Pushing the Agenda: Presidential Leadership in US Lawmaking, by Matthew N. Beckmann

By Matthew N. Beckmann

Present day presidents input workplace having campaigned on an bold coverage time table, desirous to see it enacted, and prepared to push in order that it truly is. The important query of presidents' legislative management, consequently, isn't really a question of get to the bottom of; it's a query of approach: by way of what skill can presidents construct profitable coalitions for his or her time table? Pushing the time table uncovers the reply. It finds the systematic innovations presidents hire to persuade Congress and the stipulations that be sure while these innovations paintings - or do not. Drawing on an eclectic array of unique facts - spanning presidents from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush - Matthew N. Beckmann reveals smooth presidents' effect in Congress is genuine, usually massive, and, so far, mostly underestimated.

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2 illustrates how presidents’ agenda-setting potential allows them to influence legislation. 11 Notice that this influence occurs even if the president cannot convince a single member to change his or her predisposition on the issue. So even if the old saw were true – “the president proposes and the Congress disposes” – the ability to get lawmakers to address some status 11 Importantly, for a president to actually influence Congress via agenda setting, the situation must be that the issue would otherwise go unaddressed, the status quo unaltered.

It is a posture that Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson advocated, and one that all presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have institutionalized with a team of full-time lobbyists in the Executive Office of the President (see Collier 1997). Harry Truman articulated the now familiar outlook: “The legislative job of the President is especially important. . 12 Still, as presidents already know or quickly learn, attempting influence is not the same as exerting it. As a matter of fact, White House staffers consider the distinction between effort and impact so crucial that they devote impressive amounts of time to devising, monitoring, and implementing so-called legislative strategy.

Presidents who tackle a legislative landscape dense with “distant” status quos are likely to enjoy legislative success; those working amid “centrist” or “proximate” status quo policies will have interactions. Writing of the potential for presidential or congressional agenda manipulation, Keith Krehbiel (1998), for example, writes, “Such plans are much easier to envision than they are to execute” (228). introduction 23 a harder time convincing Congress’ pivotal voters to replace them with the president’s.

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