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Greasing the Wheels: Using Pork Barrel Projects to Build Majority Coalitions in Congressby Diana Evans
Synopses & Reviews
Pork barrel projects would surely rank near the top of most observers' lists of Congress's most widely despised products. Yet, political leaders in Congress and the President often trade pork for votes to pass legislation that serves broad national purposes, giving members of Congress pork barrel projects in return for their votes on general interest legislation. It is a practice that succeeds at a cost, but it is a cost that many political leaders are willing to pay in order to enact the broader public policies that they favor. There is an irony in this: pork barrel benefits, the most reviled of Congress's legislative products, are used by policy coalition leaders to produce the type of policy that is most admired - general interest legislation. This book makes the case that buying votes with pork is one way in which Congress solves its well-known collective action problem.
This book examines how Congressional leaders and the president give pork barrel projects to Congress members' districts to buy votes for broad-based national legislation. Many political leaders are willing to pay the cost of this trade-off in order to enact the broader public policies that they favor.
This book examines pork barrel projects and their relation to broad-based national legislation.
Other books have documented pork barrel projects in different policy areas, but none has examined the process of using pork to buy votes for broad public policy. This book reveals how Congressional leaders and the President give pork barrel projects to Congressional members' districts to buy their votes for broad-based national legislation. It does so through interviews with key actors--who provide the basis for a rich narrative of the process of passing the bills as well as statistical analysis.
About the Author
Diana Evans is Professor of Political Science at Trinity College in Connecticut. She has published widely on the impact of interest groups and political action committees on congressional decision making, as well as on turnout in congressional elections. Her articles have appeared in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and Political Research Quarterly. She is past president of the New England Political Science Association and has been chair of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association. She has served on the editorial boards of the American Political Science Review and Legislative Studies Quarterly.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction; 2. Pork barrel politics and general interest legislation; 3. Who calls the shots? The allocation of pork barrel projects; 4. Highway demonstration projects and voting on the Federal Highway Program; 5. Presidential bargaining with Congress and the NAFTA bazaar; 6. Pork barreling in the Senate: do both parties do it?; 7. Conclusions.
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