Congress And Its Members (Congress & Its Members)

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9781568029351: Congress And Its Members (Congress & Its Members)
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The tension between Congress as a lawmaking institution and Congress as a collection of re-election-minded politicians has proven to be a powerful and effective way to understand Congress and the legislative process. Over nine editions, thousands of students have benefited from Davidson and Oleszek's tightly organized framework, as well as from their engaging and vivid narrative. Helping students understand the institution's evolution, Congress and Its Members paints broad brush strokes, while effectively showing enough color and detail to ground students in important concepts.

Each chapter of the tenth edition will feature new analysis of the most recent and important scholarship. While the authors discuss the overall position and prospects for congressional government, they will include up-to-the-minute details on:

  • the 2004 congressional elections and ongoing party realignment indicating Republican dominance for the foreseeable future;
  • the state of campaign finance, including performance under the McCain-Feingold legislation;
  • the majority leader's efforts to strengthen his powers and the role of the new Democratic leaders in challenging the GOP's agenda;
  • party realignment from the standpoint of floor voting, including the decline of the middle;
  • the consequences of war for the legislative branch and for the separation of powers, as well as reorganization due to homeland security and intelligence reform;
  • the new rules for the 109th Congress, with the possibility of changes in the Senate's filibuster rule and unusual procedures to pass legislation;
  • the outlook for a second term president and the role of the minority party in challenging an assertive White House;
  • big government conservatism, new regulatory trends, the rules and tools for effective oversight, and the shadow government of contractors;
  • legislative-judicial conflicts, including controversies in naming judges to the federal bench;
  • the return of deficits, the growing use of earmarks, congressional budget reforms, and the conflict between discretionary versus entitlement spending.

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About the Author:

Roger H. Davidson is professor emeritus of government and politics at the University of Maryland, and has served as visiting professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. For the 2001-2002 academic year, he served as the John Marshall Chair in political science at the University of Debrecen, Hungary. His books include Remaking Congress: Change and Stability in the 1990's, co-edited with James A. Thurber (1995), and Understanding the Presidency, Third Edition, co-edited with James P. Pfiffner (2003). Davidson is co-editor with Donald C. Bacon and Morton Keller of The Encyclopedia of the United States Congress (1995).

Walter J. Oleszek is a senior specialist in the legislative process at the Congressional Research Service. He has served as either a full-time professional staff aide or consultant to every major House and Senate congressional reorganization effort beginning with the passage of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970. In 1993, he served as Policy Director of the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. A long-time adjunct faculty member at The American University, Oleszek is a frequent lecturer before various academic, governmental and business groups. He is the author or co-author of several books, including Congress and Its Members, 10th ed. (2006),with Roger H. Davidson, and Congress Under Fire: Reform Politics and the Republican Majority (1997), with C. Lawrence Evans.

Review:

This book is the foundation text for courses on the U.S. Congress. It is clear, comprehensive, and easy to read. Students appreciate the up-to-date examples and the clearly-presented information. The authors use of the dual Congress framework helps to illuminate the underlying tension between the individual and collective responsibilities of legislators. This is one of the fundamental books for understanding how Congress operates. --Pam Camerra-Rowe, Kenyon College

Written in clear, direct prose, Congress and Its Members provides students with a central theme, the two Congresses, that enables them to organize and understand the myriad details that characterize the structure and operation of a very complex institution. I particularly value the fact that by following that theme through the many dimensions of Congress, students learn to think analytically as they learn about Congress itself. --Dennis J. Goldford, Drake University

Written in clear, direct prose, Congress and Its Members provides students with a central theme, the two Congresses, that enables them to organize and understand the myriad details that characterize the structure and operation of a very complex institution. I particularly value the fact that by following that theme through the many dimensions of Congress, students learn to think analytically as they learn about Congress itself. --Dennis J. Goldford, Drake University

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