The national leadership's decisions are made by an organization.
One of the few national representative bodies that actually possesses powers of govern is the U.S. Congress.
The British House of Rules of Lawmaking: Commons and the Japanese Diet always accept the budget exactly as it is proposed by the government.
This unique status of the American Congress shows how Congress makes decisions.
The American executive cannot govern alone because of the separation-of-powers regime.
The legislature is active.
In Richard Neustadt's famous phrase, the executive and Congressional Powers share power.
Representation has a majority in Parliament.
Different powers are given to different players.
The institutional arrangements were intended to give Congress more power than the president.
Congress has a lot of power that it uses to shape pol icies and defend its prerogatives against the executive branch.
The power of force and money are two of the most important powers given to the government.
It may provide for the common Defence and general Welfare, regulate interstate commerce, undertake public works, acquire and control federal lands, promote science and "useful Arts", and regulate the militia.
Congress has the power to raise and regulate the armed forces and military installations.
Congress has the authority to assert it.
The Senate can approve treaties by a two-thirds vote.
If you think that many of these powers, especially those having to do with war and spending, actually belong to the president, that is because he exercises great authority in these areas.
Like all politicians, members of Congress are eager to improve their chances of being reelected.
The most important institution of American government is the Congress.
Congress works because it harnesses individual legislators' ambitions and puts them to use.
Collective action problems are solved by the internal organization of Congress.
Rules matter in the legislative process, and the process through which a bill becomes a law affects which proposed bills succeed and in what form.
Congress could not do much to represent the views and interests of the people it was elected to represent.
Without its ability to represent important groups and forces in American society effectively, the powers of Congress would be undermined.
The institutional structure of the Congress is important to our understanding of the five principles of politics from Chapter 1.
A brief consideration of representation is what we begin our discussion with.
We look at the way in which congressional powers are organized and employed.
The ways in which representation affects congressional operations and the ways in which congressional institutions enhance or diminish representation are both connected.
The citizens who live in the district where Congress is located are the most important people in American government.
According to the demands as they represent their districts, members of Congress must consider these diverse views.
Legislators give different amounts of weight to their personal priorities and to the desires of their campaign contributors and past supporters.
Legislators are a mix of the two types.
Everyone needs to think is best for their next election.
Rational agents need to focus on the people.
In terms of gender and race, descriptive representation is significant at the very least.
Descriptive characteristics allow women members and representatives from minority groups to serve and draw support from those with whom they share an identity, both inside their formal constituency and in the nation at large.
The process of drawing new district boundaries within states every 10 years after the decennial census has allowed for representation of African American and Hispanic minorities in majority-minority districts.
One person might be trusted to speak for another if the two are bound together so that the representative is accountable to those he purports to represent.
Most members list more than one occupation.
A representative with a law degree can be counted as having a college degree.
98% of members cite a specific religious affiliation.
Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Greek Orthodox, and Christian Science are not listed here.
The type of representation that is used is one that selects their representatives, holds them to account, and keeps them responsive to their own views and preferences.
Similar to the relationship between lawyer and client, the idea of a representative as held accountable agent is similar.
If they fail to represent district or if they fail to represent millions of bosses in the state, it's because they're not properly connected to their constituents.
That is not the same as the lawyer and client.
The criteria of performance constituents are the same.
We expect that each representative will always be there for them.
For many, this ambition is satisfied by maintaining a hold on their current office and moving up the rungs of power in that body.
They may want to appeal to a different group of people.
We will return to this topic soon in a discussion of elections.
In each of these cases, the legislator is eager to serve the interests of her constituency, either by enhancing her prospects of contract renewal at the next election or by improving her chances of moving to another level.
5 people aren't a legislative agent's only principals.
He may be beholden to party leaders and special interests as well as to members and committees in the chamber.
House members were to be elected by popular vote every two years.
Bills authorizing new taxes or authorizing the government to spend money for any purpose were required to originate in the House of Representatives.
