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Tuesday, June 27, 2023

The Senate's Deliberative Slump

Paul Kane at WP:
Robert X. Browning, a political-science professor at Purdue University who serves as the director of archives for C-SPAN, has catalogued congressional action in a meticulous, revealing way.

At this stage of the 114th Congress, in late June 2015, the Senate had devoted more than 255 hours to debate and speeches, more than 42 percent of the time the floor was open for business. By late June 2017, about 440 hours had been dedicated to debate, more than two-thirds of all Senate action.

This year, senators have engaged in less than 60 hours of debate during the 118th Congress — less than 14 percent of their time on the floor. Conversely, the time it takes to hold votes has soared in recent years, from just 85 hours as of late June 2017 to 148 hours through the middle of this week, according to Browning.