Center for Effective Lawmaking

Elite Education and Legislative Behavior in the U.S. Congress

Elite Education and Legislative Behavior in the U.S. Congress The Center for Effective Lawmaking announces new research about the relationship between elite education on legislative behavior, particularly effective lawmaking, in the U.S. Congress.About a third of the U.S. Congress is comprised of legislators who attended elite colleges, universities, and law schools. We studied how legislative behaviors within this group have differed from those of other legislators between 1973 and 2014. Elite education is defined as having graduated from the most highly ranked colleges and universities, such as Stanford or Harvard, and…

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Watch: Women in Legislature

Watch: Women in Legislature (A Community Conversation) On May 1, the Center for Effective Lawmaking, along with Batten Women in Policy, hosted a discussion about the role and importance of women in legislatures.The CEL has ground-breaking research finding that congresswomen tend to build coalitions more regularly than their male counterparts. This results in minority-party women being some of the highest scoring legislators when it comes to effectiveness. But, this principle does not apply equally to all congresswoman, nor for their proposals in some important policy areas.Watch the recording as Professor…

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How Effective are Party Faction Members in Congress?

How Effective are Party Faction Members in Congress? There is much discussion given today’s political climate about the rise and strength of political factions. As those who are like-minded bind more closely to push through legislation and change, the inclination is to believe that working together in a cohesive faction will wield power to move legislative changes through Congress and the larger the faction the more powerful it is. But is this true? At the Center for Effective Lawmaking, we took an in-depth look at ideological caucuses. Factions (formally referred…

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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…

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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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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…

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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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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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