Agenda Power in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1877 to 1986
Gary W. Cox
Mathew D. McCubbins
Duke University School of Law
PARTIES, PROCEDURE AND POLICY: ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF CONGRESS, David W. Brady, Mathew D. McCubbins, eds., Stanford University Press, 2002
This essay defends the view that committee government is best thought of as a decentralized form of party government over a wide range of congressional history. We stress the following points. First, consistent with the notion of conditional party government, more homogeneous majority parties have systematically undertaken larger substantive agendas. Second, throughout all periods of congressional history from the end of Reconstruction to the present, the majority party has maintained a secure grip on the floor agenda. Third, the extremely low rates at which the majority party loses, when it attempts to prevent either the appearance of a bill on the floor agenda or a bill's final passage, has important consequences for how we understand phenomena such as the Conservative Coalition. Fourth, the majority's ability to keep things off the floor agenda has important policy implications.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 70
Keywords: party government, congress, legislative agenda, congressional history
JEL Classification: D72
Date posted: July 27, 2007
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