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].

Testimony & hearings
Demand Progress Senate testimony on reviewing Legislative branch salaries and creating an Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Demand Progress, the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies submitted testimony to the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee concerning requests for a study on staff pay and retention, and the creation of a Senate Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

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Testimony & hearings
POGO Calls on Congress to Improve Its Capacity for Oversight

POGO encourages the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to expand its work to include recommendations on how Congress can do a better job of overseeing the executive branch.

Read more at Project On Government Oversight's Website  
Research
Making Congress a better place to work

This report by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Dr. Molly E. Reynolds outlines a number of policy recommendations to improve Congress as a workplace for members, their staffers, and the thousands of other workers that make up the Capitol Hill community. It focuses on the need to recruit and retain diverse and skilled staff in addition…

Read more at Brookings Institution's Website  
Data visualization
Vital Statistics on Congress

Vital Statistics on Congress is a wide-ranging data resource documenting how Congress has changed over time. It includes information on numerous topics, from member demographic information to congressional office operating expenses to campaign finance expenditures.

Read more at Brookings Institution's Website  
Research
Article One: Rebuilding Our Congress

Demand Progress and Public Citizen published a paper that explains how Congress has weakened itself from the inside and the steps it can take to regain its power. In short, Congress must invest more resources to strengthen and modernize its operations while also rebuilding its oversight and power of the purse authorities.

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Podcast
Understanding Congress

Congress is the least liked and perhaps least understood part of government—but it’s vital to our constitutional government. To better understand the First Branch, join host Kevin Kosar and guests as they explain its infrastructure, culture, procedures, history, and more.

Read more at American Enterprise Institute's Website  
Book
Congress Overwhelmed

In a new volume of essays, the contributors investigate an underappreciated reason Congress is struggling: it doesn’t have the internal capacity to do what our constitutional system requires of it.

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Research
Congressional Brain Drain

This research report comprehensively investigates congressional capacity and governance using publicly available data on long-term trends in legislative branch expenditures and data Furnas and LaPira collected in the 2017 and 2019 Congressional Capacity Surveys (CCS). The report documents how the decline in legislative capacity has changed during the era of rising polarization and increasing political…

Read more at New America's Website  
Research
Experienced Legislative Staff Crucial to Making a Difference on the Hill

A key to becoming an effective lawmaker in Congress is clearly tied to a legislator’s ability to cultivate and retain experienced staff members.  Drawing on data on U.S. Representatives’ staff allocations between 1994-2013, scholars at the Center for Effective Lawmaking have demonstrated that legislators advance more of their bills further through the legislative process when…

Read more at Center for Effective Lawmaking's Website  
Semiannual Report, July-December 2020

This semiannual report, covering the period between July and December 2020, highlights the CAO’s key programs and initiatives to serve the House during an unprecedented pandemic and to facilitate the transition to the 117th Congress.

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