War, presidential action, and congressional reaction
- My dissertation demonstrates the fundamental tensions that exist between the president and congress, how these tensions manifest themselves when the two bodies must negotiate with one another, and the impact of these negotiations on public policy. A single policy often produces different effects at the national level than it does at the local level; for example, cutting farm subsidies may benefit the nation as a whole while being detrimental to the local economy in Iowa. Since presidents represent the entire nation whereas members of congress represent much smaller jurisdictions, these two branches of government can be expected to disagree about the ideal policy even if they agree about the expected outcome of the policy at the national and local levels, respectively. This tension leads the president to negotiate with congress over public policy, which in turn motivates both branches to utilize strategic governing tools to move policy in the direction of their preferences. The choice of which tools to use, and when to use them, has systematic implications for the policy ultimately passed into public law. The dissertation consists of three sections. The first section of my dissertation examines the empirical implications of the fact that presidents and members of congress represent different jurisdictions. In a co-authored paper with William Howell ("Inter-Branch Bargaining over Policies with Multiple Outcomes, " Under Review, American Political Science Review), we develop a formal model showing that when legislators concern themselves more with the national implications of policies (and less with the local implications), congress exhibits greater deference to presidential preferences during negotiations. Analyzing budgetary data from 1933-2006, we find support for this claim; during periods of war (when the national outcomes of policy are at the forefront), congress defers more to presidential budgetary requests. Given this tension between the president and congress, the second section explores how the president uses governing tools to aid in negotiations with congress. In order to pursue their policy goals, presidents can attempt to change individual policies on a bill-by-bill basis, or they can attempt to consolidate power in the executive branch, and thus alter the terms on which future bargains between the two branches will take place. Presidents have governing tools intended for each of these purposes. In a study of one of these tools--presidential signing statements--I find that open disagreement between the two branches leads the president to try to influence individual policies, but does not lead him to consolidate presidential power. Conversely, when congress passes bills that encroach on more explicitly defined executive branch power, the president is more likely to defend his power, but is not more likely to change individual policies. In the third section, I begin to consider the ways in which the president's governing tools are interconnected. In particular, I argue that war leads the president to reduce the invocation of procedural rules across the board--signing statements, vetoes and executive orders. This happens because presidents have limited time and staff energy to dedicate to administrative objectives, and this constraint becomes more binding during war, when responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief consume the president's agenda. Analyzing data from 1948-2007, I find strong support for my prediction. Moreover, the relationship is exacerbated during larger scale conflicts.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Jackman, Saul Peretz
|Stanford University, Department of Political Science.
|Moe, Terry M
|Moe, Terry M
|Howell, William G
|Howell, William G
|Statement of responsibility
|Saul Peretz Jackman.
|Submitted to the Department of Political Science.
|Ph.D. Stanford University 2012
- © 2012 by Saul Peretz Jackman
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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