By Robert G. Kaiser
An eye-opening account of ways Congress at the present time fairly works—and doesn’t—that follows the dramatic trip of the sweeping monetary reform invoice enacted in line with the good Crash of 2008.
The founding fathers anticipated Congress to be crucial department of presidency and gave it the main strength. whilst Congress is broken—as its justifiably dismal approval rankings suggest—so is our democracy. right here, Robert G. Kaiser, whose lengthy and extraordinary profession at The Washington Post has made him as prepared and an expert an observer of Congress as we've, takes us in the back of the sound bites to reveal the protocols, avid gamers, and politics of the home and Senate—revealing either the triumphs of the method and (more usually) its primary flaws.
Act of Congress tells the tale of the Dodd-Frank Act, named for the 2 males who made it attainable: Congressman Barney Frank, exceptional and infrequently abrasive, who mastered the main points of economic reform, and Senator Chris Dodd, who labored patiently for months to meet his imaginative and prescient of a Senate that may nonetheless paintings on a bipartisan foundation. either Frank and Dodd collaborated with Kaiser all through their legislative efforts and allowed their staffs to proportion each step of the drafting and deal making that produced the 1,500-page legislations that reworked America’s monetary area.
Kaiser explains how lobbying impacts a bill—or fails to. We stick with employees contributors extra influential than so much senators and congressmen. We see how Congress individuals defend their very own turf, frequently with no regard for what may top serve the country—more desirous to court docket tv cameras than legislate on complex matters approximately which a lot of them stay ignorant. Kaiser indicates how ferocious partisanship frequently overwhelms all different concerns, even though sometimes person integrity prevails.
Act of Congress, as wonderful because it is enlightening, is an crucial consultant to a necessary piece of our political process desperately short of reform.
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Additional info for Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't
Military regimes across the globe, even those that have held power for many years, characteristically describe themselves as ‘preparing the way for a restoration of democratic government’. The argument is not that states in modernity are genuinely an expression of the will of their peoples, but rather that it is perceived to be important that they should present themselves as such. Just as the thief, to take Weber’s example, acknowledges the legitimacy of laws of property when he seeks to conceal his breach of them, so does the state acknowledge the validity MODERN STATES 25 of ‘popular legitimacy’ when, however disingenuously, it commends its own actions as an expression of the popular will.
Second, postmodernist criticisms have chimed with, and perhaps contributed to, the acute disenchantment with states’ performance that has been a general feature of political debate over the past twenty-five years. To this extent, it is part of a much more general ‘retreat from the state’ to which we shall return in later chapters. For now, I wish to return to the historical account of the emergence of the modern state. ‘TRADITIONAL’ STATES Two points need to be made at the outset of this discussion.
For now, I wish to return to the historical account of the emergence of the modern state. ‘TRADITIONAL’ STATES Two points need to be made at the outset of this discussion. The first is to reinforce the claim that the state is a comparatively novel social development. Indeed, Mann (1986) argues that something less than 1 per cent of humanity’s history has been lived out under even the most primitive of state forms. Second, the modern state is, even within this foreshortened history, a comparative newcomer.
Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't by Robert G. Kaiser