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"What's In It For Me?": Why Members of Congress Pursue Oversight
Unformatted Document Text:  Figure 3: As Figure 3 shows, among Republican MC, most (but not all) oversight-specific sub- committees were more popular during the Clinton administration than during Bush’spresidency. For one subcommittee (the Oversight Subcommittee of the Ways & MeansCommittee, located at the upper left corner of the figure), this difference in popular-ity was extreme; this subcommittee was the single most popular subcommittee in theHouse among Republicans from 1997 to 2000, but dropped to the 95 th position during the 2001-2006 period. 24 24 According to the committee-level preference rankings presented in Groseclose & Stewart (1998), Ways & Means was the most favored assignment during the 81 st -102 nd Congresses, making the appearance of a Ways & Means subcommittee at the top of my rankings for Republicans during the 105-106 th period not particularly surprising. The fact that the Oversight Subcommittee of the Ways & Means Commit-tee dropped in value once a Republican entered the White House also comports with my theory: MCsdevalue oversight activities when one of their fellow partisans controls the White House. Admittedly 13

Authors: Feinstein, Brian.
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Figure 3:
As Figure 3 shows, among Republican MC, most (but not all) oversight-specific sub-
committees were more popular during the Clinton administration than during Bush’s
presidency. For one subcommittee (the Oversight Subcommittee of the Ways & Means
Committee, located at the upper left corner of the figure), this difference in popular-
ity was extreme; this subcommittee was the single most popular subcommittee in the
House among Republicans from 1997 to 2000, but dropped to the 95
th
position during
the 2001-2006 period.
24
24
According to the committee-level preference rankings presented in Groseclose & Stewart (1998), Ways
& Means was the most favored assignment during the 81
st
-102
nd
Congresses, making the appearance of
a Ways & Means subcommittee at the top of my rankings for Republicans during the 105-106
th
period
not particularly surprising. The fact that the Oversight Subcommittee of the Ways & Means Commit-
tee dropped in value once a Republican entered the White House also comports with my theory: MCs
devalue oversight activities when one of their fellow partisans controls the White House. Admittedly
13


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