Center for Effective Lawmaking

Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen served as the U.S. representative for Florida’s 18th and 27th congressional districts from 1989 to 2019. She has been identified by the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) with the distinction of being among the top ten most effective Republican lawmakers in the US. House of Representatives in the 110th, 111th, and 112th Congresses (2007 to 2013). She was also identified as the most effective lawmaker in advancing international affairs policy among both Republicans and Democrats in the 112th Congress (2011…

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The Conditional Lawmaking Benefits of Party Faction Membership in Congress

The Conditional Lawmaking Benefits of Party Faction Membership in Congress In this new Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) paper published in Political Research Quarterly, CEL co-directors Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman of the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University respectively, alongside Lafayette College’s Andrew Clark (also a CEL Faculty Affiliate), examine how joining a party faction can impact a lawmaker’s effectiveness. Party faction membership has been shown to increase lawmakers' electoral success, but this paper investigates if the benefits persist once those lawmakers enter Congress. The authors’ research tests three…

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CEL Event: Effective Lawmaking in Virginia

Former Virginia House Minority Leader David Toscano and former Speaker Bill Howell (from left to right). (Photo by Ryan Strand, Batten School). CEL Event: Effective Lawmaking in Virginia On Monday, February 5, 2024, the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL), within the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia, held a presentation titled   “Effective Lawmaking in Virginia: Past, Present, and Future” as part of the school’s Batten Hour series. The panel discussion featured Bill Howell, former Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates, and David…

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The CEL on “Understanding Congress”

The CEL on "Understanding Congress" Craig Volden, professor of public policy and politics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia and co-director of the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL), was a recent guest on the podcast "Understanding Congress," hosted by Kevin Kosar, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). They discussed the topic of “What is legislative effectiveness?”, covering what the term means, how it is measured, and why it is an important area of research. We are pleased to have…

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Polarization and Lawmaking Effectiveness in the United States Congress

Polarization and Lawmaking Effectiveness in the United States Congress Political scientists have emphasized the rightward ideological movement of congressional Republicans across recent decades, relative to a more limited leftward shift by Democrats. However, new research from Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) co-directors Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman (of the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, respectively), and CEL Graduate Affiliate Patrick Buhr (also of Vanderbilt) argue that this asymmetric polarization has not translated into an equally conservative shift in lawmaking. Drawing on data on the lawmaking effectiveness of Representatives and…

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WATCH: Effective Lawmaking: A Cornerstone of Democracy

WATCH: Effective Lawmaking: A Cornerstone of Democracy On Friday, October 20, 2023, the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) held a presentation titled “Effective Lawmaking: A Cornerstone of Democracy” as part of our “Conversations with Effective Lawmakers” Series and the Karsh Institute’s “Democracy360” event, a three-day series that brought together thought leaders, journalists, policymakers, scholars, activists, artists, and students in Charlottesville, VA, to explore collectively how to shape a thriving democratic future. CEL co-directors, Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman, moderated a discussion panel featuring former U.S. House Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL)…

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Pivots or Partisans?: Proposal-Making Strategy and Status Quo Selection in Congress

Pivots or Partisans? Proposal-Making Strategy and Status Quo Selection in Congress Lawmakers vary considerably in how effectively they advance their priorities through Congress. However, the actual proposal-writing strategies undergirding these differences have remained largely unexplored, due to measurement and methodological difficulties. These obstacles have included prohibitively small sample sizes, costly data requirements, and strong theoretical assumptions. In this Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) working paper, political scientists Jesse Crosson (CEL Faculty Affiliate), Alexander Furnas, and Geoffrey Lorenz (CEL Faculty Affiliate) address these obstacles and analyze the proposal strategies of effective…

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Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Gerry Connolly

Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Gerry Connolly Representative Gerry Connolly has served as the U.S. representative for Virginia's 11th congressional district since 2009. Representative Connolly has been identified by the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) as being the most effective Democratic lawmaker in the U.S. House during the 117th Congress, as well as the most effective Democratic House Member in the area of government operations. He was also cited as having one of the longest streaks of “Exceeding Expectations” among all House members.CEL Co-Directors Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman recently…

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How Modern Lawmakers Advertise Their Legislative Effectiveness to Constituents

How Modern Lawmakers Advertise Their Legislative Effectiveness to Constituents In a complex information environment, members of Congress must communicate to their constituents their value as a representative. Specifically, they aim to convince voters that they are effective representatives and therefore ought to be reelected. Modern scholarship has focused largely on legislators’ effectiveness as lawmakers in areas like bill introduction, sponsorship, and shepherding of legislation through congressional procedures. But legislators do more than traditional lawmaking activities; they also engage in representational acts of advocacy and district-focused activity. This expanded notion of…

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REWIND: Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Will Hurd

REWIND: Discussing Legislative Effectiveness with Representative Will Hurd Former Representative Will Hurd announced today that he was running for the Republican nomination for president. He served as the U.S. representative for Texas’s 23rd congressional district from 2015 to 2021, and was identified by the Center for Effective Lawmaking (CEL) as being one of the top 10 most effective Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House during his first term in Congress, as well as being the third most effective freshman lawmaker within his class.Back in September, CEL Co-Directors Craig Volden and…

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