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A brilliant, authoritative, and fascinating history of America’s most puzzling era, the years 1920 to 1933, when the U.S. Constitution was amended to restrict one of America’s favorite pastimes: drinking alcoholic beverages.

From its start, America has been awash in drink. The sailing vessel that brought John Winthrop to the shores of the New World in 1630 carried more beer than water. By the 1820s, liquor flowed so plentifully it was cheaper than tea. That Americans would ever agree to relinquish their booze was as improbable as it was astonishing.

Yet we did, and Last Call is Daniel Okrent’s dazzling explanation of why we did it, what life under Prohibition was like, and how such an unprecedented degree of government interference in the private lives of Americans changed the country forever.

Writing with both wit and historical acuity, Okrent reveals how Prohibition marked a confluence of diverse forces: the growing political power of the women’s suffrage movement, which allied itself with the antiliquor campaign; the fear of small-town, native-stock Protestants that they were losing control of their country to the immigrants of the large cities; the anti-German sentiment stoked by World War I; and a variety of other unlikely factors, ranging from the rise of the automobile to the advent of the income tax.

Through it all, Americans kept drinking, going to remarkably creative lengths to smuggle, sell, conceal, and convivially (and sometimes fatally) imbibe their favorite intoxicants. Last Call is peopled with vivid characters of an astonishing variety: Susan B. Anthony and Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan and bootlegger Sam Bronfman, Pierre S. du Pont and H. L. Mencken, Meyer Lansky and the incredible—if long-forgotten—federal official Mabel Walker Willebrandt, who throughout the twenties was the most powerful woman in the country. (Perhaps most surprising of all is Okrent’s account of Joseph P. Kennedy’s legendary, and long-misunderstood, role in the liquor business.)

It’s a book rich with stories from nearly all parts of the country. Okrent’s narrative runs through smoky Manhattan speakeasies, where relations between the sexes were changed forever; California vineyards busily producing “sacramental” wine; New England fishing communities that gave up fishing for the more lucrative rum-running business; and in Washington, the halls of Congress itself, where politicians who had voted for Prohibition drank openly and without apology.

Last Call is capacious, meticulous, and thrillingly told. It stands as the most complete history of Prohibition ever written and confirms Daniel Okrent’s rank as a major American writer.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The inside story of Donald Trump’s first two years in Washington as viewed from Capitol Hill, a startling account that turns “Congress into a Game of Thrones book” (Trevor Noah, The Daily Show).
 
Taking readers into secret strategy calls and closed-door meetings from the House to the White House, Politico Playbook writers Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer trace the gamesmanship and the impulsiveness, the dealmaking and the backstabbing, in a blow-by-blow account of the power struggle that roiled Congress.

Moving from the fights for advantage between Donald Trump, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer; to Mitch McConnell’s merciless, Machiavellian handling of the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; to Paul Ryan’s desperate, failed attempts to keep Mark Meadows from pushing Trump into a government shutdown over immigration, The Hill to Die On bristles with fresh news and tells the story of what really happened in some of the most defining moments our era.

Like The West Wing for Congress, or Shattered meets This Town, The Hill to Die On tells an unforgettable story of politics and power, where the stakes going forward are nothing less than the future of America and the lives of millions of ordinary Americans.

Praise for The Hill to Die On

“[Sherman and Palmer] go deep inside the halls of Congress to document the deal making, backstabbing, power struggles and political knife fights that have roiled the nation’s capital during President Donald Trump’s first two years in office. . . . Anything but boring.”—USA Today, “5 Books Not to Miss”

“[The Hill to Die On] painstakingly chronicles the return to divided government and the restoration of an institutional check on a mercurial chief executive. . . . The book depicts a foul-mouthed president in love with his own reflection, a House GOP encased in the amber of self-delusion, and Nancy Pelosi’s unblinking focus on twin prizes: recapturing the House and returning to the speaker’s chair.”—The Guardian

“If you are one of the many Americans who hates Congress, this book is for you. In the Washington depicted in Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer’s new book, there are no heroes—only winners and losers. . . . With these lawmakers, Sherman and Palmer get inside their heads and capture what they’re thinking in real time.”—The Washington Post
New York Times bestelling author T. R. Reid travels around the world to solve the urgent problem of America's failing tax code, unravelling a complex topic in plain English - and telling a rollicking story along the way. 

