MMPP 6280:Week 4: Congress and Partisanship  Essay Assignment Paper

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MMPP 6280:Week 4: Congress and Partisanship  Essay Assignment Paper

MMPP 6280: Policy and Politics in American Institutions | Week 4

When you think of Congress, what comes to mind? Do you think of hardworking, appointed individuals delegating on behalf of the nation, acting in true partisanship? Do you have a positive or negative perception about Congress and government?

In recent times, American attitudes toward Congress seem to have tilted to the negative side of the public opinion scale. What might be the reason for this trend? There are arguments that the public perception of Congress (and government in general) is linked to factors such as the effectiveness of policy in addressing the more pressing needs of the nation. Regardless of your perspective of Congress and government, it is difficult to ignore the key role that partisanship plays in Congress and the power of the legislative branch.

This week, you examine the powers of the legislative branch and do so by examining the evolution of Congress. Also, you explore how political parties enforce party loyalty.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Evaluate the powers of the legislative branch
  • Analyze the enforcement of political party loyalty
  • Synthesize major concepts relative to public policy and politics in American institutions

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Hudson, W. E. (2017). American democracy in peril: Eight challenges to America’s future (8th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Chapter 3, “The Third Challenge: Radical Individualism” (pp. 103-135)
  • Chapter 5, “The Fifth Challenge: Elections Without the People’s Voice” (173-217)

Shafritz, J. M., Lane, K. S., & Borick, C. P. (Eds.). (2005). Classics of public policy. New York, NY: Pearson Education.

  • Chapter 2, “Public Policymaking”
    • Policy Paradox: The Art of Political Decision Making (1997) (pp. 62–71)
  • Chapter 4, “Agenda Setting”
    • Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies (1995) (pp. 148–160)

MMPP 6280:Week 4: Congress and Partisanship  Essay Assignment Paper

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, affords The Congress of the United States the mandate to “… provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States” and the power to “… make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution, the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any department or Officer Thereof.”

As you read these words, it is evident that the intention of the Framers was that the bulk of all governmental power should ultimately lie in the legislative branch. After all, Congress represents the marriage of the concepts of the representative republic with democratic principles. However, in recent times, scholars and practitioners have debated whether the legislature has become too powerful, relative to the other two branches.

For this Discussion, use the LexisNexis Academic or LegalTrac databases at the Walden Library or another source and find two scholarly articles published in the past 3 years on the topic of congressional power or partisanship. Also, review the Learning Resources and consider the changes in the power of the legislative branch and its implications.

By Day 3

Post a description of the powers of the legislative branch that have either grown or diminished in the 21st century and explain how. Use the Learning Resources or current literature to support your response. Then, describe at least two strategies major political parties use to enhance voting loyalty among their party’s caucus, particularly regarding key congressional votes. Explain how these strategies might work.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.

Read a selection of your colleagues’ postings.

By Day 5

Respond to at least two of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.


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