Date: November 19, 2012
Topic: Congressional Oversight of
the Bureaucracy.
Aim: How does Congress exercise
effective and ineffective oversight of
the Bureaucracy?
Do Now: Multiple Choice Questions.
How did the reading from Heclo
impact your thoughts on the
bureaucracy? Why?
Methods of Effective
Congressional Oversight of
 Budget control.
 Reauthorization/Jurisdiction of
 Setting guidelines for agencies.
 Committee hearings.
 Sunset Law – expiration
date/termination date of a
government program.
 Casework as a source of
information – information that
congressmen receive from
 Program evaluation.
Reasons for Oversight Failure
 Oversight is labor intensive
– need expertise.
 Interest groups may
encourage Congress to
overlook things.
 Iron Triangles may foster
strong/loyal relationships.
Independence of the
Merit System – hiring or promotion based on
experience, testing, or qualifications (opposite spoils
Structure of the Bureaucracy that contributes to
a.) Large – size contributes to bureaucracy acting on
its own.
b.) Specialized – people without knowledge on issue
makes it difficult to penetrate.
c.) Some positions come with tenure.
d.) Regulatory agencies (SEC) act independently
through making sure rules are being followed.
Complexity of Public Policy
Problems that Contribute to
Delegating authority.
Discretionary authority
Constitutional Provisions Used
to Check Bureaucracy
 Congress
 a.) Appropriations – can reward or punish through them.
 b.) Legislation – can be passed affecting bureaucracy.
 c.) Rejection of Presidential appointments to bureaucracy.
 d.) Impeachment of executive officials.
 Courts
 Court rulings can limit bureaucracy – judicial review.
 Interest Groups
 Lobbying.
 Protests.
 Media Use.
 General Speech.