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Public Policy


Policy Making: Political Interactions

Congress, the President, the Cabinet, advisers, agency bureaucrats, federal and state courts, political parties, interest groups, the media...All of these groups interact to make political decisions in the United States.

Public policy is a goal-oriented course of action that the government follows in dealing with a problem or issue in the country. Public policies are based on law, but many people other than legislators set them. Individuals, groups, and even government agencies that do not comply with policies can be penalized. This complicated process goes through a predictable series of steps:


The power to formulate and implement policy is often divided between several entities. Defense policy is good.

1. Recognizing the problem.

At any given time, many conditions disturb or distress people, such as unsafe workplaces, natural disasters like tornadoes and earthquakes, crime, pollution, or the cost of medical care. But all disturbing conditions do not automatically become problems. People have to recognize that government can and should do something about them. For example, most citizens probably do not expect government to prevent hurricanes. However, they may expect government to help hurricane victims through quick relief actions.

                                                                2. Agenda setting.

An agenda is a set of problems that government wants to solve. Usually there are so many of them that they must be prioritized, with some problems getting earlier and more attention than others. Agenda setting may respond to pressure from interest groups, political parties, the media, and other branches of government. Agendas usually are reshaped when a new president takes office or when the majority party in Congress changes after an election. A crisis such as war, depression, natural disasters, or a tragic accident, almost always re-prioritizes issues.

3. Formulating the policy.

At this stage, usually several conflicting plans from various political interests take shape. Various players — the President and White House​.


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