Call to Order: Floor Politics in the House and Senate by Steven S. Smith

By Steven S. Smith

Congress is enjoying through new rules--a altering distribution of energy in Congress, a extra complicated interaction of ideas and methods and coverage, and a brand new position for flooring politics within the legislative technique. In name to reserve, Smith outlines how a reasonably strong interval of reform within the Fifties and the early Sixties erupted right into a turbulent interval of reform within the Nineteen Seventies. New matters spawned a number of geared up curiosity teams, and those, coupled with growing to be constituency pressures, elevated the call for for contributors to champion factors. yet ground politics within the Nineteen Eighties took on a unique personality, fairly in the home. funds politics, new procedural thoughts, management strategies, and different advancements made those years fairly diverse from the unsettled seventies. Smith conscientiously considers those alterations, their relationships to each other, the hot function of ground task in either homes of Congress, and the general implications for congressional coverage making.

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Rieselbach, Congressional Reform (Washington: CQ Press, 1986), chap. 3; and Steven S. Smith and Christopher J. Deering, Committees in Congress (Washington: CQ Press, 1984), chap. 2. < previous page page_25 next page > < previous page page_26 next page > Page 26 viduals' votes for the House Journal, Congressional Record, and other publications. 20 But supporters of the reform differed in their estimates of the more general effects of recorded voting. 21 He suspected that attendance would improve and that outcomes on a few important issues would change, but he went out of his way to allay fears that recorded voting would radically alter members' daily routines.

8 Furthermore, chairmen and other bill managers could easily gain recognition to offer second-degree amendments to dilute unfriendly first-degree amendments or to offer a motion to cut off debate on amendments, making it impossible for amendment sponsors to explain their amendments and solicit support. The absence of recorded voting and the advantages of committee chairmen undercut the incentives for members to be in attendance during floor debate and votes on amendments. This is plain in the turnout for standing division votes on amendments.

R. Gross of Iowa was renowned for his floor amendments in the prereform era. When he retired in 1974, his role was filled, with vigor, by John Ashbrook and John Rousselot of California and Robert Bauman of Maryland. The three firebrand Republicans had been active organizers of conservative organizations; Bauman chaired the American Conservative Union in the 1970s. They actively sought ways to challenge committee products, raise ideologically charged issues, and force recorded votes. 37 The effect, quite naturally, was to heighten the personal and partisan conflict on the floor.

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