How productive is Congress?

Over the Thanksgiving break, I figured NOTHING could be any more frustrating than watching my Gators, so I decided to begin to tackle learning R.

Part of teaching myself R is playing around with an interesting data set – Congressional Bills.  “This public resource provides information about more than 400,000 bills introduced in the U.S. Congress, currently 1947-2008, along with extensive information about each bill’s progress and sponsor.”

I just started with a simple question, “How productive is Congress?”

Congressional Productivity

93rd - 113th Congress
source: http://congressionalbills.org/
YEARNot PassedRow N %PassedRow N %Total
19731462597.40%3862.60%15011
1974675997.40%1812.60%6940
19751383297.50%3602.50%14192
1976540197.00%1683.00%5569
19771243997.20%3622.80%12801
1978504196.10%2033.90%5244
1979807195.90%3494.10%8420
1980312094.50%1815.50%3301
1981709397.00%2203.00%7313
1982313195.80%1374.20%3268
1983648795.70%2924.30%6779
1984262695.20%1334.80%2759
1985577996.10%2323.90%6011
1986255495.10%1324.90%2686
1987556095.20%2784.80%5838
1988248192.90%1907.10%2671
1989558995.60%2574.40%5846
1990324095.20%1624.80%3402
1991595195.90%2574.10%6208
1992323595.30%1594.70%3394
1993525695.50%2494.50%5505
1994226195.20%1134.80%2374
1995416095.50%1944.50%4354
1996207694.80%1135.20%2189
1997440494.60%2525.40%4656
1998276496.20%1093.80%2873
1999516993.70%3456.30%5514
2000326594.50%1895.50%3454
2001525195.60%2404.40%5491
2002335197.00%1043.00%3455
2003536894.10%3345.90%5702
2004260394.20%1615.80%2764
2005650595.40%3154.60%6820
2006358996.00%1494.00%3738
2007716296.10%2923.90%7454
2008347595.80%1524.20%3627
2009710997.00%2233.00%7332
2010315695.70%1414.30%3297
2011562197.10%1662.90%5787
2012454197.70%1052.30%4646
2013549396.60%1963.40%5689
2014312997.30%862.70%3215
20155100.00%00.00%5

 

A couple of quick observations:

  • Productivity is falling, or at least the number of bills introduced is falling.
  • Election years dramatically reduce the number of bills introduced and passed.

DW Nominative Scores

Next, we take a look at the DW Nominative Scores:

dw1

We observe the ever increasing polarization with Republicans moving farther away from the center than Democrats.

 

Laws Passed & Signed into Law by Topic

The Major Topics are explained here in more detail, but it is easy to see they aren’t tackling all the issues with guster.

 

lawspassed

 

Florida Specific – Since 2012

 

Finally, I wanted to look at Florida’s delegation.  Take a gander at Alan Grayson’s level of activity.  Since 2012, he has accounted for 16.5% of the total activity of all of Florida’s delegation.

However, in results or bills actually passsed – John Mica leads Florida’s delegation with 5 bills passed and signed into law.  Jeff Miller is next with 4.

 

fl

Final Notes

  • R has a learning curve, and it is a grind.
  • R’s graphics look like junk- (these graphs were done in Excel)
  • R, in all its frustrations, was still better time spent than watching the UF / FSU game

About Alex Patton