Separate but Equal Branches: Congress and the Presidency

By Charles O. Jones | Go to book overview
could not make further substantial cuts that would be politically acceptable. Having thus identified irreducible government programs or functions, we might then expect a fiscal agenda orientation so as to pay the bills. In this connection, it is particularly interesting that a tax-reform package was enacted in 1986. It may be viewed as facilitating the fiscal agenda, since it is easier to reform a reform than to make significant changes in an existing tax code.
Conclusions
I offer the following recapitulation of the principal points emphasized in this chapter:
Greater precision is needed in the study of presidents and agendas. The concepts of agenda orientation, alternatives, and congruity are seen as contributing to that end.
The president's role in agenda setting is influenced by the agenda orientation of the time and further shaped by the electoral or other events associated with succession.
Presidents differ in the extent to which they are able to control policy alternatives.
Landslide elections with seemingly congruent presidential and congressional outcomes tend to be interpreted as carrying strong policy messages, thus enhancing presidential control of policy alternatives.
Control of policy alternatives and agenda congruity can contribute to ambitious decision making through speculative augmentation, which can in turn alter the agenda orientation for future presidents.
A progression of agenda orientations is observed for the period studied--from expansive to consolidative to contractive, possibly to fiscal.

NOTES
1.
Richard E. Neustadt, Presidential Power: The Politics of Leadership ( New York: Wiley, 1960), 6-7.
2.
John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies ( Boston: Little, Brown, 1984), 25.
3.
Paul C. Light, The President's Agenda: Domestic Policy Choice from Kennedy to Carter ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), 233.

-101-

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Separate but Equal Branches: Congress and the Presidency
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Acknowledgments v
  • Introduction vii
  • Part I - The Separated System 1
  • 1 - The Constitutional Balance 19
  • 2- Presidential Government and the Separation of Powers 23
  • 3- The Presidency in Contemporary Politics 37
  • Notes 57
  • 4- The Diffusion of Responsibility 59
  • 5- Presidents and Agendas 77
  • Notes 101
  • Part II- Presidents Working with Congresses 103
  • 6- The Pendulum of Power 105
  • 7- Presidential Negotiating Styles with Congress 128
  • 8- Carter and Congress 161
  • 9 - Reagan and Congress 192
  • Notes 217
  • 10- Bush and Congress 220
  • II- Clinton and Congress 247
  • Notes 279
  • Index 285
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