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The Speaker's Task Force in the Post-Reform House of Representatives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 August 2014

Barbara Sinclair*
Affiliation:
University of California, Riverside

Abstract

Because of changes in the issues at the center of controversy, changes in rules and norms and high membership turnover, the current House majority party leaders operate in a much less predictable environment than their predecessors did. In response to the changed environment, Speaker O'Neill has developed the strategy of leadership by inclusion, a central element of which is the Speaker's task force, an ad hoc group appointed by the Speaker and charged with passage of a specific bill. The leaders believe task forces help them perform both of their primary functions—building winning coalitions and “keeping peace in the family.” By increasing the number of people working in an organized way to pass the bill at issue, the task force increases the probability of a bill's success on the floor. Work on a task force satisfies junior members' expectations of participation and fosters cooperative patterns of behavior among party members.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © American Political Science Association 1981

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