November 7, 2017 Press Releases

Former Vice President Biden, U.S. Senator Portman, U.S. Representatives DeGette and Upton Honored with Javits Prize for Bipartisan Leadership

Prize Recognizes Leaders Who Follow in the Footsteps of the Late Senator Jacob K. Javits by Advancing Bipartisan Legislation

WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) and U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI) today received the 2017 Jacob K. Javits Prize for Bipartisan Leadership, which honors elected leaders whose achievements advance the public interest without regard to political affiliation.

Named for former Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY) – who was well known for forging coalitions and agreements across party lines – the prize serves as a beacon, encouraging public servants to advance bipartisan solutions to help improve outcomes for the American people.

At an event on Capitol Hill, former Vice President Biden opened with a video tribute to the late Senator Javits. Biden told the crowd, “If we follow Jack Javits’ example, we can respect each other’s deeply help views, but still find common ground. And most important, we can make progress on behalf of the country we all serve.”

At the award ceremony, The Marian B. and Jacob K. Javits Foundation honored and heard from three Congressional leaders who have followed in the footsteps of Senator Javits by forging bipartisan solutions to our nation’s great challenges, including:

  • The Honorable Robert Portman (R-OH), U.S. Senator, who received the prize for Lifetime Achievement for his decades of public service characterized by bipartisan leadership;
  • The Honorable Diana DeGette (D-CO), U.S. Representative, and the Honorable Fred Upton (R-MI), U.S. Representative, who were honored for their Legislative Partnership with Vice President Biden that led to the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act;

The lawmakers each made brief remarks and then engaged in a frank and spirited discussion about what bipartisanship in the current political environment requires.

Other speakers included U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), a 2016 Javits Prize winner; Carla I. Javits, Joy D. Javits, and Joshua M. Javits, Directors of the Board of The Marian B. and Jacob K. Javits Foundation; and Bruce Reed, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Biden and a Senior Fellow at Results for America.

GVI on Vimeo.

The Jacob K. Javits Prize for Bipartisan Leadership, established by The Marian B. and Jacob K. Javits Foundation, honors the public servants who do the most to overcome the debilitating partisan gridlock undermining Congress’ ability to function on behalf of the American people. Launched in 2016 with Opportunity Nation, the inaugural Prize was presented to Senator Collins for her lifetime achievements and U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Tim Scott (R-SC) for their emerging partnership.

The Foundation Board invited a wide group of outstanding individuals and institutions to nominate honorees for the Prize. A Selection Committee, composed of distinguished individuals from the private and public sectors whose myriad contributions to our nation have exhibited a spirit of bipartisanship in the service of country, was convened by the Foundation to select the awardees.

Senator Javits was a man of the Congress, serving for more than thirty years in the U.S. House and Senate and as New York State Attorney General. The legislation he conceived and crafted had the hallmarks of addressing structural national problems and deep inequities in practical and ingenious ways, balancing government and private sector concerns and competencies. Unthinking partisanship and party absolutism were anathema to him. He frequently forged coalitions and agreements across partisan lines.

Senator Javits was a man of action. He served the public by getting things done to improve the life of the nation and its people. He was one of the most prominent Republicans to consistently seek out this kind of compromise across the aisle, and he was widely respected by both political parties for his ability to do so, while holding to important principles, and advancing policies that benefited the country.


U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
Senator Portman has exemplified bipartisan leadership by bridging partisan divides to advance major legislation on important public issues while serving in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate. This includes reaching across the aisle on an unusual breadth of concerns that are traditionally associated with one of the political parties. He has advocated for and helped build bipartisan support for legislation across a wide range of issues – from opioid abuse to regulatory reform, workforce training, prisoner re-entry reforms, and conservation of national parks and tropical forests. Most recently in April 2017, Senator Portman and his Democratic colleague from North Dakota, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, introduced the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017 (RAA), bipartisan legislation intended to make federal regulations smarter and more effective.

