Legislative Process



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


Secrecy in Lawmaking and What it Spells for the rest of the 115th

Josh Huder | July 24, 2017

The House and Senate efforts to repeal and replace versions of the Affordable Care Act have relied on an amazingly convoluted, opaque, and covert process. It was, and is, a stunning display of haste and hubris, well outside the norms of the modern legislative process. Speaker Ryan dropped the American Health Care Act (AHCA) practically


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


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


The new Budget Drama and Procedural Inventiveness. Got to love the House.

Josh Huder | February 24, 2016

The optimism following the 2-year budget deal struck last October is officially over. Many House majority members who were unhappy with the deal remain unhappy. Over the past month House conservatives have signaled they will not vote for a budget unless they find $30 billion in cuts. Enacting a budget (or appropriations) below the


How long will the “open process” last?

Josh Huder | February 3, 2016

During the Republican retreat two weeks ago Speaker Ryan doubled down on his commitment open the process in the House. The original pledge was offered to satisfy conservative members’ desire for greater input and influence. Anyone with a deliberative-democratic bone in their body should welcome this change and the pledge. However, it comes with


Regular order: Republicans’ risky venture into open debate

Josh Huder | December 1, 2015

Members in the House are calling for regular order. If you have no idea what “regular order” means, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In fact, you’re probably in the company of many members of Congress. Calls for regular order are almost as old as the institution itself. In theory, regular order is open, deliberative processes


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