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The Continuing Relevance of Classic Postwar Theories of Executive-Legislative Relations

Robert F. Cuervo
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Vol. 16, No. 3, Leadership and National Security Policy (Summer, 1986), pp. 481-490
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27550353
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Continuing Relevance of Classic Postwar Theories of Executive-Legislative Relations
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Abstract

The study surveys the postwar literature of American executive-legislative relations. Three patterns emerge. The first or "reform" literature favored a strong Presidency and judged Congress by its ability and willingness to enact the President's legislative program. Accordingly, the reform literature called for basic procedural, committee, and party reforms designed to facilitate passage of the program and overcome sources of resistance such as Southern Democrats. The second or "behavioral" literature of the 1960's focused on the internal organization of Congress and indicated that Congress is entitled to a will of its own when dealing with Presidential proposals. In the most recent period, Congressional decentralization, combined with a weakened Presidency after Vietnam and Watergate, have induced a sense of fragmentation and malaise concerning whether a public-spirited legislative process is still possible. The concluding section examines whether a balanced executive-legislative relationship can be revived.

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