About Senator Portman
Robert Jones Portman was born in 1955 in Cincinnati, Ohio. His parents started a forklift dealership where he and his two siblings worked growing up. Senator Portman graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Law School. He worked briefly in the George H. W. Bush White House, served six consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, a year each as U.S. Trade Representative and Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and several years as a private attorney. Now in his second term in the U.S. Senate, Senator Portman successfully introduced more than 180 bills, including 150 bipartisan bills in his first term alone.


Former Vice President Joe Biden
U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO)
U.S. Representative Fred Upton (R-MI)

In the midst of a hard-fought election year, on a divisive issue, Vice President Biden and Representatives DeGette and Upton, together with a bipartisan group of thoughtful, determined legislators, spearheaded the effort to pass the 21st Century Cures Act – major health innovation and research legislation. Over the course of two years, this partnership negotiated minefields in a sharply partisan Congress, winning overwhelming support, and securing the signature of President Obama on December 13, 2016.

The 21st Century Cures Act boosts funding for medical research, eases the development and approval of experimental treatments, makes sweeping regulatory changes to remake the medical research system, and reforms federal policy on mental health care. The bipartisan law authorizes $6.3 billion in funding – $4.8 billion in new funding for the National Institutes of Health, including $1.8 billion reserved for the “Beau Biden Cancer Moonshot” launched by Vice President Biden to accelerate cancer research and $1.6 billion earmarked for brain diseases. Also included are an additional $1 billion in grants to help states deal with opioid abuse and $500 million in new funding for the FDA.

Upon its final passage, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “the most significant legislation passed by this Congress,” and President Obama said, “…The bipartisan passage of the 21st Century Cures Act is an example of the progress we can make when people from both parties work together to improve the health of our families, friends, and neighbors.” This is a striking model of bipartisanship, an example of how to successfully formulate policy with stakeholder support and input.

About Vice President Biden
Joseph Biden Jr. was born in 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania and the family moved to Delaware in the 1950’s. Biden graduated from the University of Delaware, and received his law degree from Syracuse University College of Law. Biden was a public defender, was in private practice, and served on the New Castle County Council prior to his election to the U.S. Senate in 1972 in an upset victory. Biden served in the U.S. Senate from 1973 to 2009, forging a distinguished record, when he became the 47th Vice President of the United States serving the country under both of President Barack Obama’s terms in office.

About Representative DeGette
Diana Louise DeGette was born in 1957. A fourth-generation Coloradan, DeGette was born in Tachikawa, Japan as her father was serving there in the armed forces. She graduated from Colorado College and New York University School of Law. She then returned to Denver and began a law practice focusing on civil rights and employment litigation. A widely-respected leader in Denver politics, she served two terms in the Colorado House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Colorado’s 1st District, where she is serving her 11th term.

About Representative Upton
Frederick Stephen Upton was born in 1953 in St. Joseph, Michigan. Upton was named for his grandfather who was co-founder of the appliance manufacturer and marketer Whirlpool Corporation. He earned a B.A. in journalism from the University of Michigan. While in college he became a sports editor at The Michigan Daily. Prior to becoming a congressman, he served on the congressional staff of U.S. Congressman David Stockton and served in the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan. Since 1987, Upton has been them distinguished representative of the 6th Congressional District of Michigan.

The Marian B. and Jacob K. Javits Board of Directors
Carla I. Javits, President
Joshua Javits
Joy Javits
Emma Javits
Jeffrey Keil
Patsy Perlman

Javits Bipartisanship Prize Selectors
Senator Richard Lugar
Senator Alan Simpson
Mr. Erskine Bowles
Mr. Kenneth Duberstein
Mr. Joshua Javits
Ms. Michele Jolin
Professor Beth Noveck
Professor David Oshinsky
Ms. Monique Rizer
Mr. David Robinson

The Javits Prize Bipartisanship Leadership Nominating Organizations
Civic Enterprises
Hamilton Place Strategies
Results for America
University of Texas, Austin: LBJ School of Public Affairs

Results for America, a partner in the 2017 Javits Prize for Bipartisan Leadership awards, is helping decision-makers at all levels of government harness the power of evidence and data to solve the world’s greatest challenges.



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