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Agenda Power in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1877 to 1986

PARTIES, PROCEDURE AND POLICY: ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF CONGRESS, David W. Brady, Mathew D. McCubbins, eds., Stanford University Press, 2002

70 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2007  

Gary W. Cox

Stanford University

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University

Abstract

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.

Keywords: party government, congress, legislative agenda, congressional history

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Cox, Gary W. and McCubbins, Mathew D., Agenda Power in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1877 to 1986. PARTIES, PROCEDURE AND POLICY: ESSAYS ON THE HISTORY OF CONGRESS, David W. Brady, Mathew D. McCubbins, eds., Stanford University Press, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1003328

Gary W. Cox (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-723-4278 (Phone)

Mathew D. McCubbins

Department of Political Science and Law School, Duke University ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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