Setting The Agenda

Author: Gary W. Cox
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9780521853798
Size: 68.43 MB
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Scholars of the U.S. House disagree over the importance of political parties in organizing the legislative process. On the one hand, non-partisan theories stress how congressional organization serves members' non-partisan goals. On the other hand, partisan theories argue that the House is organized to serve the collective interests of the majority party. This book advances our partisan theory and presents a series of empirical tests of that theory's predictions (pitted against others). It considers why procedural cartels form, arguing that agenda power is naturally subject to cartelization in busy legislatures. It argues that the majority party has cartelized agenda power in the U.S. House since the adoption of Reed's rules in 1890. The evidence demonstrates that the majority party seizes agenda control at nearly every stage of the legislative process in order to prevent bills that the party dislikes from reaching the floor.

Parties And Leaders In The Postreform House

Author: David W. Rohde
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226724058
Size: 41.69 MB
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Since the Second World War, congressional parties have been characterized as declining in strength and influence. Research has generally attributed this decline to policy conflicts within parties, to growing electoral independence of members, and to the impact of the congressional reforms of the 1970s. Yet the 1980s witnessed a strong resurgence of parties and party leadership—especially in the House of Representatives. Offering a concise and compelling explanation of the causes of this resurgence, David W. Rohde argues that a realignment of electoral forces led to a reduction of sectional divisions within the parties—particularly between the northern and southern Democrats—and to increased divergence between the parties on many important issues. He challenges previous findings by asserting that congressional reform contributed to, rather than restrained, the increase of partisanship. Among the Democrats, reforms siphoned power away from conservative and autocratic committee chairs and put control of those committees in the hands of Democratic committee caucuses, strengthening party leaders and making both party and committee leaders responsible to rank-and-file Democrats. Electoral changes increased the homogeneity of House Democrats while institutional reforms reduced the influence of dissident members on a consensus in the majority party. Rohde's accessible analysis provides a detailed discussion of the goals of the congressional reformers, the increased consensus among Democrats and its reinforcement by their caucus, the Democratic leadership's use of expanded powers to shape the legislative agenda, and the responses of House Republicans. He also addresses the changes in the relationship between the House majority and the president during the Carter and Reagan administrations and analyzes the legislative consequences of the partisan resurgence. A readable, systematic synthesis of the many complex factors that fueled the recent resurgence of partisanship, Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House is ideal for course use.

Legislative Leviathan

Author: Gary W. Cox
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1139464698
Size: 53.58 MB
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The second edition of Legislative Leviathan provides an incisive new look at the inner workings of the House of Representatives in the post-World War II era. Re-evaluating the role of parties and committees, Gary W. Cox and Mathew D. McCubbins view parties in the House - especially majority parties - as a species of 'legislative cartel'. These cartels seize the power, theoretically resident in the House, to make rules governing the structure and process of legislation. Most of the cartel's efforts are focused on securing control of the legislative agenda for its members. The first edition of this book had significant influence on the study of American politics and is essential reading for students of Congress, the presidency, and the political party system.

Pivotal Politics

Author: Keith Krehbiel
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226452739
Size: 46.52 MB
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Politicians and pundits alike have complained that the divided governments of the last decades have led to legislative gridlock. Not so, argues Keith Krehbiel, who advances the provocative theory that divided government actually has little effect on legislative productivity. Gridlock is in fact the order of the day, occurring even when the same party controls the legislative and executive branches. Meticulously researched and anchored to real politics, Krehbiel argues that the pivotal vote on a piece of legislation is not the one that gives a bill a simple majority, but the vote that allows its supporters to override a possible presidential veto or to put a halt to a filibuster. This theory of pivots also explains why, when bills are passed, winning coalitions usually are bipartisan and supermajority sized. Offering an incisive account of when gridlock is overcome and showing that political parties are less important in legislative-executive politics than previously thought, Pivotal Politics remakes our understanding of American lawmaking.

Beyond Ideology

Author: Frances E. Lee
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226470776
Size: 68.95 MB
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The congressional agenda, Frances Lee contends, includes many issues about which liberals and conservatives generally agree. Even over these matters, though, Democratic and Republican senators tend to fight with each other. What explains this discord? Beyond Ideology argues that many partisan battles are rooted in competition for power rather than disagreement over the rightful role of government. The first book to systematically distinguish Senate disputes centering on ideological questions from the large proportion of them that do not, this volume foregrounds the role of power struggle in partisan conflict. Presidential leadership, for example, inherently polarizes legislators who can influence public opinion of the president and his party by how they handle his agenda. Senators also exploit good government measures and floor debate to embarrass opponents and burnish their own party’s image—even when the issues involved are broadly supported or low-stakes. Moreover, Lee contends, the congressional agenda itself amplifies conflict by increasingly focusing on issues that reliably differentiate the parties. With the new president pledging to stem the tide of partisan polarization, Beyond Ideology provides a timely taxonomy of exactly what stands in his way.

Ideology And Congress

Author: Howard Rosenthal
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1351513788
Size: 33.84 MB
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In Ideology and Congress, authors Poole and Rosenthal have analyzed over 13 million individual roll call votes spanning the two centuries since Congress began recording votes in 1789. By tracing the voting patterns of Congress throughout the country's history, the authors find that, despite a wide array of issues facing legislators, over 81 percent of their voting decisions can be attributed to a consistent ideological position ranging from ultraconservatism to ultraliberalism. In their classic 1997 volume, Congress: A Political Economic History of Roll Call Voting, roll call voting became the framework for a novel interpretation of important episodes in American political and economic history. Congress demonstrated that roll call voting has a very simple structure and that, for most of American history, roll call voting patterns have maintained a core stability based on two great issues: the extent of government regulation of, and intervention in, the economy; and race. In this new, paperback volume, the authors include nineteen years of additional data, bringing in the period from 1986 through 2004.

