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Few congressional staffers say Congress is functioning as a democratic legislature should: survey

A low percentage of congressional staffers from both parties believe Congress is functioning as a democratic legislature should, according to a survey released on Thursday.

The State of the Congress 2022 report from the Congressional Management Foundation and the Partnership for Public Service found that out of 128 congressional staffers surveyed in February, only 24 percent believe Congress is functioning the way a democratic legislature should, while 76 percent disagree.

Broken down by party, only 20 percent of those working for Democrats and 33 percent of those working for Republicans believed Congress is functioning as intended. 

An overwhelming majority of respondents — 67 percent — also disagreed that Congress is currently an effective forum for debate on questions of public concern, including 65 percent of those working for Democrats and 65 percent of those working for Republicans. 

“In recent years it seems leadership has consolidated a lot of power and weakened the committees. As a result, very little legislation is passed via regular order, and members and staff are frustrated by the lack of input, particularly on big bills,” the manager of a House support office told the survey.

The survey comes amid an increasingly partisan environment, especially in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the Capitol that has led to further fissures within the Republican Party. 

It also comes as even some of President Biden’s priorities, including his Build Back Better agenda, have been unable to pass due to division within his own party. 

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