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Senate Deliberation and the Future of Congressional Power

  • Frances E. Lee (a1)

Extract

Current circumstances might seem to present real opportunities for Congress to reassert itself relative to its weakened role during George W. Bush's presidency. Large, unusually cohesive Democratic majorities in both chambers; unified government; and an administration staffed with people who know Congress well—all this might lead one to expect a productive working relationship permitting Congress wide scope of action. Nevertheless, the Senate's internal deliberative processes threaten to create difficulties so significant that they may outweigh these developments. Looking to the future of Congress, changes in Senate procedures and practices are important not only because of their effects on the institution's internal power structure. Left unchecked, they are also likely to have implications for the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of government.

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