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New Data Shows Demise of Congressional Debate in 2017

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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Washington, D.C.– As the Senate begins open debate on immigration legislation this week, new Healthy Congress Index data from the Bipartisan Policy Center shows that it will be the first substantial opportunity for debate in the 115th Congress.

“Unfortunately, 2017 saw the demise of debate and amendment,” wrote John Fortier, director of BPC’s democracy project, in The Hill. “The opportunity for minority and majority party members to discuss, debate, and most importantly, to offer amendments on pending legislation improves the quality of legislation and deepens the legitimacy of the process by incorporating the diversity of voices and viewpoints Congress is intended to represent.”

BPC found that the Senate considered only 159 amendments in all of 2017, the lowest number in at least a decade. The House considered no legislation under rules allowing for fully open debate and amendment during 2017, according to BPC’s data.

Read the new Healthy Congress Index data

Read our analysis

Read John Fortier’s column in The Hill

KEYWORDS: JOHN FORTIER, HEALTHY CONGRESS INDEX, 115TH CONGRESS