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Omnibus legislating is the controversial practice of combining disparate measures in one massive bill. Omnibus packages are "must-pass" bills because they have a nucleus that enjoys widespread support but they also contain a variety of often unrelated measures that are simply "hitching a ride." Why are omnibus bills employed? Why the increase in their use? Why do leaders attach certain bills to omnibus packages and not others? Glen Krutz addresses these and other questions in this original and insightful study of an important change in the legislative process. Many view omnibus packages as political vehicles and therefore attribute their rise to politics, but Krutz finds that, whatever their political value, omnibus packages are institutionally efficient. Omnibus legislating improves congressional capability by providing a tool for circumventing the gridlock of committee turf wars and presidential veto threats. In addition to furnishing a fascinating look at lawmaking, Hitching a Ride: Omnibus Legislating in the U.S. Congress provides a challenge to recent studies of congressional change that focus on political factors. Political and institutional factors together, Krutz argues, explain congressional evolution.
"From readingTreaty Politics and the Rise of Executive Agreements, I learned a good deal about a topic that I thought I knew well. This book will be an excellent addition to the literature on the presidency; it will be read and cited by scholars working in this field. " ---Benjamin Ginsberg, Johns Hopkins University The expansion of executive power has been referred to pejoratively as the rise of the "imperial presidency. " In foreign relations, presidents have exercised a growing independence through the use of executive agreements. The U. S. Constitution specifies that two-thirds of the Senate must ratify a proposed treaty and makes no provision for other forms of international agreements. In 1942, however, the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of executive agreements; and since WWII, they have outnumbered treaties by more than ten to one. Are presidents trampling the Constitution or seeking to streamline the diplomatic process? Glen S. Krutz and Jeffrey S. Peake argue that the preference for executive agreements is the result of a symbiotic evolution of the executive and the legislative branches. In order for the United States to survive in a complex, ever-changing global environment and maintain its world power status, it must complete international commitments swiftly and confidently. Members of Congress concur that executive agreements allow each branch to function more effectively. At the same time, the House continues to oversee particular policy areas; and presidents still submit the majority of the most significant international commitments to the Senate as treaties. Rather than an assault on the balance of power, Krutz and Peake conclude, executive agreements represent a mutual adaptation of the executive and the legislature in a system of shared power. Glen S. Krutz is Associate Director of the Carl Albert Center and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Oklahoma. Jeffrey S. Peake is Associate Professor of Political Science at Bowling Green State University.
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