Revise & Extend



Speaker Johnson: Speaker of the House but not of the Majority

Josh Huder | April 15, 2024

As Congress struggles to act on a myriad of challenges, much of the blame – rightly or wrongly – is being laid at Speaker Johnson’s feet. Currently, he stands in the way of foreign aid packages to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, an FAA reauthorization, the farm bill, and more. However, the scope of


Disarming the Speaker

Laura Blessing | March 12, 2024

Another shutdown threat barely averted, and another stopgap spending bill passed with more to follow, while major legislation stagnates. If this feels familiar, you’re not alone. But how difficult is this moment we’re in? Congress has been derided as a “do nothing” institution before: in 1880, in 1948, and more recently with the divided government


Political Dynamics of the Second Session of the 118th Congress

Matt Glassman | February 5, 2024

The first session of the 118th Congress was historically unproductive. Only 35 measures were signed into law, with only the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Defense Authorization Act of significant note. Several major items on the agenda—border security, foreign aid, tax extenders—saw no floor action, while others—the Farm bill, FAA reauthorization, the FY24 appropriations—


Party Ties: Moderate Republicans’ Predicament

Last week, Freedom Caucus members blocked another a series of spending bills from reaching the House floor. Their opposition has stymied Speakers McCarthy and Johnson alike, forcing them to rely on Democratic votes to pass continuing resolutions and other must-pass legislation. These repeated failures raise questions about the possibility of a “new” majority that could


Second Verse, Same as the First: 2024 Appropriations Watch

Katina Slavkova | January 10, 2024

After a chaotic and historically unproductive first session, the 118th Congress appears to be off to a more hopeful start in the new year. Recent news indicating congressional leaders have finally secured an agreement on the top-line numbers for funding the federal government for the remainder of FY24 is certainly


We Barely Averted a Shutdown- Now What?

Josh Huder | October 3, 2023

Congress narrowly averted a government shutdown Saturday when Speaker McCarthy shocked Capitol Hill and expedited a clean continuing resolution on the House Floor, funding the government at current levels for 45 days, against the wishes of hardliners in his conference. The bill passed easily on bipartisan lines, was quickly taken up in the Senate,


Does the Highest Court Have the Lowest Standards?

Susan Sullivan Lagon | September 7, 2023

In Federalist 78, published in the spring of 1788, Alexander Hamilton famously referred to the judiciary as “the least dangerous” branch of the federal government. A fair question 235 years later is whether it has become the least accountable branch, at least at the top level. Unlike lower-court judges and employees in the executive and


The Worst Job in Washington: Kevin McCarthy and the Challenge of the Speakership

GAI | August 1, 2023

By Matthew Green, Professor, Department of Politics (The Catholic University of America) The past seven months have made it abundantly clear that the House speakership is one of the most difficult jobs in Washington. In January, for the first time in a century, the majority party’s nominee for speaker – Kevin McCarthy of California –


Debt Limit Déjà Vu? What Can We Learn from the Close Calls of 2011 and 2023?

Laura Blessing | June 7, 2023

Normally, we remember what we were doing when great triumphs or tragedies take place on the world stage.  Fiscal policy is not typically on that list of events. And yet, I remember clearly what I was doing in the lead up to Treasury’s “X date” in 2011. I was in grad school, and I had


The Debt Ceiling and the Appropriations Process

Katina Slavkova | May 3, 2023

The partisan and intra-branch posturing on the debt ceiling, on display since January, has finally yielded actual legislative text.  Last week Speaker Kevin McCarthy successfully shepherded his conference to pass a debt ceiling bill, accurately characterized as a “bare-minimum victory on a doomed bill.” This description of the House GOP’s initial bargaining offer perfectly


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