Congressional committees as users of analysis

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Abstract

Structural arrangements in the Congress work against the use of analysis, but newer developments, such as growth in staff professionalism and activity of the congressional support agencies, tend to promote it. Interviews with committee staff show that they are aware of much analysis, use it primarily for political advantage, but that they also take it seriously as warning of problems and as guidance on particular issues. Staff value information more when they know and trust its source and understand its political motivations. The use of analysis to reconceptualize problems is not much in evidence, perhaps because such “enlightenment” takes place elsewhere and filters into the Congress through informal channels.

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