Chapter 13 summary

Chapter 13 summary - CHAPTER 13 Congress CHAPTER SUMMARY...

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CHAPTER 13 Congress CHAPTER SUMMARY Over the last fifty years or so, Congress, especially the House, has evolved through three stages. The Congress is presently an uneasy combination of stages two and three. During the first stage, which lasted from the end of World War I until the early 1960s, the House was dominated by powerful committee chairs who controlled the agenda, decided which members would get what services for their constituents, and tended to follow the leadership of the Speaker. Newer members were expected to be seen but not heard; power and prominence came only after a long apprenticeship. Congressional staffs were small, and so members dealt with each other face to face. In dealing with other members, it helped to have a southern accent: Half of all committee chairs, in both the House and the Senate, were from the South. Not many laws were passed over their objections. The second stage emerged in the early 1970s, in part as the result of trends already under way and in part as the result of changes in procedures and organization brought about by younger, especially northern, members. (As an example of continuing trends, consider the steady growth in the number of staffers assigned to each member.) Dissatisfied with southern resistance to civil rights bills and emboldened by a sharp increase in the number of liberals who had been elected in the Johnson landslide of 1964, the House Democratic caucus adopted rules that allowed the caucus to do the following: select committee chairs without regard to seniority; increase the number and staffs of subcommittees; authorize individual committee members (instead of just the committee chair) to choose the subcommittee chairs; ended the ability of chairs to refuse to call meetings; and made it much harder to close meetings to the public. Also, the installation of electronic voting made it easier to require recorded votes, and so there
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Chapter 13 summary - CHAPTER 13 Congress CHAPTER SUMMARY...

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