting. This measure will benefit South Carolina business and farmers and is thus heavily backed by these groups.
Clyburn has consistently voted for increases in minimum wage income and to restrict employer interference with labor union organization.
Many national labor unions, including the AFL-CIO, the United Auto Workers, the Communication Workers Association, and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, give Clyburn outstanding ratings based on his voting record on issues that pertain to labor and employment.
Clyburn has opposed legislation to increase offshore drilling for oil or natural gas. Instead, he has promoted use of nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels, cheaper than wind and solar energy.  Members of the nuclear power industry have expressed that there is a mutual respect between Clyburn and themselves. Clyburn pushed for a 2010 contract to convert plutonium from old weapons into nuclear fuel.
Clyburn has been viewed favorably by organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters and Defenders of Wildlife. However, he did anger environmentalists when he proposed building a $150 million bridge across a swampy area of Lake Marion in Calhoun county.
- War in Iraq
On July 31, 2007, Clyburn said in a broadcast interview that it would be a "real big problem" for the Democratic Party if General David Petraeus issued a positive report in September, as it would split the Democratic caucus on whether to continue to fund the Iraq War. While this soundbite caused some controversy, the full quote was, in reference to 47 member Blue Dog caucus, "I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us."
- Bill Clinton comments
Clyburn was officially neutral during the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, however former President Bill Clinton blamed Clyburn for Hillary's 29-point defeat in the South Carolina primary and the two of them had a heated telephone conversation. Clyburn himself had voted for Obama, saying "How could I ever look in the faces of our children and grandchildren had I not voted for Barack Obama?" Clyburn negatively viewed Bill Clinton's remarks regarding Barack Obama winning the South Carolina primary. Clinton had compared Obama's victory to Rev. Jesse Jackson's win in the 1988 primary election. "Black people are incensed all over this," said Clyburn. Clinton responded that the campaign "played the race card on me," denying any racial tone in the comment. Speaking with the New York Times, Clyburn said such actions could lead to a longtime division between the former president and his once most reliable constituency. "When he was going through his impeachment problems, it was the black community that bellied up to the bar," Clyburn said. "I think black folks feel strongly that this is a strange way for President Clinton to show his appreciation."
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(August 2011)
During the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries, Clyburn supported Dick Gephardt until he dropped out of the race and afterwards supported John Kerry. He was one of the 31 who voted in the House not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.
Clyburn, a superdelegate, remained uncommitted throughout most of the 2008 presidential primary elections. He eventually endorsed Obama on June 3 immediately before the South Dakota primary (the result of said primary would have otherwise secured his party's nomination).
On February 19, 2016, Clyburn endorsed Hillary Clinton in her 2016 presidential campaign.
Clyburn's eldest daughter, Mignon Clyburn, was appointed to the Federal Communications Commission by President Obama.
- ^A new era for SC: Clyburn, Scott get top House posts, James Rosen, McClatchy Newspapers, November 17, 2010.
- ^"Chapter 12 | The parable of the talents – Crossing a Great Divide". TheState.com. May 17, 2007. Archived from the original on September 12, 2012. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
- ^Saxon, Wolf (March 23, 2004). "John C. West, Crusading South Carolina Governor, Dies at 81". New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- ^"Williams a leader for African-Americans in the South". The Greenville News. Retrieved 2018-01-19.
- ^"South Carolina 2008 General Election Results". November 21, 2008. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
- ^Babington, Charles; Weisman, Jonathan (November 10, 2006). "Reid, Pelosi Expected to Keep Tight Rein in Both Chambers". The Washington Post.
- ^Dana Bash (November 13, 2010 – Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)). "Deal ends Democratic leadership fight". CNN.
- ^Fahrenthold, David A. "Alexis Covey-Brandt". The Washington Post.
- ^Kane, Paul (November 8, 2010). "House Democrats could retain leadership team". The Washington Post.
- ^Fuller, Matt. "House Democrat: Look for Obama Impeachment if GOP Wins". www.rollcall.com. Roll Call. Retrieved August 12, 2014.
- ^ abAlcindor, Yamiche; Fandos, Nicholas; Martin, Jonathan (2017-11-21). "Democrats Move Swiftly Against Conyers Amid Latest Harassment Charges". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-11-23.
- ^2007 Vote RatingsArchived September 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"Project Vote Smart: Clyburn". Votesmart.org. May 14, 2010. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- ^Clyburn bill would extend healthcareArchived April 30, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Health Issues". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- ^"Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Abortion Issues". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- ^Education Advocates Give Funding a Boost December 20, 2001Archived February 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^The Daily WhipLine April 17, 2008Archived February 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^The Daily WhipLine, July 18, 2007Archived February 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^"Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Education". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- ^Gene Zaleski (August 8, 2012). "Clyburn says ports worth the investment". The Times and Democrat. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
- ^"Jim Clyburn on Jobs". Ontheissues.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- ^"Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Labor". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- ^America’s Energy Future July 11, 2008Archived May 5, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- ^ abLipton, Eric (September 5, 2010). "Congressional Charities Pulling In Corporate Cash". The New York Times. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- ^"Shaw AREVA MOX Services Awarded Multi-Billion Dollar Construction Option for DOE Facility". Areva. Retrieved July 27, 2012.
- ^"Project Vote Smart: Clyburn: Environmental Issues". Votesmart.org. Retrieved October 11, 2011.
- ^Balz, Dan; Cillizza, Chris (July 30, 2007). "Clyburn: Positive Report by Petraeus Could Split House Democrats on War". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
- ^ abBlack Leader in House Denounces Bill Clinton’s RemarksNew York Times April 24, 2008
- ^Bill Clinton Irritated by Race-Card QuestionsNew York Times April 24, 2008
- ^"Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
- ^"Final vote results for roll call 7". January 6, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2009.
- ^Steady Stream of superdelegates pushed Obama over topCNN June 3, 2008.
- ^Wilgoren, Debbi (June 3, 2008). "Clyburn Endorses Obama". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2013.
- ^"South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn endorses Hillary Clinton". USA TODAY. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
- ^Schatz, Amy (April 29, 2009). "Mignon Clyburn Nominated to FCC". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- ^Thomas, Rhondda R. & Ashton, Susanna, eds. (2014). The South Carolina Roots of African American Thought. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. "James E. Clyburn (b. 1940)," p. 273-278.