While learning procedures like the markup or cloture, the legislative process can seem mechanical and dry. What students hunger for, and greatly benefit from, is seeing lawmaking from the inside—the backroom politics that makes the process so fascinating, so real, so compelling. All Roads Lead to Congress drives students through one piece of legislation—the surface transportation bill—showing them the maneuvering and negotiating that go on among members of Congress and their staffers as they haggle over a huge pot of money. The bill provides an example of both sides of the domestic legislative coin, as members of Congress formulating the bill fight over both policy issues (mostly along party lines) and money (mostly along regional lines).
While working on the Hill, Costas Panagopoulos and Joshua Schank were able to follow the path of this legislation from inception to law, observing firsthand the twists and turns of its journey. While filled with details and dialogue reminiscent of a good novel, All Roads is sure to explain the various rules that structure legislation, the leadership styles and strategies at play, the tensions among levels of government, and the impact of the executive. Students are not only likely to read this intriguing case study of Hill life cover to cover, but they also might seriously consider an internship or future career on the Hill. More important, they will have absorbed conceptual ideas about Congress effortlessly.