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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Shafer, Byron / Disalvo, Daniel

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Making Laws and Making Points: Senate Governance in an Era of Uncertain Majorities

Frances E. Lee1

1University of Maryland

Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 9, Issue 4, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.2202/1540-8884.1488, January 2011

Publication History

Published Online:
2011-01-03

One of the most striking characteristics of the contemporary Senate is the regular transfers of party control, with six shifts in the majority between 1980 and 2007. Continual uncertainty about future control of the chamber has important consequences for congressional incentives. In this environment, senators have adapted their behavior and institution to more effectively contest Senate control. These adaptations include: the rise of “message politics” and the growing size, significance, and outreach capabilities of party committees and leadership staffs.

Keywords: Senate; leadership; congressional control

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