The Changing Congressional Process

John S. Zapp, DDS
JAMA. 1986;256(15):2116-2118. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380150126042.
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During recent years, perhaps the most important factors affecting the ability of an organization, such as the American Medical Association (AMA), to influence the outcome of legislation has been the increasing complexity of and change in the process by which the Congress makes law.

Over the years, those of us who deal with Congress have come to rely on certain fundamental procedures that guide and control the lawmaking process. These procedures are important not only from the standpoint of bringing some order to the business of lawmaking, but also because they serve to ensure that Congress does not operate in a vacuum isolated from public input.

The congressional process provides benchmarks for those of us who have a responsibility for affecting the legislative outcome. From these benchmarks, we develop strategies for achieving a favorable result. When the process changes to the extent that it has in the past few years,


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