We’re six months away from one of the most consequential midterm elections in modern history, and Americans are fed up with Congress. Politicians have gotten a bad rap throughout history, but today’s legislators are setting record lows in approval ratings and public trust. What gives? Why do they disappoint us so often? Are they really ignoring our needs and demands, or are we misunderstanding the challenges they face?
In this episode, Sarah Anderson shows that it’s a little of both: politicians don’t listen to all constituents equally, but they also can’t just snap their fingers and fulfill our wishes.
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Legislative solutions to society’s pressing problems usually require compromise, but we find that around a quarter of state legislators and many elected city officials reject proposals that move policy in their preferred direction and make them better off. The legislators who reject compromise proposals tend to be those who perceive that their voters – especially their primary voters – are likely to punish them for compromising. This threat of punishment also affects the voting behavior of members of Congress.
Americans are fed up with gridlock in Congress, one of the least popular institutions in the country. You might think the solution is for legislators to pass major legislation. But what if the solution is even more controversial than the problem? If you’ve heard of “budget reconciliation,” you probably didn’t hear unanimously good things. That’s because it’s a risky game . . . a fascinating, strategic game deep in the trenches of our democratic tug-of-war.
In this episode, Molly E. Reynolds, fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Inst., teaches us how budget reconciliation works, where it came from, how it’s being wielded, and why you should care.
To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or download it and subscribe through ApplePodcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play, Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”
Legislators as Lobbyists Policy is produced by elected and unelected officials and through the interactions of branches of government. We consider how such interactions affect policy outcomes and representation. We argue that legislators try to influence bureaucratic decisions through direct communication with federal agencies, and that such contact is effective and has consequences for policy…
By Matthew Kredell Ever since she worked for a state-level agency before attending graduate school, USC Price Assistant Professor Pamela McCann has been intrigued by when and why Congress chooses to delegate to the states for implementation of federal policy. In her new book The Federal Design Dilemma: Congress and Intergovernmental Delegation (Cambridge University Press),…
Pamela Clouser McCann, Ph.D., assistant professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy discussed updates to her research on House and Senate negotiations and policy choice. Legislators encode their policy choices in the text of bills they propose, debate, and pass. This text, and the policy choices within it, reflect the preferences of the members whose support…