Political Science 320

POSC 320

Catalog Entry

POSC 320. Congress. (AG)
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisite: POSC 120

Constitutional basis for development, organization and role of Congress in the American political system. Analysis of Congress and the formation of public policy.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

Topics may include:

I. Constitutional Structure

A. Representative Functions
B. Article I Organization

II. The Context of Congressional Decision-Making

A. Differences Between House & Senate and the Difference It Makes

III. Bargaining in Congress

A. Interest Group Politics
B. Constituency Influence
C. Rules, Issues and Bargaining

IV. Floor Procedures

A. Introduction of Bills
B. Committee Structure
C. Private Calendar
D. House and Union Calendars
E. Suspension of Rules

V. Alternate Procedures in House and Senate

A. Discharge Rules
B. Rules Committee
C. Cloture
D. Floor Strategies

VI. Adjusting House-Senate Differences

A. Party Leaders
B. General Strategies

VII. Congressional Organization and Majority Rule

A. Party Leadership
B. Committees

VIII. Congressional Reform

A. Rules Changes
B. Electoral Changes
C. Policy Changes


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This will be primarily a lecture class, with students expected, however, to contribute to class discussion.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

I. To provide for all interested students a detailed examination of the national legislative process.

II. Students should begin to understand the nexus in American government where the popular will, particular interests, and the making of national policy intersect

III. Students should understand the historical development of Congress in its internal structure, procedure, power relationships, and its external relations to constituents and to other political institutions.

IV. Students should see the prospects for and obstacles in the way of reform.


Assessment Measures

Graded assignments may include in-class tests, a final examination, essay and/or research papers, book reviews, and oral presentations.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

April 1998 Reviewed M. J. Franck, Dept. Chair