Center for Effective Lawmaking

CEL Statement Condemning the Capitol Hill Insurrection

The Center for Effective Lawmaking works to help build a Congress that is comprised of effective lawmakers, has strong institutional capacity, and possesses the incentive structure that is needed to address America’s greatest public policy challenges. The assault on the Capitol on January 6 and surrounding events show us how far we still have to go to achieve this vision. We strongly condemn the violence as well as the hatred and lies that led to the attack.

There can be no effective lawmaking without a safe workplace in which to conduct the people’s business. For decades, the institutional capacity of Congress has been weakened, often from within, leaving others to fill the void. And the contentious political environment, where elected officials have had incentives to advance falsehoods, has often left little room for the compromise and cooperation that is most seriously needed.

As the 117th Congress returns to work, and the Biden-Harris administration begins, we hope that all lawmakers take this opportunity to reflect on events of the past and to chart a better path forward. We stand ready to work with those of good will to build a better Congress and to help heal a divided nation.

The Center for Effective Lawmaking seeks to advance the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. We envision a Congress comprised of effective lawmakers, strong institutional capacity, and the incentive structure needed to address America’s greatest public policy challenges.

Center for Effective Lawmaking

Introducing our new Conversations with Lawmakers series

Want to hear directly from lawmakers about their experience with effective lawmaking and how Congress works?

News & Articles

What is the Center for Effective Lawmaking?

The Center for Effective Lawmaking (“CEL”) is a joint partnership between the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and Vanderbilt University. It was created in 2017 to advance the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. The Center grew out of the Legislative Effectiveness Project, based on the scholarship of Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman, as featured in the award-winning book Legislative Effectiveness in the United States Congress: The Lawmakers.

Today, the CEL is directed by Craig Volden of the University of Virginia and Alan E. Wiseman of Vanderbilt University. To advance the goals of the Center, Volden and Wiseman have undertaken numerous research projects, brought together a team of scholars around the country with a diverse portfolio of work surrounding this issue, host an annual research conference, created materials to help lawmakers become more effective, and provide opportunities for public involvement through events with former and current legislators.

We invite you to support our work. Financial donations can be tailored to enhance specific Center initiatives of greatest interest to you. If you are interested in hosting an event to increase awareness about our work, please email thelawmakers@virginia.edu.

At a time when cynicism about Congress (both within and outside of the institution) seems both insurmountable and well-founded, the search for effective lawmakers is perhaps as crucial as it has ever been. It is at times when institutions are failing that effective leaders are needed more than ever.

Volden & Wiseman (2014, p. 13)
Play Video
Close Menu