PSCI300: Congress and Public Policy-Making
Does the U.S. Congress possess the capacity for independence and effectiveness in law-making, budgeting, and oversight of the executive? How much policy-making responsibility has Congress lost to the president? How does congressional performance vary among policy areas and what explains these variations? What sort of congressional policy role is feasible and desirable? How have recent reforms changed congressional performance? Are there other changes that might improve congress's policy-making capacity? In this course, we will explore these questions by examining the historical development and contemporary performance of the U.S. Congress. After an historical overview, we will examine a series of factors that influence congressional policy-making, including the electoral and constituency settings in which legislators operate and the party and committee systems within the institution. We will then analyze the performance of Congress in certain policy areas, including the budget, health-care reform, and foreign policy. Students will also follow this year's congressional elections.
This course can be used to complete the requirement in American politics for political-science majors. Prerequisite: sophomore standing. Enrollment limited.