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Author: Ross M. English

The role of the Congress is essential to any study of American government and politics. It would be impossible to gain a complete understanding of the American system of government without an appreciation of the nature and workings of this essential body. This text looks at the workings of the United States Congress, and uses the Republican period of ascendancy, which lasted from 1994 until 2000, as an example of how the Congress works in practice. The book illustrates the basic principles of Congress using contemporary and recent examples, while also drawing attention to the changes that took place in the 1990s. The period of Republican control is absent from many of the standard texts and is of considerable academic interest for a number of reasons, not least the 1994 election, the budget deadlock in 1995 and the Clinton impeachment scandal of 1999. The book traces the origin and development of the United States Congress, before looking in depth at the role of representatives and senators, the committee system, parties in Congress, and the relationship between Congress and the President, the media and interest groups.

Open Access (free)
Ross M. English

7 President and Congress President John Tyler stated that he enjoyed good health, and felt much better since Congress had finally adjourned. (L. A. Godbright, 1869) At the heart of the Constitution is the separation of power between the President of the United States and Congress. The President has the roles of chief diplomat, Commander-inChief of the Armed Forces and, as head of the executive branch, the responsibility for executing the laws passed by Congress. While the President and Congress were given separate powers and responsibilities, the Founding

in The United States Congress
Open Access (free)
Ross M. English

5 Parties in Congress The Democrats are the party of government activism, the party that says government can make you richer, smarter, taller, and get the chickweed out of your lawn. Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work, and then get elected and prove it. (P. J. O’Rourke) One of the most often overlooked aspects of Congress is the role played by political parties. It is true that parties in the United States are weaker and more fragmented than many of their Western European counterparts. It is also true that the majority of members of

in The United States Congress
Abstract only
Edward Ashbee

The US Congress is, according to the Constitution, the first branch of government. It has a bicameral structure and its powers include the passage of legislation, declarations of war, the ratification of treaties, the formulation of the annual budget, consent to major political appointments, and the oversight of executive departments and agencies. Members must, at the same time, respond to the concerns of countless individuals and organisations. Although the president can, at times, play a pivotal role

in US politics today (fourth edition)
Ross M. English

1 Origins and development of Congress All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. (The Constitution of the United States of America, Article 1, Section 1) The origins of the Constitution In 1787, when the Founding Fathers of the United States of America crafted the Constitution – a Constitution which still endures today – they chose for the very first article, not the institution of the President or the Supreme Court, but the US Congress. The

in The United States Congress
Ross M. English

8 Congress, the media and interest groups Any dictator would admire the uniformity and obedience of the U.S. media. (Noam Chomsky) In the previous chapters, the relationship between the voters, parties, the President and members of Congress have been examined. This section looks at two other actors who impact on Congress: the media and interest groups. Media The media performs a crucial role in the American political process. The majority of voters will have little or no personal contact with Congress or its members. These voters rely heavily on newspapers

in The United States Congress
Ross M. English

9 Assessing the US Congress I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US Congress. (President Ronald W. Reagan) At first glance, while the nation of the United States of America has changed greatly since the Constitution was written in 1787, the political system has remained remarkably stable. The United States is still a federal system, with its government based on the separation of the executive, legislative and judicial powers. Congress, the legislative branch of the government, remains a

in The United States Congress
Loch K. Johnson

intelligence. 7 Each has concluded that one of the most significant flaws in this secret world has been the failure of policy-makers (including members of Congress) to clarify, during the planning-and-direction phase of the intelligence cycle, exactly what kinds of information they need. All too frequently, intelligence officers are left in the dark about the data requirements of top policy officials, who in

in Intelligence and national security policymaking on Iraq
Open Access (free)
Governing Precarity through Adaptive Design
Mark Duffield

), The Impact of Increased Self-Employment and Insecure Work on the Public Finances ( London : Trades Union Congress ). Turner , F. ( 2006 ), From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism ( Chicago and London : University of Chicago Press ). UNDP ( 2008 ), Creating Value for All: Strategies for Doing Business with the Poor ( New York : United Nations Development Programme ). UNGP ( 2009 ) ‘ United

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Series: Politics Today
Author: Edward Ashbee

The book introduces the principles underpinning the US Constitution and, on the basis of this, surveys core federal institutions: Congress, the presidency, and the US Supreme Court and lower courts. The different chapters outline the defining features of each and introduce some of the core scholarly debates about their powers and performance. The book also considers processes of political participation through elections, parties, and organised interests. It looks, in particular, at the changing nature of voting behaviour, the reasons why electoral turnout levels are comparatively low, and the different reasons why Donald Trump secured the presidency in the 2016 contest. It also considers the character of the party system and claims that organised interests, particularly groups representing those at the highest ends of the income and wealth scales, play a disproportionate role in the US system. The book thereby offers a guide to debates about the democratic ‘health’ of the contemporary US. The final chapter places the study of US politics in a comparative and theoretical context. It suggests that comparative approaches are essential if political developments and processes are to be fully understood. It then considers the value of employing theoretical frameworks in the study of politics and explores the ways in which structural theories, approaches drawing upon representations of political culture, and rational choice perspectives can explain political outcomes.