New Conservatives, Amendments, and Party Loyalty
34 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2018
Date Written: September 1, 2018
We explore the extent to which “New Conservatives” — i.e., the Tea Party, Liberty, and Freedom Caucuses — succeeded in shifting policy outcomes rightward by adding conservative amendments to measures that later passed the House. We do so by focusing primarily on data from the 112th through 115th Congresses (2011-2018). We find that while New Conservatives offer many amendments and the House agrees to many of their amendments, there is little evidence that their amendments lead to House passage of legislation that is more conservative than legislation without New Conservative amendments. Our results suggest multiple possible explanations: perhaps, when offering amendments, New Conservatives are more pragmatic than they are sometime credited for being; or perhaps there the process that determines which amendments are voted on is more likely to preclude votes upon, or perhaps even the offering of, New Conservatives’ most conservative amendments. We discuss additional work that might help explain our findings.
Keywords: Party Loyalty, House of Representatives, Freedom Caucus, Amending Process
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