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Legislating in the Dark
Author: James M. Curry

ISBN: 9780226281711
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 264
Published: 23 August 2015
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.4 x 0.9
Much of the current work on party power and influence in Congress focuses on the ability of leaders to control the legislative agenda or to dole out pork or other incentives. Yet, another school of thought argues that legislative leaders have relatively little sway over their rank-and-file. James M. Curry argues that we have been overlooking a key source of the power held by congressional leaders: their ability to withhold or provide information from and to their rank and file. By focusing the attention of lawmakers on certain information--or making that information difficult to obtain--leaders attempt to move them to support the positions of their party and their committee chairs. Typically, members of Congress lack the time and resources necessary to study or become deeply involved in most bills and have to rely on information and cues from others in deciding whether to support or oppose legislation. Having those resources, legislative leaders can open or close the informational tap, as it were, to suit their purposes. Take, for example, the Democratic leadership's handling of the final version of the financial stimulus bill in 2009. Although the bill was over 1,100 p...

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