Can big data predict which bills will pass Congress?

The odds of getting a bill through Congress are, in a word, brutal. In a typical two-year term, members will introduce about 11,000 pieces of legislation. Maybe a few hundred will come to a floor vote, and of those only about half will ever be signed into law.

The most efficient Congress of the past two decades — by a long shot — was the 106th, which, from 1999 to 2000, pushed 6 percent of its creations to the finish line. Companies and organizations spend millions each year attempting to forecast this process. Armies of lobbyists wine-and-dine for morsels of inside information while hordes of researchers keep tabs on bills not just in Washington but in statehouses and local governments across the country.

Author: Michael J. Gaynor


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