The Interest Group Connection: Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington

By Paul S. Herrnson; Ronald G. Shaiko et al. | Go to book overview

6
The Dynamics of Lobbying the Hill

Clyde Wilcox

IF POLITICAL scientists were charged to design a national legislature to maximize interest group influence, they would be hard pressed to improve on the American Congress. Because any member can introduce legislation, groups can often find someone to write their pet policy into a bill and drop it in the hopper. Because any member can vote the way he or she chooses, groups can bargain with and persuade individual members of both parties instead of dealing with the central party leadership of a parliamentary system. Because policy gets rewritten in subcommittees and committees of both the House and Senate and in conference, and is sometimes amended during floor debates, there are many opportunities to insert special provisions that benefit the group. The multiple steps at which majorities must be assembled give groups who favor the status quo many chances to convince enough legislators to kill a bill. Clearly groups have many points of access to the U.S. Congress.

Members of Congress also have incentives to listen to interest groups. First, members must frequently make decisions on several very large, highly technical pieces of legislation in a single day, especially at the end of the legislative session. Because any single vote can become an issue in the next campaign, members are often quite interested in obtaining information from groups about the policy and political implications of legislation. Second, members must assemble their own electoral coalitions, sometimes

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The Interest Group Connection: Electioneering, Lobbying, and Policymaking in Washington
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface vii
  • Comments on the Electoral Connection 80
  • Part III the Congressional Connection 87
  • 6 the Dynamics of Lobbying the Hill 89
  • 7 Grassroots Organizations and Equilibrium Cycles in Group Mobilization and Access 100
  • 10 Interest Groups and the Congressional Budget Process: Lobbying in the Era of Deficit Politics 154
  • Acknowledgments 173
  • Notes 173
  • 11 Tobacco Industry Pacs and the Nation's Health: A Second Opinion 174
  • Comments on the Congressional Connection 196
  • Part IV the Executive Connection 203
  • 12 Lobbying the President and the Bureaucracy 205
  • Notes 213
  • Notes 223
  • 14 Lobbying for the President: Influencing Congress from the White House 224
  • Notes 238
  • Notes 256
  • Comments on the Executive Connection 258
  • Part V the Judicial Connection 265
  • Acknowledgments 287
  • Notes 287
  • 17 Please God, Save This Honorable Court: the Emergence of the Conservative Religious Bar 289
  • Acknowledgment 300
  • Notes 300
  • Notes 302
  • Notes 316
  • Comments on the Judicial Connection 318
  • Part VI Conclusion 325
  • 19 Interest Groups at the Dawn of a New Millennium 327
  • References 337
  • Index 361
  • About the Contributors 374
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