The U.S. tax code is a total write-off. Crammed with loopholes and special interest provisions, it works for no one except tax lawyers, accountants, and huge corporations. Not for the first time, we have reached a breaking point. That happened in 1922, and again in 1954, and again in 1986. In other words, every thirty-two years. Which means that the next complete overhaul is due in 2018. But what should be in this new tax code? Can we make the U.S. tax system simpler, fairer, and more efficient? Yes, yes, and yes. Can we cut tax rates and still bring in more revenue? Yes.
 
Other rich countries, from Estonia to New Zealand to the UK—advanced, high-tech, free-market democracies—have all devised tax regimes that are equitable, effective, and easy on the taxpayer.  But the United States has languished. So byzantine are the current statutes that, by our government’s own estimates, Americans spend six billion hours and $10 billion every year preparing and filing their taxes. In the Netherlands that task takes a mere fifteen minutes! Successful American companies like Apple, Caterpillar, and Google effectively pay no tax at all in some instances because of loopholes that allow them to move profits offshore. Indeed, the dysfunctional tax system has become a major cause of economic inequality.
 
In A Fine Mess, T. R. Reid crisscrosses the globe in search of the exact solutions to these urgent problems. With an uncanny knack for making a complex subject not just accessible but gripping, he investigates what makes good taxation (no, that’s not an oxymoron) and brings that knowledge home where it is needed most. Never talking down or reflexively siding with either wing of politics, T. R. Reid presses the case for sensible root-and-branch reforms with a companionable ebullience. This affects everyone. Doing our taxes will never be America's favorite pastime, but it can and should be so much easier and fairer.
The Pulitzer Prize winning classic by President John F. Kennedy, with an introduction by Caroline Kennedy and a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy.

Written in 1955 by the then junior senator from the state of Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy's Profiles in Courage serves as a clarion call to every American.

In this book Kennedy chose eight of his historical colleagues to profile for their acts of astounding integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. These heroes, coming from different junctures in our nation’s history, include John Quincy Adams, Daniel Webster, Thomas Hart Benton, and Robert A. Taft.

Now, a half-century later, the book remains a moving, powerful, and relevant testament to the indomitable national spirit and an unparalleled celebration of that most noble of human virtues. It resounds with timeless lessons on the most cherished of virtues and is a powerful reminder of the strength of the human spirit. Profiles in Courage is as Robert Kennedy states in the foreword: “not just stories of the past but a book of hope and confidence for the future. What happens to the country, to the world, depends on what we do with what others have left us."

Along with vintage photographs and an extensive author biography, this book features Kennedy's correspondence about the writing project, contemporary reviews, a letter from Ernest Hemingway, and two rousing speeches from recipients of the Profile in Courage Award.  Introduction by John F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy, forward by John F. Kennedy’s brother Robert F. Kennedy.

The shocking first-draft history of the Trump regime, and its clear authoritarian impulses, based on the viral Internet phenom "The Weekly List".

In the immediate aftermath of Donald Trump's election as president, Amy Siskind, a former Wall Street executive and the founder of The New Agenda, began compiling a list of actions taken by the Trump regime that pose a threat to our democratic norms. Under the headline: "Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you'll remember", Siskind's "Weekly List" began as a project she shared with friends, but it soon went viral and now has more than half a million viewers every week.

Compiled in one volume for the first time, The List is a first draft history and a comprehensive accounting of Donald Trump's first year. Beginning with Trump's acceptance of white supremacists the week after the election and concluding a year to the day later, we watch as Trump and his regime chips away at the rights and protections of marginalized communities, of women, of us all, via Twitter storms, unchecked executive action, and shifting rules and standards. The List chronicles not only the scandals that made headlines but just as important, the myriad smaller but still consequential unprecedented acts that otherwise fall through cracks. It is this granular detail that makes The List such a powerful and important book.

For everyone hoping to #resistTrump, The List is a must-have guide to what we as a country have lost in the wake of Trump's election. #Thisisnotnormal
The previously untold story of the violence in Congress that helped spark the Civil War

In The Field of Blood, Joanne B. Freeman recovers the long-lost story of physical violence on the floor of the U.S. Congress. Drawing on an extraordinary range of sources, she shows that the Capitol was rife with conflict in the decades before the Civil War. Legislative sessions were often punctuated by mortal threats, canings, flipped desks, and all-out slugfests. When debate broke down, congressmen drew pistols and waved Bowie knives. One representative even killed another in a duel. Many were beaten and bullied in an attempt to intimidate them into compliance, particularly on the issue of slavery.

