Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 4 > Issue 4

Information and Party Influence in the U.S. Congress

Pamela Ban, University of California San Diego, USA, pmban@ucsd.edu
 
Suggested Citation
Pamela Ban (2024), "Information and Party Influence in the U.S. Congress", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 4: No. 4, pp 497-521. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/113.00000086

Publication Date: 21 Feb 2024
© 2024 P. Ban
 
Subjects
Political parties,  Legislatures,  Congress
 
Keywords
Congresscongressional committeesinformationcommittee reports
 

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In this article:
Introduction 
Information and Party Influence 
Congressional Committee Reports and Information 
Measuring Information in Committee Reports 
Committee Information and Floor Outcomes 
Conclusion 
References 

Abstract

I examine the role of committee information about legislation and its link to legislative outcomes. Members of Congress, operating within a fast-paced, partisan environment, rely on cues and information to guide their voting decisions. Theories of legislative organization have placed committees at the center of information transmission about legislation under consideration in Congress. As the legislative unit tasked with considering all bills under their jurisdiction, committees convey information not only in the content of the legislation they report but also in how they frame, justify, and explain legislation. In this article, I outline and provide descriptive analysis motivating how information about legislation, controlled by committee chairs and party leaders, is linked to party influence over legislative outcomes. I introduce a dataset on committee reports that conceptualizes information on legislation. I demonstrate how committee information in these reports, as the interpretations and explanations of bills, fluctuate based on party decisions on what information to convey and how this information predicts floor voting outcomes.

DOI:10.1561/113.00000086