Shared Flashcard Set


US CONGRESS 2nd Half of Semester
Flash cards on authors from the 2nd half of the semester
Political Studies
Undergraduate 4

Additional Political Studies Flashcards




Evans, “Greasing the Wheels: Using Pork Barrel Projects to Create Coalitions in Congress”
• Evans discusses the role of pork-barrel spending in forging majority coalitions.
• “One important strategy by which policy coalition leaders create legislative majorities for controversial general interest legislation is to buy legislators’ votes, one by one, favor by favor”
• “Doing so not only helps leaders to unite their party, but it can also draw members of the other party away from their own caucus"
• While she argues that “committee leaders may not be in tune with their own party leadership on a given issue within their jurisdiction; if they can distribute pork, they are more able to pursue an independent course, defying their leadership in order to attain their own policy preference” (p. 280).

• Conditions for using pork
o Access to sufficient benefits to trade for member’s support
• E.g. House IR Committee less able to dole out pork than Transportation and Infrastructure
o Leaders must be willing to use pork
o Rank and file members who sell votes motivated by reelection
• If would otherwise oppose bill , they care more about project than the substance of bill (e.g. their district gets submarine plant)
o Policy leaders who use pork not driven by electoral goals, but rather goals at making good public policy and achieving internal influence
o Overall: leaders buy votes with pork barrel benefits and in doing so take advantage of rank and file members’ electoral goals to pass bills that the leaders favor
o If tight control placed on distribution of projects, policy leaders will try to build smallest possibly number of members to form bare majority coalition when combined with those who support it on merits
o Or, they can give pork to anyway who asks to maximize support for their bill
• Universalistic or supermajority are project recipients
• Control of allocation is more diffuse, resting more with rank and files
• In this case some who would have otherwise voted for bill demand pork
o Most coalitions are larger since leaders must ask for support multiple times and it is in their benefit to have maximal support
Kingdon," “Models of Legislative Voting"
• an integrative model of legislative voting decisions
o One of the most famous models of congressional voting behavior.
o Views the whole thing as a sort of game-tree (see below)
o Presents voting decisions as a sequence of rational choices (eg. is president of my party placing a high priority on this issue. If yes→pick cues and vote with president, if no→pick cues and vote with policy goal

Powell: Egregious oversimplifcation
Cox "On the Effects of Legislative Rules"
• Cox demonstrates how the rules of the legislative game can and do have profound impacts on legislative outcomes. Conclusion: understanding how the rules operation and who controls changes in the rules is critical to understanding how a legislature operates
• The rules suit the majority party: benefit in terms of agenda setting, amendments, voting stage
• Rules can have:
o proximal effects: distribution of resources(staff) and agenda power
o Intermediate effects (the menu of policy choices and how members vote on any given policy choice)
o Final effect (final policy effect)
• Thee effects of rules
o Agenda power: keep bills on or off agenda and protect bills from amendments
o How rules affect voting behavior
• By allowing agenda setters to manipulate who can monitor votes
• By providing the wherewithal to make side payments (eg rules giving party leaders control of committee assignments ensures good behavior)
Binder, "The Partisan Basis of Procedural Choice"
• Binder explores the history of rules changes in the U.S. House. She finds that majority parties typically change the rules to limit the power of legislative minorities for short-term partisan gain. Concerns about workload or institutional capacity have little effect on rules changes
• Minority rights are more likely to be suppressed under conditions of higher workload, higher majority party advantage in strength over the minority, and higher levels of minority party obstructionism
o Contrary to the party competition hypothesis, subsequent change in party control does not dampen the suppression of minority rights
• Restrictive procedural choices in the House appear to reflect short-term partisan goals of the majority party
• When increased partisan capacity and need for procedural change coincide, majority parties have been most successful in limiting minority rights