These fights didn’t happen in a vacuum. Freeman’s dramatic accounts of brawls and thrashings tell a larger story of how fisticuffs and journalism, and the powerful emotions they elicited, raised tensions between North and South and led toward war. In the process, she brings the antebellum Congress to life, revealing its rough realities—the feel, sense, and sound of it—as well as its nation-shaping import. Funny, tragic, and rivetingly told, The Field of Blood offers a front-row view of congressional mayhem and sheds new light on the careers of John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and other luminaries, as well as introducing a host of lesser-known but no less fascinating men. The result is a fresh understanding of the workings of American democracy and the bonds of Union on the eve of their greatest peril.

Congress For Dummies helps you sort out what Congress does on a daily basis and what it all means to you, the citizen. It shows you how to get organized, make your voice heard, and influence legislation that might affect you. Full of helpful resources such as contact information for House and Senate offices, and smart, straightforward explanations of the legislative process, this book is everything you need to understand Congress and get involved in your government.

Whether you just want to know how government works, or you want to get involved to change your country, this simple guide covers all the ins and outs of Congress. It’s a nonpartisan look at Congress that includes forewords by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle. Inside you’ll find easy explanations and helpful tips on how to:

Get involved in the democratic process Influence legislation that’s important to you Understa nd Congress and the media Contact your senators and representatives Check out Congress in action, in person Deal with congressional staff

Expert author David Silverberg — Managing Editor and a columnist at the Washington weekly The Hill — takes the mystery out of getting something done in Congress, introducing you to the players and explaining everything from legislation and lobbying to caucuses and coalitions. Written with the citizen advocate in mind, this helpful guide gives regular people the tools and knowledge they need to achieve their aims. Inside, you’ll discover:

How the three branches of government work together How to register your opinion with your elected officials How the legislative process works — from idea to law How debates, conferences, and vetoes work How budgeting and appropriations work How to get the most effect from your political contributions How the lobbying process works How to advocate for legislation How to deal with congressional staffers How to make use of congressional services

Getting something done in the messy confusion of democracy and bureaucracy is no easy task. Full of the kind of information and knowledge that Washington insiders take for granted, Congress For Dummies levels the playing field so that regular people — just like you — can make a difference, too.

From a dogged political reporter, an investigation into the political education of Mitch McConnell and an argument that this powerful Senator embodies much of this country’s political dysfunction.

Based on interviews with more than seventy-five people who have worked alongside Mitch McConnell or otherwise interacted with him over the course of his career, The Cynic, which will be published as an original ebook, is both a comprehensive biography of one of this country’s most powerful politicians and a damning diagnosis of this country's eroding political will.

Tracing his rise from a pragmatic local official in Kentucky to the leader of the Republican opposition in Washington, the book tracks McConnell’s transformation from a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and public employee unions to the embodiment of partisan obstructionism and conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill. Driven less by a shift in ideological conviction than by a desire to win elections and stay in power at all costs, McConnell’s transformation exemplifies the “permanent campaign” mindset that has come to dominate American government.

From his first race for local office in 1977—when the ad crew working on it nicknamed McConnell “love-me-love-me” for his insecurity and desire to please—to his fraught accommodation of the Tea Party, McConnell’s political career is a story of ideological calcification and a vital mirror for understanding this country’s own political development and what is wrought when politicians serve not at the behest of country, but at the behest of party and personal aggrandizement.
This “fascinating” (Chicago Tribune), “lively” (The New York Times) history tells how the First Congress and the Washington administration created one of the most productive and far-reaching governments in American history—“gracefully written…and well worth reading” (The Wall Street Journal).

The First Congress may have been the most important in American history because it established how our government would work. The Constitution was a broad set of principles that left undefined the machinery of government. Fortunately, far-sighted, brilliant, and determined men such as Washington, Madison, Adams, Hamilton, and Jefferson (and others less well known today) labored to create a functioning government.

In The First Congress, award-winning author Fergus Bordewich brings to life the achievements of the First Congress: it debated and passed the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which we know as the Bill of Rights; admitted North Carolina and Rhode Island to the union when they belatedly ratified the Constitution, then admitted two new states, Kentucky and Vermont, establishing the procedure for admitting new states on equal terms with the original thirteen; chose the site of the national capital, a new city to be built on the Potomac; created a national bank to handle the infant republic’s finances; created the first cabinet positions and the federal court system; and many other achievements. But it avoided the subject of slavery, which was too contentious to resolve.

