To be Effective Legislators, Members of Congress Need Expert Resources of Their Own

Source: James M. Curry, Scholars Strategy Network, Key Findings, May 2015

Members of Congress used to enjoy support from legislative service organizations, taxpayer funded offices that provided policy analyses on many topics to members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. But after sweeping victories in the 1994 elections, Republican Congressional leaders cut these offices in the name of eliminating “waste” on Capitol Hill – but my research suggests this was penny wise and pound foolish. Developments since 1994 highlight the growing disconnect between the complexities individual members of Congress are asked to understand and the resources they have to analyze policy alternatives. What is more, the expert resources Congress now commands are increasingly centralized in the offices of party leaders….