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It’s more than just bad process. It’s harmful.

There’s a lot of ​talk about the broken processes in the House and Senate, particularly around the health​ ​care bill. Extraordinary secrecy has been employed to push the AHCA through the House and the BCRA through the Senate. ​In fact, t​here’s so much commentary about how “broken” the institution is that people are overlooking what


Secrecy in Lawmaking and What it Spells for the rest of the 115th

The House and Senate efforts to repeal and replace versions of the Affordable Care Act have relied on an amazingly convoluted, opaque, and covert process. It was, and is, a stunning display of haste and hubris, well outside the norms of the modern legislative process. Speaker Ryan dropped the American Health Care Act (AHCA) practically


The Omnibus Is Here

House and Senate leaders  pushed through an omnibus spending package last week. The bill combines 11 appropriations bills for the final months of the FY2017 calendar. Democrats walked away with some big wins in the omnibus. They struck over 100 policy riders, resisted non-defense cuts proposed by President Trump, and managed to block funding for


The omnibus is here! And some things to clear up about congressional budget politics.

House and Senate leaders will push through an omnibus spending package this week. The bill combines 11 appropriations bills for the final months of the FY2017 calendar. Democrats walked away with some big wins in the omnibus. They struck over 100 policy riders, resisted non-defense cuts proposed by President Trump, managed to block funding for


Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures: CR edition

Next week, the government will run out of money to stay open. And in typical fashion, Congress has left itself an insanely small window to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to keep it functioning. (If the process plays out normally, the Senate will have approximately  5 hours to spare before the government shuts down. This


The legislative filibuster isn’t going anywhere any time soon

It’s a nuclear week in the Senate. Majority Leader McConnell has hinted that he has the votes to go “nuclear” on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. In effect, McConnell would invoke the same process then-Majority Leader Harry Reid used in 2013 to change the Senate’s interpretation of Rule XXII. The effect would reduce


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


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