Legislative Impact of Priorities
Tables 1 and 2 of this Appendix provide the details for findings discussed in Chapter 6 on the impact of legislative priorities. Table 1 shows the legislative fate of the 59 Democratic leadership priorities identified for five congresses. Table 2 presents comparable data for the broader congressional agenda for the same periods. This agenda was identified by including every piece of major legislation listed in Congressional Quarterly's Almanacs for each of the ten years under study. All but three leadership priorities can be found on the congressional agenda, confirming that leaders choose their priorities from issues already being given serious consideration in Congress. (Two of those three missing issues concern authority over the Federal Reserve and a third, "Peace in Nicaragua," required no legislative action.)
The legislative fates of each issue were traced for each entry in these two tables. Passage by one or both houses of Congress is noted, as are presidential actions and final outcomes. Each issue was then given a legislative "weight," to measure relative success. Issues received a score of one for successful passage in a chamber, and one for becoming law. If an issue went through several iterations, those were averaged. The weights of each iteration are in parentheses and the average appears to the right of the final iteration. In Table 2, I have italicized leadership priorities and put an "(I)" beside presidential initiatives. These latter issues provide the numbers for tracking presidential success, also discussed in Chapter 6.