Using an objective formula that quantifies hearing activity since 2009, the Congressional Oversight Hearing Index establishes historical standards for the oversight hearing tempo of each committee. Current committees are graded on the degree to which they are on pace to match that historical standard. Through the first 14 months of the 116th Congress, committees functioned under normal conditions. Their hearing activity could be compared to past performance without any special adjustments.
After March 12, 2020, Committee hearing activity temporarily ceased due to the Covid-19 crisis. Although committees resumed hearings in May, they did so under physical constraints that made a normal pace of hearings unlikely.
Because of this situation, the weeks when Congressional committees were shut down entirely have been subtracted from the total weeks in the 116th Congress. Further, we are applying special adjustments to the weeks in May and beyond so that current congressional committees are not unduly penalized for the operational constraints caused by the virus.