The Political Process: Executive Bureau-Legislantive Committee Relations

By J. Leiper Freeman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE
Legislative Committee-Executive Bureau Relations as a Focus of Political Analysis

Two major aims of this study are to focus attention upon and to state some propositions about the interactions of certain key participants in special areas of the American public-policy-making process. These participants are primarily key personnel of executive bureaus and leading members of congressional committees, although other actors, especially from interest groups, are involved. The relations among them form crucial subsystems of the larger political system for making decisions in their special areas. It is the author's hope that this study can produce some propositions about the behavior of these policy makers which will characterize systematically some of the major strategies and effects of their interactions.

Since the subsystems formed by the relations of bureau personnel and committee leaders are partly differentiable from the general political system, although related to it, another aim of this study is to depict the salient relationships between the general political setting on the one hand and the activities and interactions of the participants in bureau-committee subsystems on the other. We will observe how subsystems are related to the larger political setting by the limitations upon the autonomy of their actors imposed by institutions and individuals in the larger setting. We will also explore the factors making for a degree of autonomy demonstrated in the interactions of bureau and committee leaders relative to the larger institutional framework within which they operate. Furthermore, it is the author's hope to demonstrate the importance of the limited-purpose organizations -- the bureaus, committees, and interest groups which compose the more immediate setting of the subsystem -- as major sources of motivation for the actors in the subsystem.


The Utility of This Focus

The values to be derived from focusing upon this phase of the political process should be several. The first has to do with understanding more about legislative-executive relations in American government in general. By concentrating on the relations of these branches to each other and to their political environment, one's attention is turned to the general arena in which many of the most crucial public decisions of our day are being made.

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