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Tracking the ‘health’ of Congress

USA TODAY

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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Congress continues to show small measures of progress in how the institution is being run, according to a quarterly report that tracks various metrics to evaluate the “health” of the legislative branch.

The second quarter “Healthy Congress Index,” produced by the nonpartisan Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), shows small increases compared to recent Congresses in the number of working days in the House and Senate, the number of amendments that received Senate consideration and the number of bills being reported out of committee.

“There is still a lot of work to be done, but the trend is moving a direction where the American people should take notice,” said former Senate leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., in a statement. Daschle co-chaired the BPC’s Commission on Political Reform last year which released a series of recommendations on how Congress can work better to attempt to tone down the polarization that has gripped the U.S. Capitol in recent years.

The first quarter report showed the new, GOP-controlled Congress working more and allowing more input from both parties in the Senate compared to recent legislative sessions when the Congress was divided between the two parties.

KEYWORDS: TOM DASCHLE, JOHN FORTIER, OLYMPIA SNOWE, 114TH CONGRESS, HEALTHY CONGRESS INDEX