Public Choice

, Volume 143, Issue 1–2, pp 121–133 | Cite as

Dilatory or anticipatory? Voting on the Journal in the House of Representatives



In this paper, I examine a simple procedure in the United States House of Representatives, approving the Journal, and its implications for legislative business. In this paper, I examine the hypothesis that such votes are more than simply pro forma motions or dilatory tactics by the minority party. Considering the 102nd–107th Congresses, I show that votes on the Journal’s approval are just as frequently requested by the majority party as by members of the minority party. Furthermore, I find that votes recorded on days on which a vote was also recorded on the House Journal were more likely to be close and more likely to be party-line votes than those recorded on other days.


Roll call voting House of Representatives Legislative procedures Dilatory tactics 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aldrich, J. H., & Rohde, D. W. (2000). The Republican Revolution and the House Appropriations Committee. Journal of Politics, 62, 1–33. Google Scholar
  2. Aldrich, J. H., & Rohde, D. W. (2004). Congressional committees in a Partisan Era. In L. C. Dodd & B. I. Oppenheimer (Eds.), Congress reconsidered (8th ed., pp. 249–270). CQ Press: Washington. Google Scholar
  3. Ansolabehere, S., Snyder, Jr, J. M., & Stewart, III, C. (2001). The effects of Party and preferences on Congressional roll-call voting. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 26, 533–572. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Asher, H. B., & Weisberg, H. F. (1978). Voting change in Congress: some dynamic perspectives on an evolutionary process. American Journal of Political Science, 22(2), 391–425. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bach, S., & Smith, S. S. (1988). Managing uncertainty in the House of Representatives. Washington: The Brookings Institution. Google Scholar
  6. Bailey, M. (2001). Quiet influence: the representation of diffuse interests on trade policy, 1983–94. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 26(1), 45–80. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bickers, K. N., & Stein, R. M. (1997). Building majority coalitions for sub-majority benefit distributions. Public Choice, 91(3), 229–249. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burden, B. C., & Frisby, T. M. (2004). Preferences, partisanship, and whip activity in the U.S. House of Representatives. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 29, 569–590. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Calcagno, P. T., & Jackson, J. D. (1998). Political action committee spending and Senate roll call voting. Public Choice, 97(4), 569–585. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Canes-Wrone, B., Brady, D. W., & Cogan, J. F. (2002). Out of step, out of office electoral accountability and house members’ voting. American Political Science Review, 96(1), 127–140. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carrubba, C. J., & Volden, C. (2000). Coalitional politics and logrolling in legislative institutions. American Journal of Political Science, 44(2), 261–277. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coates, D., & Munger, M. (1995). Legislative voting and the economic theory of politics. Southern Economic Journal, 61, 861–873. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Collie, M. P. (1988). Universalism and the Parties in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1921–80. American Journal of Political Science, 32(4), 865–883. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dion, D. (1997). Turning the legislative thumbscrew minority rights and procedural change in legislative politics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Google Scholar
  15. Erikson, R. S., & Wright, G. C. (1997). Voters, candidates and issues in Congressional Elections. In L. C. Dodd & B. I. Oppenheimer (Eds.), Congress reconsidered (6th ed., pp. 132–161). Washington: Congressional Quarterly Press. Google Scholar
  16. Erikson, R. S., & Wright, G. C. (2000). Representation of constituency ideology in Congress. In D. W. Brady, J. F. Cogan & J. F. Ferejohn (Eds.), Change and continuity in House elections (pp. 149–177). Stanford: Stanford University Press. Google Scholar
  17. Fleck, R. K., & Kilby, C. (2002). Reassessing the role of constituency in Congressional voting. Public Choice, 112(1-2), 31–53. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hug, S. (2006). Selection effects in roll call voting (UC-Berkeley, Institute of Governmental Studies Working Paper 2006-21). Google Scholar
  19. Hurwitz, M. S., Moiles, R. J., & Rohde, D. W. (2001). Distributive and partisan issues in agriculture policy in the 104th House. The American Political Science Review, 95(4), 911–922. Google Scholar
  20. Kiewiet, D. R., & McCubbins, M. D. (1991). The logic of delegation Congressional Parties and the appropriations process. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Google Scholar
