Center for Effective Lawmaking

Discussing Effective Lawmaking in Latin America

Discussing Effective Lawmaking in Latin America On December 3, 2020, the Center for Effective Lawmaking Co-Directors as well as our current post-doctoral affiliate, Erinn Lauterbach, participated in a conversation hosted by American University regarding effective lawmaking in Latin America.Moderated by SIS Associate Professor Matthew Taylor, this forum compared legislative processes in the United States with those found in Latin America.Watch the conversation in its entirety below:https://youtu.be/H85TOihj65I

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WATCH: The Future of Congressional Reform with Rep. Derek Kilmer

WATCH: The Future of Congressional Reform with Rep. Derek Kilmer On November 12, 2020, the Center for Effective Lawmaking was honored to host Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA06) for a public conversation surrounding his work as the Chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. (For an analysis of how the Select Committee's work intersects with research from the Center for Effective Lawmaking, read our article here.) The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress Committee (“Select Committee”) was established by H.Res. 6 on January 4, 2019 and is…

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Divided America, Divided Government: What’s Next?

Divided America, Divided Government: What’s Next? America remains deeply divided.  Closely contested races.  A slight rightward move in the House.  A slight leftward move in the Senate.  If current election trends continue, 2021 will feature President Biden overseeing a Democratic House and Republican Senate.In some ways continued divided government is fitting.  Politicians should be placed in a position where they need to compromise and take one another’s views into account.  But will they?  Or will they dig in on their partisan divisions, which will contribute to gridlock, and ultimately provide…

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Experienced Legislative Staff Crucial to Making a Difference on the Hill

Experienced Legislative Staff Crucial to Making a Difference on the Hill A legislative staff member’s role is critical to maintaining and sustaining the operations of congressional offices. And the CEL has released a study revealing that the more experience a congressional staff member has, the better equipped they are to make the lawmaker they work for more effective.Assessing data from 1974 to 2013, the CEL discovered that experienced congressional staff have a significant impact on a legislator’s performance in Congress. Experienced staff help members advance legislative proposals of greater significance…

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Women’s Issues and Their Fates in Congress

Women's Issues and Their Fates in Congress It is no surprise to voters that bills addressing the classically considered “women’s issues” are more likely to be introduced by female members of Congress. Yet, bills on such issues are half as likely as other bills to be passed into law. Beyond that fact, CEL research has revealed a further surprising and disheartening finding. The likelihood of passage of “women’s issues” legislation drops in half yet again if the women’s issue bills are sponsored by women themselves. If men sponsor the legislation,…

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Watch: Primaries and Primary Reform

Watch: Primaries and Primary Reform On May 14, 2020, we partnered with the Miller Center to bring together a panel of experts to discuss primaries and primary reform. Our faculty affiliate Jennifer Lawless moderated as Chris Lu, Kyle Kondik and our Co-Director Craig Volden spent an hour answering questions such as: Is the U.S. presidential primary system really the best way to choose a nominee? Are we too reliant on campaign cash and media coverage? What are the benefits and costs of ranked choice voting? What interests these experts the…

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Watch: Former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock on Effective Lawmaking

On December 2, the Center for Effective Lawmaking was honored to host Former Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) at the University of Virginia. Mrs. Comstock's LES for the 115th Congress was a very high 3.706, ranking her 10th of her party (read more about the findings and analysis from the 115th Congress here). As speaker for the Batten Hour, she spoke at length on building coalitions and how we can increase diversity in representation. Watch the entire Batten Hour presentation here:

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Do Constituents Know (or Care) about the Lawmaking Effectiveness of their Representatives?

Do Constituents Know (or Care) about the Lawmaking Effectiveness of their Representatives? With Election Day quickly approaching, voters everywhere are readying themselves to cast their vote for their candidate of choice. While voters consider a wide array of factors when determining who to vote for, we sought to explore whether a representative’s lawmaking effectiveness might influence a voter’s evaluation of his/her potential choices? Substantial evidence exists that members of the U.S. Congress vary in their lawmaking effectiveness; and many classic studies of congress point to examples of Representatives and Senators…

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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…

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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…

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