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Watchdogs on the HillThe Decline of Congressional Oversight of U.S. Foreign Relations$
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Linda L. Fowler

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151618

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151618.001.0001

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Committee Motivations for Oversight

Committee Motivations for Oversight

(p.47) Chapter 2 Committee Motivations for Oversight
Watchdogs on the Hill

Linda L. Fowler

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the conditions that motivate legislators to ask questions regarding the country's foreign policy. The Vietnam War represents the nadir of congressional influence over foreign policy in the eyes of many political observers. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee became the locus of congressional pressure for winding down the war, while the Senate Armed Services Committee provided a platform for hawks seeking to ramp up the use of force. The chapter develops theoretical expectations, which address three different committee phenomena relevant to oversight of national security: sources of change in the total frequency of public hearings, biases within committees regarding the frequency and venues of oversight hearings as a result of external stimuli, and influences on the content of routine and event-driven review.

Keywords:   public hearings, foreign policy, Vietnam War, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senate Armed Services Committee, national security oversight

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