2.3—Congressional Behavior

If the theme of the last section was how a bill becomes a law, this section’s theme would be why so many bills never become a law. When we map out all of the ways bills can die at every stage it should become clear that it takes a lot of cooperation among our legislative representatives to pass legislation, when that behavior is missing from Congress we are left with a legislative branch that cannot legislate.

What you need to learn

How is congressional behavior & the legislative process influenced by our elections, partisanship, and divided government?

Terms & Vocab


legislative gridlock

divided government

lame duck

Representational Models

delegate model

trustee model

politico model

+partisan model (added by Jones)

Congressional Behavior Factors

role of redistricting & partisan gerrymandering

role of divided government

role of majority party rule

Effects of Gerrymandering

effect on primary elections

effect on general elections

effect on Congressional efficacy & ideological divisions

Supreme Court Required Landmark Cases

Baker v. Carr

Shaw v. Reno