• Evolution of minority rights suggests that members’ goals are themselves both shaped and constrained by the inherited institutional context
o Depend on existing rules
o Depend on past procedural choices
Roberts and Smith, "The Evolution of Agenda-Setting Institutions in Congress"
• Roberts and Smith recount the origin and history of the two primary agenda-setting mechanisms in the U.S. Congress
o House → special rules
o Senate → unanimous consent agreements
• Argue that the lack of an effective means of cutting off debate in the Senate put the Senate on a path of inefficiency, whereas the House was able to develop an efficient means of agenda control
• Scheduling legislation is one of the difficult collective action problems
• Strong path dependency exists in the development of congressional agenda-setting mechanisms
• Previous-question motion
o Senate eliminated it from the rules in 1806
o Since then, House has been able to efficiently end debate but the Senate(bound by a lack previous-question motion) has not been able to
Cameron, "Veto Bargaining: Presidents and the Politics of Negative Power"
Basically: threat of the veto is powerful and Congress will anticipate vetoes and modify legislation to head them off
-thus president can indirectly shape legislation in a back and forth called "sequential vote baraining"

• Veto bargaining is an essential part of a theory of divided government
• Congress is prone to excessive pork barreling, special interests and a president can seek electoral advantage by using the veto to limit his own virtue against the pitch of congressional vice
• Cameron argues for the power of anticipated response—the veto (a capability) can shape the content of legislation even if vetoes (uses of the capability) are rare
• Vetoes shape legislation
o 1. Try to kill a bill
o 2. Can force Congress to craft a new, veto proof version of the bill
o 3. Can force Congress to rewrite the vetoed bill offering enough concessions so that he will sign the re-passed bill
Binder, "The Dynamics of Legislative Gridlock, 1947-1996.”
Gridlock caused more by intra- than inter-branch friction
-Mayhew: gridlock not really caused by divided government
Problem with current research: incorrectly assumes that gridlock is the inverse of legislative output
-Can’t just look at the number of bills passed b/c don’t know the demand
Important factor: bicameralism
-Elections don’t just influence “divided”/”united” government- also affect how polarized, and more polarization → more gridlock
More gridlock when…
-Bigger difference between the two houses
-Tough economic times
-Less economic support
→ gridlock depends on electoral, institutional and policy factors
Binder’s results: the biggest factors influencing gridlock are (in decreasing order) bicameral distance, ideological diversity, percent of moderates, time out of the majority, divided government and public mood
Fisher, “The Politics of Shared Power: Congress and the Executive.”
Congress and the President are taking on roles in each others’ domains
-President as legislator:
*Recommends bills
*Gets “fast track” procedure (Congress must vote on a President’s proposal without altering it)
*implied and evolved Presidential powers
*Delegated authority not allowed, so use regulations, proclamations and executive orders
*president = primary player in foreign policy
*Executive lobbying (offices created to help Congress draft legislation)
-Congress as administrator
*Controls execution of laws through hearings, committee investigations, GAO studies, contacts with agencies, committee subpoenas, the contempt power, and nonstatutory controls
*instruments of congressional control:
*Personnel policies for agencies
*Advisory committees for the President to oversee implementation
*Passage of private laws
8Nonstatutory controls (i.e. resolutions and committee reports)
Rosen, Conscience of a Conservative
interview with Jack Goldsmith, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel, expressing his displeasure with Bush’s overuse of executive power
Howell & Kriner, “Congress, the President and the Iraq War’s Domestic Political Front.”
Thesis: Even though Congress has very little official power in wartime, it can still engage the issue and assert tremendous influence through PUBLIC APPEALS
Non-legislative mechanisms that Congress can use: speeches, investigations, media appearances
-Can made it harder for the President to get allies, which in turn can affect the President’s political agenda
-Also, and more importantly, it shapes public opinion
In their experiment, they looked at the number of congressional hearings that were critical of the President’s military decisions and compared them to public opinion, and found a correlation.
Cameron, Cover & Segal. “Senate Voting on Supreme Court Nominees: A Neoinstitutional Model.”
- Cameron, Cover and Segal focus on the factors that lead Supreme Court nominee confirmation votes in the Senate to be either consentual or conflictual. Specifically, this chapter explores the neoinstitutional perspective on Senators’ confirmation votes, and thus discusses important factors linked to whether votes are consentual or conflictual according to the results of a study that analyzed 2,054 confirmation votes cast from 1954 (Earl Warren’s nomination confirmation vote) to 1988 (Anthony Kennedy’s nomination confirmation vote).
- According to the neoinstitutional perspective, Supreme Court nominee confirmation votes depend on: 1) the goals Senators pursue during the confirmation process, 2) the choices confronting the Senator at each stage during the sequence of votes (agenda)leading to a filled vacancy on the Court, 3)foresight that the Senator exercises in moving from each stage of the multistage confirmation process, 4) the payoffs a Senator receives from his or her choices during the process.
nominee process occurs in a multistage process: President nominates a candidate to fill the vacancy →hearings are held in Senate judiciary about the nominee →nominee goes before the floor of the Senate where the nomination is debated→ cloture invoked, a simple-majority floor vote is held confirming or not confirming the nominee.
o It is within this multistep process that Senators must make their nomination decisions.

