Class Note for POLITSC 101 at OSU
Class Note for POLITSC 101 at OSU
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Date Created: 02/06/15
The Bureaucracy Introduction I First we need to understand different parts of the bureaucracy before we can talk about the politics of this branch of government I So we will begin by briefly reviewing structure of the bureaucracy I Then we will discuss the politics I We must remember that the bureaucracy is essential to government I It runs the place I If the bureaucracy didn t exist neither would any of the programs of our government social security medicaid welfare the armed forces etc Introduction We must also remember that the bureaucracy didn t emerge out of thin air I Each and every piece of it was created through legislation or via an executive order I Still the bureaucracy is constantly criticizedllll Folks say that it is I SIOW Unresponsive Inefficient Unimaginative Rigid I Even if all of these faults were accurate we still need the bureaucracy As we continue our discussion I want you to think about whether all of these criticisms are valid and how the bureaucracy connects to the ideals of democracy and representation What is it I There are several definitions of bureaucracy The most general is a way of organizing people to achieve a specific goal Another way to think of the bureaucracy is as any large complex organization in which employees have specified responsibilities amp work within a hierarchy of authority As you can see most organizations fit these definitions Bureaucracy is not limited to government I Your text mentions Weber s ideal definition Weber thought that government tended to be bureaucratic and he didn t think that was necessarily bad a He thought that a bureaucracy should have five traits Specialization Hierarchy Formality Recordkeeping Professionalization What is it I Main purpose of the bureaucracy departments agencies bureaus etc is to implement policies passed by Congress and the president I Put words into action Who is its master There is debate about who the bureaucracy responds to It is housed in executive branch so technically the President is the boss But how much authority any president can have is questionable Congress controls the money and creates the policies it implements so it is also the boss So it is difficult to determine who the bureaucracy is loyal to especially during times of divided government What does it look like I The Bureaucracy is comprised of four different types of agencies Each agency is a minibureaucracy in itself The next slide shows a table from your text It tells you which agencies fit under the four different categories Executive department lndependentagency Independent regulatory commission Government corporation What does it look like Four types of agencies EXEC LITI VE DEPARTMENTS Paliih and I gan ub sr ll P 322 C 139 Natlua lal l ctL INDEPENDENT REGULATORY COM MI SSIDNSquot Federal Gummunina ons Commission Federal Maritime Commission Federal Resewe System Fedaal Trade Gunmission Mario161 Labor Hela ona Board Securities and Exchange Commission Consumer Product Safety Commission Gommcwdlly FulLies Trading Commission Nudaar Regulatory Commlsslon Federal Elec an Cnrmnissinn Equal Employment Opportunity Cmnmissiun Occupa anal Health an i Safety Review Commission GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS Federal Depcrait Insurance Corporation Eamon Import Bank of the United States Tennesaee Valley Authorily lnterAmerican Foundation Cmporalim fur National and Community Servloe Mallonal Railroad Passenger Cameraman Amarak Principal Wflhiquot lh Departments There are 14 different departments in the Cabinet The name of the department usually depicts its function I These are the largest units of the bureaucracy Cabinet secretaries are responsible for advising the president establishing the department s general policy and overseeing its operations Departments So again the Secretary is tied to the president AND Congress Remember they can t operate without money or the power granted to them from legislative acts I In general Departments have administrative quasijudicial and quasilegislative functions Government Corporations I These are businesses set up by Congress to perform that could be privatized but market incentives were insufficient to warrant a private company to take on the project AND government wants the service ie Tennessee Valley Authority was created to provide electricity at reduced rates to lower income areas ie United State Postal Service used to be a cabinet department but it was altered via legislation to be a government corporation in These corporations have administrative functions Independent Executive Agencies I Any agency that is not a corporation or a department is likely an IEA Separate from departments but still under upperlevel executive control Usually fulfill a narrow function that is too narrow to warrant establishment of a new department ie NASA I It fulfills a narrow function and was not placed in defense department because the space program was not a military program All lEAs have administrative powers and some have quasijudicial and quasilegislative powers Independent Executive Agencies I Now changes in the administration the president can change the focus of the agency ie Environmental Protection Agency EPA Clinton used EPA to enforce conservation interests Today s EPA is very different and more amenable to the claims of business interests Independent Regulatory Commissions I These agencies deal with specific areas of economy Congress began to establish these special agencies in 1887 when they saw the need for regulation of the railroads 60 types of agencies ie NLRBNational Labor Relations Board or SECSecurities amp Exchange Commission Older agencies oversee specific sectors of the economy amp are relatively free from political pressures These agencies are run by board of several members who serve for fixed terms Independent Regulatory Commissions I Today Congress sets up these commissions to oversee public health and safety concerns as well These newer agencies attract pressure amp conflict Newer agencies usually have a single leader that serves at the discretion of the president Again changes in the administration can make a big difference in the policies these agencies implement Examples of these agencies are OSHA EEOC or Consumer Products Safety Commission These agencies go headtohead with business interests to secure rights and safety of workers All of these commissions have administrative quasi JUdlClal amp quaSIIegislative functions Independent Regulatory Commissions I If you are wondering whether these agencies can have a large impact on our world or government just think about the Federal Reserve Board Some would claim and could argue the point credibly that Alan Greenspan Head of the Fed has more power than the president He and his board certainly affect the economy They determine interest rates which have