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Congress and Its Members

Congress and Its Members

Seventeenth Edition
Additional resources:


640 pages | CQ Press
“I think Congress and Its Members is a near-perfect example of what a textbook is supposed to be. It provides a clear foundation of factual knowledge for students, along with an accessible summary of the current state of scholarly knowledge in the field, and well-chosen examples from today’s headlines to better enable students to understand the implications of what they have read.”
—James B. Cottrill, St. Cloud State University  

The Gold Standard for Congress Courses for Over Thirty Years  

Congress and Its Members offers comprehensive coverage of the U.S. Congress and the legislative process by examining the tension between Congress as a lawmaking institution and as a collection of politicians constantly seeking re-election. The highly anticipated Seventeenth Edition considers the 2018 elections and the Trump administration, discussing the agenda of the new Congress, White House–Capitol Hill relations, party and committee leadership changes, judicial appointments, and partisan polarization, in addition to covering changes to budgeting, campaign finance, lobbying, public attitudes about Congress, reapportionment, rules, and procedures. Always balancing great scholarship with currency, this bestseller features lively case material along with relevant data, charts, exhibits, maps, and photos.  

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Tables, Figures, and Boxes
About the Authors
PART I In Search of the Two Congresses
1 The Two Congresses
The Dual Nature of Congress  
The Two Congresses in Comparative Context  
Divergent Views of Congress  
2 Evolution of the Modern Congress
Antecedents of Congress  
Congress in the Constitution  
Institutional Evolution  
Evolution of the Legislator’s Job  
PART II A Congress of Ambassadors
3 Going for It: Recruitment and Candidacy
Formal Rules of the Game  
Districting in the House  
Becoming a Candidate  
Nominating Politics  
4 Making It: The Electoral Game
Campaign Strategies  
Campaign Resources  
Campaign Techniques  
Who Votes?  
How Voters Decide  
Election Outcomes  
5 Being There: Hill Styles and Home Styles
Hill Styles  
Looking Homeward  
Office of the Member Inc.  
Members and the Media  
PART III A Deliberative Assembly of One Nation
6 Leaders and Parties in Congress
The Speaker of the House  
Leaders of the Senate  
Selection of Leaders  
Leadership Activities  
Party Caucuses, Committees, and Informal Groups  
Party Continuity and Change  
7 Committees: Workshops of Congress
The Purposes of Committees  
Evolution of the Committee System  
Types of Committees  
The Assignment Process  
Committee Leadership  
Policy Making in Committee  
Committee Staff  
Committee Reform and Change  
8 Congressional Rules and Procedures
Introduction of Bills  
Referral of Bills  
Scheduling in the House  
House Floor Procedures  
Scheduling in the Senate  
Senate Floor Procedures  
Resolving House–Senate Differences  
9 Decision Making in Congress
The Power to Choose  
Types of Decisions  
Determinants of Voting  
Legislative Bargaining  
PART IV Policy Making and Change in the Two Congresses
10 Congress and the President
Constitutional Powers  
Sources of Legislative–Executive Conflict and Cooperation  
The Balance of Power  
11 Congress and the Bureaucracy
Congress Organizes the Executive Branch  
Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy  
12 Congress and the Courts
The Federal Courts  
The Court as Umpire  
Advice and Consent for Judicial Nominees  
13 Congress and Organized Interests
American Pluralism  
Pressure Group Methods  
Groups and the Electoral Connection  
Groups, Lobbying, and Legislative Politics  
Regulation of Lobbying  
14 Congress, Budgets, and Domestic Policy Making
Stages of Policy Making  
Types of Domestic Policies  
Characteristics of Congressional Policy Making  
Congressional Budgeting  
The 1974 Budget Act  
15 Congress and National-Security Policies
Constitutional Powers  
Who Speaks for Congress?  
Types of Foreign and National-Security Policies  
Structural Policies  
Strategic Policies  
Crisis Policies: The War Powers  
Part V Conclusion
16 The Two Congresses and the American People
Congress as Politicians  
Congress as Institution  
Twenty-First-Century Challenges  
Reference Materials
Appendix A. Party Control: Presidency, Senate, House, 1901–2017
Appendix B. Internships: Getting Experience on Capitol Hill
Suggested Readings


Instructor Resources

Password-protected Instructor Resources include the following:        

  • A Microsoft® Word® test bank is available containing multiple choice, true/false, short answer, and essay questions for each chapter. The test bank provides you with a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity for editing any question and/or inserting your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.        
  • Engaging graphics from the book bring concepts to life by allowing instructors to download tables and figures from the book to share in class.  

 “I would say that it is the best introductory text on the market, that it provides highly detailed and comprehensive coverage of the institution’s rules and operation and on the way that members navigate these in pursuing their own goals and representing their particular districts.”

David A. Bateman
Cornell University

“This is the finest Congress text on the market. It has an admirable mix of compelling narratives, anecdotes from congressional journalism, large theoretical questions overlooked by other texts, detailed information about procedure, and a concise and comprehensive catalog of empirical findings from the broader literature.”

Darin DeWitt
California State University, Long Beach

“For me, Congress and Its Members provides the best combination of foundational knowledge about Congress, summarization of the current state of empirical research on Congress, and timely examples from current events. The organization, structure, and presentation of the material in the book is clear, logical, and very easy to follow.”

James B. Cottrill
St. Cloud State University

“A brilliant and comprehensive text which reflects the most significant and important information about the dynamics and trends in congressional politics.”

Linda Trautman
Ohio University – Lancaster
Key features


  • New developments and fresh research on nearly every aspect of Congress provide clarity to areas such as congressional budgeting; the committee system; the gerrymandering of House districts; the role of interest groups; legislative leaders and parties; Congress and the courts; and much more.          
  • An examination of the large freshman class and changes in leadership illustrates the potential for significant policy and procedure changes.         
  • An analysis of the 2018 midterm election help readers to understand the different factors that drove the results, including developments in campaign finance and advertising, the midterm backlash, and the role of issues.          
  • A closer look at the changes in House membership, including a huge influx of new female House members, give readers a clear picture of how well the contemporary Congress represents the country's diversity.         
  • Coverage of recent Supreme Court and judicial appointments explains why judicial nominations are of major importance to congressional campaigns as well as national policy.          
  • Discussions of the creation of two new select committees—climate and modernization of Congress—highlight two large public and legislative concerns.    

KEY FEATURES:          

  • Comprehensive coverage of Congress and the legislative process provides students with an insightful look at the tension between Congress as a lawmaking institution and as a collection of re-election-minded politicians.         
  • A judicious balance of great scholarship and currency provides readers with a contemporary look at the realities of the legislative institution and process.         
  • Lively case material, along with relevant data, charts, exhibits, maps, and photos, brings concepts to life.

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ISBN: 9781544322957