Has power shifted back to the defense committee chairmen?
Langdon, Todd Gordon
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This thesis argues that the chairmen of the defense-related committees in the House and Senate continue to wield enormous power over defense legislation. This theory is based on a detailed empirical analysis of the fate of amendments offered to the defense authorization and appropriation bills from 1981-1992. To measure the power of the chairmen, the thesis assesses how often their positions were sustained on floor amendments. Data also is analyzed on which members tended to offer amendments, whether the passage rate was higher for amendments that did not alter defense spending, and a variety of related issues. It was found that 95.53% of amendments offered to defense authorization bill in the Senate and 95.1% in the House, the full Senate and house voted in accordance with the preference of the chairmen of their respective Armed Services Committees. An even higher percentage of victory (96.1) was achieved by the chairmen of the House and Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittees. Data analysis shows that when amendments are offered to defense legislation, committee chairmen still call the shots.
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