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By Steven S. Smith

Congress is taking part in by means of new rules--a altering distribution of strength in Congress, a extra advanced interaction of principles and techniques and coverage, and a brand new position for flooring politics within the legislative procedure. In name to reserve, Smith outlines how a pretty reliable interval of reform within the Fifties and the early Sixties erupted right into a turbulent interval of reform within the Nineteen Seventies. New concerns spawned numerous equipped curiosity teams, and those, coupled with turning out to be constituency pressures, elevated the call for for participants to champion reasons. yet flooring politics within the Eighties took on a unique personality, really in the home. finances politics, new procedural options, management strategies, and different advancements made those years really various from the unsettled seventies. Smith conscientiously considers those adjustments, their relationships to each other, the hot function of ground job in either homes of Congress, and the final implications for congressional coverage making.

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Extra info for Call to Order: Floor Politics in the House and Senate

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Some of them have been known to choose the door through which they will be least conspicuous to a solicitous party or committee leader. And the act of voting takes only a few seconds. 29 Consequently, the installation of the electronic system may have eliminated most of the remaining resistance to recorded voting. If so, electronic voting made possible the full exploitation of floor amendments as political tools by the rank-and-file membership. Finally, it is important to keep in mind that floor amendments often breed additional amendments.

Both the volume and divisiveness of the issues led members to pursue their legislative causes to the floor more frequently. For example, the debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 produced 126 floor amendments, setting a record for its time. Even without recorded voting in the Committee of the Whole, the extraordinary polarization of views produced waves of amendments on some issues. Despite these developments, there appeared to be an effective cap on the volume and success of amending activity in the first phase.

Another possibility is that a large portion of amending activity since the early 1970s has been trivial, producing amendments that were more successful but of lesser political import. There is some evidence that this is the case. 4 Another in4. Amendments voted on by voice votes averaged 64 percent of all amendments in the five (footnote continued on the next page) < previous page page_18 next page > < previous page page_19 next page > Page 19 Figure 2-3. House Amendments Adopted, by Type of Measure, Selected Congresses, 1955-86 Source: See appendix 2.

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