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Reagan’s Mandate

Reagan’s Mandate: Anecdotes from Inside Washington’s Iron Triangle describes how Washington’s Iron Triangle–the combination of Congress, lobbies, and Administration –changed our national government thirty years ago. The book recounts Dr. McLennan’s journey, in the 1970s and 1980s, from university professor to minority staff member on the House Budget Committee., to the office of a young Senator, to the Treasury Department to work on tax reform, and to the Commerce Department where as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Trade Information and Analysis she represented the U.S. to international organizations and supervised the preparation of numerous government publications. The memoir is unique because Dr. McLennan was the only Congressional staff member to work both on Reagan’s first budget in the House and his first tax bill in the Senate. These bills passed Congress with strong bipartisan support. In 1984, as the only Congressional staffer to move to the Treasury Department, she participated in the preparation of the study that proposed tax reform. Based on this study, Congress in 1986 reformed the income tax with bipartisan support. All of these events occurred at a time when very few women held senior positions in the U. S. government. When Dr. McLennan entered the job market many women didn’t work, and most didn’t pursue higher education. The only female in many college classes, she became one of very few women in 1965 who earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Wisconsin. Only small numbers of women then worked as business executives, professors, lawyers, doctors, or senior government officials. Reagan’s Mandate tells about women’s progress in the U.S. job market over the last part of the twentieth century. Reagan’s Mandate shows how our federal government made decisions when the President set the agenda, Congress passed the laws, and elected political majorities were small and weak.

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