Center for Effective Lawmaking

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:


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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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…

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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…

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A Partisan Congress? Not so Fast.

A Partisan Congress? Not So Fast. In September 2017, Gallup News found that the public’s congressional approval rating was at an abysmal 16 percent. There are a number of factors that contribute to this rating, but the prevalence of partisanship and the rise of more ideologically extreme members are largely credited for this national sentiment. Yet, contrary to the beliefs of many Americans, bipartisanship remains an integral part of congressional activity. In fact, nearly two thirds of all passed laws in the 113th congress (2013-2014) were supported by at least one member of the…

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