Building a Legislative-Centered Public Administration: Congress and the Administrative State, 1946 - 1999by David H. Rosenbloom
In the 1930s and early 1940s, the New Deal and
Since 1946, Congress has played an increasingly expanded role in federal administration. David H. Rosenbloom describes the evolution of the relationship between federal agencies and Congress, creating a better understanding of current administrative issues that have caused some to call for a reinvention of government.
In the 1930s and early 1940s, the New Deal and World War II rapidly transformed the size and scope of the federal administration. By 1946, Congress had reluctantly accepted the likelihood that the growing complexity of public policy would require it to delegate more and more legislative authority to the agencies, but it was unwilling to abdicate that authority altogether. Instead, it passed several statutes that allowed agencies to become extensions of Congress and that gave Congress supervision over these agencies on a continuing basis.
In the resulting legislative-centered public administration, Rosenbloom demonstrates, the orthodox managerial values of efficiency, economy, and internal organizational effectiveness are sometimes subordinated to the congressional values of responsiveness, openness, and public accountability.
According to Rosenbloom, it is a misperception of these values that causes some to condemn legislative "micromanagement" of the agencies and call for reform -- reform efforts that ultimately fail because of a lack of understanding of Congress's historical and contemporary role in the federal bureaucracy.
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