Presidents on the fast track: Fighting floor amendments with restrictive rules

Eric Magar, Valeria Palanza, Gisela Sin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Among presidents’ lesser known legislative powers is urgency authority. Seven Latin American presidents wield it: The constitutional power to impose on lawmakers a short deadline to discuss and vote selected bills. This power is similar to the fast-track authority that Congress grants periodically to the US president. We claim that the key consequence of urgency authority is procedural: Urgency prevents amendments during floor consideration. By using fast-track authority, presidents can protect bills and committee agreements, in essence becoming a single-member Rules Committee with the ability to impose closed rules on the floor. A formal model generates hypotheses that we test with original data from Chile between 1998 and 2014. Results confirm that preference overlap between the president and committee chairs drives the use of fast-track authority systematically. Patterns in Chile are reminiscent of restrictive rule usage in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-646
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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