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Conference Committees and Policy Change after Passage

Conference Committees and Policy Change after Passage

(p.122) Chapter Six Conference Committees and Policy Change after Passage
The Congressional Endgame
Josh M. Ryan
University of Chicago Press

How do bills change once they emerge from conference committees? This chapter answers the "who wins" question by examining how coalitions shift pre-conference to post-conference. The empirical tests draw on empirical expectations from the bargaining theory, partisan theory, distributive theory, and median voter theory to explore coalition changes. Coalitions generally get larger after conferencing, indicating bills do not become more partisan. Though, as the results also show, bills do not match the preferences of either of the winning coalitions. More moderate coalitions generally receive more of what they want because they are more willing to reject the legislation. But, the more extreme coalition also receives some benefits, consistent with the expectations from the bargaining model.

Keywords:   party theory, distributive theory, median voter theory, policy outcome

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