A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results

Front Cover
The Capitol Net Inc, 2010 - 152 pages

A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results, by Joseph Gibson, is a comprehensive look at the reasons that Congress does not work well and real solutions that can make Congress work better.

Includes the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

"Joseph Gibson has produced a book that offers real insight into the pressures and problems that underpin modern congressional processes and has offered a series of innovative ideas to deal with those pressures and problems. One need not agree with all of his proposed solutions to get real value from Gibson's book because what he has produced is a template for thinking about new ways to address the dysfunction that pervades Capitol Hill."
-- Robert Walker, Wexler & Walker, Washington, DC

"In A Better Congress, Joseph Gibson has produced a telling critique of Congress and its inability to perform the job required of it by the Constitution and its constituents. He offers a series of bold proposals to change the way Congress does its work - certain to kick off a complicated, contentious and difficult argument in Washington. Whether you agree or disagree with his solutions, get involved in this vital discussion!"
-- Chuck Cushman, Acting Executive Director, Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM), The George Washington University

Table of Contents

Introduction - Those Who Come to Congress Become Congress
Part I: Why Congress Does Not Work Well
Ch. 1 The Fortress of Incumbency
Ch. 2 The Ordeal of a Campaign
Ch. 3 The Skills Mismatch
Ch. 4 The Congressional Bubble
Ch. 5 Procedures Designed to Divide
Ch. 6 The Drive for Reelection
Ch. 7 "Accomplishments"
Ch. 8 Crisis: An Opportunity to Waste
Ch. 9 Third Rails

II. How to Fix Congress
A. Solutions for Both Chambers
Ch. 10 Temporary Duty
Ch. 11 All Cards on the Table
Ch. 12 Back to Reality
Ch. 13 Focus, Focus, Focus
Ch. 14 Reading is Fundamental
Ch. 15 A Purpose-Driven Minority
Ch. 16 The Committee on Repeal

B. Solutions Specific to the Senate
Ch. 17 Just Do It
Ch. 18 Hurry Up and Wait

C. Solutions Specific to the House
Ch. 19 Be It Ever So Humble
Ch. 20 Other People's Money

Ch. 21 Conclusion - Solutions, Solutions Everywhere, But...

Appendix
A. How the Figures for Numbers of Laws and Bills Used in this Book Were Derived
B. Declaration of Independence
C. U.S. Constitution and Amendments

Index

Complete Table of Contents online at https://www.thecapitol.net/Publications/ABetterCongress.html

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Part I Why Congress Does Not Work Well
11
Ch 1 The Fortress of Incumbency
13
Ch 2 The Ordeals of a Campaign
21
Ch 3 The Skills Mismatch
25
Ch 4 The Congressional Bubble
31
Ch 5 Procedures Designed to Divide
35
Ch 6 The Drive for Reelection
39
Ch 14 Reading Is Fundamental
77
Ch 15 A PurposeDriven Minority
81
Ch 16 The Committee on Repeals
85
Ch 17 Just Do It
89
Ch 18 Hurry Up and Wait
93
Ch 19 Be It Ever So Humble
99
Ch 20 Other Peoples Money
103
Ch 21 ConclusionSolutions Solutions Everywhere But
109

Ch 7 Accomplishments
43
An Opportunity to Waste
47
Ch 9 Third Rails
51
Part II How to Fix Congress
55
Ch 10 Temporary Duty
57
Ch 11 All Cards on the Table
63
Ch 12 Back to Reality
67
Ch 13 Focus Focus Focus
71
Appendices
111
Appendix A
113
Appendix B Declaration of Independence
115
Appendix C US Constitution
121
Index
147
Back Cover
153
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

JOSEPH GIBSON has worked in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. He has lobbied members of Congress and their staffs, advocated on behalf of the executive branch, and argued cases in federal and state courts.

He grew up in Waycross, Georgia, and then attended Yale University, where he received a bachelor's degree in political science. After graduation, he spent a year working as a staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He then went to Yale Law School, where he earned his JD degree.

After law school, he clerked for the Hon. R. Lanier Anderson, III, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Macon, Georgia. He then returned to Washington where he spent the next six and a half years as a litigator with private law firms.

In 1995 Mr. Gibson was appointed as an antitrust counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois. From there, he rose to chief antitrust counsel for the committee. In 2002 he became a deputy assistant attorney general representing the legislative interests of the Department of Justice.

In 2003, he returned to the House Judiciary Committee as its chief legislative counsel and parliamentarian under Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. After two years there, he became chief of staff to Representative Lamar Smith of Texas. After the 2006 election, he became chief minority counsel of the House Judiciary Committee. He is now in the private sector where he lobbies on antitrust, intellectual property, and other business issues. Prior to establishing his own firm, The Gibson Group, he practiced with the law firm of Constantine Cannon LLC.

He is the author of Persuading Congress.

He and his wife, Heath, live in Washington and New York with their daughter. The views expressed in A Better Congress are entirely his own and do not necessarily represent those of any other person or group. 

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