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Congress and Its Members

Congress and Its Members

Seventeenth Edition

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.  

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Tables, Figures, and Boxes
About the Authors
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


Chapter 3 • Going for It: Recruitment and Candidacy
Formal Rules of the Game

Districting in the House

Becoming a Candidate

Nominating Politics


Chapter 4 • Making It: The Electoral Game
Campaign Strategies

Campaign Resources

Campaign Techniques

Who Votes?

How Voters Decide

Election Outcomes


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

Looking Homeward

Office of the Member Inc.

Members and the Media


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


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


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


Chapter 9 • Decision Making in Congress
The Power to Choose

Types of Decisions

Determinants of Voting

Legislative Bargaining


Chapter 10 • Congress and the President
Constitutional Powers


Sources of Legislative–Executive Conflict and Cooperation

The Balance of Power


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

Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy


Chapter 12 • Congress and the Courts
The Federal Courts

The Supreme Court as Policymaker

Advice and Consent for Judicial Nominees


Chapter 13 • Congress and Organized Interests
American Pluralism

Pressure Group Methods

Groups and the Electoral Connection

Groups, Lobbying, and Legislative Politics

Regulation of Lobbying


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


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


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


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

I plan to adopt for summer 2021

Dr Johnny R. Green
Behavioral Sciences Dept, Fort Valley State University
April 22, 2021
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.

For instructors

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