Under the Iron Dome : Congress from the Inside book cover
1st Edition

Under the Iron Dome
Congress from the Inside

ISBN 9780367620271
Published September 20, 2021 by Routledge
190 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book provides a glimpse into the professional lives of members of Congress and the staff, political consultants, and others who work beneath the Capitol’s iconic dome. It shows some of the historic challenges, daily trials and tribulations, and public and private triumphs and failures that defi ne working life on the Hill. Original chapters by practitioners who have been there off er a fresh understanding of congressional elections, policy making, and party leadership, as well as landmark institutional developments, such as the growing influence of women and minorities in the legislative process. Each author brings a personal knowledge of Congress, providing unique insight into the opaque world of committee assignments, the hustle and bustle of fl oor activity, the cross- examination of committee testimony, and the beehive of activity in a member’s Washington or district offi ce, or committee’s office. Collectively, they provide keen insights into the institutions, procedures, and politics that shape congressional policy making. Additionally, the historic two impeachments of then- President Donald J. Trump are examined to showcase some of the extraordinary politics taking place on Capitol Hill. Aimed at anyone working in Congress or wanting to infl uence public policy, this book is also an excellent classroom supplement for political science courses at every level and a compelling read for citizens who want to understand how Congress works and why it sometimes does not.

Table of Contents


Tables, Figures and Charts

Introduction : Looking at Congress from the Inside Out

Colton C. Campbell, David A. Dulio and Paul S. Herrnson

Chapter 1: Campaigning for Congress

Kelly D. Patterson and J. Toscano

Chapter 2: Women in Congress and Changing Power Dynamics 

Kelly Dittmar

Chapter 3: Changing the Face of Workforce Diversity on Capitol Hill

Menna Demessie

Chapter 4: Serving the District

David E. Price

Chapter 5: The Power of the House Majority

Don DeArmon and Patricia Woods

Chapter 6: The Challenges to Senate Party Leadership

Roy E. Brownell II

Chapter 7: The Genesis of a Bill

Greg McCarthy

Chapter 8: The Politics and Pitfalls of the Congressional Budget Process

Laura Blessing

Chapter 9: The Battle over Health Care

Alex Garlick

Chapter 10: Impeachment and the Constitutional Remedy of Last Resort

Alan I. Baron

Chapter 11: Reflections on Representation, Policymaking, Partisanship and other Challenges Facing Congress

Dan Lipinski

Conclusion: Lessons from Under the Iron Dome

Paul S. Herrnson, David A. Dulio and Colton C. Campbell

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Paul S. Herrnson is Professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut.

Colton C. Campbell is Professor and Associate Dean of Academics at the National War College.

David A. Dulio is Director of the Center for Civic Engagement and Professor of Political Science at Oakland University.


Praise for Under the Iron Dome

"Under the Iron Dome is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Congress really works. Featuring chapters by current and former members, staffers, and scholars who worked for Congress, the book presents insights only insiders can offer. From elections and constituent relations to party leadership and the battles over health care policy and impeachments, the coverage is balanced and accurate. The authors provide frank assessments of the effects of partisan polarization and campaign fundraising on legislators’ abilities to represent their districts and enact good public policy. They highlight Congress’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as its essential role in American politics."

Former Rep. John Shimkus, (R-IL)

"As a former member of Congress, I’ve seen up close how the institution works and how difficult it is to make the bold, sweeping change we need. This volume takes the reader inside the offices and committee rooms by featuring members, staffers, and former fellows who relay their experiences with clarity and insight."

Former Rep. Patrick E. Murphy, (D-FL)

"This is an exquisite account of Congress from the inside by its members and staffers. It is all there: the rise of women, the big enactment drives, the powerful Speakership, the individual members aiming desperately to make a difference, the unruly budgetary process, the nonstop partisan messaging. Don’t miss Dan Lipinski’s general size-up of the institution today or David Price’s casework anecdotes."

David R. Mayhew, Yale University (Emeritus)

"Under the Iron Dome adds a unique and much-needed look at the activities and professional lives of those people that make the House and Senate run—Congressional staffers.  Virtually all of the attention in the media and the scholarly political science literature focuses on elected officials, but, as is often said, the elected official is only as good as the staff that backs them up.  This collection puts the perspectives of elected officials together with those from current and former staffers from both political parties, providing an unparalleled inside view of the workings of the United States Congress."

Paula D. McClain, Duke University