Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2001


How did Congress pass President Bush's 2001 trillion-dollar tax cut pass without the necessary consensus shape and without the 60 Senate votes required to overcome resistance? How was the House able to give "fast track" treatment to laws designed to implement future trade deals? How was the 2001 Congress able to reject a new workplace ergonomic rule that would otherwise become law? In 2001, American lawmakers passed laws to make controversial laws, forcing the important question about whether laws about lawmaking actually serve the public interest.

In this article, the author explores the constitutional limits on laws about lawmaking and the ways such highly symbolic laws affect Congressional power and the structure of discourse. He notes that such congressional activity in 2001 raised serious concerns about the use, scale and speed of laws about lawmaking, particularly when used to circumvent well-established checks and balance on political power. This analysis on the contemporary enactment process explains the implications and consequences of the adjustments the 2001 Congress made to the legislative and democratic process.



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