Catch-22: Cloture, Energy Policy, and the Limits of Conditional Party Government

Bruce I. Oppenheimer and Marc J. Hetherington

in Why Not Parties?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226534879
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226534947 | DOI:
Catch-22: Cloture, Energy Policy, and the Limits of Conditional Party Government

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This chapter analyzes and contrasts the congressional struggle over energy legislation in the 1970s with the one of 2001–5. In doing so, it serves as a vehicle for evaluating the impact of changes that have occurred in U.S. governing parties as they have gone from relatively weak, ideologically diverse, noncohesive, overlapping organizing structures that granted their leaders limited powers to stronger, relatively ideologically homogeneous, highly cohesive (by historical standards) and polarized ones, willing to grant their leaders far greater authority and resources with which to mobilize their members. Among the questions addressed are the following: In what ways has the move to what has been labeled “conditional party government” affected the nature of coalition building in Congress? Have the effects been different in the Senate than in the House? What has been the impact on the nature of public policy? Does conditional party government result in the passage of legislation at median party positions, as opposed to at median chamber positions?

Keywords: energy law; conditional party government; coalition building; Congress

Chapter.  12169 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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