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The Politics of Military Base Closings

Not in My District

Series:

Lilly J. Goren

This book investigates new patterns of «evasive delegation» and «dedistributive» policymaking by the U.S. Congress, whereby Congress delegates its decision-making power to ad hoc commissions or implements constraints that compel it to make decisions within prescribed limits. Elected public officials seem unwilling to make, or believe themselves unable to be «held responsible» for, «dedistributive» policy. Thus, means are devised to actually make the decisions, while allowing elected officials to evade responsibility. The Base Realignment and Closing Commission (BRAC), which aimed to get politics out of military base closings, is a quintessential example of such means. At the heart of these considerations is the question of with whom or where responsibility should rest. The American people are left to decide whether to hold unelected and more or less «unsupervised» individuals, commissions, and the like responsible for their greater well being while officially elected individuals quietly cede responsibility.