Deadlock or Decision: The U.S. Senate and the Rise of National Politics a Twentieth Century Fund Book

Fred R. Harris, Author Oxford University Press, USA $30 (360p) ISBN 978-0-19-508025-4
The former U.S. senator from Oklahoma, who now teaches political science at the University of New Mexico, has written a thoughtful, if dry, institutional history and anlaysis of the Senate. Once a quiet club, the Senate has become ""nationalized"" since communications and transportation grew in the 1950s; members are now more politically exposed and less willing to follow the collegial norms that made the Senate work. With increased partisanship, senators have become more inclined to block or amend legislation than to enact it. Harris describes how institutional changes have hampered the Senate's ability to craft budget, national security and foreign policy. He suggests such worthy reforms as campaign spending caps, limits on dilatory tactics like the filibuster, greater use of bipartisan ""summits"" to enhance cooperation and, notably, a permanent Senate council to advise the president on national security and foreign policy issues. Harris, disappointingly, includes no personal anecdotes. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
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