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Why Is There Disagreement About The Value Of The Seniority Rule

Congressional reformers seem to recognize the commitment qualities of seniority in the current era. They designed the honest Leadership and Open Government Act – passed a dozen years ago to counter pressure from former members and employees on the legislative process through lobbying. By law, congressional employees can lobby by leaving the hill, with the exception of people in their former office or committee. Former members can work immediately to advise clients on policy and legislative strategy. Reformers did not seem to believe that information about policy members or procedures and personnel after their departure gave unhealthy influence. They wanted to mitigate the influence created by the many strong personal relationships that were forged during a long stay in Congress. Roll-call data from the current era of the party, which began in the 1980s, show that the proportion of votes a member gets is strongly and positively related to the time he served in Parliament. These schemes clearly show that seniority is neither convenient nor strategic – the proposals of the main legislators do not tend to narrowly win or suffer great defeats. Co-sponsorship data show that junior members do not disproportionately target the actions of leaders. The conditions served by the sponsor of an invoice and the average number of conditions served by its co-sponsors are positive.

Some of the most powerful leaders – the spokesmen of the House of Representatives and the leaders of the majority – are chosen positions and therefore somewhat immune from the seniority system. Senior members can choose their own functions and committee functions. The latter is one of the main privileges that a member of Congress can acquire, because the committees are where most important legislative work actually takes place, not on the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The information is also notoriously difficult to comoderize. It is not like money or tangible good. As soon as I give it to you, it loses its value to me, because I can`t control what you do with it. You could turn around and tweet around the world. Scientists believe that information is correlated with political and procedural competences. It`s probably the Other. But this does not make it particularly useful for its owners in their efforts to promote personal political interests.