Steve Cohen

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Steve Cohen
Steve Cohen.jpeg
U.S. House, Tennessee, District 9
In office
Term ends
January 3, 2015
Years in position 8
PredecessorHarold Ford, Jr. (D)
Base salary$174,000/year
Elections and appointments
Last electionNovember 6, 2012
First electedNovember 7, 2006
Next primaryAugust 7, 2014
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$3,970,242
Term limitsN/A
Prior offices
Senator, Tennessee State Senate
Shelby County Commissioner
Bachelor'sVanderbilt University, 1971
J.D.University of Memphis School Of Law, 1973
Date of birthMay 24, 1949
Place of birthMemphis, TN
Net worth$4,303,561.50
Office website
Campaign website

Steve Cohen (b. May 24, 1949, in Memphis, Tenneessee) is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the state of Tennessee, representing the 9th Congressional District. Cohen was first elected in 2006. He won re-election in 2012. He ran for re-election in 2014.

Prior to his election to the U.S. House, Cohen was a member of the Tennessee State Senate.[1]

Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Cohen is an average Democratic member of Congress, meaning he will vote with the Democratic Party on the majority of bills.


Cohen has a Bachelor's from Vanderbilt and his J.D. from University of Memphis School of Law.[2]


Below is an abbreviated outline of Cohen's academic, professional and political career:[1]

  • 1971: Graduated from Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn.
  • 1973: Graduated from Memphis State University
  • 1977: Vice-president, Tennessee state constitutional convention
  • 1978-1980: Served as Shelby County, Tenn., commissioner
  • 1982-2006: Served as a member of the Tennessee state senate
  • 2007-Present: U.S Representative from Tennessee

Committee assignments

U.S. House


Cohen serves on the following committees:[3]


Cohen served on the following committees:


Legislative actions

113th Congress


The second session of the 113th Congress enacted into law 114 out of the 3,036 introduced bills (3.8 percent). Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 4.2 percent of introduced bills enacted into law in the second session.[4] For more information pertaining to Cohen's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.[5]

National security

American response in Syria
See also: United States involvement in Syria

On August 29, 2013, more than 50 House Democrats signed a letter written by California Rep. Barbara Lee that called for a congressional resolution on strikes, and cautioned that the dire situation in Syria "should not draw us into an unwise war—especially without adhering to our constitutional requirements."[6][7] The letter also called on the Obama administration to work with the U.N. Security Council “to build international consensus” condemning the alleged use of chemical weapons. Cohen was one of the 50 Democrats in the House to sign the letter.[6][7]


Voted "No" Cohen voted in opposition of HR 1960 - the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014. The bill passed the House on June 14, 2013, with a vote of 315 - 108. Both parties were somewhat divided on the vote.[8]

DHS Appropriations

Voted "No" Cohen voted in opposition of HR 2217 - the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2014. The bill passed the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 245 - 182 and was largely along party lines.[8]

Keystone Pipeline Amendment

Voted "Yes" Cohen voted in favor of House Amendment 69, which would have amended HR 3 to "require that the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, conduct a study of the vulnerabilities of the Keystone XL pipeline to a terrorist attack and certify that necessary protections have been put in place." The amendment failed on May 22, 2013, with a vote of 176 - 239 and was largely along party lines.[8]

CISPA (2013)

Voted "No" Cohen voted in opposition of HR 624 - the CISPA (2013). The bill passed the House on April 18, 2013, with a vote of 288 - 127. The bill would allow federal intelligence agencies to share cybersecurity intelligence and information with private entities and utilities.[9] The bill was largely supported by Republicans, but divided the Democratic Party.[8]


2014 Farm bill

Nay3.png On January 29, 2014, the U.S. House approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, known as the Farm Bill.[10] The bill passed by a vote of 251-166. The nearly 1,000-page bill provides for the reform and continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that would kick in when prices drop.[11][12] However, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states.[12] Cohen voted with 102 other Democratic representatives against the bill.

