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On to Reconciliation! Republicans have a plan but probably won’t follow it.

The Senate passed a budget yesterday. It lacked some of the typical hallmarks of a budget resolution. Namely, the chamber did not debate in any great detail discretionary spending numbers. This budget is meant for one purpose and one purpose only: repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Following the campaign congressional Republicans set out on


Is Paul Ryan Delivering on Regular Order?

When Paul Ryan accepted the nomination for the Speakership he promised his colleagues that he would deliver a more regular process. He promised more inclusion in developing strategy, more opportunities for amendments, and greater representation on panels that organize the chamber. So far he has delivered on some promises but continues to struggle on others.


The new Budget Drama and Procedural Inventiveness. Got to love the House.

The optimism following the 2-year budget deal struck last October is officially over. Many House majority members who were unhappy with the deal remain unhappy. Over the past month House conservatives have signaled they will not vote for a budget unless they find $30 billion in cuts. Enacting a budget (or appropriations) below the


Senate SCOTUS politics in 2016

The passing of Justice Antonin Scalia this past weekend throws a new wrinkle into Senate politics. As if things were difficult enough for Majority Leader McConnell, he now has to navigate one of the Senate’s most important votes, or lack thereof, as he attempts to defend seven vulnerable Republican seats. President Obama is expected to


How long will the “open process” last?

During the Republican retreat two weeks ago Speaker Ryan doubled down on his commitment open the process in the House. The original pledge was offered to satisfy conservative members’ desire for greater input and influence. Anyone with a deliberative-democratic bone in their body should welcome this change and the pledge. However, it comes with


What Does Congress Have on Tap in 2016?

The 114th Congress was a whirlwind of activity compared to its predecessors. Accomplishments like trade promotion authority, a Medicare “doc-fix” solution, a two-year budget deal, and the highway funding act were legislative highlights in a productive first session. In all, the 114th Congress passed 115 laws, the most in a first year of Congress since


Regular order: Republicans’ risky venture into open debate

Members in the House are calling for regular order. If you have no idea what “regular order” means, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, you’re probably in the company of many members of Congress. Calls for regular order are almost as old as the institution itself. In theory, regular order is open, deliberative processes


How John Boehner would Lose his Job: He Chooses to.

This is the week Speaker John Boehner will supposedly face a vote to remove him from the speakership on the House floor. Don’t buy the hype. Amid multiple headlines claiming Speaker Boehner is facing his most strident rebellion yet, it’s important to keep the procedural context in mind. The only way John Boehner will vacate


Conservatives’ Playcalling: Hail Mary… Repeat.

(Hail Mary, noun, 2. (FOOTBALL) a very long, typically unsuccessful pass made in a desperate attempt to score late in the game.) It appears Speaker Boehner may have another rebellion on his hands. Will this be the toughest challenge to his speakership? Maybe. That is if you don’t include the last two speakership elections,


Will the Senate Go Nuclear Again?

Put this in the “it’s not really nuclear” category. Despite several accounts reporting that Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) plans to go nuclear, don’t believe the headlines. That said this is likely the most interesting thing that will happen in the Senate this year, at least from a procedural standpoint. After cloture is invoked Senator Lee


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