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Congress Overwhelmed – The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform

Timothy M. LaPira, Lee Drutman, and Kevin R. Kosar


Congress is overwhelmed. It has become so overwhelmed its constitutional status as a co-equal branch of government is at serious risk. In this volume, leading congressional scholars explore the causes and consequences of Congress’s decades-long neglect in itself. The first branch of government no longer has the capacity to govern as it once did. The volume explores the state of congressional capacity, or the human capital and other resources that Congress has available to perform its role in resolving public problems by legislating, budgeting, holding hearings, conducting oversight, and servin ... More

Keywords: Congress, congressional capacity, congressional staff, legislative procedure, partisanship, polarization, gridlock, oversight, political reform, budget and appropriations

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780226702438
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226702605.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Timothy M. LaPira, editor
James Madison University

Lee Drutman, editor
New America Foundation

Kevin R. Kosar, editor
American Enterprise Institute

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Front Matter

1 Overwhelmed: An Introduction to Congress’s Capacity Problem

Timothy M. Lapira, Lee Drutman, and Kevin R. Kosar

Part 1 The Foundations of Congressional Capacity

Part 2 Knowledge and Expertise in Congress

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

Alexander C. Furnas, Lee Drutman, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, Timothy M. Lapira, and Kevin R. Kosar

Part 3 The Politics of Capacity in the Legislative Process

11 The Issue Dynamics of Congressional Capacity

Jonathan Lewallen, Sean M. Theriault, and Bryan D. Jones

12 Congressional Capacity and Reauthorizations

E. Scott Adler, Stefani R. Langehennig, and Ryan W. Bell

13 How Experienced Legislative Staff Contribute to Effective Lawmaking

Jesse M. Crosson, Geoffrey M. Lorenz, Craig Volden, and Alan E. Wiseman

14 Capacity in a Centralized Congress

James M. Curry and Frances E. Lee

Part 4 Capacity and the Politics of Reform