115th Congress



Budget Dysfunction: Potential Reforms

Laura Blessing | July 11, 2018

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

Laura Blessing | May 3, 2018

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


How Dr. Ronny Jackson got Nuked.

Mark Harkins | April 30, 2018

Now that erstwhile Secretary of Veterans Affairs nominee Dr. Ronny Jackson has lost his job as the President’s personal physician, he should blame former Sen. Harry Reid for his troubles. On November 21, 2013, in the face of sustained Republican opposition to confirming President Obama’s nominees and judges, the Senate took the extraordinary step of


National Security Confirmations: Politics Beyond the Water’s Edge

Katina Slavkova | April 4, 2018

March 2018 marked a curious milestone for national security that may portend some unexpected clashes ahead for President Trump and congressional overseers.  New personnel selections have dredged up divisive political memories; while the choice of Mr. Bolton (for National Security Advisor) may draw more commentary, Gina Haspel (for CIA Director) will draw the oversight that


Congress in 2018: What’s left?

Josh Huder | March 5, 2018

Last month Congress struck a two-year deal that greases the budget wheels to the tune of an extra $320 billion. While political posturing and two brief government shutdowns hampered bipartisan negotiations, congressional leaders in the House and Senate ultimately settled on a budget that outlines discretionary spending, lifts the Budget Control Act’s(aka sequestration) caps


Art of the Very Difficult Budget Deal

Josh Huder | January 18, 2018

Three months into the 2018 fiscal year, Congress and the President have yet to finalize a budget deal. Delayed funding of government is not new to this Congress or its predecessors. Similar debates about how much to raise the Budget Control Act (BCA) caps (commonly referred to as sequester) occurred in 2013 and 2015, and


Senior Fellow Mark Harkins on The HILL AM View Podcast

GAI | January 10, 2018

GAI Senior Fellow Mark Harkins was a guest this morning on The Hill AM View Podcast. He and correspondent Alexis Simendinger discussed the value of earmarks as a legislative technique. Interesting discussion in light of recent comments by President Trump expressing enthusiasm for bringing back this congressional practice.


Outlook for the FY2018 Appropriations Process

Matt Glassman | January 9, 2018

The FY2018 appropriations process in Congress—which will provide funding for the federal government from October 1, 2017, until September 30, 2018—is once again approaching a deadline. After its failure to enact full year appropriations bills by October 1, Congress has passed a series of continuing resolutions (the first through December 8; a


Director’s Desk

Dear Friends: Happy New Year! As Washington begins to thaw, Congress returns for the second session of the 115th Congress facing a serious to-do list and a short window before (even more) attention is consumed by the November elections.  If you want some great perspective on what’s ahead for the year in Congress, featuring key


Victims of Their Own Success

Laura Blessing | December 21, 2017

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


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