Textual Predictors of Bill Survival in Congressional Committees

Tae Yano, Noah A. Smith, John D. Wilkerson
2018
A U.S. Congressional bill is a textual artifact that must pass through a series of hurdles to become a law. In this paper, we focus on one of the most precarious and least understood stages in a bill's life: its consideration, behind closed doors, by a Congressional committee. We construct predictive models of whether a bill will survive committee, starting with a strong, novel baseline that uses features of the bill's sponsor and the committee it is referred to. We augment the model with
more » ... he model with information from the contents of bills, comparing different hypotheses about how a committee decides a bill's fate. These models give significant reductions in prediction error and highlight the importance of bill substance in explanations of policy-making and agenda-setting.
doi:10.1184/r1/6473729 fatcat:wrl2w2hswngqxotbjh3zycd5ty