The U.S. Congress is by the far the least popular (and most misunderstood) branch of the federal government. Congress in Context de-mystifies the institution, giving students a comprehensive and practical understanding of Congress and the legislative process. This book takes a different approach to the study of Congress than other texts. Usually Congress is treated in isolation from the rest of the government. But the Framers of the Constitution explicitly intended for the branches of government to be interdependent. Congress in Context introduces readers to Congress's critical role in the context of this interdependent system. Using the metaphor of a board of directors, the authors explain the three key roles of Congress within the federal government (authorizing what government does, funding its activities, and supervising how it carries out the laws Congress passes) and shows students how Congress interacts with the rest of the government to exercise these powers.
The thoroughly expanded and revised second edition features brand-new chapters on Congress and the courts and Congress and interest groups. It also includes expanded coverage of Congress's relationship with the executive branch, campaign finance, and today's major budget issues. Grounded in the latest political science literature coupled with contemporary examples, Congress in Context offers students an informed yet accessible introduction to how the legislative branch carries out its duties.
List of illustrations List of Features Preface Acknowledgments PART 1: THE NATURE AND ORIGINS OF CONGRESS 1. Congress as the Board of Directors 2. The Two Congresses: Lawmaking and Representation 3. The House and Senate, Party Leadership and Committees 4. Congressional Elections PART 2: INSIDE CONGRESS 5. Understanding the Legislative Process 6. Authorizing the Work of Government 7. The Power of the Purse 8. Federal Budget Issues in the 21st Century 9. The Oversight Power 10. Methods of Congressional Oversight PART 3: CONGRESS AND OTHERS 11. Congress and the President: The Struggle over Directing Public Policy 12. Congress and the Courts 13. Interest Groups and Congressional Policy Making 14. Congress in the 21st century Appendix: A Century of Congress Glossary of Key Terms Index