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Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Timothy M. LaPira, Lee Drutman, and Kevin R. Kosar (eds)

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
book
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.001.0001
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

Congress is overwhelmed. It has become so overwhelmed its constitutional status as a co-equal branch of government is at serious risk. In this volume, leading congressional scholars explore the ... More


The Decline in Congressional Capacity

Molly E. Reynolds

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0003
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

This chapter provides an overview of the decline of a set of correlates of congressional capacity, or observable features of the institution that should be associated with its ability to function: ... More


What Do Congressional Staff Actually Know?

Kristina C. Miler

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0006
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

This chapter examines what congressional staff know about substantive policies and procedure in order to better understand Congress’s policymaking capacity. It argues that poorly informed staff ... More


The Congressional Capacity Survey: Who Staff Are, How They Got There, What They Do, and Where They May Go

Alexander C. Furnas, Lee Drutman, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Timothy M. Lapira, and Kevin R. Kosar

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0005
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

Congressional staff play many roles in supporting the work of the US Congress, from opening constituent mail to drafting laws to conducting oversight. They are an essential component of congressional ... More


Congressional Capacity and Reauthorizations

E. Scott Adler, Stefani R. Langehennig, and Ryan W. Bell

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0012
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

The capacity of Congress to govern is increasingly a concern. In this paper, we focus on one fundamental and sizable responsibility of lawmakers in Washington – renewing and updating the vast array ... More


Dodging Dead Cats: What Would It Take to Get Congress to Expand Capacity?

Anthony Madonna and Ian Ostrander

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0017
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

The US Congress has expanded its own institutional capacity rarely and reluctantly due to the fear that it would be interpreted by the public as an expansion of member perks and benefits. This ... More


Capacity in a Centralized Congress

James M. Curry and Frances E. Lee

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0014
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

The erosion of decentralized and committee-led legislative processes is often blamed for declines in Congress’s lawmaking capacity. Under this diagnosis, many scholars and observers argue that ... More


Overwhelmed: An Introduction to Congress’s Capacity Problem

Timothy M. Lapira, Lee Drutman, and Kevin R. Kosar

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0001
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

In this introduction, the volume editors introduce the framework of the book as a whole and the arguments of the leading scholars they've gather together for this project. They begin to make the case ... More


Capacity for What? Legislative Capacity Regimes in Congress and the Possibilities for Reform

Lee Drutman and Timothy M. Lapira

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0002
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

This chapter provides a new analytical framework to assess congressional capacity. The framework is based on two institutional tradeoffs: organizational structure (centralization vs. ... More


Legislative Branch Support Agencies: What They Are, What They Do, and Their Uneasy Position in Our System of Government

Kevin R. Kosar

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0008
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

Legislative branch support agencies have existed for more than a century, yet they remain remarkably little known to the public and are only occasionally studied by scholars. Here, the term ... More


Still Muddling Along? Assessing the Hybrid Congressional Appropriations Process

Peter Hanson

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0009
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

This chapter analyzes congressional budget capacity along two dimensions: the capacity of Congress to write appropriations bills, and the capacity of Congress to pass them. Congress currently follows ... More


Congressional Capacity and Bipartisanship in Congress

Laurel Harbridge-Yong

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0015
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

This chapter explores the interplay between bipartisanship and congressional capacity through a focus on two questions. First, why is bipartisanship important for Congress to solve problems and ... More


Constancy and Continuities

James M. Curry and Frances E. Lee

in The Limits of Party: Congress and Lawmaking in a Polarized Era

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226716213
eISBN:
9780226716497
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226716497.003.0007
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

This chapter discusses some broad implication of this book, which finds a remarkable degree of constancy and continuity in the limits on congressional majority party influence over public policy. ... More


The Issue Dynamics of Congressional Capacity

Jonathan Lewallen, Sean M. Theriault, and Bryan D. Jones

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0011
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

Congress recently has been unable to solve problems both pressing and recurring on a range of issues. Observers are quick to point to increasing polarization as the culprit. Yet there is nothing ... More


How Committee Staffers Clear the Runway for Legislative Action in Congress

Casey Burgat and Charles Hunt

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0007
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

Even in an era when much of the policymaking in Congress is governed by partisanship and party leadership, congressional committees continue to be engines for legislative activity. It is therefore ... More


Congress and the Capacity to Act: Overcoming Gridlock in the Senate’s Amendment Process

James Wallner

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0010
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

Congress is broken. For many observers, the reason why is because its members are unable to reach agreement on legislation given the polarized political environment in which they deliberate. Most ... More


Lessons from the History of Reform

Ruth Bloch Rubin

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0016
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

On occasion, members of Congress attempt to alter how their legislative ecosystem functions by amending, eliminating, or imposing new procedures and structures. These formative episodes—and the ... More


How Congress Fell Behind the Executive Branch

Philip A. Wallach

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0004
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

How did America’s executive branch come to dwarf the legislative branch? This chapter surveys more than two centuries of American history to show how executive empowerment has primarily been driven ... More


How Experienced Legislative Staff Contribute to Effective Lawmaking

Jesse M. Crosson, Geoffrey M. Lorenz, Craig Volden, and Alan E. Wiseman

in Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Published in print:
2020
Published Online:
May 2021
ISBN:
9780226702438
eISBN:
9780226702605
Item type:
chapter
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:
10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0013
Subject:
Political Science, American Politics

Members of Congress seek to allocate their scarce staff resources carefully, given their multiple, sometimes competing, objectives. Using data on House members’ staff allocations from 1994 to 2013, ... More


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