The purpose of this assignment is for you to apply knowledge about how the US government works and the ways to influence the policy process. You should choose an interest group in American politics. Here is a list of groups by issue area: https://usapoliticaldatabase.weebly.com/list-of-interest-groups.html Assume you are the Executive Director. You are tasked by the Chair and Board of Directors of the interest group with outlining a legislative strategy to help got a law or policy passed that your group favors. This will require you to pick a particular issue the group wants to turn into legislation, have a clear understanding of what motivates elected officials, particularly those in Congress, but depending on your issue, perhaps, the executive branch and/or the federal courts. It is your task to write a strategy memo to the Chair and Board of Directors, explaining how to get passage of legislation on an issue your organization cares about. Consider the political environment, the powers of different players, and the kind of strategies that would gain traction to get your legislation passed. You should assume your lobbying is going to start with the new Congress (which is officially in place on January 3). Based on the elections on Nov 3, you should know soon who controls the US House and Senate, as well as the presidency. This should be the basis of your strategy. As you know from class, it is essential to understand how the branches work, recognize the key players on this issue. For example, this might include key leaders in Congress, the congressional committees that work on your issues, other interest groups engaged on this issue, and perhaps important federal agencies). You may also need to mobilize public opinion to help you. For all these reasons, you need to address at least each of the following areas in your memo: • Congress • Other interest groups (those who might support or oppose) • Media and public opinion campaign You might also want to address the Executive branch – if you think the president or one of his agencies could play a key role. (We will not expect you to talk about the federal bureaucracy too much because we did not cover it much in the course.) 2 We are NOT interested in knowing the details of policy so do not spend time on this. Instead, focus on the political process and the political actors each leader needs to persuade and how he/she might do this. Based on what you have learned in the course, give careful thought to how Congress works, (and the presidency/executive branch if they are part of your strategy), the various possible roles of political parties, interest groups or the mass media in the political process. • How should the you work with Congress on this issue? What specific actions should you take with Members? • Which interest groups might also help you and how specifically? • Which interest groups will be in opposition and how will you address that with counterarguments and strategies so they do not gain the upper-hand? • What do they need to do to gain public support? • What ways might the they attract media attention in order to persuade and mobilize support for their positions? You do not need to do much additional reading beyond news articles about the issue. You can read some articles in the news archives about issues that your interest group espouses. But, again, do not focus too much on the policy. The emphasis should be on the process of governing. Your other “research” consists of materials and readings we have covered in this course which show you understand the workings of institutions such as Congress, the media, public opinion, political parties, interest groups and elections. I have also provided suggestions below for where you can get information about Congress, interest groups and public opinion. You should use in-text citations when you want to cite a reference, and include a full bibliography of materials you rely upon. When you insert an in-text citation, you should put the author’s name and date of the publication in parentheses at the end of the sentence, including the readings that have been assigned in class. Example: (Schlesinger 1973). This will demonstrate that you understand the link between the coursework and the “real world.” (Some of the assigned readings lack a date of publication, so don’t worry about inserting the date in those cases). Papers should be typed, double-spaced, 12-point font, and one-inch margins. Plagiarism and cheating will be punished with an “F” (possibly for the entire course), and will be reported to the University’s Academic Honesty Board. Please consult the Undergraduate Rights and Responsibilities (2003-2003) manual for the definition of plagiarism and university policy regarding academic honesty. Finding Information about the Issue, Congress, Interest Groups, and Public Opinion To learn a bit more about the policy areas and what different people think about it, use Google or the newspaper archives at the New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal, or news archives through DuBois library portal. The news articles will help you begin to learn which interest groups and politicians are for and against the legislation. 3 You should consult information about leadership in Congress and its committees. Who is responsible for this policy area in Congress? How do they feel about the issue and what incentives do they have to support the president? What are different factions in Congress (and among interest groups) that either of these leaders might use to put together coalitions? While I suggest you start by reading about the issue in reputable newspapers, you can then start learning more about the issues and people and groups involved by going to CQ Press Library here: http://library.cqpress.com.silk.library.umass.edu. It will give you the following excellent options: CQ Researcher Plus Archive will provide you with an overview, background section, and some chronology on the issue. CQ Magazine has articles that will give you excellent background on the politics of the issue, namely who supports and opposes recent legislative bills on the issue. It displays the most recent magazine, but you can use the Subject Index to find more about the politics around the policy area. Congress Collection provides analysis of members of Congress, how they vote, interest groups ratings of members, and the role of Members in crafting public policy. For similar information in different format there is Project Vote Smart: https://votesmart.org You might also find useful public opinion data on some of these issues by looking at the Roper Poll in LexisNexis Academic. There is free access to some information at http://www.pollingreport.com/ At start of each class I will discuss the paper. Please feel free to ask questions! And talk to your Teaching Assistants about getting help researching, organizing and writing the paper
Gun Control Plan
Over the last decade, gun violence has been a subject of controversy in the US political environment. Gun violence is a hot-button topic and has become a salient topic for policymakers, law enforcement, the public, and gun retailers. The highly polarized positions, arguments, and debates have exacerbated the American multiparty system’s extreme ideologies. In the recent past, the March for our Lives group has been very vocal on the administration and legislation of policies, laws that advocate for the election of pro-gun control leaders in Congress and the Senate. In collaboration with other partisan parties, the group has joined forces to deliberate on the ideal political process to facilitate the Democratic political party ideologies’ fulfillment. This paper explores the chronological or multifaceted legislative framework process that the March for our Lives group will adopt to pass the proposed gun control laws.
