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Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process 8th Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1604266139
ISBN-10: 1604266139
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA Students of American history and government will appreciate this comprehensive analysis of the way in which the U.S. Congress establishes policy for the nation. Some chapters will be especially good for high-school curriculum: ``Congress and Lawmaking,'' ``The Congressional Environment,'' and ``The Congressional Budget Process,'' among others. A few sections will be more used by teachers supporting their lectures: ``House Floor Procedure,'' and ``Legislative Oversight,'' as examples. An excellent chart demonstrates ``How a Bill Becomes a Law,'' and is only one of several such well-drawn demonstrations. The comprehensive index and glossary also add to the value of the book, which will be well used in many high-school libraries. Sherry Solomon, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.

Copyright 1989 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The new edition of Walter Oleszek's Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process continues to be the preeminent and most comprehensive work on the rules, procedures, and decision making of Congress. No other work comes close to this book in its objective and original scholarship, clarity and usefulness to Members of Congress, the media, scholars, students, and the general public. Oleszek has written a treasure. It is the primary source of authoritative knowledge about the complexity of the rules of the congressional policy process. I have adopted every edition of this book for my students and I will continue to do so. --- James A. Thurber, Distinguished University Professor; Director, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, American University

I have used Oleszek's book about congressional procedures as the central text in my undergraduate courses about Congress for many years. It provides a superb introduction to the practical nuts and bolts of lawmaking, emphasizing not just the content of congressional rules and precedent, but also how procedure is used strategically by members to accomplish their goals. The book is impressively up-to-date and has lots of great anecdotes. The chapter on the budget process is still the best short introduction to the topic currently in print. Overall, by the end of the course, my undergraduate students are really glad that they have mastered the book. Especially for students who take post-graduate positions relevant to the legislative process in Congress, they often comment years later that reading the Oleszek book during their student days helped them in their professional life after graduation. --- C. Lawrence Evans, Newton Family Professor of Government, College of William and Mary

Walter Oleszek's Congressional Procedures and the Policy Process provides clear, precise explanations of congressional rules along with timely examples that illustrate how procedures affect what happens in Congress. This book is both an essential text for courses on Congress and an indispensable reference volume for scholars and practitioners. --- Randall Strahan, Emory University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 385 pages
  • Publisher: CQ Press; 8th edition (March 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604266139
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604266139
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'm a chief of staff to a Member of the House of Representatives. I give a copy of this book to every new staffer who comes to work in our office, and tell them it's mandatory reading. Simply put: Mr. Oleszek's book is the single best reference out there for students and citizens wanting to learn about the ins and outs of how a bill becomes a law. What makes the book a must-read is not just the author's experise in understanding how Congress works, but also his ability to write extremely readable prose.
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Format: Paperback
If you are new to the Hill, this book is a must desk-side companion. It is a practical guide that steers a Hill staffer through the rules, norms and processes of the Capitol complex. The House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate are institutions where knowledge of process is more highly regarded than understanding the issues under debate. Olezek underscores that fact. His book has been must reading for congressional staff for a generation, and it continues to be the first among equals today.

Anyone thinking of working on the Hill or studying U.S. legislative processes would do well to begin here.
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Format: Paperback
Congressional Procedures and the Legislative Process is one of those books for which the concept of applying a star ranking makes little sense. On one hand, the author obviously knows his stuff and is able to provide a clear, coherent overview of a difficult topic. On the other hand, the topic itself is punishment and anyone reading it other than a would-be DC staffer, journalist or lobbyist is probably wasting their time. (I shudder to think of someone assigning this as a textbook, but professors must, as I don't see how there would otherwise be a large enough audience to justify a new edition every three to five years.)

This book provides an overview of how legislation is forced through both houses of Congress, how the two houses reconcile conflicting versions of the same legislation and how they, in theory, provide oversight over the executive branch. The bulk of the book is on the first part, the traumatic birthing experience of legislation in both houses. The book is almost entirely devoid of any attention to what would be an ideal, or even sane, process creating good laws. Instead, the book, written by a long-time staffer at the Congressional Research Service, looks at legislation from the perspective of legislators, which seems to be that law-making is war by other means. As a result, the book focuses heavily on tactical maneuvers that can accelerate and stall legislation -- and that mainly means stalling legislation. The rules that facilitate these tactics can be quite arcane, arbitrary and exceedingly baroque.

These rules seem to be the author's lifelong obsession, in the way that someone else might memorize batting averages of professional baseball players.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great read for those seeking to learn more about how our congress does and does not work. It has many real life examples to the policy process along with a reader friendly format which makes it a breeze to read and retain information. Worth every penny!
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