2014 Budget

Yea3.png On January 15, 2014, the Republican-run House approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014.[13][14] The House voted 359-67 for the 1,582 page bill, with 64 Republicans and three Democrats voting against the bill.[14] The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations.[15] It included a 1 percent increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency, and the protection of the Affordable Care Act from any drastic cuts. Cohen joined with the majority of the Democratic party and voted in favor of the bill.[13][14]

2013 Farm bill
See also: United States Farm Bill 2013

Voted "No" Cohen opposed the July 11, 2013 Farm Bill. The bill passed in a 216-208 vote.[16] The bill passed included farm policy, but did not include food stamps.[17]

King Amendment

Cohen signed a letter sent to Collin Peterson in August 2013, asking him to keep Steve King's amendment out of the final Farm Bill.[18] The "Protect Interstate Commerce Act" amendment prevents states from applying their own laws on agricultural products to agricultural products from another state.[19]. King introduced the amendment in response to a law in California, requiring a larger size cage for egg-producing chickens. King represents Iowa, which is a large egg producer.

Government shutdown
See also: United States budget debate, 2013

Voted "No" On September 30, 2013, the House passed a final stopgap spending bill before the shutdown went into effect. The bill included a one-year delay of the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate and would have also stripped the bill of federal subsidies for congressional members and staff. It passed through the House with a vote of 228-201.[20] At 1 a.m. on October 1, 2013, one hour after the shutdown officially began, the House voted to move forward with going to a conference. In short order, Sen. Harry Reid rejected the call to conference.[21] Cohen voted against the stopgap spending bill that would have delayed the individual mandate.[22]

Voted "Yes" The shutdown finally ended on October 16, 2013, when the House took a vote on HR 2775 after it was approved by the Senate. The bill to reopen the government lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies.[23] The House passed the legislation shortly after the Senate, by a vote of 285-144, with all 144 votes against the legislation coming from Republican members. Cohen voted for HR 2775.[24]

Cohen opposed the government shutdown and issued a news statement regarding the shutdown:

"If the Republican Conference continues to be held captive by Tea Party extremists and refuses to work with Democrats on a common-sense compromise, the government could shut down completely. Republicans should not hold the federal government, America’s credit rating, Social Security checks, or veterans' benefits hostage to unrealistic demands like defunding the President’s health care reform law."[25]


Morton Memos Prohibition

Voted "No" Cohen voted against House Amendment 136 - Prohibits the Enforcement of the Immigration Executive Order. The amendment was adopted by the House on June 6, 2013, with a vote of 224 - 201. The purpose of the amendment as stated on the official text is to "prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the Morton Memos." These memos would have granted administrative amnesty to certain illegal aliens residing in the United States.[26] The vote largely followed party lines.[27]


Repealing Obamacare

Voted "No" Cohen has voted against all attempts to repeal or delay the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[28]

Although Cohen is eligible for coverage under Obamacare and his staff uses the coverage, Cohen receives his healthcare through the Tennessee State Government Employee Program. He has been criticized for this as he's an ardent supporter of Obamacare, yet chooses not to be covered by the program.[29]

Social issues

Gun control

Cohen came under fire for a political cartoon he tweeted following the Navy Yard shootings in September 2013. The cartoon suggested the NRA was at fault for the shootings. Cohen spoke to MSNBC about the backlash he received saying, "They are hardcore Republicans. This I think means more to them than — I think their guns are right there next to their Bibles. I’m not sure which they find more important to them."[30]


Voted "No" Cohen voted against HR 1797 - Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The resolution passed the House on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 228 - 196. The purpose of the bill is to ban abortions that would take place 20 or more weeks after fertilization.[31]

Previous congressional sessions

Fiscal Cliff

Voted "Yes"

Cohen voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. He was 1 of 172 Democrats that voted in favor of the bill. The bill was passed in the House by a 257 - 167 vote on January 1, 2013.[32]

Cohen on gun control
House Judiciary Committee

Congressman Cohen was first appointed to the House Judiciary Committee shortly after he was sworn into Congress in January of 2007.[33] The Congressman was elected in 2009 as Chairman on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.[1] Cohen also served on the House Judiciary Subcommittees on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security and the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.[1]

The Congressman also served on the Task Force on Judicial Impeachment which is responsible for considering impeachment of federal judges.[34]



President Barack Obama endorsed Cohen for re-election in 2012.[35]



See also: Tennessee's 9th Congressional District elections, 2014

Cohen ran in the 2014 election for the U.S. House to represent Tennessee's 9th District. Cohen sought the Democratic nomination in the primary. The general election took place November 4, 2014.


