!!> PDF ✭ All Roads Lead to Congress: The $300 Billion Fight Over Highway Funding ✩ Author Costas Panagopoulos – Vansonphu.com
Pretty interesting read to get information about a bill becoming a law Kind of made it feel like a fiction than non fiction, which I liked Would recommend. While Learning Procedures Like The Markup Or Cloture, The Legislative Process Can Seem Mechanical And Dry What Students Hunger For, And Greatly Benefit From, Is Seeing Lawmaking From The Inside The Backroom Politics That Makes The Process So Fascinating, So Real, So Compelling All Roads Lead To Congress Drives Students Through One Piece Of Legislation The Surface Transportation Bill Showing Them The Maneuvering And Negotiating That Go On Among Members Of Congress And Their Staffers As They Haggle Over A Huge Pot Of Money The Bill Provides An Example Of Both Sides Of The Domestic Legislative Coin, As Members Of Congress Formulating The Bill Fight Over Both Policy Issues Mostly Along Party Lines And Money Mostly Along Regional LinesWhile Working On The Hill, Costas Panagopoulos And Joshua Schank Were Able To Follow The Path Of This Legislation From Inception To Law, Observing Firsthand The Twists And Turns Of Its Journey While Filled With Details And Dialogue Reminiscent Of A Good Novel, All Roads Is Sure To Explain The Various Rules That Structure Legislation, The Leadership Styles And Strategies At Play, The Tensions Among Levels Of Government, And The Impact Of The Executive Students Are Not Only Likely To Read This Intriguing Case Study Of Hill Life Cover To Cover, But They Also Might Seriously Consider An Internship Or Future Career On The Hill More Important, They Will Have Absorbed Conceptual Ideas About Congress Effortlessly I admire smart, capable people in public service Most of this goes over my head, but I appreciate the depth and scope of author Josh Schank s expertise and dedication. Excellent story very readable of a bill becoming a law An unsettling expose of the very non democratic process that forms the backbone of governance in our country. This book makes an interesting contrast with Ron Haskin s Work over Welfare, which told the story of the 1996 welfare reform act The welfare bill garnered constant national media attention and was beset by intense ideological divisions in Congress Special interest lobbyists and journalists were instrumental in parsing out minute aspects of the bill and reshaping them.This story is totally different The passage of the 2005 transportation reauthorization act known as SAFETEA LU the LU apparently added in a strange homage to Rep Don Young s wife Lu flew mainly under the radar in the two years it was debated, and although special interest groups were certainly involved, there were few intense ideological divisions In fact, this is the most interesting thing about this story, how incredibly non ideological the battle over highway funding was Despite putative debates about highways versus transit, climate change, driver and pedestrian safety, land use, etc., the only real debate in Congress was over how much money each state got The form of that money seemed almost irrelevant As the authors say, the main divisions were regional, not partisan Even the debate over mass transit versus highway funding was almost universally acknowledged to be no than a scrim to cover a Northeast versus South and West divide.The main discussion involved donor versus donee states, and the Minimum Guarantee Donor states paid in gas taxes than they received in transport funding, while Donee states received in funding than they paid in gas taxes Most of the Donee states are in the mass transit heavy Northeast or the sparsely populated Mountain West where their over represented Senators can pull in funds The big debate in the SAFETEA LU bill was about raising the Minimum Guarantee from 90.5% to 95%, so that no donor state would get less than 95% of its gas taxes back Almost everything else followed from this simple divide Oklahoma Senator Inhofe s creation of the Equity Bonus solved this problem by raising the rate gradually This singular focus on distributing spending led Congress to ignore some of the real zingers in the bill, such as the now infamous 230 million dollar Alaskan bridge to nowhere, which helped overthrow the Republican majority in 2006 even though the Democrats had plenty of pork in the bill too Surprisingly, Bush s threat to veto any bill over 256 billion was one of the only things that kept spending down in the final act, though his negotiators partially caved at the end when it jumped 40 billion over his limit.There are lots of other interesting insights here, from the central roll of congressional staffers in committee hearings, to the importance of the mark up session, to the surprising influence of a minority party, to the power of the manager s package of amendments on the Senate floor This provides a good overview of exactly how money is distributed in America, and, in my mind at least, exactly why Congress should be the last people on Earth to distribute it. Read this as a textbook for class For a book that covers a droll to me subject, I learned a whole lot about how Congress gets bills passed or not passed I even laughed a few times This was an easy read. As David Marcovitz would say, ask me in a me in a month.