113th Congress

Sticker-Schock: Breaking down Members’ Interior Design and Operation Spending

This piece was co-written with Mark Harkins, a Senior Fellow at the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University. He worked on Capitol Hill for over 17 years in various positions including Chief of Staff in a personal office. The Fix at the Washington Post has an interesting piece on the cost of setting up and

113th Congress: Arguably the least democratic in American history

The 113th Congress may very well go down in history as the least democratic in our nation’s history. Except it probably not in the way you are thinking. This has nothing to do with how much money was spent in campaigns, gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, or other things that distort the electoral process. The 113th Congress, more

Desperate but not serious

Katina Slavkova | October 31, 2014

“The situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating. There is no path that can guarantee success, but the prospects can be improved.” A select few foreign policy and Middle East experts will quickly recognize the origin of this sobering assessment, but for the most casual observers of world events this statement perfectly captures the latest

Vote Scores hurt Vulnerable Senate Democrats

Several Senate Democrats are running their campaigns as far away from the President as possible. Democrats are defending six states that Mitt Romney won in 2012. Three Democratic incumbents find themselves in toss-up races in states Mitt Romney won by landslide margins. The President’s approval numbers in those states are dismal, forcing Democrats to

Ginsburg, Retirement, and Senate Confirmations

In a recent Elle magazine interview Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced that she would not retire because ”[Obama] could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see on the court… So anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided.” Several commentators responded to Ginsburg’s

Congress out of Session does not mean it isn’t Working

The Fix blog at the Washington Post has an article arguing that since 1978, Congress has only worked a full week 14% of the time. This is a common—and extraordinarily misleading– jab at Congress. While it is easy to criticize an institution that frequently makes itself an easy target, it’s a disservice that unnecessarily undermines

Odds Are Against Another Government Shutdown, But…

Congress returns from its August recess next week, and is well positioned to conclude one of the least productive Congresses in modern history.  With less than a month before the next fiscal year begins, it would be reasonable to expect a flurry of activity surrounding last ditch efforts to pass at least some of the

Recess is Over: Congress back in Session

Congress returns from recess next week after an unexpectedly successful final week in July. Congress passed a significant Veterans health bill and temporarily extended the Highway Trust Fund. While there were breakthroughs, Congress failed to find common ground on several issues. With only 12 legislative days left before the election, here is what’s on tap.

Could Boehner be the First Speaker to Lose Job and Win Seats?

The Fix recently wrote about how “A 2015 rebellion against John Boehner would be unprecedented.” In the piece Philip Bump argues that “no speaker has overseen a pick-up of House seats and subsequently lost his job.” Setting aside problems in closely connecting congressional elections and the speakership election across this period,* this statement really hangs

Another Look at Grimm’s Charges

A story of note this week revolves around Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and accusations that he hid money from the IRS while running a health food store in Manhattan. He is also the subject of an ongoing investigation for potentially mismanaging funds during his 2010 congressional campaign. Senior Fellow Charles Cushman spoke with

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