Links to Constituency, powerpoint

In the news
Franken/Coleman election: Franken lead increased
from 225 votes to 312, out of 2.9 million votes cast in
the November election, after counting and additional
350 ballots. Not clear what happens now if Coleman
continues to appeal.
Congress and gay marriage -- D.C. to recognize gay
marriages from other states, esp. significant after Iowa
and Vermont. Congress will have to allow or deny this
decision within 30 days.
Other budget issues
The secret budget – very little oversight or accountability for these
lines of the budget.
The line item veto -- The Line Item Veto Act was enacted during the
104th Congress (it was part of the “Contract with America”). The
Supreme Court ruled it was unconstitutional in June, 1998.
The act authorized the President to identify individual items in
legislation that he proposed not go into effect. The President had to
notify Congress of his proposal and provide supporting information.
Congress had to respond within a limited period of time by enacting
a law if it wanted to disapprove the President’s proposals;
otherwise, the veto would take effect permanently.
President Clinton used the line-item veto several times in 1997
before it was struck down.
Inside the “black budget”
New Deal revisionism and Obama’s budget
One line of the Republicans’ critique of the stimulus bill
and Obama’s budget is that the New Deal didn’t work,
so government spending cannot be the answer to our
current crisis.
Unemployment still high by 1939
WWII got us out of the Depression, not the New Deal
Democratic response: New Deal programs did
unemployment by more than half, GDP increased by
63% from 1933-1937 and by 125% from 1933-1941.
One other logical flaw in the Republican argument about
lessons drawn from the role of WWII.
New Deal and WWII: GDP from
1929 1931 1933 1935 1937 1939 1941 1943 1945 1947 1949
Source: Statistical Abstract of the United States
[Percent; fiscal years]
Deficit as % GDP
Links to the Constituency
PS 426
April 9-14, 2009
Links to the Constituency
Casework, both in Washington and in the district.
Listening sessions in the district.
Symbolic legislation – naming post offices, honoring
sports teams, etc.
Pork barrel policies
Town hall meetings
Public speeches and other events
Media outreach (press releases, press conferences, etc.)
Member web sites
Letters of congratulation to constituents (graduation,
marriage, births, anniversaries)
Constituency service (Rep. Baldwin)
How I Can Help – I may be able to assist you if you have a problem
involving federal agencies or programs, including the Social Security
Administration, Medicare, the Internal Revenue Service, Immigration
and Naturalization, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), federal
Workers' Compensation or one of the military services.
What I can do for you – My staff and I can help in communicating
with federal agencies, and advocating on your behalf, if you have
already gone through proper channels yourself and are facing
difficulties. If you are not sure where to turn for help, we are here to
help direct you to the right agency. Communicating with federal
agencies can be a frustrating process and my office can act as a
liaison between you and the agency. Also, if you have filed an
application or petition and time has passed without a response, my
office will be happy to check the status of your case. While I cannot
force an agency to act in your favor, I can ask for full and fair
consideration of a claim, for expeditious handling of a case or claim,
and I can point out any failure to follow laws or regulations.
Typical Work Days for Rep. Tammy
Baldwin (Washington D.C.)
(Votes scheduled throughout the day)
9:00-10:00 Briefing hosted by Sen. Clinton – discussion of the federal marriage
amendment, hate crimes legislation, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, federal
benefits and HIV-AIDS
10:00-12:00 Hearing – Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution; topic: H.J.Res 56,
the “Federal Marriage Amendment” (Musgrave Amendment)
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00-1:15 Constituent meeting – issues: bankruptcy reform, deposit insurance reform,
real estate brokerage legislation
1:15-2:15 Meeting with legislative staff
2:15-2:45 Prep w/staff for meeting on federal marriage amendment
2:45-3:45 Meeting with other Members on federal marriage amendment
3:45-4:30 Meeting with Swiss Parliamentarians and Officials (New Glarus, WI in
Wisconsin’s 2nd CD reflects strong, continuing influence of early Swiss settlers and
is home to The Swiss Center.)
4:30-7:00 Office Time
7:30 – 10:00 Dinner hosted by Swiss Ambassador with Swiss officials and other
Typical Work Days for Rep. Tammy
Baldwin (in the district)
Travel to Jefferson
Welcoming Remarks, Jefferson County Grants Workshop –
presentations on securing federal grants
Military Service Medals Presentation to Ft. Atkinson WW II
veteran at Jefferson County Courthouse
10:00 -10:45
Travel to Madison
Office time/Lunch
12:00 – 1:00
Travel to Beloit
1:00 – 2:00
Welcoming Remarks, Rock County Grants Workshop –
presentations on securing federal grants
2:00 – 3:00
Travel to Madison – consider remarks for evening speech
3:00 – 6:00
Office Time – research for speech on Patriot Act
6:45 – 7:00
Travel to UW Campus – Humanities Bldg.
7:00 – 8:00
Speak to political science honor society on UW Campus –
personal reflections on your life in politics. Q& A
Morris Fiorina: “Congress: The Keystone
of the Washington Establishment”
The argument of Keystone: members of Congress get
reelected through constituency service. It’s not about
policy, it’s about implementation. Protecting the little guy.
