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35 Harv. J. on Legis. 33 (1998)
Practicing What We Preach: A Legislative History of Congressional Accountability

handle is hein.journals/hjl35 and id is 39 raw text is: POLICY ESSAY
PRACTICING WHAT WE PREACH:
A LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF
CONGRESSIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
SENATOR CHARLES GRASSLEY*
with JENNIFER SHAW SCHMIDT**
Senator Grassley was the author of the Congressional Accountability
Act of 1995. This Act required Congress to abide by many of the labor
and civil rights laws governing the country. In this Essay, the author
chronicles his struggle in the 1990s to make Congress pass such legisla-
tion. In 1994, the Congressional Accountability Act became a tenet of the
Republican Contract with America and was the first law enacted by
the 104th Congress in January 1995. In 1996, Congress enacted the
Presidential and Executive Office Accountability Act, thereby making two
of the three branches of government accountable. In conclusion, the
author notes the continuing battles not only to implement the Congres-
sional Accountability Act, but also to create similar legislation for the
Judicial Branch.
[Members of Congress] can make no law which will not have
its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as
on the great mass of society. This has always been deemed
one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can
connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between
them that communion of interests and sympathy of senti-
ments of which few governments have furnished examples,
but without which every government degenerates into tyr-
anny. If it be asked, what is to restrain [Members of Con-
gress] from making legal discrimination in favor of them-
selves and a particular class of society? I answer: the genius
of the whole system; the nature of just and Constitutional
laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which
nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it. If this
spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not
obligatory on the legislature as well as on the people, the
people will be prepared to tolerate anything but liberty.
-James Madison, Federalist 571
* Member, United States Senate (R-Iowa). B.A., University of Northern Iowa, 1955;
M.A., University of Northern Iowa, 1956. Senator Grassley was a Member of the U.S.
House of Representatives from 1975 to 1981. He is Chairman of the Senate Special
Committee on Aging and serves on the Senate Budget, Finance, Agriculture, and
Judiciary Committees.
**Senior Counsel to Senator Grassley. B.A., Texas Christian University, 1989; J.D.,
University of Kansas, 1994.
1 THE FEDERALIST No. 57, at 291 (James Madison) (Buccaneer Books ed., 1992).

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