Beyond the popular notion that Congress is always engaged in high-level national policymaking and classic drama lies an important reality: the bulk of congressional activity is the protracted, grinding work of developing and enacting complex, detailed legislation vital to our nation's operation but often ignored by the public. This book illuminates the inner workings of legislative and executive interaction by focusing on one example of "low profile" legislation--the Foreign Service Act of 1980. Bacchus traces the making of this extremely complex law through its nine months of development in the Department of State and a further sixteen months in Congress from introduction to enactment. The act promises to be a key element of the U.S. foreign policy apparatus and of major importance in providing a sound basis for future operations of the Foreign Service; yet, the biggest danger its proponents faced was not opposition, but rather inattention and lack of interest. Beyond providing an accurate picture of the workings of Congress, Bacchus points to the risks to the public interest that are encountered when important legislation is enacted almost in private, influenced only by those who have direct stakes in the outcome.

chapter |3 pages


chapter 1|16 pages


chapter 2|15 pages

The Plan

chapter 3|8 pages


chapter 4|16 pages

Developing a Bill

chapter 5|16 pages

The Floor

chapter 6|21 pages


chapter 7|20 pages

Enactment and Implementation

chapter 8|4 pages

Why a New Act Was Possible