Obstructing Agenda Setting: Examining Blue Slip Behavior in the Senate

Ryan C. Black, Anthony J. Madonna, and Ryan J. Owens

Published 2011, The Forum 9(4): Aricle #9.


Senators increasingly use obstructive tactics to stall or kill legislation. Unfortunately, because senators can obstruct privately, scholars have little understanding of the conditions under which they do so. Using previously unreleased data from 2001-2009, we examine Senate obstruction by focusing on blue slipping behavior. We find that extreme members who do not belong to the president's party are most likely to employ negative blue slips. Thus, as moderate senators continue to be replaced by more extreme members, senators will increasingly use obstructive tactics.

Download the article here.