Congressional Procedure: A Practical Guide to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress: The House of Representatives and Senate Explained


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Publish Date
6.69 X 9.61 X 0.56 inches | 1.28 pounds

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About the Author

Richard A. Arenberg is Clarence Adams and Rachel Adams Visiting Professor of the Practice of Political Science and a Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He is the author of Congressional Procedure: A Practical Guide to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress (TheCapitol.Net). He previously taught at Northeastern University and Suffolk University. He worked for Sens. Paul Tsongas (D-MA), Carl Levin (D-MI), and Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) for 34 years. He served on the Senate Iran-Contra Committee in 1987. Arenberg is co-author of the award-winning, Defending the Filibuster: Soul of the Senate, named "Book of the Year in Political Science" by Foreword Reviews in 2012. A second edition was published in 2014. The U.S. Senate Historical Office published "Richard A. Arenberg: Oral History Interviews" in 2011. He serves on the Board of Directors of Social Security Works and the Social Security Education Fund. He is an affiliate at the Taubman Center for American Politics & Policy. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Providence Journal, Politico, and The Boston Globe. He is a Contributor at Newsmax and The Hill. Arenberg holds bachelor's and master's degrees from Boston University.
Alan S. Frumin is Parliamentarian Emeritus of the U.S. Senate.


"An ideal guide, Richard Arenberg leads the way through the labyrinth of congressional procedure. Having staffed in both the House and Senate, crafted legislative tactics, and taught how Congress works, he can explain complex issues lucidly."
-- Donald A. Ritchie, Historian Emeritus, U.S. Senate

"This hands-on practitioner's guide cuts away veils of mystery to shed light on the rules governing Washington's most impenetrable institution, the United States Congress. From 'regular order' to special rules to filibusters, amendment trees, and how the system has broken down in recent years, Professor Arenberg uses his experience and expertise to explain clearly both the how and the why behind the House and Senate and their peculiarly unique ways of doing business. A great guide for navigating the rapids."
-- Ken Ackerman, Of Counsel, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC

"In Congressional Procedure, Richard Arenberg provides the ultimate guide and master blueprint to the legislative process, how Congress should function, and how it operates today. During my 34 years in both the U.S. House and Senate, I witnessed firsthand that process dictates policy, and is central to Congress's capacity to solve problems. This book is an essential resource and eminently accessible behind-the-scenes look at the machinery of lawmaking."
-- Olympia Snowe, U.S. Senate (R-ME) (1994-2013); U.S. House of Representatives (1978-1993)

"Professor Richard A. Arenberg's lively and accessible description about how Congress works is a must read for everyone wanting to know more about the contemporary Congress. It educates scholars and journalists who write about the legislative branch, students, the public, and political practitioners about the inside machinery of congressional procedure. Arenberg's wisdom about Congress is a combination of years of experience on the Hill and his careful scholarship. It is a thorough and careful account of the organization, processes, and procedures of the House and Senate."
-- James A. Thurber, University Distinguished Professor of Government and Founder (1979) and Founder and Former Director (1979-2016) of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University

"Congressional Procedure delivers on its promise. It is a clear, concise, straightforward guide to how Congress operates. It has just enough detail to explain what is going on without descending into unnecessary minutia. It will serve readers well as either a handy desk reference for members, staff, and anyone else who needs to understand Congress or a textbook for any course on Congress."
-- Joseph Gibson, Author, Persuading Congress

"Richard Arenberg understands the workings of the Senate as well as anyone I know. Congressional Procedure reflects his wealth of experience, common sense, political savvy, and extensive knowledge of the legislative process."
-- Carl Levin, U.S. Senate (D-MI) (1979- 2015)