Cultivating Congress: Constituents, Issues, and Interests in Agricultural Policymaking
Congress in the mid-1990s remains the object of voter discontent. Public outcries against special interests and unresponsive incumbents have amplified an already pervasive skepticism toward Beltway politics. And while Congress continues to conduct its business, William Browne argues that it is no longer business as usual.
Browne opens up the inner sanctums of Congress to reveal how that institution’s daily operations-i.e., its policymaking processes-have changed dramatically. He argues that Congress is no longer dominated by party and committee power-brokers, large organized interest groups, or intrusive federal agencies. Instead, he contends, congressional members are driven largely by grassroots issues and constituent interests.
Private Interests, Public Policy, and American Agriculture
Agriculture is at a critical juncture. The Food Security Act of 1985, which was intended to reduce surpluses by making American farm products more competitive in world markets, has not yet succeeded. Food imports have outstripped food exports. Huge grain surpluses continue to pile up. Because many farmers and economists fault federal agricultural policies for the current predicament, this book examines how recent policies, like the 1985 law, have been made and focuses on the key role that private interests play in the policy process.
Not only does Browne give us the first comprehensive study of all of the organized interests at work in agricultural policymaking, but he also makes an important contribution to understanding the interaction of organized interests in the American political process. His book should appeal to a wide audience composed of those interested in agriculture, policy process, and interest group behavior.