The House and the Senate are elected by the people.
The 100 members of the Senate are elected by state and there are two senators from each state.
Senators have longer terms in office and usually represent larger and more diverse constituencies than their counterparts in the House of Representatives.
The Senate is the place where all ideas can receive a thorough public airing.
The House is better equipped to play a routine role in the governmental process because it is more centralized.
The two bodies have different rules.
House leaders will have more control over the legislative process and House members will be able to specialize in certain areas.
The Senate's rules give it little power and discourage specialization.
The institution principle is at work.
House members specialize, their activities are mostly in committees, and deliberations by the full House are mostly in response to committee proposals.
expeditious consideration of committee bills is the purpose of the institution.
Many of the same things are done by the Senate.
Senators address many more areas of policy because they are less specialized.
The differences between the two chambers of Congress can be explained by formal and informal factors.
Differences in the length of terms and requirements for holding office affect how the members of each body exercise their powers of office.
As a result, members of the House more effectively and more frequently serve as the agents of well-organized local interests with specific legislative agendas, for instance, usedcar dealers seeking relief from regulation, labor unions seeking more favorable legislation, or farmers looking for higher subsidies.
The small size and relative homogeneity of their constituency makes House members more aware of the needs of local interest groups than senators.
The framers of the Constitution intended that the House of Representatives would reflect and represent public opinion in a timely manner.
Senators serve larger and more heterogeneous constituencies.
They are better able to serve as agents of groups and interests on a statewide or national basis than members of the House.
With longer terms in office, senators can consider new ideas or seek to bring together new coalitions of interests, rather than simply serving existing ones.
The framers intended that the Senate should give a balance to the more responsive House with its narrower and more heterogeneous constituency.
The Senate brought deliberation, debate, inclusiveness, calm, and caution to policy making.
The House was more ideological than the Senate in the late twentieth century.
Members of the House were more willing to stick to their guns because of their party's domination in more diverse districts.
The House voted to impeach President Bill Clinton in 1998.
In the Senate, 10 Republicans joined Democrats to acquit Clinton of obstruction of justice charges, and in a separate vote five Republicans joined Democrats to acquit Clinton of perjury.
The early days of the Trump presidency look a lot like the early days of the Obama presidency, with a firmly Republican House and a bare majority Republican Senate.
The Democrats have played an exclusively oppositional role, exemplified by their united disapproval of Neil Gorsuch as an associate justice of the Supreme Court.
In light of their role as agents of various constituencies in their states and districts and the importance of elections as a mechanism by which principals reward and punish their agents, representatives are influenced by electoral considerations.
The American electoral system has three factors that affect who gets elected and what they do once in office.
The first factor is who decides to run for office and which candidates have an advantage.
The advantage incumbents have in winning reelection is a second factor.
The way congressional district lines are drawn can affect an election.
Let's look at the impact of these considerations on who serves in Congress.
Someone is running for office.
From the beginning, voters' choices are limited by who decides to run.
In the past, local party officials decided who would run for a particular elected office: they might nominate someone who had a record of service to the party, who was owed a favor, or whose turn had come up.
The decision to run for Congress is a personal one.
The real political action was in the state capital or a big city.
A promising local politician would do a tour of duty in Washington before being assigned to an important local office.
The electoral connection, in which a legislator's behavior was motivated by the desire to retain the seat for himself or his party, was absent in nineteenth-century America.
The cost of campaigns is making this a relic of the past, although wealthy individuals may finance their own races.
Rick Scott, the Republican Senate candidate in Florida, spent over 50 million dollars in his successful campaign.
The field of candidates is affected by features unique to each congressional district.
Potential candidates may be drawn away by the range of other political opportunities.
The congressional district overlaps state legislative boundaries can affect a candidate's decision to run.
The voters will already know her, so if the state district mostly coincides with the congressional district, she will be more likely to assess her prospects favorably.
Members of Congress from large states are more likely to run for statewide office than members of congress from small states.
