Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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p. v

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

In 1999, I received the American Political Science Association’s William A. Steiger Congressional Fellowship. The award is named for a Republican House member...

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Introduction: The House and Senate Floors

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pp. 1-10

The House and Senate floors seem to be at the center of congressional life. When Americans watch C-SPAN’s programming, they are invariably viewing live or recorded coverage of happenings on one of the two bodies’ floors....

Part I: Floor Power and Rights

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1. The Floor and the Legislative Process: Theoretical Underpinnings

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pp. 13-34

The Constitution is essentially silent on the subject of congressional procedures and practices. It outlines procedures on the impeachment and trial of executive officials and judges and charges both chambers with selecting specified...

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2. Developing Procedural Character: A Quantitative Analytical History of House and Senate Floor Power and Rights

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pp. 35-70

In this chapter, I begin my examination of the reasons why the House and Senate ›oors are so different by testing the three hypotheses on changes in House and Senate procedures and the use of House and Senate practices over time. If increases in size, workload, and majority party strength tend to push..

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3. The Restrictive House and Natural Senate: The Story of Two Floors

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pp. 71-118

The causes of changes to procedures and the use of practices affecting the floors of both chambers of Congress quite clearly vary over time. A large and influential literature argues persuasively that after the Civil War and particularly 1900, the strength of the majority party was a critical determinant...

Part II: Floor Proceedings

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4. The Quality of Floor Proceedings I: Concepts, Measures, and Data

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pp. 121-141

These two passages are representative of popular impressions about the quality of floor proceedings in Congress. The first, part of revered orator and lawyer Daniel Webster’s (Whig-MA) famous speech on the Constitution and the Union, is eloquent and melodic, although it may not have been made quite as it was recorded. It is about issues fundamental to the country...

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5. The Quality of Floor Proceedings II: Analysis

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pp. 142-180

I am testing two hypotheses: (1) Floor proceedings are better in the Senate than in the House (Senate-superior); (2) floor proceedings have deteriorated across history (worsen-over-time). To reject the null of the first hypothesis, we should...

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Conclusion: A Future for the Floor

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pp. 181-200

This book provides a systematic analysis of the floor. It is a topic crucial to an understanding of what makes a good legislature because the kinds of bodies we should want have powerful floors where members exercise robust rights...

Notes

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pp. 201-220

Bibliography

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pp. 221-244

Index

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pp. 245-254