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Abstract

While it is true that presidents can and will attempt to practice domination of the Congress when making public policy, the nature of the new environment makes it less likely that they will regularly succeed. Because of the complexity of issues, there is a need to revisit the mechanics of executive/legislative liaisons in this new era. This essay represents such an attempt. First, we examine the changes that impact presidential policy-making in the post-Cold War era. Second, we review the ongoing debate in presidential literature concerning executive dominance over the Congress. Third, we briefly examine the modern history of presidential/congressional foreign policy interactions and note changes in these interactions. Fourth, we present a brief history of the White House Congressional Liaison Office in both the Cold War and the post-Cold War eras. We specifically examine and analyze the Carter and Clinton administrations. Finally, we present a new working model of a post-Cold War White House Congressional Liaison Office. This model views such an office as playing an important role in executive/legislative strategy and not merely functioning as a tactical offshoot for White House advisors.