John Thune was the lone representative from South Dakota in 1996.
In 2004, he ran for and won a seat in the U.S. Senate, as his constituency completely overlaps those of the state's two senators.
It is harder for new candidates to break into a race when money is committed to declared candidates.
The electoral system of the US is dependent on incumbency and the representation citizens get in Washington.
Members of Congress want to stay in office and make a career out of politics.
The opportunity to serve on legislative committees is one of the most important advantages of incumbency.
Legislators can burnish their policy credentials, develop expertise, and help their constituency, either by affecting the legislative agenda or by interceding with the bureaucracy.
Average turnover is the percent of new members in the House that have been in office for a decade.
The mean turnover was 30.7.
The author updates were provided by providing 435-57.
One important type of casework is helping his people.
A boost toward gaining support in the district goes beyond the particular committees in which a member serves.
Congress provides more than just writing and mailing letters, it also includes talking to their people, providing them with minor services, introducing special bills for them, working with local officials, and trying to influence agencies and regulatory commissions on their behalf.
Earmarked is a form of pork barreling in which members of Congress insert language into pork-free bills to provide specific authority or spending for a project that benefits their government funds for themselves.
The Republicans were so embarrassed by this that they withdrew the appropriation.
Congressional rules now require that any earmark be explicitly associated with the requesting member who must list it on his official website and certify that neither he nor family members benefit financially from it.
Pork-barrel activities by incumbent legislators bring a number of our prin ciples from Chapter 1 into play.
Legislators engage in the practice to further their electoral objectives.
They are able to support one another's projects through the collective action principle.
The institutional principle allows for amendments to appropriations bills, omnibus legislation, and opportunities to insert special provisions into bills.
The policy principle states that the mix and location of spending by the federal government is influenced by them.
As with the "bridge to nowhere", the practice becomes so egregious that Congress establishes procedures to restrict the activity, thereby constraining legislators' future actions.
Earmarking was banned by the new Republican majority in the House.
All of the incumbent benefits are publicized through the franking privilege.
The 1st Congress passed a law in 1789 that allows members of Congress to send mail to their people for free.
Members receive an average of $100,000 in free postage for mailing to their friends and family.
Although there are restrictions on how members use these funds, the franking privilege allows them to make themselves visible to voters.
SOURCE: OpenSecrets, "Re election rates over the years," www.opensecrets.org/overview/reelct.
The high rates of reelection are a sign of the incumbency advantage.
In the 2016 cycle, 97 percent of incumbent House members were reelected and 27 of 29 Senate members were reelected.
Incumbency advantages include the ability to raise campaign funds throughout their term, often in such quantities as to overwhelm prospective challengers.
Despite campaign finance regulations that aim to level the playing field, the gap between incumbent and challenger spending has grown over the past 25 years.
Also see Alexander and Andrew.
The tendency for candidates to win a higher percentage of the vote when seeking their second term in office is called a sophomore surge.
The status quo in Congress is maintained by the advantage of incumbency.
When faced with strong challengers, incumbents are often defeated because they are weak, out of touch, or plagued by scandal.
If an incumbent is afflicted with any of these ways, they may choose to retire voluntarily rather than face a high probability of defeat.
The unpopularity of their party label is a source of vulnerability for incumbent.
A number of Republican members of the House in normally Republican districts lost their seats as voters expressed displeasure with their fellow partisan in the White House.
The social composition of Congress is affected by the role of incumbency.
The incumbency advantage makes it hard for women to increase their numbers in Congress.
Female candidates who run for open seats are just as likely to win as male candidates, but they have to wait until a seat opens up.
The incumbency advantage and the tendency of many legislators to view politics as a career mean that very little turnover will occur unless limits are imposed on the number of terms a legislator can serve.
The tendency toward the status quo is not absolute.
In 2010, Repub licans easily exceeded the gains required to capture the House and barely fell short of capturing the Senate; in the following years, they captured the Senate and retained their majority in both chambers.