  21. King, G. (1986). The significance of roll calls in voting bodies: a model and statistical estimation. Social Science Research, 15, 135–152. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kravitz, W. (1990). The advent of the modern congress: the legislative reorganization Act of 1970. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 15(3), 375–399. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Krehbiel, K. (2000). Party discipline and measures of partisanship. American Journal of Political Science, 44, 212–227. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Krehbiel, K. (2003). The coefficient of Party influence. Political Analysis, 11, 95–103. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Krehbiel, K., Meirowitz, A., & Woon, J. (2005). Testing theories of lawmaking. In D. Austen-Smith & J. Duggan (Eds.), Studies in choice and welfare : Vol. XVI. Social choice and strategic decisions. New York: Springer. Google Scholar
  26. Lebo, M. J., McGlynn, A. J., & Koger, G. (2007). Strategic Party Government Party influence in Congress, 1789–2000. American Journal of Political Science, 51(3), 464–481. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leighton, W. A., & Lopez, E. J. (2002). Committee assignments and the cost of Party loyalty. Political Research Quarterly, 55(1), 59–90. Google Scholar
  28. Loomis, B. A. (1984). Congressional careers and Party leadership in the contemporary House of Representatives. American Journal of Political Science, 28(1), 180–202. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mayhew, D. (1974). Congress: the electoral connection. New Haven: Yale University Press. Google Scholar
  30. McCarty, N., Poole, K. T., & Rosenthal, H. (2001). The hunt for Party discipline in Congress. American Political Science Review, 95(3), 673–687. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Patty, J. W. (2008). Equilibrium Party Government. American Journal of Political Science, 52(3), 636–655. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Poole, K. T. (2007). Changing minds? Not in Congress! Public Choice, 131(3), 435–451. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Riker, W. H. (1959). A method for determining the significance of roll call votes in voting bodies. In J. C. Wahlke & H. Eulau (Eds.), Legislative behavior: a reader in theory and research. Glencoe: Free Press. Google Scholar
  34. Roberts, J. M. (2007). The statistical analysis of roll-call data: a cautionary tale. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 32(3), 341–360. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Roberts, J. M. & Smith, S. S. (2003). Procedural contexts, party strategy, and conditional Party voting in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1971–2000. American Journal of Political Science, 47(2), 305–317. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rohde, D. W. (2004). Roll call voting data for the United States House of Representatives, 1953–2004. Compiled by the Political Institutions and Public Choice Program, Michigan State University. Google Scholar
  37. Schickler, E., & Pearson, K. (2004). The house leadership in an era of partisan warfare. In L. C. Dodd & B. I. Oppenheimer (Eds.), Congress reconsidered (8th ed., pp. 207–225). Washington: CQ Press. Google Scholar
  38. Schickler, E, & Wawro, G. (2006). Filibuster: obstruction and lawmaking in the US Senate. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Google Scholar
  39. Sinclair, B. (1981). Majority Party leadership strategies for coping with the New U.S. House. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 6(3), 391–414. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Sinclair, B. (1983). Majority leadership in the U.S. House. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Google Scholar
  41. Sinclair, B. (1995). Legislators, leaders, and lawmaking: The U.S. House of Representatives in the Postreform Era. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. Google Scholar
  42. Sinclair, B. (1998). Do Parties matter? (Typescript). University of California, Los Angeles. Google Scholar
  43. Sinclair, B. (2000). Unorthodox lawmaking: new legislative processes in the U.S. Congress. Washington: CQ Press. Google Scholar
  44. Snyder, J. M. Jr., & Groseclose, T. (2000). Estimating Party influence in Congressional roll-call voting. American Journal of Political Science, 44(2), 193–211. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Snyder, J. M. Jr., & Groseclose, T. (2001). Estimating Party influence on roll call voting: regression coefficients versus classification success. American Political Science Review, 95(3), 689–698. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stratmann, T. (2000). Congressional voting over legislative careers: shifting positions and changing constraints. American Political Science Review, 94(3), 665–676. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Weingast, B. R. (1994). Reflections on distributive politics and universalism. Political Research Quarterly, 47(2), 319–327. Google Scholar
  48. Woon, J. (2008). Bill sponsorship in Congress: the moderating effect of agenda positions on legislative proposals. Journal of Politics, 70(1), 201–216. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations