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The Congressional Endgame: Interchamber Bargaining and Compromise, Josh M. Ryan

Reviewed by Patrick T. Hickey

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How do the House and Senate resolve their differences in our bicameral legislature? Which chamber will get more of what it wants during postpassage bargaining? Why do some bills fail even after passing both chambers in similar but different forms? Do current congressional rules and processes still achieve the republican goals of the Founders? This insightful new book answers these questions and more.

This book has a lot to offer. First, it provides a clear and concise, yet still richly detailed, description of the postpassage process. Political scientist Josh M. Ryan then presents a comprehensive theory of the interchamber bargaining process that elegantly explains much of what occurs during the bargaining process. The theory aims to explain postpassage bargaining on all legislation that passes both chambers of Congress, understand why some bills fail to become law while others are successful, and encompass both conference committees and amendment trading, or “ping-ponging,” where the two chambers send bills back and forth until they find a compromise.

One of the book’s main findings is that postpassage bargaining results in more moderate bills and increases the number of members who support the bill. These findings stand in stark contrast to the

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