Environmental Drafting and Negotiating: Statutes, Rules, and Treaties

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Questions for 1/27/99 Class Discussing Congress

As a preliminary note, let me ask you not to be put off from the second reading ("Legislatures") because a few pages (e.g., 323-24) have some mathematical notation. The authors of that reading don't actually do anything with the notation (such as algebra, or calculus), so the fancy variables are almost entirely window dressing. Just pay attention to when they define a particular term so you know what they mean, but they could (should) have dropped the mathematical notation given that nothing really comes of it.


For the first reading, "The Legislative Process in Brief":

(1) On page 120, the reading notes that concurrent resolutions "do not become law." (The same is true of regular Resolutions.) What good are they, then?

(2) On p. 122, the reading describes the differences between the rules governing House and Senate floor debates. Do the differences make sense in light of different characteristics of these two legislative bodies? Which characteristics?

(3) All told, the reading mentions six different reforms to the legislative process and tells you the year in which they happened. Are the reforms clumped or spread out over the years? What do you think caused the reforms?

For the second reading, "Legislatures":

(1) What forces or concerns or factors do the authors identify as influencing the incentives or institutional decisions of Congress, both as individual members or as a whole? (Try to go through the article and identify as many as you can.)

(2) Lots of people have lots of bad things to say about Congress. What's wrong with Congress, and how can we fix it? (Your answer to this question should be illuminated by the reading, but you needn't confine your answer to information you glean from the reading.)

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For corrections, comments, and questions, please e-mail John Setear.

This page was last updated on 03/11/99.