Center for Effective Lawmaking

The Five Habits of Highly Effective Lawmakers

The Five Habits of Highly Effective Lawmakers As Congress prepares to go into recess, it is an opportunity reflect upon the legislative work completed thus far in the 116th Congress. Additionally, with many initiatives and reforms facing Congress upon their return, lawmakers still have a lot of work ahead of them upon their return in September. While it can feel to voters as though progress on the Hill is slow or even nonexistent, we believe reports of the death of congressional lawmaking have been greatly exaggerated. Public discourse tends to…


Inside the 2nd Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking

Inside the 2nd Annual Research Conference at the Center for Effective Lawmaking The Center for Effective Lawmaking hosted its Second Annual Research Conference on June 10, 2019 at the University of Virginia. The conference featured seven presentations of work focused on the conference theme “The Pipeline of Potentially Effective Lawmakers: Who Runs and Who Gets Elected?”  The Center for Effective Lawmaking's research team has developed three areas of focus for the research: identification of the characteristics of those who would likely become effective lawmakers once elected; cultivation of effective lawmakers…


Highlights from the New 115th Congress Legislative Effectiveness Scores

Highlights from the New 115th Congress Legislative Effectiveness Scores The Center for Effective Lawmaking is pleased to announce the release of the Legislative Effectiveness Scores (LES) for the recently completed 115th Congress (2017-18).  As in all previous releases, the scores are based on the combination of fifteen metrics regarding the bills that members of Congress sponsor, how far they move through the lawmaking process, and how important their policy proposals are.  The scores are normalized to an average value of 1.0 in each the House and the Senate.  More on…


Re-Thinking How We Vote

Re-Thinking How We Vote In today’s political arena, it is tempting to vote for candidates with the best slogan. But perhaps, we could build a better Congress if we voted for leaders who delivered results.Every two years, ineffective members of Congress are re-elected to their positions – sometimes effortlessly. And while this year voter turnout surpassed previous highs [i], simply just turning out to vote does not exhaust the extent of our civic duties. Robust civic engagement demands that we do our due diligence before we step in the booth.This…


2019 Research Grant Recipients

2018-2019 Grant Recipients in the Field of Legislative Effectiveness This fall, the Center for Effective Lawmaking, announced its first round of grant recipients.The CEL’s funding and support for research grants is consistent with its commitment to advancing the generation, communication, and use of new knowledge about the effectiveness of individual lawmakers and legislative institutions in Congress. A defining feature of the Center is its emphasis that research and understanding yield new opportunities to improve lawmaking effectiveness. The 2019 research grant recipients:Hanna K. Brant – University of MissouriAndrew Clarke – Lafayette…


Your Role in Building a Better Congress

Your Role in Building a Better Congress Research commissioned by the Congressional Institute shows that less than 1 in 5 voters believes their voice is being heard. So, how can individuals citizens begin to express their views in Congress?The best method of constituent expression stems from the power of the vote.  Voter registration and participation in all elections is the best way to influence your representative bodies. According to a September 2017, Gallup News poll the congressional approval rating is at an abysmal 16 percent. In order to remedy this problem I recommend…


D or R > X or Y: Party trumps sex in the contemporary Congress

D or R > X or Y: Party Trumps Sex in the Contemporary Congress When Republican Senator Susan Collins took to the Senate floor last week to announce whether she would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Democrats and Republicans alike held their breath. Collins’s vote would be pivotal; it would determine whether one of the most controversial Supreme Court nominees of all time would receive a lifetime appointment.It wasn’t the first time Collins found herself in the spotlight. One of the few remaining moderates in an…


John McCain, Effective Lawmaker

John McCain: Effective Lawmaker A self-described Maverick, John McCain became one of America’s most well known, liked and respected politicians during his almost four decades in Congress. It’s difficult to find anyone who doesn’t know that there was something unique about the Senator from Arizona.Senator McCain was also one of the most effective lawmakers of the Contemporary Congressional Era. He scored in our highly effective category for both of his terms as a US House Representative, setting the stage for a long and successful senatorial career. He then went on…


Who’s using Legislative Effectiveness Scores?

Who's Using Legislative Effectiveness Scores? The Center for Effective Lawmaking seeks to make our legislative effectiveness scores widely available to members of the academic community, voters, lawmakers, and the public at large. Since the Center launched in September 2017, the following organizations have referenced legislative effectiveness scores and the Center.  Good Governance GroupsLeg Branch, The Lugar Center, Duke's Polis Center and the AEI have all used legislative effectiveness scores to promote their good governance missions.Congressional Offices  Senator Orrin Hatch and Congressman Eliot Engel’s communication staffers sent out press releases to constituents…


Helpful Tools for Engaged Voters

Helpful Tools for Engaged Voters Many observers and scholars of politics would argue that as a whole, American citizens lack some basic knowledge that is often needed to manage a democracy. In June of 2016, Forbes found that only 34% of Americans can name the three branches of our federal government (executive, judicial, and legislative).This is a major issue at election time, as a recent University of Pennsylvania study reveals that most Americans do not know which party controls the House and the Senate. There seems to be a fundamental knowledge…


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