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Unformatted text preview: Political Science 104 Introduction to American Government Lecture October 15, 2007 Outline representative and lawmaking function Outcomes as the aggregation of individual preferences - Congress is a majoritarian institution--almost every decision they make depends on majority vote. -Institutional consequences of individual incentives internal organization and operating rules -Precedents- most of the ways congress does the things they do is because of the fact that it's been like that for a long time -These decision rules have consequences - alternatives -Internal complexity- rules under who gets to speak Consequences for Legislative Process Description of Legislative Process (Look at sheet of paper)-Bills hardly ever get through Representation and Lawmaking Members balance two roles, which are often in tension with each other - Representing and reflecting local views- Delegate Role - Using judgment to do what is "right" Trustee Another way to think about this: Local vs. national interests Consequences of different electoral structures (next page) Major Veto Points Despite the majoritarian principle, it is extremely difficult to get legislation through Congress Multiple majorities required in numerous stages; failure in any means no bill Differences in Electoral Structure House (57) : close ties between members and constituents (frequent elections, short terms) Proportional representation (based on population) Senate (62): equal representation, long terms as a check ("the necessity of the Senate is not less indicated by the propensity of all single and numerous assemblies, to yield to the impulse of sudden and violent passions, and to be seduced by fractious leaders into intemperate and pernicious resolutions")- gives opportunity for senate to do things that are unpopular. What is Individually Rational Behavior? What incentives do members have - Getting reelected, political incentive (house senatorgovernorpresident), Drafting legislation (introducing bills) What sorts of legislative behavior are rational? -Electoral connection--maintaining connections to districts, etc. -Credit claiming--taking credit for all the good things that happen. -Position taking--taking positions that support their constituents, symbolic legislations, etc. -Pork barrel- trying to channel federal spending into local district such as nonprofit organizations, local universities, etc. This helps because they get noticed, and can get celebrated. -Committee organization- If an individual is from a state with lots of military bases, then they might want to get placed in a military-related organization. These help members achieve individual goals Influences on Congress Constituency pressure and opinion interest groups political parties (including presidential leadership) colleagues and staff- members rely on what their trusted colleagues think Note: complex relationships that shouldn't be reduced to single dimension (no member will sacrifice their vote on one aspect, such large campaign money received.) Problems of Legislative Organization Internal complexity necessary for large groups -Made more difficult when the groups are not hierarchical (no chain of authority). Member of the house gets one vote, member of the senate gets one vote. -Needs: Division of labor-specialization of cooperative labor by assigning specific tasks and roles in order to increase efficiency. Efficient use of information Internal decision making procedures Leadership and party structures These institutional structures must match individual incentives (why?) Committees Divide workload, allow development of expertise -Substantive policy jurisdiction (Judiciary, Armed Services, Budget) -Decentralized authority -Deference -Gatekeeping authority (setting agendas--which go through, which don't) Leadership Majoritarian character leads to importance of parties as an organizational principle -Majority control crucial--If one party has majority control over senate, then you have control -Having majority gives you procedural privileges Democrats currently majorities on committees Committee and subcommittee chairs Agenda control of floor -Efficiency- routinizes majority control Graph shows distinct pattern: When there is divided government, congress is much less likely to go along with what president wants. Legislative Procedures Complex rules that control flow of legislation and consideration Some questions: -What bills will be considered? -Who gets to talk, and for how long? -Rules for amendments and debate -Consideration of alternatives -Resolving differences between chambers Major Veto Points Committee Consideration Conference Committee - where members work out differences between House and Senate versions of a bill Filibuster (Senate): prerogative to talk as long as you like. Gives opportunity to stop all productivity to a single member of senate Filibuster Allows single Senator to hold up bill (unlimited debate) Requires 60 votes in the Senate to shut off debate (cloture) Senate filibuster against Bush judicial nominees Democrats claim nominees are outside the mainstream of judicial opinion Concerned mainly about abortion Presidential Veto Presidential approval required (generally) Presidential disapproval (veto) usually kills legislation Different Views of Congress Pork Barrel Frequent complaint that Congress approves wasteful spending Examples So What? ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course POLI SCI 104 taught by Professor Professor during the Spring '05 term at Wisconsin.
- Spring '05