The advantages of incumbency are not necessarily decisive.
The way congressional districts are drawn affects who wins a seat in Congress.
State legislatures have to re-draw congressional districts every 10 years.
The total number of congressional seats was fixed in 1929.
States with fast-growing populations gain districts at the expense of states with slower population growth.
In recent decades, the nation's growth areas in the South and West have gained congressional seats at the expense of the Northeast and Midwest.
Redrawing congressional districts is a highly political process, in most states districts are shaped to create an advantage for the majority party in the state legislature, which controls the process, subject to a possible veto by the governor, who may be of a different party.
Those charged with drawing districts use sophisticated computer technologies to create the most favorable district boundaries.
If you divide voters into two or more districts, you can give an advantage to one party.
After the 2000 census, it took an especially dramatic form.
The drawing of electoral Texas, as elsewhere, drew new congressional districts based on the census, and the districts in such a way as 2002 congressional election was the first one under the new redistricting.
After the constitutionally required census, this exercise is usually performed once per decade.
Texas Republicans argued that there is nothing that prevents a state from doing it more frequently.
Democrats fled across the border to Oklahoma to avoid a posse of Texas Rangers who were going to retrieve them from the legislature.
Legislative business was delayed because it was difficult to assemble enough legislators to meet the minimum requirements.
The congressional districts were redrawn in a way that was very favorable to the Republicans.
In the next election in 2004, the Republicans gained five House seats in Texas, defeating four Democratic incumbents, in part as a result of their redistricting maneuver.
The 2020 elections will set the stage for the next round of re-drawing.
The 2020 state legislative and gubernatorial elections will be crucial to this endeavor.
Race has become a controversial factor in drawing voting districts since the passage of the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act.
The amendment that encouraged the creation of districts in which members of racial minorities have decisive majorities has increased the number of minority representatives in Congress.
The system may grant minorities greater descriptive representation, but it has made it more difficult for them to win substantive policy goals, according to some analysts.
The case went back to the Supreme Court.
The Texas legislature was within its rights to redistrict more than once per decade, but the court ruled that some of the decisions about district boundaries violated the rights of Latino voters.
White Republicans were the most fervent supporters of the new minority districts.
The creation of a growing number of minority-majority districts has meant that minority voter proportions in other districts have become diminished, opening up the possibility that representatives from these districts.
The U.S. Congress is more than just a assembly.
It's also a legislative body.
Representation and legislation go hand in hand for Americans.
Figuring out how to govern is a challenge.
It is difficult for a large assembly to make laws.
The legislative process is difficult to conduct business within.
Many individuals and institutions can influence the legislative process.
Most of the thousands of bills considered by Congress each year are defeated before they reach the president because of the confluence of so many factors.
The supporters of legislative proposals feel that the formal rules of the congressional process are designed to prevent their own deserving proposals from ever seeing the light of day.
Congress can play an important role in lawmaking.
If Congress wants to be more than a rubber stamp for the executive branch, it must develop a division of labor, set an agenda, maintain order through rules and procedures, and place limits on discussion.
If it wants to accomplish these tasks in a representative setting made up of a diversity of political preferences, it must find ways and means to facilitate cooperation and make compromises.
Problems of cooperation, coalitions, and compromises are some of the general issues that face any legislature or decision-making group.
A number of factors make cooperation difficult in Congress.
The Boston City Council, the Kansas state legislature, the U.S. Congress, the French National Assembly, and the European Parliament are all legislative assembly.
They got where they are by winning an election and 21 See Table 6.1 for data on race and gender in the 115th Congress.
The most recent campaign that the politicians won provides information about what categories of voters supported them and may support them again if their performance in office is adequate.
Many politicians want to please others but also have an agenda of their own.
Politicians come to the legislature with their policy goals in mind.
Legislators in Congress want to pursue many and varied public policies.
They might be considered from two different perspectives.
