Parliament and Congress: Representation and Scrutiny in the Twenty-First Century

Paperback | November 8, 2012

byWilliam McKay, Charles W. Johnson

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The constitutional background of both legislatures and their procedures are described and where possible compared. Currently unsolved problems often have much in common, in vexed areas such as ethics requirements or how procedural rules permit minorities fair access to legislative time beforemajorities prevail. British successes include the enhanced authority and effectiveness of select committees and the acquisition of more debating time by the creation of a parallel Chamber. Unsolved problems at Westminster begin with the powers and status of the Lords, and go on through the searchfor more effective review of EU activities, adapting parliamentary scrutiny to more sophisticated government financial information, and making better use of legislative time without diminishing back-bench rights.The accelerated pace and extent of procedural changes in Congress is problematic. Constant pursuit of campaign funds, increased party exploitation of Members' ethical shortcomings, and partisan reapportionments, have diminished collegiality and compromise. Business is conducted with greaterpredictability, with fewer quorum calls, postponement and clustering of votes, and by utilization of ad hoc special orders, often in derogation of openness and minority rights in the House. Minority complaints have been frequent and occasionally extreme. Conversely constant filibuster threats in theSenate have enhanced minority party power there. An 'inverse ratio' between the greater complexity, importance, and urgency of pending legislation on the one hand, and diminution of deliberative capacity, fairness. and transparency on the other, has been repeatedly demonstrated, especially at thestage of final compromises between the Houses.

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The constitutional background of both legislatures and their procedures are described and where possible compared. Currently unsolved problems often have much in common, in vexed areas such as ethics requirements or how procedural rules permit minorities fair access to legislative time beforemajorities prevail. British successes includ...

William McKay; MA University of Edinburgh 1961. Served in the department of the Clerk of the House of Commons 1962-1994. Clerk Assistant of the House of Commons, 1994-1997. Clerk of the House and Chief Executive of the House Service, 1998-2002. Interim-Clerk designate to the Scottish Assembly 1979. For several years conseiller preside...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:600 pages, 9.69 × 6.73 × 0.01 inPublished:November 8, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199655952

ISBN - 13:9780199655953

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Introduction2. Basic Constitutional Distinctions3. The Four Houses4. Representatives, Members, Lords and Senators5. Procedural Basics6. Power of the Purse7. Scrutiny and Oversight8. Committees9. Legislation10. Privilege and Contempt11. Ethics and Standards12. ConclusionAnnex of TablesIndex

Editorial Reviews

Review from previous edition: "In this compendium the authors build upon and extend previous comparative studies of Parliament and Congress, taking into account the most recent evolution of parliamentary practice in London and Washington... [This] is a book that every student of Parliament orCongress should keep close at hand." --APSA Legislative Studies Section Newsletter