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Study: Bipartisanship Can Work in a Polarized Congress

Image: Study: Bipartisanship Can Work in a Polarized Congress

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017 11:50 AM

Bipartisan congressmen tend to be more effective in achieving their goals, according to a study conducted by two professors.

The research, conducted under the auspices of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University, found that those legislators with above-average bipartisanship were about 11 percent more effective than a congressman with below-average bipartisanship, meaning the more effective legislator managed to push more measures through the lawmaking process.

The authors of the study, Professors Craig Volden and Alan Wiseman, explained in The Washington Post that they wanted to see whether legislative effectiveness depended on how bipartisan a legislator was by using an index measuring the extent to which members of the other party co-sponsor a lawmaker's bills and the extent to which that lawmaker co-sponsors bills of the other party.

They also utilized a legislative effectiveness score composed of 15 indicators to determine the success of congressmen at moving their bills through the legislative process.

They insisted that their results also stood when controlled for other factors that might impact effectiveness.

Not surprisingly, minority-party members and centrists found bipartisanship particularly helpful, but the study also revealed that bipartisanship even helps strongly ideological lawmakers become more effective in getting more of their legislation passed.

Perhaps the most unexpected result in the study, considering the increasing polarization of Congress over the years, was that bipartisanship is actually a more effective strategy now than in the past.

However, it is unclear if legislators will pursue this policy as Congress opens. Graham Vyse of the New Republic said Democrats should have the exact same strategy congressional Republicans utilized on day one of Barack Obama's presidency, denying him any bipartisan support for major initiatives.

Vyse went on to say that collaborating with Trump is to normalize him, and, in any case, should not be pursued if it harms progressive policies.

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Bipartisan congressmen tend to be more effective in achieving their goals, according to a study conducted by two professors.
bipartisanship, congress, pass bills, study
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2017-50-03
Tuesday, 03 Jan 2017 11:50 AM
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