The First Congress takes us back to the days when the future of our country was by no means assured and makes “an intricate story clear and fascinating” (The Washington Post).
NATIONAL BESTSELLER

“Lichtman has written what may be the most important book of the year.”  —The Hill

"It is still striking to see the full argument unfold and realize that you don’t have to be a zealot to imagine some version of it happening…Lies. Abuse of power. Treason. Crimes against humanity. Martial law. Lichtman throws everything Trump’s way.." —Washington Post

Professor Allan J. Lichtman, who has correctly forecasted thirty years of presidential outcomes, makes the case for impeaching the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump

In the fall of 2016, Distinguished Professor of History at American University Allan J. Lichtman made headlines when he predicted that Donald J. Trump would defeat the heavily favored Democrat, Hillary Clinton, to win the presidential election.

Now, in clear, nonpartisan terms, Lichtman lays out the reasons Congress could remove Trump from the Oval Office: his ties to Russia before and after the election, the complicated financial conflicts of interest at home and abroad, and his abuse of executive authority.

The Case for Impeachment also offers a fascinating look at presidential impeachments throughout American history, including the often-overlooked story of Andrew Johnson’s impeachment, details about Richard Nixon’s resignation, and Bill Clinton’s hearings. Lichtman shows how Trump exhibits many of the flaws (and more) that have doomed past presidents. As the Nixon Administration dismissed the reporting of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as “character assassination” and “a vicious abuse of the journalistic process,” Trump has attacked the “dishonest media,” claiming, “the press should be ashamed of themselves.”

Historians, legal scholars, and politicians alike agree: we are in politically uncharted waters—the durability of our institutions is being undermined and the public’s confidence in them is eroding, threatening American democracy itself.

Most citizens—politics aside—want to know where the country is headed. Lichtman argues, with clarity and power, that for Donald Trump’s presidency, smoke has become fire.

The "gripping and inspiring" true story (Washington Examiner) of how Congressman Steve Scalise survived a political mass shooting and returned to Congress with the help of his friends, family, and faith.
On the morning of June 14, 2017, at a practice field for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, a man opened fire on the Republican team, wounding five and nearly killing Louisiana congressman Steve Scalise.
In heart-pounding fashion, Scalise's minute-by-minute account tells not just his own harrowing story, but the stories of heroes who emerged in the seconds after the shooting began and worked to save his life and the lives of his colleagues and teammates.
Scalise delves into the backgrounds of each hero, seeking to understand how everyone wound up right where they needed to be, right when they needed to be there, and in possession of just the knowledge and experience they needed in order to save his life. Scalise takes us through each miracle, and each person who experienced it. He brings us the story of Rep. Brad Wenstrup, an Army Reserve officer and surgeon whose combat experience in Iraq uniquely prepared him for the attack that morning; of the members of his security detail, who acted with nearly cinematic courage; of the police, paramedics, helicopter pilots, and trauma team who came together to save his life.
Most important, it tells of the citizens from all over America who came together in ways big and small to help one grateful man, and whose prayers lifted up Scalise during the worst days of his hospitalization. As we follow the gripping, poignant, and ultimately inspiring story, we begin to realize what Scalise learned firsthand in real time: that Americans look out for each other, and that there is far more uniting us than dividing us.
As Democrats and Republicans continue to vie for political advantage, Congress remains paralyzed by partisan conflict. That the last two decades have seen some of the least productive Congresses in recent history is usually explained by the growing ideological gulf between the parties, but this explanation misses another fundamental factor influencing the dynamic. In contrast to politics through most of the twentieth century, the contemporary Democratic and Republican parties compete for control of Congress at relative parity, and this has dramatically changed the parties’ incentives and strategies in ways that have driven the contentious partisanship characteristic of contemporary American politics.

With Insecure Majorities, Frances E. Lee offers a controversial new perspective on the rise of congressional party conflict, showing how the shift in competitive circumstances has had a profound impact on how Democrats and Republicans interact. For nearly half a century, Democrats were the majority party, usually maintaining control of the presidency, the House, and the Senate. Republicans did not stand much chance of winning majority status, and Democrats could not conceive of losing it. Under such uncompetitive conditions, scant collective action was exerted by either party toward building or preserving a majority. Beginning in the 1980s, that changed, and most elections since have offered the prospect of a change of party control. Lee shows, through an impressive range of interviews and analysis, how competition for control of the government drives members of both parties to participate in actions that promote their own party’s image and undercut that of the opposition, including the perpetual hunt for issues that can score political points by putting the opposing party on the wrong side of public opinion. More often than not, this strategy stands in the way of productive bipartisan cooperation—and it is also unlikely to change as long as control of the government remains within reach for both parties.
#1 New York Times bestseller

