D'Angelo is founder of the Congressional Research Institute, which investigates legislatures and institutional reforms with an eye toward improving representation.
Rank-and-file members of Congress are unhappy. In both chambers, leadership cuts them out of the amending process via an array of parliamentary tricks like "closed rules" and "filling the tree."
Frustrated, the members readily direct their anger at the top brass. But this is a mistake. The real culprit is transparency – weaponized transparency that grew out of congressional sunshine reforms a half-century ago.
With enactment in 1970 of the Legislative Reorganization Act, Congress switched, almost overnight, from being one of the most secretive of institutions to one of the most transparent.
In the wake of these reforms there was an immediate uptick in partisanship, anger and a startling rise of chamber deliberations on hot-button issues.
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