With the new administration set to take office in January 2021, gun violence remains a highly controversial issue that has mainly become a salient topic in the recent past. Since its launch, the Democrat party has publicly cited its commitment to advancing gun-control ideas and perception. From this perspective, the new administration is employing a robust, urgent framework to diverse the right channels to change enact stringent measures on the gun owners. During the presidential campaigns, the Biden administration has been vocal about eradicating the gun violence quagmire that has become a growing concern in the Americas (ABC News). During his campaign, the Democrat platform unveiled its control plan to impose stringent measures on all gun owners and people with a history of gun violence. However, the gun controversy will cause a massive uproar from the public and political activists on these policies’ practicality to eradicate gun violence. Therefore the has been a huge political crash due to the varying perceptions on the practicality of the proposed laws and policies that can eradicate gun violence.
After ushering the new Government and the political system into power, Congress members draft bills necessary to govern and guide the new administration and present them to both chambers. The House members from both chambers will be tasked with approving the proposed gun control plans by the Joe Biden administration. The Congress, Senate, and the President have a close-knit relationship that involves devising and legislating policies to eliminate the various issues affecting the public. Congress has the liberty to create and pass proposed laws into laws as framed in the Constitution. Initially, the Democrat team will provide relevant information about the bill to the House members to analyze, question, and deliberate on the proposed bill and eventually cast their votes. In the second phase, Congress appoints a special committee to revise or amend the bill based on the public’s political goodwill. In this case, the standing committee will comprise experienced gun retailers, gun owners, and political activists who are not biased.
In the event the proposed bill is passed in Congress, the bill is scheduled for the Senate for further debate and amendments if necessary. During this stage, the House members cast their votes on the bill. If the bill garners 218 out of the 435 votes, it will be passed into power and become a law. Although the Democratic Party controls majority seats in Congress, it will be a heated race in the Senate. The Senate majority is yet to be determined due to the two runoff elections scheduled for January 5, 2020, in Georgia and Louisiana. If Republicans win the two elections, there will have the power to rule out the bill. A bill in the Senate requires 51 votes out of the 100 votes cast. Therefore although the Democrats may have the White house’s commanding power and the Congress, a Republican Senate majority can veto the bill.
Similarly the President has the power to rule out a bill passed by Congress through the veto power. However, if the bill aligns with the presidency’s ideologies and political policies, he signs the bill into power. In the event that the Democrats garner a Senate majority, and the bill is based on the standing committee from both houses, solve any disputes, disagreements on the final draft and hands it over to both houses for final approval and enrollment. Lastly, the speaker of the house and the Vice President will sign the enrolled bill. After this, the President is accorded ten days to sign or veto the bill. If he/she signs the bill, it is passed into laws which can be implemented into the counties and states throughout the Presidents stay in office.
Today’s media plays a central in shaping the public minds on the nature and magnitude of gun violence is a highly publicized phenomenon. The press paints a clear and precise picture of the current issues and the issues ailing the system, thus shaping the public minds. The innate power and potential to analyze the political climate and controversial issues cite media as an appropriate tool in passing proposed laws into laws. Before drafting the bills, the Democrat team can conduct numerous campaigns through multiple media channels to educate the masses on the laws’ essence. Through the comprehensive coverage of the high prevalent gun violence cases, the press displays the gravity of the problem to the voters. It showcases the need to implement a comprehensive plan to end gun violence. This will support the political parties with robust and more vigorous gun control regulations in the fight against gun violence. The public opinion of the voters’ spikes conversations and shifts the attention of the gun owners, gen retailers, and manufacturers on the initial steps towards an overhaul of the gun violence menace. Through voting, people elect their ideal leader to serve for four years. In this regard, the media favors the proposed laws and exacerbates the Democrats’ political power to implement the laws. However, this is not a mandatory step in the political process as the decision to pass the law mostly operates within the whim of the votes cast in both houses.
Gun violence is a hot button topic that requires the intervention of both Government and non-government organizations. The highly debated topic has caused heightened tensions between the public, media, and government officials. These are the key drivers of the political environment and play a significant role in drafting and legislation policies. Gun control plans have prominently dictated the leaders’ direction and winning power in two different political parties running for public office in the recent past. More than ever, the public has become vocal and heightens the voice through the public election to vote in leaders with a solid plan to end gun violence. During the first phase of the gun control plan in Congress, it will be crucial for the public to abide by the reform agendas as stipulated in the second amendment to preempt the gun violence’s radical gun violence plan.
Gun control proposed laws will attract a lot of opposition from the progressive republicans. Coupled with the massive political infiltration and sycophancy to the political party ideologies, their Democrat team will have a formidable task uprooting the gun safety measures during the Donald Trump administration. The republican progressive ideologies on gun safety do not align with the Democrats’ gun control ban. On one side of the political spectrum, a gun violence advocacy group will collaboratively work with Biden’s administration. On the other side, the leftist who oppose gun control bans (ABC News). In essence, there will be a fight for power and control for the upper hand during Biden’s tenure to the robust affluent republican agendas engraved in the system. Traditionally the leftist should be the minority in both chambers as framed in the Constitution to allow the Democrats to exercise their agendas with ease. However, in the current administration, the senate majority is not yet determined. Shortly after taking office, the Biden administration is to appeal to a broader voter population to exercise their democracy to secure the majority votes in both Georgia and Louisiana. A Senate majority is pertinent to Biden’s administration as it at the heart of the major legislations.
ABC News. March for Our Lives announces sweeping gun control proposal. 2020. <https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/march-lives-announces-sweeping-gun-control-proposal/story?id=65098534>.