The Woodrow Wilson Center Press

What People are Saying

“Lee Rawls has written a book that elected officials and legislative practitioners can relate to. His contrarian approach offers a range of insights not found in the conventional wisdom on the lawmaking powers of Congress.”—Senator Pete V. Domenici, former Chairman of the Senate Budget and Senate Energy Committees

“I have known and worked with Lee Rawls for three decades. He has taken his extensive legislative experience and provided us with a fresh look at how Congress actually works. He is not looking for the reader to agree with him, but rather he is challenging us to think hard about what works and what doesn’t work in the American legislative process.”—Howard Baker, former Senate Majority Leader and White House Chief of Staff

“This book is the perfect primer to understand the major rules, structures, and procedures partisans use to slug it out—and how those can drive the compromises serving the interests of our country.”—John Hilley, Legislative Affairs Director in the Clinton White House

“Leavened with an understanding of both history and contemporary scholarship on Congress, this book makes an original contribution.”—Donald Wolfensberger, author of Congress and the People: Deliberative Democracy on Trial

Chapter List

Introduction: The American Legislative Process—For Adults Only

1. The Legislative Machine

2. Moving Parts: The Veto and the House Rules Committee

3. The Filibuster and the Minority Tool Kit

4. Legislative Dialectics and the Birth of Reconciliation

5. Legislative Dynamics: Strategic Options and Timing

6. Performance and Parties

7. Prospects

About Woodrow Wilson Center Press

Woodrow Wilson Center Press publishes books by fellows, other resident scholars, and staff written in substantial part at the Wilson Center.