The Committee

A Study of Policy, Power, Politics and Obama’s Historic Legislative Agenda on Capitol Hill
2nd Edition, With a New Preface
Bryan W. Marshall and Bruce C. Wolpe

A deftly crafted insider account of how congressional committees really work, updated for 2021


For three years while serving as a senior adviser to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce—one of the most powerful committees in Congress—Bruce C. Wolpe kept a diary, a senior staffer’s look at how committees develop and promote legislation. With its insider’s view of the rough-and-tumble politics of cap-and-trade, healthcare reform, tobacco, oversight, and the debt ceiling agreement, The Committee uniquely melds the art of politics and policymaking with the theory and literature of political science. The authors engage with the important questions that political science asks about committee power, partisanship, and the strategies used to build winning policy coalitions both in the Committee and on the floor of the House. In this new edition, the authors revisit the relationship between the executive and Congress in the wake of the sweeping changes wrought by the Trump administration, as well as thoughts about how that relationship will change again as President Biden faces a 117th Congress that is strikingly similar to Obama’s 111th. The insider politics and strategies about moving legislation in Congress, from internal and external coalition building to a chairman’s role in framing policy narratives, will captivate both novice and die-hard readers of politics.

Bryan W. Marshall is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Miami University.

Bruce C. Wolpe has served as Chief of Staff to Julia Gillard, Australia’s 27th Prime Minister and Senior Adviser to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-CA), chair of the US House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Praise / Awards

  • "The Committee is the best inside account we have of how Congress operates from the vantage point of a key committee. Now in its second edition, the book has been updated with a preface that shows what has changed in the decade-plus since the first year of its account — and what lessons still apply. It is a must-read for all students of Congress and American politics, and all who care about the institutions."
    — Norman J. Ornstein, Senior Fellow Emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)
  • "This could not have been published at a better time. Read The Committee and you'll clearly understand the machinations shaping the extraordinary legislative battles in Congress that are currently unfolding. The University of Michigan Press has timed this beautifully." 
    — Larry Sabato, Director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and author of The Kennedy Half Century

News, Reviews, Interviews

Watch: Bruce Wolpe and Bryan Marshall give a book talk with US Studies Centre | 11/15/2021 
Watch: Bruce Wolpe and Bryan Marshall interviewed on C-SPAN2 BookTV Link | 12/7/2018
Read: The Committee covered in Congressional Quarterly Link | 11/26/2018
Campus event: Milken Institute School of Public Health Link | 7/12/2018

Author Events:
Campus event: The Aspen Institute Link | 7/18/2018
Author event: Politics and Prose Link | 7/21/2018
Author event: Busboys and Poets Link | 11/1/2018

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 324pp.
  • 1 table, 4 figures.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2021
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03882-4

Add to Cart
  • $29.95 U.S.

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