Reforming Congress – Lawrence Evans of William & Mary

January 29, 2021  

  • Video
  • 0:20 Introduction/Background
  • 3:50 What are the core questions that you have been interested throughout your career?
  • 5:12 What is the role of committees for Congress? How do you view process and leadership in committee activities?
  • 8:36 Has the recent transparency of committee meetings made deliberation and legislative bargaining more difficult?
  • 10:48 What were your findings on the function of “individual elements” such as committee chairmen and ranking members in committees?
  • 12:49 Are rules in committees too restrictive or too lax? Is there room for members of Congress to be entrepreneurial or succeed in this environment?
  • 14:08 How should rules be structured to balance between the entrepreneurial efforts of individual members versus offering an equal opportunity for all members to voice opinions?
  • 15:06 How did your research describe or influence the changes observed in congressional committees over the years?
  • 17:12 Is oversight or legislation the primary focus of committees?
  • 20:24 What is your opinion on the number of staff and expertise of staff available to congressional committees?
  • 23:22 Is there an optimal number of members of Congress that should serve on a committee?
  • 25:40 What did you learn about specific committee rules and how they affected committee behavior? What is a committee chairman trying to maximize in a committee setting?
  • 28:06 Do you think there is a better way for congressional committees to systematically collect information, analyze it, and act upon it?
  • 31:30 What is your opinion on congressional hearings?
  • 34:14 About research relating to political parties and party whips
  • 38:09 What are some of your insights from your book on whips?
  • 41:51 Other projects underway – Legislative Liaison from the White House, Qualitative Methods to study Congress, and others
  • 44:05 How is the decision-making process in the Senate different from the House of Representatives?
    [Lightning Round]
  • 45:54 What do you think congressional representation should mean?
  • 52:07 How would your ideal Congress allocate its time?
  • 53:39 How should debate, deliberation, or dialogue occur or be structured in Congress?
  • 57:57 What fundamental improvements should Congress make in the next 50 years?
  • 1:01:15 What book or paper most shaped your opinion with respect to congressional reform?
  • 1:02:20 What plans do you have for your research over the long term?