Vital Statistics on Congress 2008

Brookings Institution Press
Free sample

Vital Statistics on Congress remains the quintessential source of authoritative information on America's legislature. This important series tracks the elements that define and describe Congress in the post–World War II era, and in this new edition, three of America's most esteemed political analysts extend their examination through the 109th Congress. They combine historical context with insightful analysis and copious data to produce a valuable and authoritative picture of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Norman Ornstein, Thomas Mann, and Michael Malbin track the changing makeup of Congress through history and across several dimensions, such as region, party, occupation, religion, committee assignments, staff size, and political stances. They document trends in critical areas such as voter turnout, ticket splitting, incumbency and turnover, and margin of victory. The authors, acknowledged experts in campaign finance, provide detailed information on candidate, party, and PAC spending. The material presented in l Statistics on Congress 2008 rev reveals a fascinating and important picture of America's chosen representatives, as politicians and as people. It will be an important addition to the bookshelves of media, political professionals, scholars and their students, and political junkies everywhere.
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About the author

Norman J.Ornstein is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. He also serves as an election analyst for CBS News and writes a weekly column,"Congress Inside Out," for Roll Call. Thomas E. Mann is a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he holds the W. Averell Harriman Chair. He is a frequent media commentator on American politics. Ornstein and Mann have collaborated on several books, including The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford, 2006). Michael J.Malbin is the executive director of the Campaign Finance Institute and professor of political science at the State University of NewYork--Albany. His books include The Election After Reform: Money, Politics and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006).

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Additional Information

Publisher
Brookings Institution Press
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Published on
Nov 1, 2009
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Pages
193
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ISBN
9780815701705
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Language
English
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Genres
Political Science / American Government / Legislative Branch
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Congress is the first branch of government in the American system, write Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein, but now it is a broken branch, damaged by partisan bickering and internal rancor. The Broken Branch offers both a brilliant diagnosis of the cause of Congressional decline and a much-needed blueprint for change, from two experts who understand politics and revere our institutions, but believe that Congress has become deeply dysfunctional. Mann and Ornstein, two of the nations most renowned and judicious scholars of government and politics, bring to light the historical roots of Congress's current maladies, examining 40 years of uninterrupted Democratic control of the House and the stunning midterm election victory of 1994 that propelled Republicans into the majority in both House and Senate. The byproduct of that long and grueling but ultimately successful Republican campaign, the authors reveal, was a weakened institution bitterly divided between the parties. They highlight the dramatic shift in Congress from a highly decentralized, committee-based institution into a much more regimented one in which party increasingly trumps committee. The resultant changes in the policy process--the demise of regular order, the decline of deliberation, and the weakening of our system of checks and balances--have all compromised the role of Congress in the American Constitutional system. Indeed, Speaker Dennis Hastert has unabashedly stated that his primary responsibility is to pass the president's legislative program--identifying himself more as a lieutenant of the president than a steward of the house. From tax cuts to the war against Saddam Hussein to a Medicare prescription drug benefit, the legislative process has been bent to serve immediate presidential interests and have often resulted in poorly crafted and stealthily passed laws. Strong majority leadership in Congress, the authors conclude, led not to a vigorous exertion of congressional authority but to a general passivity in the face of executive power. A vivid portrait of an institution that has fallen far from the aspirations of our Founding Fathers, The Broken Branch highlights the costs of a malfunctioning Congress to national policymaking, and outlines what must be done to repair the damage.
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