Legislative Process



The Senate’s Return to Regular Order?

Josh Huder | January 23, 2015

For the past week, Majority Leader McConnell experimented with an open amendment process in the Senate. Members offered amendments on everything from climate change, to federally protected land, to limiting the President’s ability to initiate and sign bilateral agreements with foreign countries. The broader question is can McConnell take a positive step toward a functioning


It’s not all Gridlock: What Republicans can accomplish in the 114th Congress

Can decades of dysfunction reverse course in a single Congress? No. But despite the general pessimism surrounding Congress there are several reason to expect the 114th to be more productive than its recent predecessors, which were historically bad on several fronts. Now that divided congressional control is over a sense of mild optimism


113th Congress: Arguably the least democratic in American history

The 113th Congress may very well go down in history as the least democratic in our nation’s history. Except it probably not in the way you are thinking. This has nothing to do with how much money was spent in campaigns, gerrymandering, voter suppression laws, or other things that distort the electoral process. The 113th Congress, more


Ginsburg, Retirement, and Senate Confirmations

In a recent Elle magazine interview Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg announced that she would not retire because ”[Obama] could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see on the court… So anybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided.” Several commentators responded to Ginsburg’s


Congress out of Session does not mean it isn’t Working

The Fix blog at the Washington Post has an article arguing that since 1978, Congress has only worked a full week 14% of the time. This is a common—and extraordinarily misleading– jab at Congress. While it is easy to criticize an institution that frequently makes itself an easy target, it’s a disservice that unnecessarily undermines


Could Boehner be the First Speaker to Lose Job and Win Seats?

The Fix recently wrote about how “A 2015 rebellion against John Boehner would be unprecedented.” In the piece Philip Bump argues that “no speaker has overseen a pick-up of House seats and subsequently lost his job.” Setting aside problems in closely connecting congressional elections and the speakership election across this period,* this statement really hangs


Reid Goes On Record For Earmarks

Earmark reform is a hot topic on Capitol Hill and in the advocacy community. Earlier this week, Senator Reidcommented on the need to repeal the ban on earmarks.  This is not a new sentiment for many members of the House and Senate.  What is new is for a congressional leader to actually


Senatorial Courtesy, Blue Slips Caught in the Fallout

Ian Millhiser has a very good piece on judicial nominations and blue slips over at Think Progress. It covers a lot of ground and is a wonderful read. However, I do have some bones to pick with his take. At the core of Millhiser’s argument are blue slips and their place in Senate history. He contends


Boehner’s Overthrow and the “Then What?” Problem

Boehner’s time as Speaker may be limited. Yesterday Tim Alberta reported on substantial conversations to replace Boehner. This morning Brian Buetler verified that these talks are not particularly covert. According to several accounts, House Republicans are not hiding their dissatisfaction with the leadership. However, as both articles mention the plan suffers from a “then what?” problem. Conservatives’


Whose Bill Is It Anyway?

Congressman Mike Rogers’s recent announcement that he will not seek reelection this November received a fair amount of news coverage. This is hardly surprising since he is the Chairman of the high-profile House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. While the media reported widely on the “succession race” for the chairman’s job, another consequential development barely


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