A Study of Policy, Power, Politics and Obama’s Historic Legislative Agenda on Capitol Hill
2nd Edition, With a New Preface
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.
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 interviewed on C-SPAN2 BookTV Link
Read: The Committee
covered in Congressional Quarterly Link
Campus event: Milken Institute School of Public Health Link
Campus event: The Aspen Institute Link
Author event: Politics and Prose Link
Author event: Busboys and Poets Link
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