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].

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  
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  
Research
Are Bipartisan Lawmakers More Effective?

Even in these politically polarized times, being a bipartisan lawmaker yields legislative payoffs.  Drawing on data from the 93rd-114th Congresses (1973-2016), scholars at the Center for Effective Lawmaking have demonstrated that those Representatives and Senators who attract a larger proportion of cosponsors to their bills from members of the opposing parties are more successful at advancing…

Read more at Center for Effective Lawmaking's Website  
Research
Who Congress Pays: Analysis of Lawmakers’ Use of Intern Allowances in the 116th Congress

“Who Congress Pays” is the first-ever audit of the Congressional Internship Fund. Our research entailed reviewing over 8,500 pages of payroll records from the House and Senate and examines which offices used the funds, who they hired, and how much interns were paid. We found most offices used their funds, but not equitably. Over 76%…

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Research
The Future of Citizen Engagement: What Americans Want from Congress & How Members Can Build Trust

This report explores, through a series of national polls, how Members of Congress and staff can change their communications practices, habits, and objectives to build greater trust in the institution and convince their constituents that their views genuinely do matter.

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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  
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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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
Racial Diversity Among Top Staff in Senate Personal Offices

This report provides evidence regarding the lack of racial diversity among U.S. Senate personal office top staff positions. This report defines personal office top staff as all chiefs of staff, legislative directors, and communications directors in the Washington, DC personal offices of the U.S. Senators. The data reflect Senate employment as of January 2020.

Read more at Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies 's Website