How Congress Works and Why You Should Care

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Februar 2004



How Congress Works and Why You Should Care is a concise introduction tothe functions and vital role of the U.S. Congress by eminent former Congressman LeeH. Hamilton. Drawing on 34 years as a U.S. Representative, Hamilton explains howCongress reflects the diversity of the American people, serves as a forum forfinding consensus, and provides balance within the federal government. Addressingwidespread public misperceptions, he outlines areas where Congress can work betterand ways for citizens to become more engaged in public affairs through theirrepresentatives in Washington. How Congress Works and Why You Should Care isessential reading for anyone who wants to understand the inner workings of Congress, and how all citizens can participate in its unique mission.


Chapter One:The Role of Congress Why Congress exists Core principle: Sovereignty of the People Core principle: Balancing powers in government Congress and the President Why federalism works Key power: Passing the basic laws of the land Key power: The power of the purse Key power: Congress and foreign policy Congress and individual liberties The roots of our success Chapter Two:The Impact of Congress Congress and the fabric of our lives Government's greatest endeavors An ordinary day Congress does more work than meets the eye A balanced view of Congress Members of Congress who had an impact Chapter Three: How Congress Works A complex institution An evolving institution The many roles of a member of Congress Representing constituents How a bill really becomes law Why we need more politicians Power in Congress The House and the Senate The awesome responsibility of voting The frustrations and rewards of Congress Chapter Four: Public Criticisms of Congress "Members are a bunch of crooks." "There's too much wasteful, pork-barrel spending by Congress." "Legislators just bicker and never get anything done." "You can't trust what members of Congress say." "Congress almost seems designed to promote total gridlock." "Members of Congress compromise too much." "There's too much money in politics today." "Members are out of touch with their constituents." "Congress is run by lobbyists and special interests" Conclusion Chapter Five: Key Ways Congress Could Work Better Declining civility The importance of good process Better White House/Congress consultation True congressional oversight Improving ethics enforcement Thinking about the future The money chase Improving public understanding of Congress Tackling the tough issues Congress and the common good Conclusion Chapter Six: Civic Participation A failure to communicate Being more involved in the work of Congress The cornerstones of active citizenship Making your views known to Congress Individuals who have made a difference Can the people govern? Strengthening representative democracy Appendix: Communicating with Congress Notes Index


Lee H. Hamilton was U.S. Representative from Indiana s Ninth District from 1965 to 1999. He served as Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Joint Economic Committee, and the Joint Committee on the Organization of Congress. He is now director of the Center on Congress at Indiana University. He lives in Bloomington, Indiana."


Lee Hamilton's book not only describes the Madisonian vision of what Congress is supposed to be and assesses how it measures up to that vision today, it also serves the same function of educating and edifying the American public that the Federalist papers did.... Every student of Congress, and every American, can benefit from this book.--Norman J. Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
EAN: 9780253216953
ISBN: 0253216958
Untertitel: Sprache: Englisch.
Erscheinungsdatum: Februar 2004
Seitenanzahl: 156 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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