Presidents on the Fast Track: Fighting Floor Amendments with Restrictive Rules

39 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2020

See all articles by Eric Magar

Eric Magar

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Political Science Department

Valeria Palanza

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile

Gisela Sin

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Date Written: January 6, 2020

Abstract

Among presidents’ lesser known legislative powers is urgency authority. Seven Latin American presidents wield it: the constitutional power to impose on lawmakers a short deadline to discuss and vote selected bills. This power is similar to the fast-track authority that Congress grants periodically to the U.S. president. We claim that the key consequence of urgency authority is procedural: urgency prevents amendments during floor consideration. By using fast track authority, presidents can protect bills and committee agreements; in essence becoming a single-member Rules Committee with ability to impose closed rules on the floor. A formal model generates hypotheses that we test with original data from Chile between 1998 and 2014. Results confirm that preference overlap between the president and committee chairs drives the use of fast track authority systematically. Patterns in Chile are reminiscent of restrictive rule usage in the U.S.

Keywords: Separation of Powers, Urgency Prerrogatives, Fast Track Authority, Legislative Process, Latin America, Chile

JEL Classification: D02

Suggested Citation

Magar, Eric and Palanza, Valeria and Sin, Gisela, Presidents on the Fast Track: Fighting Floor Amendments with Restrictive Rules (January 6, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3514866 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3514866

Eric Magar (Contact Author)

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Political Science Department ( email )

Rio Hondo 1
Col. Tizapan San-Angel
Mexico City, D.F. 01000
Mexico
525556284079 (Phone)
525554904674 (Fax)

Valeria Palanza

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile ( email )

Avda. Vicuña Mackenna 4860
Santiago, Región Metropolitana 780436
Chile

Gisela Sin

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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