PART in Retrospect: An Examination of Legislators' Attitudes Toward PART


  • Odd J. Stalebrink is an Associate Professor of Public Administration, School of Public Affairs, Pennsylvania State University—Harrisburg, W160 Olmsted Bldg., 777 W. Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057. He can be reached at Velda Frisco Doctoral Candidate, Department of Political Science, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.


This research adds insight into the congressional reaction to the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) by exploring the influence of individual legislators' personal experiences and ideological position on their attitude toward PART. Specifically, the factors explored include ideological position held by legislators, level of business experience, level of campaign financing received from political action committees (PACs), years spent in Congress, seniority, and congressional chamber. The results indicate that legislators with higher levels of business experience generally were more supportive of PART and that the length of time they had served in Congress and the amount of campaign contributions they had received from PACs were negatively related to PART support. The study also provides insights into legislators' overall exposure and sentiment toward PART. The data indicates that only a small proportion of legislators clearly expressed positive or negative opinions toward PART, despite widespread exposure to the tool. These findings are important in that they contribute toward a more comprehensive understanding of the congressional reaction to PART and offer further insights into the challenges of securing congressional buy-in for executive performance budgeting initiatives.