A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results: Citizen's Guide to Legislative Reform: A Modest Proposal [NOOK Book]

Overview

A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results, by Joseph Gibson, is a comprehensive look at the reasons that Congress does not work well and real solutions that can make Congress work better.

Joseph Gibson has worked in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government, ...
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A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results: Citizen's Guide to Legislative Reform: A Modest Proposal

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Overview

A Better Congress: Change the Rules, Change the Results, by Joseph Gibson, is a comprehensive look at the reasons that Congress does not work well and real solutions that can make Congress work better.

Joseph Gibson has worked in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government, including serving as chief antitrust counsel and chief minority counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.

Includes the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution

"Joseph Gibson has produced a book that offers real insight into the pressures and problems that underpin modern congressional processes and has offered a series of innovative ideas to deal with those pressures and problems. One need not agree with all of his proposed solutions to get real value from Gibson's book because what he has produced is a template for thinking about new ways to address the dysfunction that pervades Capitol Hill."
-- Robert Walker, Wexler & Walker, Washington, DC

"In A Better Congress, Joseph Gibson has produced a telling critique of Congress and its inability to perform the job required of it by the Constitution and its constituents. He offers a series of bold proposals to change the way Congress does its work - certain to kick off a complicated, contentious and difficult argument in Washington. Whether you agree or disagree with his solutions, get involved in this vital discussion!"
-- Chuck Cushman, Acting Executive Director, Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM), The George Washington University

Table of Contents

Introduction - Those Who Come to Congress Become Congress
Part I: Why Congress Does Not Work Well
Ch. 1 The Fortress of Incumbency
Ch. 2 The Ordeal of a Campaign
Ch. 3 The Skills Mismatch
Ch. 4 The Congressional Bubble
Ch. 5 Procedures Designed to Divide
Ch. 6 The Drive for Reelection
Ch. 7 "Accomplishments"
Ch. 8 Crisis: An Opportunity to Waste
Ch. 9 Third Rails

II. How to Fix Congress
A. Solutions for Both Chambers
Ch. 10 Temporary Duty
Ch. 11 All Cards on the Table
Ch. 12 Back to Reality
Ch. 13 Focus, Focus, Focus
Ch. 14 Reading is Fundamental
Ch. 15 A Purpose-Driven Minority
Ch. 16 The Committee on Repeal

B. Solutions Specific to the Senate
Ch. 17 Just Do It
Ch. 18 Hurry Up and Wait

C. Solutions Specific to the House
Ch. 19 Be It Ever So Humble
Ch. 20 Other People's Money

Ch. 21 Conclusion - Solutions, Solutions Everywhere, But...

Appendix
A. How the Figures for Numbers of Laws and Bills Used in this Book Were Derived
B. Declaration of Independence
C. U.S. Constitution and Amendments

Index

Complete Table of Contents online at www.ABetterCongress.com
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Editorial Reviews

Charles W. Johnson
"Gibson, a former congressional committee counsel, uses fictional characters to build an accurate and compelling account of many of the problems facing Congress. The thought-provoking changes and solutions he suggests deserve debate, if not implementation."

-- Charles W. Johnson, Former Parliamentarian, United States House of Representatives
Charles W. Johnson
"Gibson, a former congressional committee counsel, uses fictional characters to build an accurate and compelling account of many of the problems facing Congress. The thought-provoking changes and solutions he suggests deserve debate, if not implementation." -- Charles W. Johnson, Former Parliamentarian, United States House of Representatives
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587332418
  • Publisher: TheCapitol.Net, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/6/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,316,018
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

JOSEPH GIBSON has worked in the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government. He has lobbied members of Congress and their staffs, advocated on behalf of the executive branch, and argued cases in federal and state courts.

He grew up in Waycross, Georgia, and then attended Yale University, where he received a bachelor's degree in political science. After graduation, he spent a year working as a staff member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. He then went to Yale Law School, where he earned his JD degree.

After law school, he clerked for the Hon. R. Lanier Anderson, III, of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Macon, Georgia. He then returned to Washington where he spent the next six and a half years as a litigator with private law firms.

In 1995 Mr. Gibson was appointed as an antitrust counsel for the House Judiciary Committee under Chairman Henry Hyde of Illinois. From there, he rose to chief antitrust counsel for the committee. In 2002 he became a deputy assistant attorney general representing the legislative interests of the Department of Justice.

In 2003, he returned to the House Judiciary Committee as its chief legislative counsel and parliamentarian under Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin. After two years there, he became chief of staff to Representative Lamar Smith of Texas. After the 2006 election, he became chief minority counsel of the House Judiciary Committee. He is now in the private sector where he lobbies on antitrust, intellectual property, and other business issues at the law firm of Constantine Cannon LLC.

He is the author of Persuading Congress.

He and his wife, Heath, live in Washington and New York with their daughter. The views expressed in A Better Congress are entirely his own and do not necessarily represent those of any other person or group.
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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Joseph Gibson's Welcome Sage Advice

    The fact that Washington DC is in a mess is news to no one: the press keeps us all depressed as to the petty squabbles that prevent meaningful legislation progress, in turn placing constraints on the executive office to fulfill the dreams we all applauded at the last presidential election. We all complain, write letters to the editor, and bemoan the state of affairs in which we seem stuck. Then along comes Joseph Gibson - a man with insider information from his years of counsel and service on the House Judiciary Committee - and offers his take on how the workings of Congress could be improved. 'A BETTER CONGRESS: CHANGE THE RULES, CHANGE THE RESULTS - A MODEST PROPOSAL' is a book that not only outlines why the two houses of our elected officials are not able to function as they should, but he also offers a solid background of history as to how the Congress got to this static place and then suggests manners of altering this huge dysfunctional elephant. Gibson knows how to make a case before the public: create a fictional person ('Rick Johnson') who has his own motivation for wanting to be a congressman, take us through the rigors of campaigning, then let him win and discover that the role he sought is not at all like he imagined. Given this insight as to how the process of getting elected works (money, money and more money and promises and depleting activities) and then the hurdles placed on the newly elected official in the presence of very old incumbents whose chairs in the two houses remain theirs for years and years, the committees, the staffing situations, etc. and it is no wonder anything ever gets done! Gibson suggests in succeeding chapters how Congress could limit allotments to each congressman that are not open ended, limit the time of each session placing harsh restrictions on such nonsense as filibustering, stop preparing and fundraising for re-election the minute one election is over, diminish the partisan divide, limit committees, focus on issues rather than personal congressional promise fulfillment to supporters, and interestingly enough - make the congressmen READ in depth the bills places before them as well as the news of the world and how that is affecting US government. Tight rules, tight focus, tight government. Joseph Gibson then places before the reader a series of appendices that oddly enough few of us have copies of in our homes: the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution and Amendments! It is amazing how a review of these documents (would that all congressmen knew this material by heart!) leads to a sound understanding of how our government SHOULD work. This is a vital little tool to have around. Let your congressman know you've read it! Grady Harp

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