Inside Congressional Committees: Function and Dysfunction in the Legislative Process (Paperback)

Inside Congressional Committees: Function and Dysfunction in the Legislative Process By Maya Kornberg Cover Image
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It is widely believed that Congress has broken down. Media accounts present the storied legislature as thoroughly gridlocked, paralyzed by partisan rancor. Political scientists find that Congress is passing fewer laws and spending less time on legislative work. Which parts of a supposedly dysfunctional legislature continue to function?

Maya L. Kornberg examines the legislative process beyond voting patterns, emphasizing the crucial role of congressional committee hearings. In committees, lawmakers hear from expert witnesses, legislators revise and discuss bills before bringing them to a vote, and the public has an opportunity to engage with Congress. Kornberg scrutinizes the inner workings of committees--the different types of witnesses who testify, the varied hearings Congress holds, and the distinct effects that committee work has on congresspeople. She deploys original mixed-methods datasets that span from insider interviews to sentiment analysis examining the language used in hearings. Kornberg evaluates how committees operate and the conditions affecting their performance, finding that committee work can be more deliberative and productive than the politics of the Congress floor.

Through a comprehensive exploration of who committees hear from and how they listen, this book demonstrates that Congress is not as dysfunctional as is often claimed. Inside Congressional Committees also suggests timely reforms based on these findings that can strengthen Congress.

About the Author

Maya L. Kornberg leads research for the Elections and Government Program at NYU Law's Brennan Center for Justice. She holds a PhD in politics from Oxford University and has worked on democratic governance issues at universities, nonprofits, international development organizations, and think tanks. She is also lead author and researcher of the 2022 Global Parliamentary Report, a joint project of the United Nations Development Program and the Inter-Parliamentary Union examining civic engagement in the work of more than eighty parliaments.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780231201834
ISBN-10: 0231201834
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: February 7th, 2023
Pages: 248
Language: English