Act of Congress - Robert G. Kaiser
A financial reform bill reveals the troubled machinery of American democracy in this intricate, incisive study of law-making. Washington Post correspondent Kaiser (So Damn Much Money) chronicles the journey of the Dodd-Frank act, a complex package of banking and market regulations passed in 2011 that few voters paid attention to. The story s charismatic protagonist is Democratic House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank but his low-key, diplomatic cosponsor, Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, pulls off the greater political coup by avoiding a threatened filibuster. While the bill was moving through Congress, Kaiser had access to lawmakers of both parties and their staffs, executive-branch officials, and lobbyists; he finds the drama in arcane parliamentary procedure and paints extraordinary fly-on-the-wall scenes of legislative sausage making. ( Okay, Cam, it s just you and me, what s it going to take? Frank horse-trades, seeking support from bankers in a down-and-dirty meeting with their lobbyist.) Kaiser salutes a landmark bill while laying bare the process dysfunctions that menaced it: partisan intransigence; monkey-wrenching by pols seeking turf and publicity; cynical budgetary shenanigans; general ignorance of finance on the part of legislators; the influence of money and clout especially auto dealers clout. His absorbing true-life political saga exposes the good, the bad, and the ugly in Congress.