a direct impact on savings and investments of companies I When he speaks the stock market reacts The Politics of Structure I Its pretty clear that the composition of the bureaucracy is complex This sprawling system of agencies corporations and commissions has developed over time and is the product of congressional legislation not the Constitution I Although the actual structure may not seem politically important it actually is u The type of agency established can make a very big difference for the implementation of policy and the level of responsiveness The Politics of Structure I First when Congress creates a separate agency or department it is recognizing that function as important I This particular policy area is now party of the federal policy agenda ie During the Carter administration Congress created two new cabinet departmentsEducation amp Energy instant recognition ofthe importance ofthese two policy areas to our country I Second Locationlllll Placing an agency within a cabinet department or not has consequences for the autonomy of that agency Think again about the FED Would it be able to act in the best interests of the economy if it was part of the Treasury department Answerable to the Secretary of the Treasury Another example was the discussion during HW Bush s administration There was a push to elevate EPA to a cabinet department This idea allowed him to claim he was an environmentalist When the Democrats in Congress wanted to elevate the EPA amp provide it with more powers to regulate in the same legislation the Republicans backed off and the situation deadlocked The EPA remains an agency The Politics of Structure I In summary when Congress creates or changes an agency s or department s status it has implications for the abilities and powers of the agency I It may inhibit independent action or increase the status and power of the agency History I We won t spend too much time on the history of the bureaucracy but knowing a bit about how it evolved I The expansion of bureaucracy has come in response to our demands for governmental services History I GWashington 9 small bureaucracy I 3 departments state war amp treasury I 18161861 was a period of expansion I 4X bigger I DEMANDS from public caused the growth I Size is not the only big change over the years The method of selecting bureaucrats has been overhauled as well History I Selection of bureaucrats Originally it was only elites meaning white men with education and usually property who held these posts These posts were prestigiousllll I Then the bureaucracy became part of spoils system The president replaced public officials when he came to office Members of his party were rewarded for campaigning or contributions with bureaucratic positions after a victory This system is not unique to the federal level Andrew Jackson is often cited as the president that argued that the spoils system was necessary for the implementation of a president s policies History I Giving outjobs as a reward for political support is known as patronage For a current example of allege patronage navigate to this story from National Public Radio about corruption in Philadelphia PA History I End of 19th Century9 a reform movement developed The Progressive Movement wanted bureaucracy staffed by people who deserved amp could handle theirjobs amp who merited the position Congressional response was the Pendleton Act This act created a merit based system and prevented the firing of civil servants if they didn t contribute or volunteer for a campaign Who are the bureaucrats I Let s spend some time talking about who staffs the bureaucracy Two basic categories Political appointees Civil servants Bureaucrat covers a lot The organization of the bureaucracy requires that these two types of government employees work together This can result in some interesting dynamics Who are the bureaucrats I 90 of the bureaucrats are selected through merit system I The top levels staffed by political appointees These folks are officially selected by the President But his really only directly involved in the most important appointments Who are the bureaucrats I Below top level Merit system civilian employees Those folks who have passed the civil service entrance exam Political appointees have little control over initial selection Although they might have some say on intra agency advancement Who are the bureaucrats I Where do they work I Civil Service A large majority of bureaucrats fall into this category Staffs low middle and high level positionsllll Military service is also part of the bureaucracy Of course the military has its own selection process Who are the bureaucrats Where do they work Contract employees Government contracts employees from private sector ie There are many different contract employees working in Iraq today I As you can see the title bureaucrat covers a wide range of individuals from medical researchers and country specialists to wildlife managers and factory workers Agency Responsiblhtlcs I Ok we know what the agencies are amp who staffs them Now let s talk a bit about what these agencies do so that we can see how the bureaucracy I The most important function is Implementation The agency starts with statute or executive order amp they must carry it out Very different actions implementation This can consist of taking patent applications determining eligibility for benefits negotiating with foreign diplomats tax audits monitoring toxic waste etc Two stages of implementation I Stage I Establishment of rules amp regulations by Congress When Congress passes laws that delegate responsibilities to the bureaucracy the laws are written in vague or broad terms I In order to implement the law additional details must be added through rule and regulation writing ie After Title VII passed and outlawed sex discrimination in employment the EEOC had to define the procedures for dealing with complaints They also determined what type of liability employers would face for sexual harassment I Writing rules means making policy choiceslllll The rules decide how strict or narrow to interpret the mandate from Congress Two stages of implementation I Stage II Application of rules and regulations to specific situations I The agency must apply the rules handle complaints mediate labor disputes etc Legislation and even the rules will be broad guidelines or procedures In each individual cases choices will be made and bureaucrats Will have discretion This gives employees in lower levels importance ie deciding who to audit or the midlevel attorney who denied Donald Trump s application to patent the trademark Taj Mahal for his Atlantic City casino in 1990 Why There was a small restaurant in DC that had trademarked the name Agency Responsibilities I Another responsibility is legislation I Bureaucrats often help develop it Help members of Congress write their bills This responsibility is secondary but still important Congress does consider the view of the bureaucrats