Why Congress Gets Nothing Done, In One Chart


The Brookings Institute’s Sarah Binder is out with a paper that confirms what’s been self-evident for quite some time: Congress is historically ineffective.

Binder perused through New York Times editorials to determine the “salient issues” in Washington that have been subjected to congressional gridlock between 1947 and 2012. Issues that were editorialized at least four times were deemed “salient.”

According to Binder’s paper, 75 percent of salient issues are mired in legislative gridlock. And Binder found that gridlock grows “when House and Senate chamber medians diverge in their policy views,” regardless of which party controls each chamber.

The chart below illustrates her findings. Check out her entire paper here.