Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
Congressional committees are thought to be comprised of legislators with specific interest or expertise in the policy areas over which they are given jurisdiction. However, there exists an informational asymmetry between these legislators and the bureaucrats in the executive branch who will implement the laws they pass. If committee members care about reducing the potential for bureaucratic drift in implementation, they can allocate time and staff resources towards crafting detailed legislation that constrains the executive branch. To establish the conditions under which committee members will engage in drafting detailed legislation, I propose a new measurement of legislative delegation and conduct empirical tests on committee markups of bills from the 105th-114th congresses. My results demonstrate that committee staff size and ideological congruence among majority party leadership are important factors in the committee-level decision to draft detailed legislation in markup. Additionally, I find mixed support for the assertion that divided government incentivizes committees to constrain the executive branch through the addition of specific policy language in committee markup.