when creating legislation Bureaucrats come to Congress to testify for or against pending legislation Accountability Responsiveness amp Control Accountability Responsiveness amp Control I These issues are constantly being debated Is the bureaucracy accountable Is it responsive Is it controllable Remember the bureaucracy is not directly responsive to public Bureaucrats are not selected by the people they are not elected I The big question is I Who should it be accountable to Congress The president Interestgroups the public interest What is that Who defines it Parochialism will color the vision of the public interest Accountability Responsiveness amp Control I We must recall that the agencies are not isolated from politics I The relationship that the bureaucracy has with other institutions of government flows from mutual needs I So how do we control it I We try to do so in several ways Executive Control I Exercised mainly through the power of appointment But the problems of parochialism and superimposition remain Presidents are often frustrated by their inability to oversee the every day workings of the bureaucracy It would be impossible to try but when an agency gets out of control like Waco IronContra it creates major problems for the president and embarrasses the White House Executive Control I Presidents have two ways to direct or orient the working of the bureaucracy Executive Orders Presidential order to subordinates to perform a particular task in a particular way I Executive Memorandum A formal statement of official policy or procedure issued by the president to inform his subordinates of what he wishes them to do Executive Control I Another method for exerting control is through reorganization I This is often difficult because the agency and perhaps Congress will fight it ie Reagan tried to demote and dismantle the Department of Education ie Bush with the help of Congress is reorganizing the intelligence sectors of the bureaucracy Executive Control I Reorganization has the largest impact when a new agency is created The agency once established will bear the mark of the president s ideology and the intent surrounding the creation Again the Department of Homeland Security and the new intelligence organization are great examples FYIthe Department of Homeland Security was initially created using an executive order It was later supported by establishing legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President Congressional Control Agencies need congressional support I Congress decides the budget the delegation of powers and the structure and location of agencies Remember budgets amp delegations determine what an agency can do by determining how much the agency can spend and what powers the agency has Agency heads mustjustify their budget requests Ifthey don t do this job well they may find their budget slashed the next year Congress creates modifies amp abolishes agencies via legislation For example in 1995 the Congress with Clinton s support abolished the ICC Interstate Commerce Commission This commission was the first independent regulatory agency founded This is a rarely used but large weapon at congressional disposal for controlling agencnes Congressional Control Agencies need congressional support I Congress determines the jurisdiction or authority of the agency Remember a great deal of conflict across agencies arises from fights overjurisdiction More jurisdiction more power I Oversight f Congress is unhappy with an agency they can hold hearings and attack the agency on the floor This is embarrassing to the President and the agency Such investigations and inquisitions are not welcomed by the agencies Sometimes Congress will hold hearings on a specific problem and direct an agency to study the issue Unfortunater bureaucratic oversight is often a thankless task unless a really big scandal is uncoveredthen its fodder for reelection Congressional Control Based upon these dependencies it should be clear that agencies need independent support within Congress Support that is separate from support from the execu ve So agencies try and build good relations with members of Congress They will set up procedures to help aid members and handle their requests And when a member of Congress calls the agency feels compelled to grant requests In other words agencies help members of Congress with casework Agencies amp Courts I The courts can influence the bureaucracy as well Judicial decisions shape actions in several ways First courts can adopt an agency s interpretation of a law and thus set precedent supporting agency action Second courts can narrow or broaden the interpretation of the law providing the agency with less or more jurisdiction and discretion Third courts can disallow an agency s interpretation and curtail agency action completely This control is passiveii Unless someone brings a case challenging agency action or the interpretation of the law the courts can t act Agencies amp Courts I This power derives from the courts role in our system The courts interpret laws and determine if laws are constitutional Imagine Congress and the president agree that an agency should have additional jurisdiction to determine sentences for various crimes and this law is challenged The federal courts will determine if this delegation of power is constitutional I Courts also determine what a law means There have been many cases to determine what is disabled under the Americans with Disabilities Act Does the act cover those with addictions and prevent discrimination in employment for recovering addicts An agency will make an initial determination but if that determination is challenged the courts will decide Agencies amp Courts I Again how the courts interpret a statute law can narrow or broaden the jurisdiction of the agency Generally speaking the courts are very deferential to agency decisions But agencies are also mindful of the courts When the NLRB noticed that many of its decisions were being overturned rapidly they modified their decisions making to fit the decisions of the courts Agencies amp Interest Groups I Interest groups are very interested in work of agencies They want to be sure that the rules amp regulations adopted by agencies benefit their members ie if environmental groups won a victory and a rather strict toxic waste disposal law with new safeguards were passed the fight would not be over Legislation is only the first part of the battle Until the EPA the agency in charge writes strict rules that govern the implementation the victory is not secure Agencies amp Interest Groups I So groups keep their eyes on the bureaucracy l Ifthey think that an agency is flouting the will of Congress or the courts they can seek redress They can find friendly members of Congress to pressure the agency or threaten oversight hearings etc They can also rally public opinion to pressure Congress or President to control agency
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