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    Policy & Law

    Tracking historical trends in Congress

    By Gary Susswein
    Gary Susswein
    Published: Nov. 22, 2010

    Political scientists and information technology leaders at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a powerful new database that allows journalists, scholars, lobbyists and government watchdogs to track, analyze and understand historical trends in Congress.

    The Policy Agendas Project is especially relevant as a new Congress prepares to take office and people try to make sense of lawmakers’ shifting focus over time, the differences between Republican and Democratic priorities and whether wave elections correlate with policy changes in Washington.

    With the database, users can easily track and compare the issues that presidents and members of Congress have taken up since 1947 and assess how those actions reflected the mood of the country. The users can sift through dozens of issues and sub-issues — health care, the environment, taxes — to look at the topics that leaders dealt with in congressional hearings, new laws, executive orders and State of the Union addresses, as well as public opinion about problems facing the nation.

    Government Professor Bryan Jones developed the database with the Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services team.

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    • Quote 2
      personal statement said on July 18, 2011 at 1:10 p.m.
      This tracking should prove very interesting years from now. I'm sure it's interesting to look at the congressional priorities now, but this will be an even more powerful tool as future generations attempt to make sense of our political climate. Well done!
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