Leadership



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


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 Presidency: Bending Institutions to Save Them? By Professor Julia Azari

GAI | July 22, 2022

By Professor Julia Azari, Marquette University   Presidential power is a bit at odds with democracy. Presidency scholars have noted this for years, suggesting that “greatness” is often uncomfortably close to the kind of norm-busting, authoritarian action that our constitution is supposed to avoid. Presidents also face a dilemma about who they represent.


Democrats and the Debt Ceiling

Josh Huder | October 7, 2021

Debt ceiling politics is front and center in Congress as the US is scheduled to default on its accrued debt October 18. (For a good explainer on the debt ceiling I recommend my colleague Laura Blessing’s piece.) So far, Senate Republicans have filibustered Democrats’ attempts to raise the debt ceiling. Instead, Minority


Democrats in disarray? The surprisingly normal politics of infrastructure negotiations

Matt Glassman | September 8, 2021

On August 24th, the House adopted S.Con.Res.14, the congressional budget resolution for Fiscal Year 2022 previously adopted by the Senate on August 11th, setting up consideration of a $3.5T package of spending under the reconciliation process. The budget resolution was adopted 220-212 in the House and 50-49 in the Senate, with every Democrat


The Importance of the Congressional Calendar

Katina Slavkova | July 7, 2021

Halfway through its first session, the 117th Congress finds itself in familiar territory, one that past Congresses know all too well. The crush of ambitious and unfinished legislative business is threatening to overwhelm Capitol Hill’s notoriously tricky and fickle schedule. Call it the tyranny of the congressional calendar. Here we’ll consider


Stretching Processes and Avoiding Reform: Senate Reconciliation and Filibuster

Josh Huder | April 8, 2021

News dropped Monday the Senate Parliamentarian would allow Democrats to “revise” the budget resolution for fiscal year 2021. This is an important guidance because it would enable Democrats to pursue another round of reconciliation – a process outlined in the 1974 Budget and Impoundment Control Act allowing for Senate passage of budget-related


Three dynamics to watch in the 117th Congress

Matt Glassman | February 1, 2021

The 117th Congress began in earnest on January 20th with the swearing-in of President Biden. Here are three political dynamics to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Party government vs. bipartisanship. The 117th Congress begins with the Democrats having majorities in both the House and Senate. This makes President Biden the fifth President


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