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Congress and Its Members
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Congress and Its Members

Seventeenth Edition
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July 2019 | 632 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.  

Instructors! Sign in at study.sagepub.com/davidson17e for additional teaching resources. 

 
Tables, Figures, and Boxes
 
Preface
 
About the Authors
 
PART I • IN SEARCH OF THE TWO CONGRESSES
 
Chapter 1 • The Two Congresses
The Dual Nature of Congress

 
The Two Congresses in Comparative Context

 
Divergent Views of Congress

 
 
Chapter 2 • Evolution of the Modern Congress
Antecedents of Congress

 
Congress in the Constitution

 
Institutional Evolution

 
Evolution of the Legislator’s Job

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART II • A CONGRESS OF AMBASSADORS
 
Chapter 3 • Going for It: Recruitment and Candidacy
Formal Rules of the Game

 
Districting in the House

 
Becoming a Candidate

 
Nominating Politics

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 4 • Making It: The Electoral Game
Campaign Strategies

 
Campaign Resources

 
Campaign Techniques

 
Who Votes?

 
How Voters Decide

 
Election Outcomes

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 5 • Being There: Hill Styles and Home Styles
Hill Styles

 
Looking Homeward

 
Office of the Member Inc.

 
Members and the Media

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART III • A DELIBERATIVE ASSEMBLY OF ONE NATION
 
Chapter 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

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 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

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 8 • Congressional Rules and Procedures
Introduction of Bills

 
Scheduling in the House

 
House Floor Procedures

 
Scheduling in the Senate

 
Senate Floor Procedures

 
Resolving House–Senate Differences

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 9 • Decision Making in Congress
The Power to Choose

 
Types of Decisions

 
Determinants of Voting

 
Legislative Bargaining

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART IV • POLICY MAKING AND CHANGE IN THE TWO CONGRESSES
 
Chapter 10 • Congress and the President
Constitutional Powers

 
Leadership

 
Sources of Legislative–Executive Conflict and Cooperation

 
The Balance of Power

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 11 • Congress and the Bureaucracy
Congress Organizes the Executive Branch

 
Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 12 • Congress and the Courts
The Federal Courts

 
The Supreme Court as Policymaker

 
Advice and Consent for Judicial Nominees

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 13 • Congress and Organized Interests
American Pluralism

 
Pressure Group Methods

 
Groups and the Electoral Connection

 
Groups, Lobbying, and Legislative Politics

 
Regulation of Lobbying

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 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

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 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

 
Conclusion

 
 
PART V • CONCLUSION
 
Chapter 16 • The Two Congresses and the American People
Congress as Politicians

 
Congress as Institution

 
Twenty-First-Century Challenges

 
 
Appendix A: Party Control: Presidency, Senate, House, 1901–2021
 
Appendix B: Internships: Getting Experience on Capitol Hill
 
Suggested Readings
 
Notes
 
Index

Supplements

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 TO THIS EDITION:         

  • 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.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1: The Two Congresses

Chapter 4: Making It: The Electoral Game


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