See also: Tennessee's 9th Congressional District elections, 2012

Cohen won the election.[36] Cohen ran for re-election in the 2012 election for the U.S. House, representing Tennessee's 9th District. Cohen defeated Tomeka Hart in the August 2 Democratic primary. He faced George Flinn Jr. (R), Gregory Joiner (I) and Brian Saulsberry (I) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[37]

U.S. House, Tennessee District 9 General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Cohen Incumbent 75.1% 188,422
     Republican George Flinn Jr. 23.8% 59,742
     Independent Gregory Joiner 0.5% 1,372
     Independent Brian Saulsberry 0.6% 1,448
Total Votes 250,984
Source: Tennessee Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"
U.S. House, Tennessee's 9th Congressional District Democratic Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngSteve Cohen Incumbent 89.3% 49,585
Tomeka Hart 10.7% 5,944
Total Votes 55,529

Full history

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Cohen is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Cohen raised a total of $3,970,242 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 2, 2013.[41]

Steve Cohen's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 US House (Tennessee, District 9) Won $831,885
2010 US House (Tennessee, District 9) Won $1,151,408
2008 US House (Tennessee, District 9) Won $1,238,073
2006 US House (Tennessee, District 9) Won $748,876
Grand Total Raised $3,970,242


Candidates for Congress were required to file up to seven main reports with the Federal Election Commission during the 2014 elections season. Below are Cohen's reports.[42]


Breakdown of the source of Cohen's campaign funds before the 2012 election.

Cohen won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Cohen's campaign committee raised a total of $831,886 and spent $820,327.[48]

Cost per vote

Cohen spent $4.35 per vote received in 2012.


Cohen won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010. During that re-election cycle, Cohen's campaign committee raised a total of $1,151,408 and spent $843,236.[49]


Like-minded colleagues

The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.[50]

Cohen most often votes with:

Cohen least often votes with:

Ideology and leadership

See also: GovTrack's Political Spectrum & Legislative Leadership ranking

Based on an analysis of bill sponsorship by GovTrack, Cohen is a "far-left Democratic leader," as of June 26, 2013.[51]

Lifetime voting record

See also: Lifetime voting records of United States Senators and Representatives

According to the website GovTrack, Cohen missed 140 of 5,229 roll call votes from January 2007 to April 2013. This amounts to 2.7%, which is worse than the median of 2.2% among current congressional representatives as of March 2013.[52]

Congressional staff salaries

See also: Staff salaries of United States Senators and Representatives

The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Cohen paid his congressional staff a total of $1,061,645 in 2011. Overall, Tennessee ranks 39th in average salary for representative staff. The average U.S. House of Representatives congressional staff was paid $954,912.20 in fiscal year 2011.[53]

Net worth

See also: Net Worth of United States Senators and Representatives


Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by, Cohen's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $2,216,123 to $6,391,000. That averages to $4,303,561.50, which is lower than the average net worth of Democratic House members in 2012 of $5,700,168.36. Cohen ranked as the 84th most wealthy representative in 2012.[54]

Steve Cohen Yearly Net Worth
YearAvg. Net Worth% Difference from previous year

National Journal vote ratings


Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Cohen ranked 53rd in the liberal rankings in 2012.[55]


See also: National Journal vote ratings

Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Cohen ranked 45th in the liberal rankings.[56]

Voting with party


Cohen voted with the Democratic Party 94.7% of the time, which ranked 107th among the 201 House Democratic members as of June 2013.[57]


Cohen is single. Reports had surfaced in 2013, following tweets Cohen made to a 24 year old woman, that Cohen had fathered a child. A DNA test later proved that Cohen had not fathered the young woman, however Cohen said, "I was stunned and dismayed at the results. I still love Victoria, hold dear the time I have shared with her and hope to continue to be part of her life."[58]

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Steve + Cohen + Tennessee + House