The fiery U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and bestselling author offers a passionate, inspiring book about why our middle class is under siege and how we can win the fight to save it

Senator Elizabeth Warren has long been an outspoken champion of America’s middle class, and by the time the people of Massachusetts elected her in 2012, she had become one of the country’s leading progressive voices. Now, at a perilous moment for our nation, she has written a book that is at once an illuminating account of how we built the strongest middle class in history, a scathing indictment of those who have spent the past thirty-five years undermining working families, and a rousing call to action.

Warren grew up in Oklahoma, and she’s never forgotten how difficult it was for her mother and father to hold on at the ragged edge of the middle class. An educational system that offered opportunities for all made it possible for her to achieve her dream of going to college, becoming a teacher, and, later, attending law school. But now, for many, these kinds of opportunities are gone, and a government that once looked out for working families is instead captive to the rich and powerful. Seventy-five years ago, President Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal ushered in an age of widespread prosperity; in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan reversed course and sold the country on the disastrous fiction called trickle-down economics. Now, with the election of Donald Trump--a con artist who promised to drain the swamp of special interests and then surrounded himself with billionaires and lobbyists--the middle class is being pushed ever closer to collapse.

Written in the candid, high-spirited voice that is Warren’s trademark, This Fight Is Our Fight tells eye-opening stories about her battles in the Senate and vividly describes the experiences of hard-working Americans who have too often been given the short end of the stick. Elizabeth Warren has had enough of phony promises and a government that no longer serves its people--she won’t sit down, she won’t be silenced, and she will fight back.

 "A clear explanation of the workings of the United States government that should be required reading for politically engaged Americans." -- KIRKUS

Congressional Procedure explains the legislative and congressional budget processes along with all aspects of Congress.

This comprehensive guide to Congress is ideal for anyone who wants to know how Congress really works, including federal executives, attorneys, lobbyists, media and public affairs staff, government affairs, policy and budget analysts, congressional office staff and students.

Clear explanation of the legislative process, budget process, and House and Senate business

- Legislative process flowchart

- Explanation of the electoral college and votes by states

- Relationship between budget resolutions and appropriation and authorization bills

- Amendment tree and amendment procedures

- How members are assigned to committees

- Glossary of legislative terms

Each chapter concludes with Review Questions.

Chapter 1 examines the relationship between the U.S. Constitution and the House and Senate. It discusses Constitutional provisions that directly affect Congress. The makeup, roles and leadership of the House and Senate are compared and contrasted. Congressional committees and their place and power in the House and Senate are explored.

Chapter 2 begins with a discussion of why members submit legislation, explains the forms of legislation, and lays out the steps involved in drafting legislation. Bills, joint resolutions, concurrent resolutions and simple House and Senate resolutions and their purposes are separately described. Ends with a flowchart of the legislative process.

In Chapter 3, the work of Congressional committees is examined in greater detail: types of committees and their structures; subcommittees; power of the chairs of committees; hearings, markups and amendment procedure in committee; and the reporting of legislation to the House and Senate floor.

Chapters 4 and 5 follow the course of legislation through the respective chambers and some of the more arcane elements of House and Senate floor action.

Chapter 4 addresses some of the unique characteristics of the House including the central and crucial role played by the Rules Committee and the special rules it reports. Scheduling, consideration, amending, and passage of legislation through the House is described in detail.

Chapter 5 discusses the handling of legislation on the Senate floor, including unique Senate characteristics like the filibuster, the nuclear option, holds, and the filling of the amendment tree.

Chapter 6 explains the various procedures for resolving differences in legislation between the Senate and the House.

The budget process is addressed in Chapter 7, including appropriations and authorization procedures, the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act and the key role it has played since its adoption, the use of the optional budget reconciliation process, and the somewhat complex but crucial Byrd Rule.

Chapter 8 concludes the detail and analysis of Congressional procedure with a number of processes that are not strictly legislative, including a number of Constitutional responsibilities given to Congress such as oversight and investigation and advice and consent, counting of Electoral College ballots, and impeachment.

The conclusion, Chapter 9, describes the way in which many of the procedures explained in this book are increasingly being used, and some would say abused, in both the House and the Senate.

