by James I. Wallner
Rowman & Littlefield
July 24, 2014
It is often lamented that today’s Senate is paralyzed by gridlock, yet this argument overlooks the fact that the contemporary Senate is still capable of overcoming the differences among its members without descending into irreconcilable conflict. While current treatments of the Senate often seek to explain why gridlock happens, in this book, James Wallner addresses the important question of why gridlock does not happen. His answer is quite simple: The Senate changes the manner in which it makes decisions on a case-by-case basis in order to limit conflict between its members. Yet, the Senate’s ability to produce important legislation in the current environment may undermine the institution’s deliberative function. Wallner puts forth the unique proposition that while the contemporary Senate may indeed be broken, it is not broken in the sense typically acknowledged. Put simply, deliberation has succumbed to the Senate’s bipartisan determination to avoid gridlock and pass important legislation.



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