All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Steve Cohen News Feed

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See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress "Cohen," Accessed June 26, 2013
  2., "Cohen", accessed December 19, 2013
  3., House Committee Rosters for the 113th Congress
  4. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
  5. Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
  6. 6.0 6.1 Office of Barbara Lee, "Lee Letter to President Obama," accessed September 2, 2013
  7. 7.0 7.1 Washington Post, "More than 50 House Democrats also want Syria strike resolution," accessed September 2, 2013
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Project Vote Smart, "Representative Cohen's Voting Records on National Security," accessed October 16, 2013
  9. The Library of Congress, "H.R.624 CISPA (2013) (Referred in Senate - RFS)," accessed August 27, 2013
  10. Clerk of U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 31: H.R. 2642," accessed February 12, 2014
  11. Politico, "House clears Farm Bill," accessed February 12, 2014
  12. 12.0 12.1 New York Times, "Senate passes long-stalled Farm Bill, with clear winners and losers," accessed February 12, 2014
  13. 13.0 13.1, "House passes compromise $1.1 trillion budget for 2014," accessed January 20, 2014
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 U.S. House, "Roll Call Vote 21," accessed January 20, 2014
  15. Roll Call, "House passes $1.1 trillion omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
  16. Vote Smart, "Cohen on agriculture", accessed October 16, 2013
  17. New York Times, "House Republicans Push Through Farm Bill, Without Food Stamps", accessed September 17, 2013
  18. Vote Smart, "Letter to Ranking Member Collin Peterson, House Committee on Agriculture - Reject Rep. King's Provision on Farm Bill", accessed September 23, 2013
  19., "King Farm Bill Amendment Angers Animal Advocates", accessed September 18, 2013
  20. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  21. Buzzfeed, "Government Shutdown: How We Got Here," accessed October 1, 2013
  22. Clerk of the U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 504," accessed October 31, 2013
  23. The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
  24. U.S. House, "Final vote results for Roll Call 550," accessed October 31, 2013
  25. "TN rep equates looming government shutdown with hostage crisis," Accessed October 24, 2013
  26. The Library of Congress, "H.AMDT.136," accessed August 28, 2013
  27. Project Vote Smart, "Representative Cohen's Voting Records on Immigration," accessed October 16, 2013
  28. Project Vote Smart, "Representative Cohen's Voting Records on Issue: Health and Healthcare," accessed October 16, 2013
  29. Watchdog, "TN rep. hails Obamacare, even though he may not ‘buy’ into it", accessed January 24, 2014
  30. The Daily Caller, "Democratic congressman mocks tea party’s affinity for ‘guns and the Bible’ [VIDEO", accessed September 20, 2013]
  31. Project Vote Smart, "Cohen on abortion," accessed October 16, 2013
  32. U.S. House "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
  33. "House Judiciary Committee" 110th Congress Hearings Summary(See Page II)
  34. House Judiciary Committee "Task Force on Impeachment Members, 111th Congress
  35. Memphis Flyer "Cohen gets president's nod as filing deadline comes," April 5, 2012
  36. Politico "2012 Election Map, Tennessee"
  37. Associated Press primary results
  38. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010," accessed March 28, 2013
  39. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 4, 2008," accessed March 28, 2013
  40. U.S. Congress House Clerk, "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 7, 2006," accessed March 28, 2013
  41. Open Secrets "Career Fundraising for Steve Cohen," Accessed April 2, 2013
  42. Federal Election Commission, "Cohen 2014 Summary reports," accessed July 24, 2013
  43. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
  44. Federal Election Commission, "July Quarterly," accessed July 24, 2013
  45. Federal Election Commission, "October Quarterly," accessed October 29, 2013
  46. Federal Election Commission, "Cohen Year-End," accessed February 5, 2014
  47. Federal Election Commission, "April Quarterly," accessed April 17, 2014
  48. Open Secrets "2012 Re-Election Cycle," Accessed July 18, 2013
  49. Open Secrets "Steve Cohen 2010 Election Cycle," Accessed November 16, 2011
  50. OpenCongress, "Steve Cohen," Accessed August 6, 2013
  51. Gov Track "Steve Cohen," Accessed June 26, 2013
  52. GovTrack, "Cohen," Accessed April 10, 2013
  53. LegiStorm, "Stephen Ira Cohen," Accessed September 18, 2012
  54. "Cohen, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
  55. National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
  56. National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: House," February 23, 2012
  57. OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
  58. Politico "DNA test: Rep. Steve Cohen not the father," Accessed July 18, 2013
Political offices
Preceded by
Harold Ford, Jr.
U.S. House of Representatives - Tennessee District 9
Succeeded by