The Congressional Experience: A View From The Hill (Transforming American Politics)

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9780813311579: The Congressional Experience: A View From The Hill (Transforming American Politics)

Everyone blames Congress; no one explains it. Congressman David Price, noted scholar and former professor of political science, is uniquely qualified to guide us through the labyrinth of rules, roles, and representatives that is Congress and to show us how the institution can and does function to solve some of the most pressing social problems on the national political agenda today. In an election year filled with name-calling, teeth-gnashing, and Congress-bashing, it is refreshing to hear Price discuss what it means to simultaneously serve his constituency, his country, and his strong personal convictions about good government.As students of the political process, we are instructed in campaign strategy and finance, the advantages and disadvantages of incumbency, how to get a legislative project off the ground, the intricate House committee and subcommittee system, the tortuous route a bill travels to become law, and the strong role of parties in Congress. As voters and constituents, we are treated to firsthand accounts of election campaigns fraught with negative ads, town meetings on Medicare, fierce budget battles on the floor of the House, and persistent efforts on behalf of individual North Carolinians.And as citizen-philosophers, we are drawn into an extended consideration of the complex interrelationships among politics, religion, and ethics. In this context, David Price looks at a variety of issues the conscientious allocation of housing funds, the correlation between legislative structure and the quality of legislative policy, the confrontation between the public interest and special interests, and the maneuvering of the religious Right through an introspective lens of moral concern.Congressman David Price shares invaluable insights into debates on such topics as campaign finance reform, congressional term limits, and controlling the federal deficit. At the same time, he imparts a personal glimpse into life on the Hill” and its impacts on family, friends, and constituents. Congress, as Price is quick to point out, is certainly not without flaws, but the system will be better served by informed voters, committed representatives, and measured reforms than by ill-considered proposals that would weaken the institution. The Congressional Experience combines an engaging, enlightening narrative with photos, figures, maps, and tables to tell the story of David Price's odyssey from the ivory tower of Duke University to the citadel of Capitol Hill. Along the way, we get a clear sense of the challenge, disappointment, elation, and deep concern implicit in serving as a member of Congress especially the kind of member David Price has chosen to be.

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About the Author:

David E. Price, a former professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University, has represented North Carolina's Fourth Congressional District since 1987. He is an at-large Democratic Whip and a member of the Appropriations committee.

Review:

"In the long history of Congress it has been extremely rare for a gifted explainer and close student of the institution to be able to report from firsthand experience about congressional operations. David Price is one of the rare ones. His book is an eye opener." -- Nelson W. Polsby, University of California-Berkeley

"One of the best and most readable examples of participant observation. It is a superb look at how Congress works and how a new member gets settled in and finds his niche. But Mr. Price's most valuable contribution comes when he reflects on Congress and its critics." -- New York Times Book Review

"Price has performed a valuable service to his political scientist constituents and to their students. He takes the problems faced by legislative institutions and their members to a higher plane. . . .he is both supportive and carefully critical of the institution in which he serves." -- Political Science Quarterly

"Price is an unusually conscientious, thoughtful, and observant member, and a first-rate explainer of process and policy. His book gives a unique and extremely valuable picture of a major political institution as it really works in practice." -- Choice

"Takes the reader on a tour of Congress from the inside.... Thoughtful and informative reading." -- Government & Politics Alert

"This is the best inside account of congressional politics we have had in decades. It is a contribution to political science and a natural for college courses." -- David R. Mayhew, Yale University

"To students, or would-be students, of the U.S. Congress, David Price's book provides the best of two worlds. Instead of a dull academic treatise or a breezy collection of anecdotes, this book brings a political scientist's analysis to the daily experiences of congressional life. Price's account of his campaigns and congressional work rolls theory and practice into one." -- Cokie Roberts, correspondent, National Public Radio and ABC News

"Very timely, given today's political climate of dissatisfaction and indifference.... a testament to Congressman Price's effectiveness and integrity-a road map for all those who seek to restore the true meaning and value of public service." -- Ronald H. Brown, U.S. Secretary of Commerce

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