OBSTACLE COURSE ON CAPITOL HILL by Robert Bendiner

OBSTACLE COURSE ON CAPITOL HILL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is one of the best (and funniest) primers on that hazardous happen-stance: passing legislation on Capitol Hill. The Federal aid for schools, in the book's subtitle, is used as an illustration of Congress's vagaries and is not a full-dress study of that subject. Bendiner begins by outlining the deadly preliminary play that a bill faces before it even gets out in the open where the public hears about it. Since the 535 members of Congress each bring in about twenty bills a year, it is necessary to bury about 90% of proposed legislation so that 10% can be given life. This is accomplished by sinking bills into the obscure recesses of committees, or it is done by the Rules Committee which decides which bills will be discussed in the House. At that, getting on the floor may only mean ""go back ten spaces."" Federal aid for primary and secondary schools has been desired both by the public and by Congress for a century, but the occasional outlay is always negligible and the larger education bills are regularly buried or beaten. The South, the NAACP, the Catholic church and other special interest groups consistently fail to merge behind a single bill. Also, simply the mechanics of committee work will fail, or Congress itself will not get around to discussing a completely presentable bill which may be on the agenda (bills cannot be held over till next session). Bendiner presents several changes he thinks would free Congressmen to make their own changes in modernizing Congressional machinery. A direct descendant of White House Fever (1960) and again pertinent as well as amusing.

Publisher: McGraw-Hill