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Congress and Its Members

Congress and Its Members

16th Edition
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June 2017 | 632 pages | CQ Press

Congress and Its Members is the gold standard for textbooks on the U.S. Congress. This is evident from its long life, the scholarly caliber of the authors, and the wide and timely coverage it brings to topics."

—Charles Finnochiaro, University of Oklahoma

Congress and Its Members, Sixteenth Edition offers readers comprehensive coverage of the current U.S. Congress and legislative process by examining the tension between Congress as a lawmaking institution and as a collection of politicians constantly seeking re-election.

The Sixteenth Edition of this best-selling text considers the 2016 elections and discusses the agenda of the new Congress, White House–Capitol Hill relations, party and committee leadership changes, judicial appointments, and partisan polarization, as well as covering changes to budgeting, campaign finance, lobbying, public attitudes about Congress, reapportionment, rules, and procedures. Always balancing great scholarship with currency, this best-seller 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 Site

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.  

Congress and Its Members is the gold standard for textbooks on the U.S. Congress. This is evident from its long life, the scholarly caliber of the authors, and the wide and timely coverage it brings to topics."

Charles Finnochiaro
University of Oklahoma

“Davidson, Oleszek, Lee, and Schickler have clearly taken great effort to ensure the book is as thorough as possible in its coverage of the legislative branch. There seems to be no question about Congress whose answer cannot be found in the pages of Congress and Its Members.”

Carrie Eaves
Elon University

“I am familiar with all the standard Congress textbooks on the market. The authors of this textbook are in my estimation among the best scholars and researchers in the field. They have produced a superior product.”

Scot Schraufnagel
Northern Illinois University
Key features

  • Recent examples of legislative battles and policy debates bring concepts to life, helping students better understand Congress’ legislative power and how policy is made and changed.

  • Profiles of new leaders and members from the 2016 elections illustrate the variety of roles and characteristics that make up today’s Congress.

  • Discussion of changes in congressional rules and procedures shows students how the leadership, committee composition, and agenda of the 115th Congress have evolved.

  • Extensively revised coverage of presidential-congressional relations gives students insight into the relationship between President Trump and the current Congress and how this relationship differs from those with past elected officials.

  • Examination of rising party conflict in House and Senate highlights the intense party conflict of the 2016 elections, the changing roles of House and Senate leaders, and the advances of coalition building. 

  • Coverage of changes in congressional districting and campaign finance evaluates the strategies for recommending, recruiting, and resourcing the 2016 candidates. 

  • Extensive updates on national security issues facing Congress highlight the different types of national security policies Congress can change and the affects these changes have on other countries as well as the American people.

  • Array of new graphs and maps illustrating patterns and trends of the United States helps students clearly see the results of the 2016 election and how Congress has evolved over the years.


  • 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 5

Chapter 10

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