Common Ground: Committee Politics in the U.S. House of Representatives

When do committees that share jurisdiction over an issue choose to seek agreement rather than engage in a turf war? Overlapping and ambiguous turf has become endemic in Congress over the last three decades, especially on issues at the top of the national agenda like health care reform and homeland security. A common view is that this produces gridlock and conflict, and impairs not just Congress's ability to legislate, but government agencies' ability to function, as well. In Common Ground, John Baughman argues that this problem is overstated and shows that committees can and often do bargain and cooperate successfully, even on salient and contentious issues.