The Death of Deliberation: Partisanship and Polarization in the United States Senate
A common observation of the Senate today is that it is paralyzed by gridlock; the Senate is currently composed of ideologically polarized members, and the majority and minority leaders exercise more influence because they lead more cohesive political parties. However, the argument that the Senate and by extension, the Congress, are undermined by rampant obstruction overlooks the fact that the contemporary Senate is still capable of overcoming the differences among its members without descending into an endless debate of ideological partisanship and irreconcilable gridlock. While current treatments of the Senate often seek to explain why gridlock happens, in this book, James Wallner addresses the important question of why gridlock does not happen. His answer is quite simple: The Senate changes the manner in which it makes decisions on a case-by-case basis in order to limit conflict between its members. Yet, the Senate’s ability to produce important legislation in the current environment may undermine the institution’s deliberative function. Wallner puts forth the unique proposition that while the contemporary Senate may indeed be broken, it is not broken in the sense typically acknowledged. Put simply, deliberation has succumbed to the Senate’s bipartisan determination to avoid gridlock and pass important legislation.
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2 A New Theory of Senate DecisionMaking
3 Decentralized Patterns of Senate DecisionMaking
4 Centralized Patterns of Senate DecisionMaking
5 Passing Controversial Legislation in the Senate
6 Raising the Federal Debt Ceiling
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The Death of Deliberation: Partisanship and Polarization in the United ...
James I. Wallner
No preview available - 2013
102nd Congress 111th Congress agenda amendment activity amendment process amendment tree amendments filed amendments offered behavior bill bipartisan cloture motions collegial and majoritarian collegial decision-making collegial pattern committee conditions of structured Congressional Quarterly considered under conditions contemporary Senate debate and amendment debt ceiling decision-making process decisions Democratic end debate filed were offered filibuster filling the amendment final passage floor consideration goals gridlock ideological increase the debt individual members individual senators influence institution institution’s invoke cloture issues Johnson key votes legislative process limit conflict majoritarian decision-making majoritarian pattern majority and minority majority leader measures considered ments minority amendments Mitch McConnell motion to proceed negotiations norms number of amendments offer amendments participation party leadership party’s pass legislation pattern of decision-making polarized political recorded vote result Senate decision-making Senate floor Senate majorities Senate rules Senate today Senate’s sixty votes structured consent decision-making structured consent pattern tion unanimous consent agreements utilized voice vote