A Seat at the Table: Just How Representative is the Legislative Process? An Analysis of the Gender Distribution of Witnesses Before a Select Group of Committees in the U.S. Congress
22 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2020
Date Written: January 10, 2020
This paper documents and analyzes the 2,277 witnesses who testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means (Ways & Means) and the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance (Finance) for the 110th (2007-2008), 111th (2009-2010) and the 112th Congresses (2011-2012). This allows us to measure the frequency of women as witness before committees controlled by Democrats (Nancy Pelosi as Speaker (2007-2010); Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader (2007-2012)), and Republicans (John Boehner as Speaker (2011-2012)). We construct a unique Congressional Record Representation Dataset (CRRD) using publicly-available committee reports and hearing transcripts to identify witnesses testifying before these committees to measure each committee as to its efforts to represent women and persons of color. This paper is the initial summary of our findings for witness representation before the tax-writing committees in terms of gender for the 110th through the 112th Congresses (the Review Period), and is the preliminary analysis of a larger project to measure and study the impact of women and persons of color testifying before multiple congressional committees from the 110th through the 115th Congresses. We presented this paper at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association. Extended versions of the CRRD are included in a forthcoming article by Caroline Bruckner titled, Doubling Down on a Billion Dollar Blind Spot: Women Business Owners and Tax Reform, which the American University Washington College of Law Business Law Review is publishing in Spring 2020.
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