Legislators will give priority to different areas of public policy.
Shipping, fishing, coastal preservation, harbor development, tourism, and shipbuilding are some of the topics that a Cape Cod congressman will be interested in.
Welfare reform, civil rights policy, aid to inner-city school systems, and job-retraining programs may be the focus of an inner-city Philadelphia congresswoman.
Montana's sole member of Congress is most interested in ranching, agriculture, mining, and public land use.
Congress has a lot of legislative priorities.
Members' opinions on any issue are not the same.
When environmental protection is on the agenda, there is a broad range of preferences for specific initiatives, from those who count many Sierra Club members among their constituents to those who have other fish to fry.
Some want pollution discharges to be monitored and regulated by a watchdog agency, while others prefer less intrusive means such as pollution permits.
Others think the issue is overblown and that the country would be best served by leaving alone.
The view of no group of legislators dominates because of the diversity of priorities and preferences.
Legislative consensus must be built, with support, deals, and promises used.
Legislators must cooperate, coalesce, and compromise in order to achieve their objectives.
Rules and procedures are used to facilitate these activities.
Legislative work, regularization of procedures, and the creation of agenda power are some of the things this system leads to.
As part of a governance structure to promote cooperation and coalition building, all of these organizational features of Congress arise.
Before we can understand why Congress chooses certain ways to institutionalize its practices, we need to appreciate other underlying problems.
We can look at how the U.S. Congress deals with these problems.
Influence and interest are matched.
Legislatures are very equal.
Each legislator has one vote.
A legislator is not given a vote budget in the same way that a consumer is given a cash budget.
One vote for each motion before the assembly is what his budget of votes is dedicated to.
He can't aggregate the votes in his possession and cast all of them for a motion on a subject dear to his heart.
This is a source of frustration because the premise of instrumental behavior dictates that legislators would focus their attention on the subjects of highest priority to them.
Legislators vote for instruments that produce outcomes.
Legislators need to know the connection between the instruments they vote for and the effects they want.
They must know how the world works.
Few people in general know how the world works, except in the most superficial ways.
The production of valuable information would allow the legislature to eliminate ineffectual policy instruments.
Producing such information is not trivial.
Incentives to some legislators to produce, evaluate, and distribute this knowledge will allow a more effective use of public resources.
Legislators need to meet certain requirements to keep up with the competition.
The legislature isn't the only game in town.
Judges, executives, bureaucrats, and others are involved in the promulgation of public policies.
If there is no way for the legislature to monitor what happens after a bill becomes law, public policies will be implemented in ways other than what was intended.
It's not practical for all the representatives and senators to scrutinize the agencies on Pennsylvania Avenue to make sure they are implemented correctly.
In the discussion about legislative institutions, we have suggested that the diversity of beliefs and preferences in Congress requires cooperation, coalitions, and compromise to achieve successful policy goals.
There is a mismatch of influence and interest, information about the effectiveness of alternative policies is in short supply, and the legislature must worry about how the other branches of government treat its product.
Sound institutional arrangements are required to solve or mitigate these problems.
The rationality principle and the institution principle come together here.
The basic building blocks of congressional organization are political parties, the committee system, congressional staff, the caucuses, and the parliamentary rules of the House and Senate.
The factors play a key role in the organization of Congress and in the process of crafting laws.
We look at the powers Congress has in addition to lawmaking and explore the future role of Congress in relation to the powers of the executive.
Legislative parties that foster cooperation, coalitions, and compromise over the course of American history include the Democratic and Republican parties.
Every two years at the start of a new Congress, the parties choose their leaders.
The House should be considered first.
Party leaders used to control committee assignments in order to enforce party discipline.
The representatives resent leadership efforts to control at the beginning of every assignment.
When more than one member seeks party vote, he or she is the most important party a seat on a committee, the leadership's best opportunities to assign Congress on a straight ments.
Usually representatives seek assignments that will allow them to make important decisions in their districts.
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