o Study all votes from 1954-1988. The study found that ideological distance between Senators/nominees (using ADA scores), as well as the qualifications of the nominee (from NYT, WashPo, ChiTrib and LA Times) both influence whether Senators vote to confirm a nominee. For example, Senators are highly likely to vote for a nominee if the nominee is ideologically close to the Senator and is highly qualified and are highly unlikely if the nominee is ideologically distant and poorly qualified.
Krutz, Fleisher, & Bond. “From Abe Fortas to Zoe Baird: Why Some Presidential Nominations Fail in the Senate.
residential executive/judicial nominations are functionally different from bills in Congress is one important way: for legislation introduced in Congress, there is a presumption of failure, while for executive/judicial nominations put forth by the President, there is a presumption of success.
o This occurs because the Constitution gives the president greater authority over appointments than over legislation, because rejecting a nominee does not guarantee that future nominees will be less objectionable, and because leaving the exec/jud seat unfilled can undermine a well-functioning government and so there is less incentive for Senators to ignore nominations. (Though, side note, it should be noted that more and more lower-level judicial seats HAVE actually been left unfilled in recent years).
o Thus, the burden is on supporters of bills to prove why the bill should become law and be supported by a majority of Congress, whereas for nominations, the burden is on opponents of the nomination
- Because of the system under nominee is usually defeated before floor voting stage,
o Rationales for opposition to a presidential nominee commonly include: ideological extremism, credible evidence of wrongdoing (ex/ Abe Fortas, Zoe Baird), qualification issues. All of these rationales can be utilized during the floor debate but are more commonly brought up during the nomination’s committee hearings.
o Factors that might insulate a nominee from intense scrutiny/strong opposition include: previous approval for a different office, former membership in the Senate or House.
- Opponents to a nomination can expand conflicts either internally, through committee hearings, or externally, through the national media.
o Internal: enlarging the witness list to include those who oppose the nominee (most committee hearings only have one witness: the actual nominee!)
o External: idea is to encourage increased media coverage of the nominee as a way to closely scrutinize the nominee
- Other factors influence the probability of success for a nomination such as: the popularity of the president, divided government (minority party controls senate→more opposition) timing (early-better)
- Krutz, Fleischer and Bond conducted an analysis of nominations considered by the Senate from 1965-1994. Included in the analysis are: SC nominations, US Circuit Courts of Appeals, and level 1, 2, 3 positions in the federal executive schedule, except “inner cabinet” positions. Total sample thus = 1,464 nominations.

