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CongressThe First Branch$
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Benjamin Ginsberg and Kathryn Wagner Hill

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300220537

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300220537.001.0001

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Political Parties and the Organization of Congress

Political Parties and the Organization of Congress

(p.122) 4 Political Parties and the Organization of Congress

Benjamin Ginsberg

Kathryn Wagner Hill

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the organization of the US Congress. It argues that in order to actually govern, Congress has been forced to develop an elaborate internal structure consisting of leadership positions, committees, subcommittees, and other entities. Without this organizational structure Congress could not play much of a role in government, no matter how representative an institution it might be. The Constitution creates two congressional leadership posts—Speaker of the House of Representatives and president pro tempore of the Senate. Every other element of congressional organization and leadership, including the committee system, was established by the Congress itself. The key actors in building and maintaining Congress's organizational structure are America's political parties.

Keywords:   organizational structure, congressional leadership, congressional organization, committee system, political parties, US Congress

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