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The Journal of the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University


Politicians, media, and the public use the term "gridlock" to refer to the crush of competing interests in the policy process. Gridlock, however, is not a phenomenon that can be objectively identified or addressed. Rather, it is a catch-phrase used by partisans and pundits. Using other theories of political conflict and a case study of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1992, this article shows that political discourse would be better served if gridlock was not used as an analogy for perceived legislative troubles.

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