There Will Be Gridlock

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Colby Itkowitz asks if the elections will do anything to reduce gridlock.

University of Pittsburgh political scientist Jonathan Woon says no:

To see what we might expect over the next two years based on these fundamentals, I computed a projected gridlock interval for the 113th Congress (using Keith Poole’s NOMINATE scores and the technique I used to predict lawmaking following 2008 election) and plotted it along with the gridlock intervals for the 110th through the 112th Congresses (2007-2012) for comparison. The projected interval for the 113th is virtually identical to the interval for the 112th, so we can expect Congress to do…ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but it’s probably not too far off the mark. There will always be some existing policies that lie outside the interval and other laws will expire, effectively bringing them outside the interval, too. These will lead to reauthorizations and minor policy tweaks. But for most policy areas (even ones that seem pressing, like immigration reform), don’t expect any significant accomplishments. Instead, expect the status quo—more gridlock.

Luckily, the second Obama term is all about protecting and implementing the policy wins from the first term. He doesn’t really need to get any laws through the Congress, just veto bad stuff.

This entry was posted in Budget.

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