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Congress may be getting ‘healthier,’ new study finds

The Christian Science Monitor

Monday, April 20, 2015

The dysfunctional Congress is creaking its way toward greater workability, with lawmakers putting in more days in Washington and the Senate allowing more input and debate – key bridges to compromise.

This progress is the finding of the new “Healthy Congress Index” by the Bipartisan Policy Center think tank. The quarterly report aims to measure how well Congress is working by recording how many legislative days it is in session, numbers of filibusters, amendments, and other criteria. Armed with those metrics, the think tank says, the public can better hold lawmakers accountable…

In the first quarter, the Senate considered 202 amendments, with 105 offered by Democrats and 97 by Republicans – more amendments than any Congress going back to 2007.

Many factors contribute to gridlock and hyper-partisanship in Congress, and a closed process is one of them. It breeds anger, distrust, and then more gridlock.

“We have been in a frustratingly vicious cycle for a number of years in which dysfunction begets anger begets partisanship begets dysfunction,” says Jason Grumet, president of the Bipartisan Policy Center.

KEYWORDS: 114TH CONGRESS, COMMISSION ON POLITICAL REFORM, HEALTHY CONGRESS INDEX, JASON GRUMET, JOHN BOEHNER, MITCH MCCONNELL, TOM DASCHLE