While popular presidents tend to get much of what

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Unformatted text preview: 10) Congress as an institution depends upon the willingness of its members to compromise to produce legislation (Elving 1995). The lawmaking process is protracted and complicated with dozens of opportuni- ties for unsatisfied legislators to kill legislation, including simple inaction by committee chairs or party leaders. With more than five hundred individu- als divided into two legislative bodies, little can be accomplished without building majority coalitions through bargaining and compromise. Presidents, however, are only one among several cues that legislators use to decide how to vote (Kingdon 1981), with much coalition building taking place independent of presidential involvement (Arnold 1990). Moreover, presidents must overcome several obstacles unique to their office when attempting to build congressional coalitions (Edwards 2000). These include, but are not limited to, the president's limited tenure in office as well as a different electoral clock and constituency than members of Congress. Each of these provides different incentives for presi- dents and legislators to bargain, compromise, and ultimately agree on [CARD CONTINUES] Gonzaga Debate Institute 2011 215 Mercury Politics Internal Link – Political Capital (3/4) [CARD CONTINUED, NO TEXT REMOVED] legislative language. The hierarchical nature of the executive, in contrast to the more decentralized legislature, also exacerbates presidential responsibility and accountability while obscuring that of Congress. Given the difficulty of the lawmaking process itself and the unique obstacles facing the president in building congressional coalitions, presidents will likely be forced to make concessions on most bills they support, as they bargain with legisla- tors to secure their passage. Therefore, we hypothesize that presidents will need to compromise on the substance of legislation before they sign most bills into law. The President has a limited capability to pass his agenda. Passing items like the plan take away from his ability to pass other legislation Feehery, former House Speaker Hastert staffer and Feehery Group president, 9 (John, Feehery Group is a Washington-based advocacy firm, 7-21-9, CNN, “Commentary: Obama enters 'The Matrix'”, accessed 7-16-10) And, indeed, the Congress has its own rules that make quick legislative action, no matter how popular with the American people, hard to achieve. The Obama agenda is breathtaking in its scope and eye-popping in its cost. He seeks to completely recast the health care, energy, financial services and automobile sectors of this country, as he seeks to make the tax code more progressive, retirement programs more sustainable, and the immigration system more welcoming to immigrants. And he also wants to stimulate the economy and get us out of what some people are calling the "Great Recession ." But can it all get done, and in a form that makes his political base happy? The president insists that he can get this all done, and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, has implied that...
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