The Making of Energy and Telecommunications Policy

By Georgia A. Persons | Go to book overview

Preface
This book grew out of a continuing interest in the activities of policymaking. As an observer of American politics, one notices that, like perpetual motion machines, two processes are always underway. Individuals and groups are always pressing Congress to give focused attention to particular problems, and Congress is always in the business of making policy to address some particular problem. These processes are rather visible thanks to continual updates by the national media. What is less visible from a public perch is the process by which the content of specific policy responses is determined. What happens when a group goes forth to enter the policymaking thicket to press Congress for a response to its problems? How are decisions made about which aspects of a problem are addressed in policy responses and which aspects are neglected? What happens to a group's idea of what would be an ideal or preferred response to its problems? What factors structure the policy debate on a particular problem? These are the kinds of questions which provoked the research and writing of this book.The policy debates presented in this book come from the congressional legislative record, and some explanation of its contents and use are in order. The congressional legislative record is an invaluable source for tracking policy debates and other activities of the Congress and other federal agencies. It is comprised of four major parts, which were used extensively in this study.
1. The Committee hearings record is the most extensive and detailed record of congressional activities. Most hearings are held by subcommittees in each house, and the records are published by the subcommittee and the parent full committee. Select committees and joint committees also hold hearings and publish their records.
2. Committee prints are often continuing-interest reports prepared as follow-up on key issues raised in committee hearings. They provide background on issues and some analysis as well. Committee prints are usually prepared by committee staff and published on behalf of select, standing, and joint committees.

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