Volden: Experienced Staff Promote Effective Lawmaking

According to research from Batten's Center for Effective Lawmaking, retaining experienced legislative staff is crucial to Congress doing its job better. In an op-ed for The Hill, center co-directors Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman say that when it comes to congressional staff, we get what we pay for.

Photo courtesy of The Hill. (Greg Nash)
Photo courtesy of The Hill. (Greg Nash)

Members of Congress are wrestling with the 97 bipartisan recommendations put forward last year by the newly reestablished Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Among them are proposals to increase legislative staff paySupporters argue that salary increases are needed to recruit and retain the best legislative aides. Yet, the public is skeptical about spending more on Congress, which they judge as not doing a very good job.

At the Center for Effective Lawmaking, we know that with respect to congressional staff, we get what we pay for. We find that retaining experienced legislative staff is crucial to Congress doing its job better, in terms of lawmaking effectiveness.

We generate legislative effectiveness scores for every member of Congress since the 1970s. The scores combine 15 metrics based on how many bills each member introduces, how far they advance toward law, and the how substantial those proposals are. Our scores show which members of Congress are most effective as lawmakers. They also reveal the conditions that contribute to their success.

Garrett Hall at Sunset

Stay Up To Date with the Latest Batten News and Events