Bureaucracy And Interest Groups In Congress

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Formation of policy occurs in Congress, while implementation of policy at the federal level occurs through the executive bureaucracy. This formation and implementation are not without struggles between the executive branch and Congress, yet, interest groups with a stake in the policy also seek to influence the policy process. Scholars highlight arguments as to who controls and influences the bureaucracy the executive, legislative, or pluralistic interest groups. No matter who influences the bureaucracy, under the current conditions of party polarization and greater hyper-pluralism there is greater contentiousness in the policy process and a decreasing ability for government policies to be flexible for meeting current policy problems. The…show more content…
This intervention can be a congressional chamber, subgroups of Congress, or individual members (Fiorina 1979: 125, 134). However, the notion of congressional control rests on the notion the bureaucracy is not an autonomous actor (McCubbins, Noll, and Weingast 1987). McCubbins and Schwartz (1984) argue that Congress design oversight mechanisms that allow for a “fire-alarm” that gets the attention of Congress, since Congress has limited time and capacity to monitor policy implementation. These mechanisms consist of rulemaking, produces, and practices that allow for participation by citizens and interest groups in bureaucratic decision-making (McCubbins and Schwartz (1984). As in designing “fire alarms,” legislatures also produce more statutory controls for policy implementation when the legislature is controlled by the opposite party as the executive (Huber, Shipan, and Pfahler 2001). Epstein and O’Halloran (1995) note that the “fire alarms” do not have an equilibrium, and can be abused by interest groups to gain Congress’s attention. None-the-less, committees possess sufficient reward and sanction mechanisms, such as budgets, appointments, and oversights (Weingast and Moran 1983). Congressmen, who are not policy wonks in a certain policy area, also focus on the reactions and demands of the constituency in monitoring bureaucratic…show more content…
In looking policy change at the National Labor Review Board, Securities Exchange Commission and Federal Trade Commission over time, Moe (1982) argues that the president has control over the bureaucracy. Presidents have control over the budget process, ability to appoint and remove personnel, and has legal power in the Department of Justice. Change in policy stances can occur because of gradual, partisan directed influence, which results from deference given to presidents (Moe 1982: 201, 221). However, Benze (1985) argues that the president does not have control, but what scholars view as control—budgets, staffing, reorganizations, and transfer of personnel—is the management function of the chief
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