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Who Will Lead the Senate?

November 4 is right around the corner and speculation about which party will control the Senate and by how many seats has reached a frenzied pitch. Elections forecasters place the odds of a Republican takeover at about 70 percent. The odds shift, of course, whenever new polls, fundraising numbers, and campaign ads are released.

Closing Rules and Opening Wallets

Dana Milbank’s recent article on the record number of “closed rules” approved by the Republican-led House leaves out one important factor: fundraising. The House Rules Committee is one of the chamber’s most powerful committees as it sets the parameters for floor debate. The committee determines how long each bill will be debated on

Follow the Leader (and the money!)

The race to succeed Henry Waxman (D-CA) as the top-ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee began within days of Waxman announcing that he would retire from Congress at the end of this year. Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the third-ranking Democrat on the committee, immediately threw his hat in the ring, as did fifth-ranking

Gunning for a Fight?

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently announced plans to spend $50 million this year to fight gun violence. Bloomberg will bring together the gun control groups that he already funds – Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America – to form a new organization called Everytown

Breaking Down the McCutcheon Decision

Individuals now can make campaign contributions to an unlimited number of candidates, party committees, and federal political action committees (PACs). The Supreme Court’s 5-4 McCutcheon v. FECdecision did away with aggregate limits on individual contributions, freeing deep-pocketed donors to max-out to as many candidates and committees as they desire. At issue in McCutcheon was the cap on

Moderates to the Rescue on Debt Ceiling

The House voted 221-201 last night to pass a clean, yearlong debt ceiling increase. The measure, which raises the government’s borrowing limit through March 2015, passed with 193 Democratic votes and 28 Republican votes. Earlier in the day, Speaker John Boehner informed House Republicans that he intended to bring a no-strings-attached debt ceiling bill to

Nuclear Showdown

Earlier this year a good faith, bipartisan deal was made in the Senate to put minor limits on the use of the filibuster on legislation. But this effort apparently did not tamp down the intense partisanship. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is laying the rhetorical groundwork for much more aggressive reform later

What Congressional Recesses Mean for the Federal Agencies

According to a recent Gallup poll, congressional approval stands at 13 percent, just three percentage points above last year’s all-time low of 10 percent approval. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that members of Congress are eager to leave Washington and head home to their states and districts. Congress officially began its annual Easter/Passover

The Boehner Rule: A Minority of the Majority?

What do the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Hurricane Sandy Relief Act, and the fiscal cliff deal have in common? All passed the House this year over the objection of a majority of the majority party. In bringing these bills to the House floor, Speaker John Boehner chose to willfully violate the “Hastert Rule”

The Impact of Citizens United on Congressional Elections

Replete with detailed descriptions of policy accomplishments, challenges, and goals, State of the Union addresses are rarely the stuff of high drama. President Obama mostly adhered to this predictable formula in his January 27 State of the Union address, save for one moment. In speaking about the influence that special interests exercise in the political