Albert Wynn in the shopping mall. Chris Matthew’s story
about, “I didn’t want to start that high.” They have an
incentive to create an inefficient bureaucracy because it
serves their reelectoral needs by creating a demand for
their services. Rep. Beilenson: there are “not 100
members out of 435 who are serious legislators.”
Difficulty in establishing this empirically – direction of the
causal arrow?
Fiorina, cont.
National and local component of midterm elections.
“All politics is local.” What does this mean? Why the
increase in the national component and decrease in
the local component?
Fiorina says that the big problem today with
Congress is not the over-attentiveness of members
of Congress to their constituents (through service or
pork), but that the national debate is dominated by
the “wing nuts” of the parties (the 10% of extremists
on either side). Do you agree?
“All politics is local”
Politics is still local. “Running Scared” article
from last week, “Capitol Flight” article from this
week. Are “citizen legislators” a good thing?
What are the pros and cons?
Tip O’Neill and “people wanted to be asked.”
Also, “what have you done for me lately.”
Implications of all the travel home on the
weekends – it breaks down the bonds between
members and makes it harder to forge
legislation, especially across the aisle. Hershey
retreat – attempt to address this problem.
Richard Fenno and “Home Style”
Presentation of Self: one-on-one presentation, issue
independence (“I am not one of them”), issue-focused
appeals, pork, emphasis on leadership.
Allocation of resources – Washington D.C. versus the
district, both in terms of staff and how often to go home.
Explaining Washington activity – how to explain a
difficult vote. Hang out in the coffee shops, hold town
hall meetings, use media? Depends. Explaining
inconsistency is harder: flip-flops.
Changes in home style over the course of a career –
districts evolve and change. Redistricting may pose the
biggest challenge.
Linkage between home style and Washington style:
Dan Quayle, Bob Kastenmeier.
William Bianco and trust
trust in members based on their home style and
other member characteristics.
Members who share certain characteristics with
their constituents may be granted more leeway
on voting.
Members with certain backgrounds may be
trusted more on specific issues: millionaires
and the pay raise. They don’t need it, so people
are more willing to listen to alternative
Pork barrel politics
What is pork?
Citizens Against Government Waste’s (CAGW) definition
(one of seven criteria). Earmarks (appropriation for a
specific purpose tucked into a larger bill)
Others argue that it cannot be objectively defined: Pork is
in the eye of the beholder
Examples: the bridge to nowhere in Ketchican, Alaska. Ted
Stevens and Don Young. The Iowa rainforest, noncompetitive research grants to universities.
Number of earmarks have exploded in recent years:
4,155 earmarks worth $29 billion in 1994, 15,268
worth $55 billion in 2005. But in constant $, the
amount spent has actually dropped.
Pork barrel politics, cont.
Arguments against
Pork rewards special interests at the expense of
Pork produces a biased distribution of spending
Pork is the “currency of corruption”
Pork distorts the competitive market, corrupts
academia, and impedes scientific research
Pork may override local priorities
Pork entrenches incumbents
Pork contributes to budget deficits
Pork barrel politics, cont.
Arguments for
One person’s waste is another person’s essential spending
(ice sled example)
Necessary grease to the legislative process: helps pass
important legislation
Only less than 1% of the federal budget
Arguments against pork are often smokescreen for general
opposition to government spending.
Middle-ground reform adopted by Dems in 2007:
more openness and accountability. No more secret
earmarks. However, “stealth pork” is on the rise.
Rather than requiring earmarks, members of
Congress “ask nicely.”
Frances Lee’s chapter
Geography comes into play in terms of serving
constituent interests more broadly than just pork.
For geography to come into play, costs or benefits have to be
concentrated by geographic area: natural gas, coal, and oil;
agricultural products, etc.
Senate versus House
Interest groups – links to constituency make their appeal
more compelling.
Public opinion and salience
Pork is actually smaller as a % of the budget today. Also,
side-payments are unlikely because most margins on
important bills are relatively large.
Interest groups and lobbying
Lobbying strategies: insider (gaining access) vs. outsider
(grassroots lobbying or “going public”). Textbook raises
the issue of “grassroots versus astroturf.”
Problems of insider lobbying: Abramoff, Duke
Cunningham, Ted Stevens. Laws to prevent abuses and
corruption. Gives interests groups a bad name, but they
still play an important role in politics.
Litigation: using the courts.
Election politics -- electing sympathetic politicians. Likely
to have a bigger long-run impact than trying to change
politicians’ minds once they are in office.
Race and Representation
Some of this evidence is the most objective of any in the
book: The racial composition of members’ staff, location
of members’ district offices, and racial composition of
pictures in constituency newsletters did not require any
subjective interpretation.
The racial composition of members’ staff
Why is this important?
Differences between white and black members and
difference/commonality members.
Location of members’ district offices
Finding about the commonality members was most interesting.
Race and Representation, cont.
Constituency newsletters: why are these a good measure of racial
Content of stories
Pictures in newsletter (maybe at least people look at the pictures, even
if they don’t read the newsletter).
Newspaper coverage – examined the racial content of more than
11,000 newspaper stories in the members’ districts and in the
national newspapers. Nearly 4,900 of these stories came from
African American weekly and daily papers.
Measured the member’s point of view (if evident) and the topic of the
Differences between African American weeklies and daily papers?
Differences in coverage between white and CBC members and types
of CBC members.