Paper: Textual Predictors of Bill Survival in Congressional Committees

ACL ID N12-1097
Title Textual Predictors of Bill Survival in Congressional Committees
Venue Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics
Session Main Conference
Year 2012
Authors

A U.S. Congressional bill is a textual artifact that must pass through a series of hurdles to become a law. In this paper, we focus on one of the most precarious and least understood stages in a bill?s life: its consideration, behind closed doors, by a Congressional committee. We construct predictive models of whether a bill will survive committee, starting with a strong, novel baseline that uses features of the bill?s sponsor and the committee it is referred to. We augment the model with information from the contents of bills, comparing different hypotheses about how a committee decides a bill?s fate. These models give significant re- ductions in prediction error and highlight the importance of bill substance in explanations of policy-making and agenda-setting.