Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Reciprocity is defined as the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefits esp. privileges granted by one country or organization to another. There is a norm of behavior that is unwritten in Congress. It is internally learned and a reinforced rule of behavior. To advance in the institution of Congress one must get along to go along. Congress is no different from any other social institution. The old phrase you scratch my back ill scratch yours is a saying that goes in Congress. Representatives usually do not disagree with each other so both parties will get what they want. This creates friendly relationships that are desirable and keeps Congress moving. Reciprocity does lead to pork projects and can lead to pork committees. Some members in congress are against pork projects and want them to stop because it is using money that could be used for more important things. Reciprocity is a norm used in Congress to get along, allows allocation, and can lead to pork projects and earmarks.

Reciprocity can go a long way in Congress. It allows for people to help each other whether it is on certain bills or projects. Reciprocity is more influential in the Senate and is one of the more static norms that we encounter. Reciprocity can sometimes be refereed as logrolling, which is the exchange of favors, most often in the form of votes. Members in Congress want to get votes for what they are trying to pass and stepping on other members of Congress toes will impede this. When this person votes for what the representative wanted, they will now vote for what the other member in Congress wanted to vote on. Reciprocity deals with the exchange of political favors and the mutual exchange of privileges. Most people in Congress will label reciprocity as a high priority item because with out it nothing will get done. Reciprocity can be seen in most forms in Congress whether it be in the House of Representatives, the Senate, Committees and sub-Committees, and with meetings with other members of Congress. Most people in congress that want to get along have the same similar interests. They want to vote on the same bill or want the same end to the means. People who do not go along with the norm reciprocity are known as mavericks and people who do not get along with other members of Congress. They are sometimes deemed independents and go against the norm. It could be either pork projects or a particular bill they do not like. Most members in Congress do not associate with these types of people because nothing gets down with them. Most members in Congress want to get along so they can get work done in Congress. Reciprocity is a norm that is adhered like any other norm in any other organization.

Reciprocity can lead to allocation. Allocation is the action or process of distributing something. It’s an amount or portion of a resource assigned to a particular recipient. In Congress this happens a lot of the time because members want something they need and are willing reason for it. This is to say I will do something for you if you do something for me. Allocations are a regular procedure in the House and in the Senate. They can be in forms of simple votes or in not arguing on a certain subject. Arguing can lead the House or Senate to be in session for a long period of time that most members do want to happen. Allocations can lead to members getting along and the institution not be delayed in their business.

Here is an example of reciprocity of a congressmen asking for votes

With reciprocity there comes pork projects, also pork barreling, and earmarks. Pork projects are when politicians or governments unofficially undertake projects that benefit a group of citizens in return for that group’s support or money towards a cause of theirs. An example of this would be I will vote for your be as long as I am allowed to build a new library in my community. Usually the spending mostly benefits the member of Congresses home district or state and it’s the entire community’s funds that are being used. This is why some members of Congress do not like pork projects because they so not benefit everybody and its using the entire community’s money for one project. Earmarks are funds provided by the Congress for specific projects or programs in such a manner that the allocation. They are circumvents a merit-based or competitive allocation process, applies to a very limited number of individuals or entities, and curtails the ability of the Executive Branch to independently manage the agency budget. Some uses for earmarks would be research projects, demonstration projects, parks, laboratories, academic, grants or business contracts and new schools.

Here is an example of how a member of Congress is talking about not using earmarks or demonstration projects

The norm of helping each other has lead to a large number of projects added specifically for individual members. These members of Congress are helping their community, but at the same time they are they can be hurting their community as a whole. There are some people that go against pork projects and earmarks. One of these people are John McCain, he is championing against these types of reciprocities.

Here is an example of a member of going against pork projects.

One has to go against an institutional norm to favor budget restraint. If too much money is being spent on projects that are not necessarily needed, then there will be no money for projects or bills that affect the nation as a whole. The Unites States is already in trillions dollars of debt and it is rising every day. If no one says anything about budget constraint, then our nation will be in so much debt that wee will never be able to recover from it. In the past there has been fistfights and canings over this subject. Today tempers can get very hot in the House and the Senate. This is when reciprocity is not seen as a norm or used within the system. Sometimes threat of not going home is used to deter members from not voting on a certain bill. This is an example when reciprocity fails people can lose their logic of thinking and perform actions they usually would not do if they were in their right state of mind. Pork projects and earmarks are great if used in the right way, but if they are not monitored and the money they are using does not get used in a beneficial way then our national debt will grow and other projects that are more useful will be neglected.

When there is not reciprocity is not is not adhered by the member of Congress, there will be no work that gets done. Reciprocity is a simple term that means to get along. Reciprocity is one of the four norms in Congress that is respected and must be followed for any organization to exist. To advance in the institution of Congress one must follow this norm. No one will respect a member of Congress who does not follow the rules and plays by their own rules. No one wants any work with someone who is a maverick and is hard to reason with. Reciprocity lets members in Congress pass bills, achieve more votes, work on projects in their home community, and bring in more money for their own personal projects or campaigns. Allocations can lead to pork projects and earmarks. Most people are for pork projects and earmarks because they help the district or community the projects are for. They can be either building a new school or building a new mall for the city. Some people are against pork projects and earmarks because they take money away from other projects or bills that are more important and the money is never replaced. Sometimes one has to go against the norms to voice their opinion. Reciprocity is a norm used in Congress to get along, allows allocation, and can lead to pork projects and earmarks.