Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving

With the fiscal cliff looming and the apparent inability of Congress to agree on a budget the past several years, many see Congress as an institution consumed by partisan bickering and gridlock.

Not so, according to a new book co-authored by political science professors Scott Adler from CU-Boulder and John D. Wilkerson from the University of Washington. According to Adler, Congress’s long history of addressing significant societal problems – even in recent years – seems to contradict this view.

Called “Congress and the Politics of Problem Solving,” Adler says the book shows how a simple premise – voters are willing to hold lawmakers accountable for their collective problem-solving abilities – can produce novel insights into legislative organization, behavior and output.