Party Factions in Congress
This chapter considers the role of intra-party factions in the American Congress. Factions are integral players in Congress that shape members’ preferences, develop policy agendas, and push those agendas on Capitol Hill. In pursuing their objectives, factions will often strive to redistribute power in Congress—sometimes going even so far as to change congressional rules to enhance their position. Factions are thus key actors in the creation and destruction of congressional “regimes”—the various structures and practices by which power is concentrated or dispersed in both chambers. The analysis of factions and their strategies takes us beyond the debate about whether parties matter. What happens within the parties at important moments can be as consequential as what the parties themselves do. The activity of factions has profound implications not only for the larger parties in which they reside, but also for the way Congress functions as a whole.
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