Fighting For The Speakership

Author: Jeffery A. Jenkins
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400845467
Size: 29.74 MB
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The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the most powerful partisan figure in the contemporary U.S. Congress. How this came to be, and how the majority party in the House has made control of the speakership a routine matter, is far from straightforward. Fighting for the Speakership provides a comprehensive history of how Speakers have been elected in the U.S. House since 1789, arguing that the organizational politics of these elections were critical to the construction of mass political parties in America and laid the groundwork for the role they play in setting the agenda of Congress today. Jeffery Jenkins and Charles Stewart show how the speakership began as a relatively weak office, and how votes for Speaker prior to the Civil War often favored regional interests over party loyalty. While struggle, contention, and deadlock over House organization were common in the antebellum era, such instability vanished with the outbreak of war, as the majority party became an "organizational cartel" capable of controlling with certainty the selection of the Speaker and other key House officers. This organizational cartel has survived Gilded Age partisan strife, Progressive Era challenge, and conservative coalition politics to guide speakership elections through the present day. Fighting for the Speakership reveals how struggles over House organization prior to the Civil War were among the most consequential turning points in American political history.

Political Parties In Advanced Industrial Democracies

Author: Paul Webb
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199240558
Size: 62.46 MB
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How relevant and vital are political parties in contemporary democracies? Do they fulfill the functions that any stable and effective democracy might expect of them, or are they little more than moribund anachronisms, relics of a past age of political life, now superseded by other mechanisms of linkage between state and society? These are the central questions which this book aims to address through a rigorous comparative analysis of political parties operating in the world'sadvanced industrial democracies. Drawing on the expertise of an impressive team of internationally known specialists, the book engages systematically with the evidence to show that, while a degree of popular cynicism towards them is often chronic, though rarely acute, parties have adapted and survived asorganizations, remodelling themselves to the needs of an era in which patterns of linkage and communication with social groups have been transformed. This has enabled them to remain central to democratic systems, especially in respect of the political functions of governance, recruitment and, albeit more problematically, interest aggregation. On the other hand, the challenges they face in respect of interest articulation, communication and participation have pushed parties into more marginalroles within Western political systems. The implications of these findings for democracy depend on the observer's normative and theoretical perspectives. Those who understand democracy primarily in terms of popular choice and control in public affairs will probably see parties as continuing to play acentral role, while those who place greater store by the more demanding criteria of optimizing interests and instilling civic orientations among citizens are far more likely to be fundamentally critical.Comparative Politics is a series for students and teachers of political science that deals with contemporary issues in comparative government and politics. The General Editors are Max Kaase, Vice President and Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, International University Bremen, and Kenneth Newton, Professor of Government at Southampton University. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research.

The Future Of Organized Labor In American Politics

Author: Peter L. Francia
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231130708
Size: 46.99 MB
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In 1995, promising a more active political presence for unions, John Sweeney was elected president of the AFL-CIO. Labor would develop a "new voice," one that could not be ignored or taken for granted by Democratic and Republican politicians. However, by the summer of 2005 opposition to Sweeney's leadership threatened to divide the labor movement. In The Future of Organized Labor in American Politics, Peter L. Francia discusses the effects of Sweeney's controversial tenure as president and assesses labor's influence on American political elections and legislation. Drawing on interviews with union and business leaders, as well as campaign-finance and public-opinion data, Francia argues that Sweeney has employed a more effective and expansive grassroots political operation than his predecessors. He challenges critics who dismiss Sweeney's efforts as a failure but cautions that the decline in union membership presents a serious crisis for the labor movement. When unions emphasize "grassroots" strategies they can effectively compete against the financial power of big business and can make a significant difference in congressional politics. Francia analyzes organized labor's political activities, its coalitions with other interest groups, and its influence on voter turnout, election results, and votes in Congress. He also examines the effects of Sweeney's embrace of progressive causes and labor's increasing willingness to challenge Democrats who vote against labor's interests. For all his successes, Sweeney's tenure has not been without its problems. Labor's presence in American politics is threatened by shrinking membership in unions. Francia suggests that if unions want to remain a viable political force in congressional politics, they must devote more resources to organizing workers.

Party Discipline In The U S House Of Representatives

Author: Kathryn Pearson
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
ISBN: 0472121197
Size: 36.37 MB
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Political party leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives command greater loyalty than ever from fellow party members in roll call votes, campaign contributions, and partisan speeches. In return, leaders reward compliant members with opportunities to promote constituent interests and to advance their own political careers. Denial of such privileges as retribution against those who don’t fully support the party agenda may significantly damage a member’s prospects. Kathryn Pearson examines the disciplinary measures that party leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives employ to exact such loyalty, as well as the consequences for a democratic legislature. Drawing upon data from 1987–2010, Pearson identifies the conditions under which party leaders opt to prioritize policy control and those which induce them to prioritize majority control. She then assesses the ways in which these choices affect, on one hand, the party’s ability to achieve its goals, and on the other hand, rank-and-file members’ ability to represent their constituents. Astute party leaders recognize the need for balance, as voters could oust representatives who repeatedly support the party’s agenda over their constituents’ concerns, thereby jeopardizing the number of seats their party holds. In her conclusion, Pearson discusses the consequences of party discipline such as legislative gridlock, stalled bills, and proposals banned from the agenda. Although party discipline is likely to remain strong as citizens become more cognizant of enforced party loyalty, their increasing dissatisfaction with Congress may spur change.