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The Congressional Capacity Survey: Who Staff Are, How They Got There, What They Do, and Where They May Go

The Congressional Capacity Survey: Who Staff Are, How They Got There, What They Do, and Where They May Go

Chapter:
(p.75) 5 The Congressional Capacity Survey: Who Staff Are, How They Got There, What They Do, and Where They May Go
Source:
Congress Overwhelmed
Author(s):
Alexander C. FurnasLee DrutmanAlexander Hertel-FernandezTimothy M. LapiraKevin R. Kosar
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.003.0005

Congressional staff play many roles in supporting the work of the US Congress, from opening constituent mail to drafting laws to conducting oversight. They are an essential component of congressional capacity. This chapter provides a long overdue close look at congressional staff, paying particular attention to the role staffers play in the legislative operations of Congress. It provides topline results of the 2017 Congressional Capacity Survey, an online survey of staff regarding the legislative branch’s capacity. The survey sought to find out more about the backgrounds, career paths, policy views, technical knowledge, substantive expertise, and job experiences of congressional staffers, as well as the procedures and organizational structures that allow them to assist members of Congress to do their work in the most effective and democratically responsive ways. What follows in this chapter are descriptive results that reveal who congressional staff are, how they get started on Capitol Hill, what they do for Congress, and where they see their careers leading.

Keywords:   congressional staff, Congressional Capacity Survey, legislative capacity, ideology, partisanship, legislative operations, policy knowledge, procedural knowledge, political information processing, congressional capacity

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