6) VERY IMPORTANT: in sum, less than 5% of all nominations failed. 94% of said nominations failed (rejected or withdrawn) before ever reaching the floor of the Senate. Expansion of conflict, ideol extremism, alleged wrongdoing, poor qualifications all reduce the likelihood of confirmation. High presidential approval and prioritization of the nomination increase likelihood of confirmation. Divided vs united government has little independent effect on likelihood of confirmation.
Binder & Maltzman. “The Politics of Advice and Consent: Putting Judges on the Federal Bench.”
- Binder and Maltzman argue that the confirmation process for judicial nominees has become more difficult for said nominees due to the increased ideological differences between the two parties and due to the increased salience of controversial policy issues dealt with by the courts.
- They also thoroughly critique the “big bang theory” (sudden breaking point eg Bork confirmation or Brown v. Board) of explaining the political and institutional dynamics that have influenced nomination outcomes over time, as well as its counterpart, the “nothing new under the sun theory” (always been politicized…)

Binder and Maltzman conducted a study to investigate what factors have influenced the confirmation process over time.
o Sample: all nominations to the U.S. federal court of appeals from 1947-2006. DV: nomination.
o Findings: 1) As partisan polarization increases, confirmation rates go down.
2) Timing of the nomination matters: if its during an election year, confirmations occur more slowly and are less likely to succeed.
3) Confirmation chances decline when nominee’s home state senators are ideologically distant from the president.
4) Balancing the ideological makeup of the courts seems to be a consideration consistently.
5) Confirmation success decreases during divided government, but not nearly as much as it does during polarized governments.
6) Only weak and statistically insignificant evidence that the actual qualifications matter.
Hall and Wayman. “Buying Time: Moneyed Interests and the Mobilization of Bias in Congressional Committees.”
Hall and Wayman examine the effects of campaign contributions on legislative behavior. Specifically they examine the relationship between moneyed interests and members’ legislative participation. They find that money matters. In particular, group expenditures are more likely to have an effect in committee than on the floor, and contributions significantly encourage legislative involvement
Evans. “Appropriations in a Republican Era.”
Main idea: the Republicans took away the independence and bipartisanship of the House Appropriations Committee, through several specific changes enacted during their reign of power from 1995 to 2000. Systemic attempt made by the Republican leadership, led by Newt Gingrich, to reduce the autonomy and power of the Appropriations Committee. Used to be a bipartisan body free from the angry political partisanship that has stalled progress in the rest of the Congress. -began adding partisan policy to appropriations bills even though there is an explicit law against this. -knew the president would never veto an appropriations bill; so sneak Repub agenda legislation in. --Gingrich hand-picked a chair that he knew would be loyal to him and to the party agenda = Rob Livingston (R-LA). This leapfrogged several more qualified and more senior members of the committee, but he picked Livingston because he knew he’d be loyal to Gingrich. -- Then, the 13 subcommittee chairs (= “Cardinals”) were picked by Livingston, each had to meet personally with Gingrich and sign a letter to agree to follow the Republicans’ “Contract With America.” So, it was clear that Gingrich intended to exert direct influence over every aspect of the Appropriations committee, and from all these changes, the committee lost even more of its independence. Livingston’s Reaction: he went along with everything Gingrich wanted, EXCEPT he refused to fire the key Democrats on the committee, because he needed their expertise Effects of this: -Appropriations bills often became Omnibus bills – another way of sneaking partisan legislation into appropriations legislation. -Because of this, they often became very high-profile bills rolled in with important legislation (ex: approp legislation in Health Care bill). -House Committee on Appropriations is now just as partisan as any other committee. Final note: after 9/11 things got very bipartisan, very quickly. But, this didn’t last that long. Soon, things were back to being venomously partisan!
Wright. “Legislative Lobbying.”
As opposed to Hall and Wayman, Wright suggests that interest groups gain influence not through monetary contributions but rather by offering members of Congress a more valuable resource—information. Through the strategic presentation of information, interest groups have the potential to spur sympathetic members to legislative action and opponents to inaction. They argue that access is key—all lobbying begins with access. Three types: electoral (ramifications of positions they take), process (need to know that proposals have support), impact (proposals will lead to right outcome)
Solomon & Birnbaum. “Pet Projects’ Veil is Only Partly Lifted: Lawmakers Find Other Paths to Special-Interest Funding.”

Main idea: Legislators are still earmarking things, but they’re just calling it by different names, and are doing it in creative ways. And then goes on to give some examples of how they’re doing it, for example:

-Lawmakers hold meetings with executive branch officials (in cabinet-level Departments, for example), to try to cajole them into supporting their projects.

