Skip to main content


Comprehensive legislation can take years to pass Congress. Yet some bills manage to successfully maneuver the legislative process on the first go around. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) is one example. This essay relies on published research to analyze CERCLA's path through the legislative process and examines the political environment of the 96th congress to explain why CERCLA passed relatively easily. It suggests three factors, beyond the Democratic majority of the 96th congress, contributed to CERCLA's rare success: a presidential-partisan majority, presidential rhetoric, and party polarization. It argues that these three concepts made the 96th congress the best possible environment for passing comprehensive environmental reform.


File nameDate UploadedVisibilityFile size
18 Jul 2022
128 kB



  • Subject
    • Political Science & International Affairs

  • Institution
    • Dahlonega

  • Event location
    • Library 3rd Floor Room 382

  • Event date
    • 1 April 2014

  • Date submitted

    18 July 2022

  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Dr. Carl Cavalli