Taking the Initiative: Leadership Agendas in Congress and the "Contract with America"

By John B. Bader | Go to book overview
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Appendix E
Fate of the "Contract with America"

Table 1 presents data on the legislative success of the House Republicans' "Contract with America" as of August 1, 1996. These data were used to develop Table 2 in Chapter 7, which compares the Contract's success with that of Democratic leadership priorities.

The Contract began as a list of eleven initiatives, if one includes congressional reform. Many of these initiatives mentioned several different proposals, which subsequently became independent pieces of legislation. Table 1 presents the items on the Contract in italics, with the related proposals listed below each item, tracked through August 1, 1996. When a related proposal appeared as more than one bill, I counted the bill that progressed furthest in the process. While these figures may change at the end of the 104th Congress, House leaders did invite assessment of their performance after the first 100 days of that congress.

TABLE 1 "Contract with America" Items, with Legislative Outcomes,
1995-1996
House Action
Senate
Action
President
Outcome
Weight1
Congressional Reform
Ending Congress. Exemption Passes
Passes
Signs
Law
3
Cutting Staff, Committees etc. Passes
Not needed
Not needed
Passes
2
Balanced Budget/Line Item
Balanced Budget Amendment Passes
Not final
Not needed
Not final
1
Line Item Veto for President Passes
Passes
Signs
Law
3
____________________
1
Weight calculation: passage in either chamber is worth one, enactment is worth one, failure is worth zero.

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