-Committee chairmen are writing their own legislation into their committee’s appropriations bills. Also trying to name it different things: “Congressionally Directed Spending”


 Rudder,  “Transforming American Politics Through Tax Policy.”





Claim: Tax policy is the defining political issue of our time.


-When Bush took office in 2000, passed dramatic tax cuts, the biggest we’d seen for decades.

>>>>“Ending more than a decade of fiscal discipline, these tax cuts were accompanied by large increases anti-terror spending, Iraq/Afghanistan war spending, and domestic projects

Reagan admin:

Passed major tax cuts in first few years of admin. Although his supply side economics didn’t work (didn’t stimulate the economy), RR managed to avoid responsibility for all this throughout his presidency, remaining “a hero to the anti-taxers.”

George H.W. Bush’s admin:

By the time GHWB took office, he found himself saddled with the disastrous effects of RR’s tax cuts and, after promising “Read my lips, no new taxes” throughout the campaign, he was forced to concede to Dem pressure, and he raised taxes in 1990 to avoid a government meltdown.

Clinton and the Deficit Hawks:

Raised taxes for top 2% of earners. Repubs maliciously characterized this as the “largest tax increase in history” – even though it was a tax cut for most middle class earners.

>> but, at this point, bipartisan agreement to bring deficits under control.


-As soon as they started having surpluses, Bush decided to give tax cuts to everyone (First SOTU address: “The people of America have been overcharged and on their behalf, I am here to ask for a refund.”)

… increasing lack of budget discipline…



“With the shift away from deficit reduction to tax cuts, Republicans have deftly maneuvered congressional Democrats into a politically untenable and defensive position.”

à“Even when tax cuts largely advantage the very well off, Democrats are pressed to explain why they oppose them, as the cuts are taken out of context, separated from tax principles, and divorced from trade-offs. 




"Koger, "Cloture Reform and Party Government in the Senate




·       1918-1925: majority party members were more likely to support stricter cloture rules, but support diminished for senators far from the party medium

·       Was NOT linked to seniority, prior House experience, legislative activism, or state size

·       2003 – Senate Republicans tried to get a nuclear or constitutional option to circumvent filibusters of judicial nominations

o   Nuclear – a simple majority can create cloture

·       Cloture preferences – influenced by party status and each senator’s ideological position

o   Benefits median senators most

o   Want to limit filibustering if they value bills that are likely to be filibustered

o   More likely to like filibustering if they are from a small state because it gives them more power

·       How does change over time occur? Varying theories:

o   Workload – change occurs due to gaps in members’ expectations and institutional performance

o   Conditional party government – members delegate power to party leaders if they agree with fellow leaders and disagree with the other party (intra-party unity)

§  Minority party can support something if they expect to be in the majority in the future and value long-term benefits

·       Efficiency gain – how efficient the reform is in terms of utility gains to members

·       Fear that majority cloture would make the Senate dominated by party leaders (like the House)

·       Altogether, although it was possible for majorities to reshape Senate procedures, there was limited support for majority cloture

o   1918- rejected bc senators couldn’t agree about whether party caucuses should be able to bind members and then push for majority cloture

o   1922 – Republican push for majority cloture for appropriations bills – never worked because of intense opposition by a bipartisan coalition

o   1925 – apparent public support for reform, but most senators didn’t support it

·       In all three, short-term partisan considerations heavily influenced senators’ preferences – favored it when their party was in the majority, thinking about short-term

