Research & Resources

The Alliance for Congress works with people and organizations who believe in good government and seek to champion improvements that will better equip Congress to deliver results for the public. Our work is driven by engagement with members of Congress, staff and constituents, and by research that uses data and evidence to explain why Congress matters and how it can work better.

This library contains resources and information relevant for lawmakers, staff, media, researchers, federal agencies and others working to improve the institution of Congress.  

We work with our allies within the Alliance for Congress Research Network to generate and promote new and meaningful research designed to better understand and address issues related to congressional functionality. Through this network, we share timely and relevant research initiatives and findings, partner on projects, provide insights and hold meaningful discussions on how Congress works and how it could improve to better serve our diverse nation. The network is a resource for scholars and research institutions, and a platform for all interested parties to discuss challenges facing the institution, propose forward-looking solutions and set a course toward a more effective Congress.

For more information about our research network, the Alliance’s research and that of our allies, please contact Chayenne Polimedio at [email protected].

Podcast
Swamp Stories Episode 32: The Other 97% of Congress

Much of the time when we talk and think about Congress, we don’t consider all the work that happens behind the scenes. Without the congressional staffers who constitute 97% of the legislative branch, legislating would be impossible. But, their ability to do this job is often hobbled by extremely low pay, leading to poor staff…

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Commentary
House earmarks requests: Why, what, and who?

Read more at American Enterprise Institute's Website  
Commentary
Divided Government, Disruptive President: Congressional Oversight of the Executive Branch in the 116th Congress

Using data on both hearings held by and letters sent on behalf of House committees and subcommittees, this report analyzes the quantity, type, issue focus, and quality of oversight of the executive branch in the House of Representatives during the 116th Congress (2019–2020).

Read more at Brookings Institute's Website  
Research
Congressional Oversight Hearing Index

This Index evaluates each House and Senate committee’s devotion to oversight. Each committee is given a letter grade based on the degree to which its oversight hearing record in this Congress is on pace to match its historical performance. Current committee grades are updated regularly to reflect new hearing activity.

Read more at The Lugar Center's Website  
Commentary
Towards an Administrative Rule of Lenity: Restoring the Constitutional Congress by Reforming Statutory Interpretation

The 2017 Article I writing contest winner was Joel Nolette whose essay proposes an “administrative rule of lenity” as a solution to structural problems besetting our federal government and the constitutional separation of powers.

Read more at The Federalist Society's Website  
Commentary
As Far As Reasonably Practicable: Reimagining the Role of Congress in Agency Rulemaking

The 2019 Article I Initiative writing contest winner was Mike Jayne. His essay argues that the nondelegation doctrine is in need of resuscitation.

Read more at The Federalist Society's Website  
Commentary
Negative Legislation

The 2020 Article I Initiative writing contest winner was Roberto Borgert whose essay argues that Congress should embrace negative lawmaking: the exercise of its power to say what the law is not.

Read more at The Federalist Society's Website  
Research
The Future of Citizen Engagement: Rebuilding the Democratic Dialogue

Effective governance of, by, and for the People depends on Congress’ awareness of the needs and interests of those they represent. Senators and Representatives need to understand the impact of legislation on the People, explain their actions and congressional activities, and generate support for public policy.

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Research
Congressional Oversight Hearing Index

This Index evaluates each House and Senate committee’s devotion to oversight. Each committee is given a letter grade based on the degree to which its oversight hearing record in this Congress is on pace to match its historical performance. Current committee grades are updated regularly to reflect new hearing activity.

Read more at The Lugar Center's Website  
Commentary
Can the Courts Make Congress Do Its Job?

Advocates of congressional reform should look across First Street from the Capitol for a new ally: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. No, Gorsuch has not taken up the cause of changing how Congress works. In recent years, however, he has become known for arguing for stricter enforcement of the non-delegation doctrine — the constitutional principle that states…

Read more at The Congressional Institute's Website