Glossary

Index

Also see related CRS Reports and links on TCNCPAM.com

For detailed Table of Contents, see CongressionalProcedure.com 


Polarization is at an all-time high in the United States. But contrary to popular belief, Americans are polarized not so much in their policy preferences as in their feelings toward their political opponents: To an unprecedented degree, Republicans and Democrats simply do not like one another. No surprise that these deeply held negative feelings are central to the recent (also unprecedented) plunge in congressional productivity. The past three Congresses have gotten less done than any since scholars began measuring congressional productivity.

In Why Washington Won’t Work, Marc J. Hetherington and Thomas J. Rudolph argue that a contemporary crisis of trust—people whose party is out of power have almost no trust in a government run by the other side—has deadlocked Congress. On most issues, party leaders can convince their own party to support their positions. In order to pass legislation, however, they must also create consensus by persuading some portion of the opposing party to trust in their vision for the future. Without trust, consensus fails to develop and compromise does not occur. Up until recently, such trust could still usually be found among the opposition, but not anymore. Political trust, the authors show, is far from a stable characteristic. It’s actually highly variable and contingent on a variety of factors, including whether one’s party is in control, which part of the government one is dealing with, and which policies or events are most salient at the moment.

Political trust increases, for example, when the public is concerned with foreign policy—as in times of war—and it decreases in periods of weak economic performance. Hetherington and Rudolph do offer some suggestions about steps politicians and the public might take to increase political trust. Ultimately, however, they conclude that it is unlikely levels of political trust will significantly increase unless foreign concerns come to dominate and the economy is consistently strong.
At a time when some of the most sweeping national initiatives in decades are being debated, Congressman Henry Waxman offers a fascinating inside account of how Congress really works by describing the subtleties and complexities of the legislative process.

For four decades, Waxman has taken visionary and principled positions on crucial issues and been a driving force for change. Because of legislation he helped champion, our air is cleaner, our food is safer, and our medical care better. Thanks to his work as a top watchdog in Congress, crucial steps have been taken to curb abuses on Wall Street, to halt wasteful spending in Iraq, and to ban steroids from Major League Baseball. Few legislators can match his accomplishments or his insights on how good work gets done in Washington.

In this book, Waxman affords readers a rare glimpse into how this is achieved-the strategy, the maneuvering, the behind-the-scenes deals. He shows how the things we take for granted (clear information about tobacco's harmfulness, accurate nutritional labeling, important drugs that have saved countless lives) started out humbly-derided by big business interests as impossible or even destructive. Sometimes, the most dramatic breakthroughs occur through small twists of fate or the most narrow voting margin. Waxman's stories are surprising because they illustrate that while government's progress may seem glacial, much is happening, and small battles waged over years can yield great results.

At a moment when so much has been written about what's wrong with Congress-the grid­lock, the partisanship, the influence of interest groups-Henry Waxman offers sophisticated, concrete examples of how govern­ment can (and should) work.
Eight of the last twelve presidents were millionaires when they took office. Millionaires have a majority on the Supreme Court, and they also make up majorities in Congress, where a background in business or law is the norm and the average member has spent less than two percent of his or her adult life in a working-class job. Why is it that most politicians in America are so much better off than the people who elect them— and does the social class divide between citizens and their representatives matter?
With White-Collar Government, Nicholas Carnes answers this question with a resounding—and disturbing—yes. Legislators’ socioeconomic backgrounds, he shows, have a profound impact on both how they view the issues and the choices they make in office. Scant representation from among the working class almost guarantees that the policymaking process will be skewed toward outcomes that favor the upper class. It matters that the wealthiest Americans set the tax rates for the wealthy, that white-collar professionals choose the minimum wage for blue-collar workers, and that people who have always had health insurance decide whether or not to help those without. And while there is no one cause for this crisis of representation, Carnes shows that the problem does not stem from a lack of qualified candidates from among the working class. The solution, he argues, must involve a variety of changes, from the equalization of campaign funding to a shift in the types of candidates the parties support.
If we want a government for the people, we have to start working toward a government that is truly by the people. White-Collar Government challenges long-held notions about the causes of political inequality in the United States and speaks to enduring questions about representation and political accountability.
The presence of women in Congress is at an all-time high -- approximately one of every five members is female -- and record numbers of women are running for public office for the 2018 midterms. At the same time, Congress is more polarized than ever, and little research exists on how women in Congress view their experiences and contributions to American politics today. Drawing on personal interviews with over three-quarters of the women serving in the 114th Congress (2015-17), the authors analyze how these women navigate today's stark partisan divisions, and whether they feel effective in their jobs. Through first-person perspectives, A Seat at the Table looks at what motivates these women's legislative priorities and behavior, details the ways in which women experience service within a male-dominated institution, and highlights why it matters that women sit in the nation's federal legislative chambers. It describes the strategies women employ to overcome any challenges they confront as well as the opportunities available to them. The book examines how gender interacts with political party, race and ethnicity, seniority, chamber, and district characteristics to shape women's representational influence and behavior, finding that party and race/ethnicity are the two most complicating factors to a singular narrative of women's congressional representation. While congresswomen's perspectives, experiences, and influence are neither uniform nor interchangeable, they strongly believe their presence matters in myriad ways, affecting congressional culture, priorities, processes, debates, and outcomes.
John David Dingell, the longest serving United States’ Congressman in history, and one of the House's most powerful chairmen, offers a unique, unforgettable, and refreshingly candid behind-the-scenes account of government and politics over the past eighty years.

