James M. Curry, associate Professor, room of political Science, university Of Utah, James.Curry
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When, and under what circumstances, room congressional minority parties capable of affecting legislative outcomes? us argue that the capacity of the decimal party come exert legislative influence is a duty of 3 factors: border on the bulk party, i beg your pardon create avenues for the decimal party; decimal party cohesion ~ above the concern at hand; and also sufficient an ideas for the decimal to communicate in legislating quite than electioneering. Drawing on data on every bill considered in the home of Representatives in between 1985 and 2006 and case instances of remarkable lawmaking efforts throughout the exact same period, we display that our theory helps guess which receipt are considered on the home floor, i beg your pardon bills end up being law, and also the substance of policy-making outcomes. Our result have important implications because that theories of conference party power and our understanding of minority party affect on Capitol Hill.

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Type research study Article
American political Science review ,First view , pp. 1 - 18
Creative Commons

This is an Open access article, dispersed under the terms of the creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which patent unrestricted re-use, distribution, and also reproduction in any medium, noted the original occupational is correctly cited.

When, and also under what circumstances, are congressional decimal parties capable of influencing legislative outcomes? This inquiry is in require of further investigation for at the very least two reasons.

First, we recognize that decimal parties sometimes exercise far-ranging influence over legislative outcomes, however we lack robust explanations because that when, why, or how. Because that example, despite unified Republican regulate of the White House and also Congress in 2018, the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending package enacted that March not only needed autonomous votes to pass but likewise contained plenty of Democratic Party priorities—including significant investments in child treatment programs, health care funding, election security, and more. Together White House budget Director Mick Mulvaney placed it, “we had actually to offer away a most stuff that we didn’t want to give away.”Footnote 1 On final passage, the bill had actually as much democratic (60% of the caucus) together Republican (62%) assistance in the residence and much more support from democracy (39) than Republicans (25) in the Senate.Footnote 2

numerous empirical findings underscore the regularly unexpected influence of minority parties: Majorities generally need minority party support to pass significant legislation (Curry and also Lee referral Curry and Lee2020) and also minority party support for a invoice in committee is predictive that its legislative success (Ryan recommendation Ryan2020). Home minority parties form the concern attentions of the majority party (Hughes referral Hughes2018) and the floor roll-call document (Egar referral Egar2016). Majority parties are regularly unable to regulate the house floor agenda (Ballard and also Curry referral Ballard and also Curry2020), and there room virtually no differences between the negative agenda-setting powers exercised by House and Senate bulk parties, regardless of far much more favorable rules in the home (Ballard recommendation Ballard and also Curry2021; Gailmard and Jenkins recommendation Gailmard and also Jenkins2007; recommendation Gailmard, Jenkins, Monroe, Roberts and Rohde2008). Meaningful minority party influence is no a rare occurrence.

Second, the nature that the American constitutional system compels united state to much better understand the influence of decimal parties. The founders placed focus on minority legal rights when making the U.S. Constitution. While they to be not thinking of minority parties, castle nevertheless set up a governmental system that was intended to frustrate majorities (Hamilton, Madison, and also Jay recommendation Hamilton, Madison and also Jay2003). Today, the American hybrid device is as much consensus based as it is majoritarian (Dahl recommendation Dahl2003; Lijphart reference Lijphart2012), and it commonly hinders the policy ambitions of bulk parties (Carey reference Carey2007; Curry and Lee referral Curry and also Lee2020; Mayhew referral Mayhew2005; Samuels and also Shugart recommendation Samuels and also Shugart2010; Shugart and Carey recommendation Shugart and also Carey1992).

regardless of these compelling reasons, scholars and also observers that Congress sell no constant explanations for minority party influence. Observers often chalk increase minority affect to failure on the component of the majority or the majority leadership.Footnote 3 scholar have focused overwhelmingly on expertise majority party power (e.g., Aldrich and Rohde recommendation Aldrich, Rohde, Bond and Fleisher2000; Cox and McCubbins reference Cox and McCubbins2005; Curry recommendation Curry2015; Monroe and Robinson reference Monroe and Robinson2008; Roberts recommendation Roberts2005; Roberts and Smith referral Roberts and also Smith2003; Rohde recommendation Rohde1991). Left fairly underexplained are the underpinnings of minority party influence. Together a result, examples of decimal party influence like those noted above are not well defined by influential theories that party power.

Here, we construct a theory of minority party volume for legislative branch influence. By capacity, we typical the ability to influence legislative outcomes. Us argue that the volume of decimal parties is a role of three factors: (1) constraints ~ above the bulk party, which create opportunities because that the minority; (2) decimal party cohesion top top the issue at hand; and also (3) motivations because that the decimal to interact in legislating quite than electioneering. As these factors increase and align, a minority party’s volume increases.

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we test our concept by emerging original steps representing each of these three factors and also with data on every bill introduced in the house of to represent from 1985 to 2006 (Ballard and Curry reference Ballard and also Curry2021).Footnote 4 We current several analyses. First, a particularly daunting test: predicting the contents of the home floor agenda, an element of congressional politics generally understood to it is in entirely managed by the bulk party (Cox and McCubbins referral Cox and McCubbins2005). We discover that receipt dealing with concerns where minority party capacity is better are much more likely come be considered on the house floor. Second, we display that our theory additionally helps define downstream legislative branch outcomes: minority party capacity predicts which bills end up being law. Finally, we current several instance examples that demonstrate the value of our concept for explaining minority party affect over lawmaking outcomes and the problem of policy, including situations not well defined by existing theories focused on bulk party power. Altogether, our result have important implications because that our expertise of party influence and the balance of bulk and minority strength in Congress.