GOV 370L • The United States Congress
9:00 PM-10:00 AM
This course will examine what one scholar called the "keystone" of the Washington establishment - the U.S. Congress. It is the first branch of government established by the Constitution (in Article I), and little in the world of national policymaking can be accomplished without it. While public opinion of Congress is often low, this institution is the oldest popularly-elected legislative body in the world. The course begins with a study of the political history of Congress -- its creation, how it evolved over time, and how it reached its current configuration. Because procedures matter, the formal and informal rules of Congress and the committee system will be discussed. The course will also explore congressional elections, the motivations and behaviors of members of Congress, lobbying, congressional leadership, reapportionment and gerrymandering, and the role of political parties. Congressional interactions with other branches of government, especially the presidency, will be covered. In addition, the many differences between the House and Senate will be explored.
Ross Baker. House and Senate. Norton, 4th edition. Roger H. Davidson and Walter J. Oleszek. Congress and Its Members, 12th edition. Congressional Quarterly Press. Walter J. Oleszek. Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process, 7th edition. Congressional Quarterly Press. Electing Congress. Congressional Quarterly Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-87289-956-8.