Democrat John David Dingell served in the U.S. House of Representatives for fifty-nine consecutive years, from December 13, 1955 to January 3, 2015—the longest tenure of anyone in Congressional history. The son of a Congressman, Dingell worked in his father’s office from childhood and became a house page in 1938, when he was just eleven years old. Retiring from Congress at eighty-nine, he has witnessed some of the most significant events that have shaped our nation and the world.

In The Dean, Dingell looks back at his life at the center of American government and considers the currents that have reshaped our Congress and America itself, from his childhood memories of wartime Washington during the FDR administration, through the Reagan Revolution, to the election of the first black president, Barack Obama.

Rife with a wisdom that literally only Dingell can possess, The Dean is the inspiring story of some of the greatest congressional achievements, of which Dingell was an integral part, and of the tough fights that made them possible. Dingell offers a persuasive defense for government, explaining how it once worked honorably and well—in defeating Hitler, sending us to the moon, ending segregation, and providing for the common good of all our citizens. He argues that to secure our future and continue our progress, we must work together once again—lessons desperately needed today.

More members of Congress have been investigated and sanctioned for ethical misconduct in the past decade and a half than in the entire previous history of the institution. But individual members are probably less corrupt than they once were. Stricter ethics codes and closer scrutiny by the press and public have imposed standards no previous representatives have had to face. Dennis Thompson shows how the institution itself is posing new ethical challenges, how the complexity of the environment in which members work creates new occasions for corruption and invites more calls for accountability.

Instead of the individual corruption that has long been the center of attention, Thompson focuses on institutional corruption which refers to conduct that under certain conditions is an acceptable part of the job of a representative. Members are required to solicit campaign contributions, and they are expected to help constituents with their problems with government, but some ways of doing these jobs give rise to institutional corruption. The author moves the discussion beyond bribery, extortion, and simple personal gain to delve into implicit understandings, ambiguous favors, and political advantage.

Thompson examines many major ethics cases of recent years. Among them: the case of David Durenberger, accused of supplementing his income through book promotions; the case of the Keating Five, accused of using undue influence with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board on behalf of Lincoln Savings and Loan owner Charles Keating; and the case of House Speaker James Wright, accused of several offenses.

Thompson shows why neither the electoral process nor the judicial process is sufficient and argues for stronger ethics committees and the creation of a new quasi-independent body to take over some of the enforcement process. He offers more than a dozen recommendations for changes in the procedures and practices of ethics in Congress.

The book features a listing of ethics charges, classified by type of corruption, considered by Congress from 1789 to 1992.

Selected by Choice as an Outstanding Book of 1995

The U.S. Constitution found in school textbooks and under glass in Washington is not the one enforced today by the Supreme Court. In Restoring the Lost Constitution, Randy Barnett argues that since the nation's founding, but especially since the 1930s, the courts have been cutting holes in the original Constitution and its amendments to eliminate the parts that protect liberty from the power of government. From the Commerce Clause, to the Necessary and Proper Clause, to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, to the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court has rendered each of these provisions toothless. In the process, the written Constitution has been lost.

Barnett establishes the original meaning of these lost clauses and offers a practical way to restore them to their central role in constraining government: adopting a "presumption of liberty" to give the benefit of the doubt to citizens when laws restrict their rightful exercises of liberty. He also provides a new, realistic and philosophically rigorous theory of constitutional legitimacy that justifies both interpreting the Constitution according to its original meaning and, where that meaning is vague or open-ended, construing it so as to better protect the rights retained by the people.


