Strengthening Congress

Strengthening Congress

Lee H. Hamilton
Distribution: World
Publication date: 8/17/2009
Format: paper 144 pages
6.125 x 9.25 x .375
ISBN: 978-0-253-22165-0
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Description

2010 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection
With the benefit of an insider's perspective, distinguished former congressman Lee H. Hamilton argues that America needs a stronger Congress and a more engaged citizenry in order to ensure responsive and effective democracy. Hamilton explains how Congress has drifted away from the role envisioned for it in the Constitution as a body whose power and influence would be preeminent in the American system of government. He details the steps that Congress should take to re-establish its parity with the executive branch and become an institution that works reliably and effectively for the betterment of the nation—reinforce congressional oversight, restore the deliberative process, curb the influence of lobbyists, and reduce excessive partisanship. Concurrently, Hamilton calls upon Americans to take more seriously their obligations and responsibilities as citizens and engage with the critical issues facing their communities and the nation.

Author Bio

Lee H. Hamilton served Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1965 to 1999 and is Director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University Bloomington. He is author of How Congress Works and Why You Should Care (IUP, 2004)

Reviews

"Lee Hamilton, one of this country's greatest public servants ever, has written a new book that challenges Congress to revitalize its special place in the American constitutional system and exhorts citizens to engage this institution to realize the promise of our representative democracy. Strengthening Congress is both a constructive critique of the broken branch and a compelling call to arms for politicians and citizens alike to repair it." —Thomas E. Mann, co-author of The Broken Branch

"A lively blueprint for restoring a risk-averse Congress to its rightful place in our democracy. This penetrating analysis by a pre-eminent Washington insider is a must read for anyone interested in politics and government." —Martin Tolchin, Congressional Correspondent, The New York Times

"Strengthening Congress makes a clear and compelling case for why we need a strong, vibrant, and assertive Congress, where it needs change and reform, and how to provide the changes needed. . . . It is a welcome roadmap to help strengthen oversight, deliberation, ethics, and legislating inside Congress and to reform the role of loybbyists and citizens outside Congress." —Norman J. Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

"Lee Hamilton is a truly rare breed. He is a wise man who knows Congress inside out—and can still think constructively about its strengths and weaknesses. His book provides a clear and well-informed view of how the country would benefit from a stronger Congress." —Janet Hook,
Los Angeles Times, Washington Bureau

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Table of Contents

Contents
Preface

1. Why We Need to Restore Power to Congress
2. A Stronger Voice
3. Strengthening Congressional Oversight
4. Restoring the Deliberative Process
5. Reducing Excessive Partisanship
6. Strengthening Ethics Enforcement
7. Curbing the Influence of Lobbyists
8. Strengthening Citizen Participation
9. A Well-Functioning Congress

Appendices
How to Judge Congress
Analyzing Congressional Arguments
Twelve Ways to Contact Your Member of Congress
Making Your Case Effectively: Some Do's and Don'ts
Notes
Index
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