Legislative Gridlock Research Paper

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Legislative Gridlock: How did we get in here and how do we get out? Luis Alejandro Flores POLS 4313.01 U.S. Legislative Process Dr. Richard T. Longoria December 4, 2015 INTRODUCTION Article I of the Constitution of the United States grants all the legislative powers to a bicameral Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The enactment of laws always requires both chambers to separately settle to the same bill in the same form before presenting it to the President. Basic textbooks on American government and politics tell us the constitutional separation of powers structures executive-legislative rivalry into predictable and almost guaranteed conflict (Thurber, 1991). This lawmaking skirmish is referred to as gridlock…show more content…
Alexander Hamilton, however, nagged more than 200 years ago about the “unequivocal experience of the inefficacy of the subsisting federal government” under the Continental Congress. Gridlock may be a frequent consequence of the constitution, but that does not mean the framers preferred it (Binder, 2000). Some scholars argue that gridlock is merely a constant reminder of political life. Others object to the labeling of legislative fumbling as “gridlock” and argue that if a government that “governs least governs best,” then policy stability must be applauded, not derided as…show more content…
Jones (2001) investigates how parties affect the legislative inability of government to enact significant proposals on the policy agenda. Jones offers an alternative, partisan model of gridlock that incorporates party polarization, party seat division, and interaction between the two. He discusses how the persistence of divided party control of Congress and the presidency over most of the 1970s – 2000s has “prompted an extensive, and as yet unresolved, debate about whether or not this phenomenon leads to the stalemate in the lawmaking process which is often referred to as gridlock.” (Jones, 2001) Jones notes, in addition to the divided party control, the policy preferences of the two parties that have become increasingly polarized and how since 1990, more than half of all congressional votes have featured a majority of one party opposing a majority of the other party. (Jones,

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