As clearly argued as it is insightful and provocative, Restoring the Lost Constitution forcefully disputes the conventional wisdom, posing a powerful challenge to which others must now respond.


This updated edition features an afterword with further reflections on individual popular sovereignty, originalist interpretation, judicial engagement, and the gravitational force that original meaning has exerted on the Supreme Court in several recent cases.

Many scholars believe that the framers of the Constitution intended Congress to be the preeminent branch of government. Indeed, no other legislature in the world approaches its power. Yet most Americans have only a murky idea of how it works. In The U.S. Congress, Donald A. Ritchie, a congressional historian for more than thirty years, takes readers on a fascinating, behind-the-scenes tour of Capitol Hill--pointing out the key players, explaining their behavior, and translating parliamentary language into plain English. No mere civics lesson, this eye-opening book provides an insider's perspective on Congress, matched with a professional historian's analytical insight. After a swift survey of the creation of Congress by the constitutional convention, he begins to unscrew the nuts and pull out the bolts. What is it like to campaign for congress? To attract large donors? To enter either house with no seniority? He answers these questions and more, explaining committee assignments (and committee work), the role of staffers and lobbyists, floor proceedings, parliamentary rules, and coalition building. Ritchie explores the great effort put into constituent service--as representatives and senators respond to requests from groups and individuals--as well as media relations and news coverage. He also explores how the grand concepts we all know from civics class--checks and balances, advise and consent, congressional oversight--work in practice, in an age of strong presidents and a muscular Senate minority (no matter which party is in that position). In this sparkling addition to Oxford's Very Short Introduction series, Donald Ritchie moves beyond the cynicism and the platitudes to provide a gem of a portrait of how Congress really works.
Members of Congress from racial minority groups often find themselves in a unique predicament. For one thing, they tend to represent constituencies that are more economically disadvantaged than those of their white colleagues. Moreover, they themselves experience marginalization during the process of policy formulation on Capitol Hill. In Twists of Fate, Vanessa C. Tyson illuminates the experiences of racial minority members of the House of Representatives as they endeavor to provide much-needed resources for their districts. In doing so, she devises a framework for understanding the federal legislative behavior of House members representing marginalized communities. She points to the unique ways in which they conceive of political influence as well as the strategies they have adopted for success. Black, Hispanic, and Asian Pacific American Caucuses, among other minority groups, have built cross-racial coalitions that reflect their linked political fate. This strategy differs considerably from competitive approaches often espoused at the local level and from the more atomized interactions of representatives at the federal level of the policy process. Tyson draws on years of personal experience observing and interacting with members of the House of Representatives in session, in their home districts, at functions sponsored by racial minority caucuses, and at White House events to illustrate her argument. Despite variation of experience and ideology within and amongst racial minority groups, she shows that representatives of minority coalitions have repeatedly and successfully worked together as they advocate for equality and social justice. She also points to a willingness among these coalitions to champion a non-discrimination agenda that extends beyond "traditional" issues of race and ethnicity to issues of class, gender and orientation. Twists of Fate provides a compelling model for understanding how diverse groups can work together to forge hopeful political futures.
Congress is the heart and soul of our democracy, the place where interests are brokered, laws are established, and innovation is turned into concrete action. It is also where some of democracy's greatest virtues clash with its worst vices: idealism and compromise meet corruption and bitter partisanship. The American Congress unveils the rich and varied history of this singular institution.
Julian E. Zelizer has gathered together forty essays by renowned historians to capture the full drama, landmark legislation, and most memorable personalities of Congress. Organized around four major periods of congressional history, from the signing of the Constitution to the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, this volume brings a fresh perspective to familiar watershed events: the Civil War, Watergate, the Vietnam War. It also gives a behind-the-scenes look at lesser-known legislation debated on the House and Senate floors, such as westward expansion and war powers control. Here are the stories behind the 1868 vote to impeach President Andrew Johnson; the rise of Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress and a leading advocate for pacifism; and the controversy surrounding James Eastland of Mississippi, who carried civil rights bills in his pockets so they could not come up for a vote. Sidebars further spotlight notables including Huey Long, Sam Rayburn, and Tip O'Neill, bringing the sweeping history of our lawmaking bodies into sharp focus.
If you've ever wondered how Congress worked in the past or what our elected officials do today, this book gives the engaging, often surprising, answers.
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