Senate



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


Norms, Precedents and Senate Confirmation

Josh Huder | October 2, 2020

The Supreme Court vacancy created by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing has thrust the Senate’s constitutional confirmation function into an already chaotic 2020 election cycle. Senate Majority Leader McConnell appears poised for a pre-election rush to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett—in direct contravention of his previous statements about confirming Supreme Court nominees in election years and


Impeachment Politics Requires a Different Vote Calculator

Josh Huder | October 9, 2019

Anyone who watched School House Rock knows how bills become law. From a numbers standpoint, it is straightforward.  It needs 218 votes in the House, 51 votes in the Senate (60 to cut off a filibuster), and a presidential signature. Given this math, some wonder why Speaker Pelosi is hesitating to pass a resolution—which


The origins of the House’s special rules and what it means for the Senate rules change

Josh Huder | April 1, 2019

Procedurally, the House and Senate could not be more different. The House is subject to absolute majority rule. Conversely, the Senate is governed by more bipartisan processes like unlimited debate, supermajority cloture, and unanimous consent. However, the two chambers have become more similar in recent years. Partisan House members moving to the Senate have helped


In Search of Good Intelligence Oversight

Katina Slavkova | January 9, 2019

After a moment of pomp and circumstance to accompany the swearing-in of the new Congress, the 116th Congress quickly pivoted to the less glamorous work of legislating. The most immediate concern for Democrats, who now control the House of Representatives, is to end a partial government shutdown that has dragged on for


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


The legislative filibuster isn’t going anywhere any time soon

Josh Huder | April 5, 2017

It’s a nuclear week in the Senate. Majority Leader McConnell has hinted that he has the votes to go “nuclear” on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. In effect, McConnell would invoke the same process then-Majority Leader Harry Reid used in 2013 to change the Senate’s interpretation of Rule XXII. The effect would reduce


Democrats’ Dilemma over the Federal Judiciary

Susan Sullivan Lagon | March 29, 2017

In all likelihood, Tenth Circuit Judge Neil Gorsuch will replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. How he gets there is the question, not whether. If confirmed, Gorsuch will be a predictably conservative voice on the nation’s highest bench just like Scalia was. It’s the next vacancy that could shift the


On to Reconciliation! Republicans have a plan but probably won’t follow it.

Josh Huder | January 12, 2017

The Senate passed a budget yesterday. It lacked some of the typical hallmarks of a budget resolution. Namely, the chamber did not debate in any great detail discretionary spending numbers. This budget is meant for one purpose and one purpose only: repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Following the campaign congressional Republicans set out on


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