o   was from his party median, the less likely he was to support cloture reform


Schickler and Wawro – Where’s the Pivot? Obstruction and Lawmaking in the Pre-Cloture Senate
• 1806-1917: no formal rules for ending debate, slim majorities were successful in legislating, 1917-1975: 2/3 majority required, 1975-present: 3/5 majority required • “distributive universalism” theory – US congress structures legislation to appeal to universalistic coalitions, lack of a cloture rule was a way of institutionalizing universalism Krehbiel’s pivotal politics model – filibuster pivot is one of the key factors that determines outcomes o According to this model, lawmaking was majoritarian in the pre-cloture senate, senators understood that a majority would be sufficient to legislate, minorities did not try to obstruct o When the cloture rule came about, this required a 2/3 majority, so it actually made it more difficult to pass legislation o Before cloture rules, it did not mean that universal support was necessary to pass something (to prevent filibustering) in most cases, only at the very end of Congress (before adjournment), costs to obstructionists earlier in the term would be too great o So, under the pivotal politics model, bare majority coalitions would have been sufficient to pass legislation except when a veto threat was credible • Authors’ research: o Legislation in the pre-cloture era (pre-1917) did not require unanimous coalitions, and sizes in many cases were smaller than the 2/3 required after 1917 cloture rule o Late in Congress, bigger coalitions were needed, but still not unanimous o Altogether, oversized coalitions were less prevalent in the pre-1917 congresses • 2nd part: looking at roll call votes on dilatory motions to see if the size of coalitions supporting these motions predicts success or failure of the obstruction o Obstructionists abstain from these votes if abstaining makes a quorum disappear o The main trend is that opponents of obstruction should have a strong incentive to vote against the motion o Through this, they also support their hypothesis that unanimity or near-unanimity was not necessary to overcome obstruction prior to 1917 • 3rd part: looking at tariff legislation o Most tariffs passed without universalistic coalitions, only a narrow majority, but bills that passed in the lame-duck sessions had relatively wide support o Increasing threat of obstruction in lame-duck sessions may explain the shift away from considering tariff bills in these sessions o Tariff bills became harder to pass with cloture rules • Conclusion: By enacting a cloture provision with a two-thirds threshold, senators may have been trading off the possibility of passing legislation with less than two thirds majorities in exchange for a decrease in the uncertainty about the coalition sizes needed to pass legislation near automatic adjournment


Daniel Lipinski, "Navigating Congressional Policy Processes: The Inside Perspective on How Laws Are Made"




Overview: The two components of any successful attempt by a rank-and-file House member to affect policy is: 1) knowing the legislative process by which a specific policy proposal can be enacted and 2) having the ability to work with colleagues to get the proposal through that process. Lipinski discusses the various ways that the legislative process can play out in the House and how relationships are built between members of Congress that allow them to work together.




Polsby and Shickler: Landmarks in the Study of Congress Since 1945



Overview: Since 1945, study of Congress has gone through an anglophile responsible-party phase (championed by William Yandell Elliott at Harvard), a sociologically oriented legislative-behavior phase in generation 1 and generation 2. Then, contemporary intellectural orientation is identified most strongly with rational choice scholars. The agenda of political science is formed not only by the literature but by events, so Congressional reforms in the 1970s were influential in shaping the literature, as were organization innovations like the Congressional Fellowhip Program and the Study of Congress, both projects of the American Political Science Association.

1.     The Anglophile “Responsible Party” Tradition

a.     Wilsom

2.     Sociologically Oriented Research: The First Generation

                                               i.     His work created the impression that Congress was complicated

3.     Sociologically Oriented Research: The Second Generation

4.     The Influence of Congressional Reform

5.     Choice and the “New Insittutionalism”

a.     Fenno and Mayhew in mid-1970s were partly inspired by shift toward rational choice models of politics

6.     Congressional History

a.     Increased dramatically in recent years

                                               i.     Cooper and Brady have been pretty important

1.     In “institutional Context and Leadership Style: The House from Cannon to Rayburn”, they outlined a “contextual” theory of party leadership that highlighted role of constituency and electoral institutions to explain party strength in Congress

7.     The Infrastructure of Research

a.     APSA congressional fellowship was important

b.     Founding of Legislative Studies Quarterly was also valuable outlet for research

c.     More compiled and sharing of data

8.     Conclusion

a.     The literature on Congress was first influenced by responsible parties on the British model

b.     Then, reflected wider concerns with the study of political behavior and social organization

c.     Then, rational choice approaches entered the picture

d.     Importance of political events in generation research questions

                                               i.     Reforms of the 1970s


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