Who Makes Public Policy?: The Struggle for Control between Congress and the Executive

By Robert S. Gilmour; Alexis A. Halley et al. | Go to book overview

12
Co-Managing Policy and Program
Development

ROBERT S. GILMOUR AND ALEXIS A. HALLEY

The case studies of this volume are used as tools to understand the motivations, means, and effects of detailed congressional intervention in an area traditionally regarded as the prerogative of the executive branch: policy and program development and implementation. Familiar terms used to describe the congressional role in the policy process—overseer, policymaker, legislator, micromanager—are inadequate to characterize the congressional behavior and results witnessed in these ten case studies.

As the discussion in this chapter will show, the cases reveal significant institutional change in the relationship between Congress and the executive branch, leading to the overall conclusion that the Congress observed in these cases was not only an active and authoritative overseer but also a thoroughly involved participant—a co-manager—with (or sometimes in spite of) the executive in directing the details of policy implementation and program execution. 1 The cases collectively suggest that the term congressional co‐ management of policy implementation and program execution characterizes the transition from a congressional reliance on postaudit oversight of executive branch performance to preaudit congressional program controls and direct congressional participation with the executive in the full scope of policy and program development and implementation. The cases show a "congressional co-manager" intervening directly in the details of policy development and management rather than enacting vague, wide-ranging, sweeping statutes to change fundamental policy directions. The cases also suggest that congressional co-management is as much a result of actions in the executive branch as it is a result of actions in the legislative branch.

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