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Congress Reconsidered

Congress Reconsidered

Eleventh Edition
Edited by:

December 2016 | 536 pages | CQ Press
For almost four decades, the editors of Congress Reconsidered, Lawrence C. Dodd and Bruce I. Oppenheimer have delivered the best contemporary work from leading congressional scholars in a form that is both analytical and accessible. The tradition continues in this Eleventh Edition as contributing authors focus on the many ways Congress has changed over time and examine the conditions that foster these developments.

Some of the most noted names in congressional studies address topics from broad dynamics affecting the institution, elections and constituencies, parties and internal organization, inter-branch relations, and policymaking. This new edition also ends with a capstone chapter on the milestone 2016 elections. Simply put, this bestselling volume remains on the cutting edge of scholarship, identifying patterns of change in Congress and placing those patterns in context.

Part I: Patterns and Dynamics of Congressional Change
Barbara Sinclair
Chapter 1: The New World of U.S. Senators
John H. Aldrich and David W. Rohde
Chapter 2: Lending and Reclaiming Power: Majority Leadership in the House Since the 1950s
Part II: Elections and Constituencies
Robert S. Erikson and Gerald C. Wright
Chapter 3: Voters, Candidates and Issues in Congressional Elections
Gary C. Jacobson
Chapter 4: Partisanship, Money, and Competition: Elections and the Transformation of Congress since the 1970s
Soren Jordan, Kim Quaile Hill, and Patricia A. Hurley
Chapter 5: Constituency Representation in Congress: In General and in Periods of Higher and Lower Partisan Polarization
Rodney Hero and Robert H. Preuhs
Chapter 6: Black-Latino Relations in Congress: Examining Institutional Context and Inter-Minority Group Relations
Part III: Parties and Committees
Steven S. Smith and Gerald Gamm
Chapter 7: The Dynamics of Party Government in Congress
Sarah Binder
Chapter 8: Legislating in Polarized Times
Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman
Chapter 9: Legislative Effectiveness and Problem Solving in the U.S. House of Representatives
Gregory Koger
Chapter 10: Filibusters and Majority Rule in the Modern Senate
Part IV: Congress, the President, and Public Policy
Sarah Binder and Forrest Maltzman
Chapter 11: Is Advice and Consent Broken? The Contentious Politics of Selecting Federal Judges and Justices
Bruce I. Oppenheimer
Chapter 12: ANWR and CAFE: Frustrating Energy Production and Conservation Initiatives in Congress over Three Decades
Peter C. Hanson
Chapter 13: The Endurance of Non-Partisanship in House Appropriations
Douglas Kriner
Chapter 14: Congress, Public Opinion, and the Political Costs of Waging War
Joseph Cooper
Chapter 15: The Balance of Power Between the Congress and the President: Issues and Dilemmas
Part V: Congress and Political Change
Lawrence C. Dodd and Scot Schraufnagel
Chapter 16: Moderate Polarization and Policy Productivity in Congress: From Harding to Obama
Jordan Ragusa
Chapter 17: An Examination of Congressional Efforts to Repeal the Affordable Care Act
Bruce I. Oppenheimer and Lawrence C. Dodd
Chapter 18: Congress in the Age of Trump: The 2016 National Elections and Their Aftermath

“For seasoned congressional scholars and beginners alike, Congress Reconsidered once again offers essential insights that place the contemporary Congress in political context. This book effectively situates Congress at the nexus of virtually every major topic in American politics, from elections to campaign finance, inter-branch politics, partisanship, representation, and public policy-making. It is, in short, an indispensable resource for making sense of American politics in an era of political upheaval.” 

Walter Wilson
University of Texas at San Antonio

Congress Reconsidered is always relevant, as the authors shift the focus of each edition to include chapters that cover the latest emphases of scholarly research on the institution. This text has no equal when it comes to a set of articles that inform students about Congress, research on the topic, and challenges confronted by the legislative branch.”

Charles S. Bullock
University of Georgia

Congress Reconsidered is the best text of its kind. Every article and chapter in the book helps convey to students that Congress is more than just the group of people they see on TV. Students are often amazed at the breadth of scholarship on Congress and, through this book, come to understand how it is constrained and influenced by other institutions.”

Rob Mellen Jr.
Mississippi State University

“This edited volume is chock-full of thoughtful, empirically-minded essays by respected congressional scholars. It would be difficult to construct a text that is more effective than Dodd and Oppenheimer’s in offering such accessible but serious treatments of contemporary issues in the U.S. Congress.”

Barry Burden
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Key features
  • Eleven essays are new to the volume and the remaining essays have been extensively updated and revised to account for new events, developments, and data.
  • Seven new contributors join the book: Rodney Hero, Kim Quaile Hill, Patricia Hurley, Soren Jordan, Robert Treuhs, Jordan Ragusa and Peter Hanson.
  • Rodney Hero and Robert H. Preuhs examine the relations between Black and Latino legislators in Congress.
  • Jordan Ragusa offers an analysis of Congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act since 2010.
  • Gregory Koger examines efforts to modify the Senate filibuster.
  • Gary Jacobson argues that the campaign finance system also matters in shaping election outcomes.
  • Peter Hanson argues that committees such as House Appropriations still honor institutionalized norms and decision processes in debating and crafting legislation.
  • Sarah Binder stresses the role that polarization continues to play in shaping roll call behavior.
  • John Aldrich and David Rohde replace Dodd and Oppenheimer in writing the overview chapter on the House of Representatives.
  • Two opening chapters on the Senate and House of Representatives, provide a concise and stimulating overview of the two houses of Congresses and the ways they have changed since the post-World War II Era.
  • The final essay, written by Dodd and Oppenheimer in the weeks following the 2016 national elections, provides a richly detailed analysis of the election results and their implications for politics in the new Congress.
  • Each chapter opens with an abstract that summarizes the arguments of the chapter and highlights the chapter's implications for understanding Congress.
  • The book closes with a comprehensive Suggested Readings list: a go-to bibliographical reference for all students of Congress.
  • The book contains a rich variety of statistical information combined with close attention to historical processes and real-world illustrations of congressional politics.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 16

For instructors

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