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Congressional Oversight in the 116th

Congressional oversight in the 116th Congress has gotten off to a roaring start.  After two years of unified government in the Trump administration, Democrats are eager to begin looking into a long list of topics now that they have retaken the House.  The news cycle, already moving at an exhausting pace, now regularly features oversight efforts

The Aftermath

Another election cycle has washed over our nation’s capital.  As outgoing members clear out their desks and incoming members eye their new offices, Congress gets ready for the next phase.  It’s time to adjust to the aftermath of the election results, their ongoing appropriations work, other lame duck session policy attempts, a budget process

Budget Dysfunction: Potential Reforms

The federal budget process, laid out in the 1974 Budget Act, is a complex, multi-stage process with many opportunities for partisanship and intra-party divisions to derail it. And derailed it has been, with workarounds like omnibus appropriations and Continuing Resolutions (CRs) becoming the new normal. The myriad challenges in the present-day process were discussed at length in

Budget Reform: Diagnosing the Problem

The federal budget process is broken.  There are few things that political actors across the spectrum agree on; the deep dysfunctionality of congressional budgeting is one.  This topic has received considerable attention in recent years, most recently via a joint select committee created to seek reforms.  The  need for such an investigation

Victims of Their Own Success

The Republican Party has become a victim of its own success.  Given their legislative, administrative, and impending electoral challenges, this may sound odd.  But on their biggest policy priority, tax policy, they may have been too successful.  And those previous successes combined with the tax bill passed this week may just imperil their reputation as

Why Tax Reform Is Hard

As we noted in our last newsletter, September was, perhaps, the cruelest month.  A bevy of high stakes deadlines (and potential crises) loomed— many, but not all, were met.  But the real blow to the party in power was the failure to meet a parliamentarian-decreed deadline to repeal and replace

Whither Tax Reform? Chasing the Great White Whale

Tax reform, particularly genuinely comprehensive tax reform, seems to be the great white whale of American politics.  Given that it tends to occur once a generation, the smart money is always on betting on the reform du jour failing.  And yet, confident rumblings have yet again surfaced–from Speaker Ryan and Ways and


A Tax Notes article on the tax policy dynamic going forward with a new Speaker and new Ways and Means chair quoted Senior Fellow Laura Blessing on the multiple meanings of “regular order” and Speaker Ryan and Chair Brady’s working relationship. You can read the entire article here (subscription service).


GAI Senior Fellow Laura Blessing joined WYPR radio host Sheilah Kast on Baltimore’s NPR affiliate to discuss current trends in the Republican Party.  She spoke with fellow guests historian Geoffrey Kabaservice and journalist Barry Rascovar; you can listen to their conversation here .


An Al Jazeera article quoted Senior Fellow Laura Blessing on the institutional context Paul Ryan encounters in his new position as Speaker.  “The change in the person in the speaker’s chair doesn’t change the political context that surrounds them,” Blessing said. “Even with a little bit of breathing space, he’s going to face the same

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