Congressional Policy Issues



The Defense Budget: Current Status and Core Issues

Katina Slavkova | May 3, 2022

Defense officials are already busy making the obligatory annual rounds on Capitol Hill in support of the President’s preferred spending priorities. The current steady pace of congressional hearings might suggest that Congress is methodically working its way towards a timely passage of the defense budget. But this burst of activity on the


The Legacy Question

Laura Blessing | April 5, 2022

It’s time.  Time to talk about the L word.  As the cherry trees blossom in Washington and legislators’ minds turn towards reelection, the administration is taking stock of its legacy.  In our hyper-polarized era, an administration’s first two years, especially if under unified governance, play an outsized role in the mark they leave on politics,


Off-year elections and legislation aren’t inherently linked

Josh Huder | November 3, 2021

Last night, Republicans swept the statewide races in Virginia and made a serious push in New Jersey. Among the various pundit hot-takes and autopsies interpreting what Republicans’ impressive performance means going forward, many pointed to the cooling effect it would have on Democrats’ infrastructure and reconciliation bills. As Republicans shrink the gap in blue states,


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


A Familiar Landmine: The Looming Debt Ceiling

Laura Blessing | June 4, 2021

With all the other tumult going on in our politics, one might be forgiven for not focusing on a familiar landmine: the debt ceiling.  After all, since its regularized inclusion in the appropriations process a decade ago, Congress has shifted from extending the debt limit to a specific amount


First, Do No Harm

Susan Sullivan Lagon | May 5, 2021

The Supreme Court, and potential reforms to it, are again in the national spotlight.  In just one term, President Donald Trump left an indelible imprint on the federal judiciary by appointing 234 judges, 54 at the appellate level and three to the Supreme Court. Stung by Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s hasty confirmation in the waning


Outlook for the NDAA in the 117th Congress

Katina Slavkova | January 10, 2021

The 116th Congress wrapped up its final days in a dramatic fashion by delivering the first and only veto override of the Trump Administration on New Year’s Day. It was probably fitting and not terribly surprising that this strong bipartisan legislative rebuke


The 116th and the 117th Congresses: It’s bad but probably not as bad as you think

Josh Huder | December 3, 2020

Historic dysfunction may well be the credo of American politics in the 21st century. Congress appears hopelessly gridlocked. Pundits have run out of adjectives to describe the polarization plaguing American politics. And maybe worse, the mixed results of the 2020 Election defy easy analysis. The House Democratic majority lost seats, the Senate Republican majority


1 2 3 5