Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't

Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't Review

An eye-opening account of how Congress today really works—and doesn’t—that follows the dramatic journey of the sweeping financial reform bill enacted in response to the Great Crash of 2008.

The founding fathers expected Congress to be the most important branch of government and gave it the most power. When Congress is broken—as its justifiably dismal approval ratings suggest—so is our democracy. Here, Robert G. Kaiser, whose long and distinguished career at The Washington Post has made him as keen and knowledgeable an observer of Congress as we have, takes us behind the sound bites to expose the protocols, players, and politics of the House and Senate—revealing both the triumphs of the system and (more often) its fundamental flaws.

 Act of Congress tells the story of the Dodd-Frank Act, named for the two men who made it possible: Congressman Barney Frank, brilliant and sometimes abrasive, who mastered the details of financial reform, and Senator Chris Dodd, who worked patiently for months to fulfill his vision of a Senate that could still work on a bipartisan basis. Both Frank and Dodd collaborated with Kaiser throughout their legislative efforts and allowed their staffs to share every step of the drafting and deal making that produced the 1,500-page law that transformed America’s financial sector.

Kaiser explains how lobbying affects a bill—or fails to. We follow staff members more influential than most senators and congressmen. We see how Congress members protect their own turf, often without regard for what might best serve the country—more eager to court television cameras than legislate on complicated issues about which many of them remain ignorant. Kaiser shows how ferocious partisanship regularly overwhelms all other considerations, though occasionally individual integrity prevails.
Act of Congress, as entertaining as it is enlightening, is an indispensable guide to a vital piece of our political system desperately in need of reform.

Title:Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't
Edition Language:English

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    Some Testimonial About This Book:

  • Bob Price

    After reading Robert Kaiser's poorly named Act of Cognress, I have learned two things:(1) Objective journalism is dead...a fact I already knew but it was reiterated again for me here. (2) America need...

  • Lobstergirl

    Here’s the hilarious thing: even after reading this 386 page book on the Dodd-Frank law – I still would not be able to give you a list of bullet points of what exactly is in the bill. A ha ha HAHA...

  • Doug Cornelius

    Robert Kaiser was granted rare access to the action behind the scenes of the creation of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Act of Congress is an enjoyable study of the e...

  • Matt

    For a book about the passage of a bill through Congress, this was pretty good. It also makes you miss Democratic control of both houses....

  • Frank Stein

    Often frustrating, but just as often fascinating. The author of this book was embedded for almost a year with Rep. Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd as they hammered out the famous or infamous...

  • Tom

    This book is a single case study of how Congress functions -- following the creation through completion of the Dodd-Frank Act. I definitely recommend this book to people who are interested in the real...

  • Jkhickel

    "Act of Congress" is a lot like The Guns of Navarone, without the bullets, and with Republicans and bankers as the Nazis.This book describes the intense battle to pass the Dodd-Frank Act in both house...

  • Bonnie Samuel

    This book probably needs a new title. I picked it up thinking it was a general narrative on how Congress operates, but it is actually about how the Dodd-Frank Act on financial regulatory reform came t...

  • Josh

    An engaging read on an incredibly complex law enacted by one of the most dysfunctional & politicized entities in our Land - the bicameral Houses of Congress.In many parts, it read like a novel - drive...

  • Roopa

    Incredibly fascinating and informative segments were on lobbying, the actual legwork required to pass major legislation in this day and age, the financial deregulation that led to the financial crisis...