Legislative Process

It’s Congress’s Fault: How Congress Polarizes America

Currently, the debate over American polarization is dominated by electoral considerations: gerrymandering, sorting, PACs, campaign finance, etc. Most of these arguments are based on underlying assumption that the American people, or a political process that sorts voters into districts, are driving polarization. For the most part this is true. However, the effect is also hugely

Op-Ed: No Good Options For Speaker

By Marian Currinder and Joshua Huder The federal government has shut down for the first time since 1996 and all eyes are focused on House Speaker John Boehner. Will he continue to insist upon tying a repeal or delay of Obamacare to a funding bill? Or will

Can Boehner Be Removed From Office?

If Speaker Boehner allows the House to vote on a “clean” continuing resolution with the idea of allowing it to pass with a majority of Democratic votes, can he be removed as Speaker in the 113th Congress? As of this writing it appears that a government shutdown is inevitable.  The only realistic, albeit remote possibility of

Voting Against Defunding to Vote for Defunding: Cannibalism and the CR

The Senate’s procedural and strategic contexts may create an interesting irony for some Republicans this week. The Senate’s conservative Republicans may filibuster their own bill. If this seems like procedural cannibalism, it’s likely not. However, if they are successful, it may be unintended tactical cannibalism. Democratic Leader Harry Reid has repeatedly said that no continuing

Funding the Government, Defunding Obamacare, & Innovative Procedure

As Congress steps closer to the various fiscal cliffs over the next week, the pressing question for Republican leadership is how to defund Obamacare. Several Republicans have indicated they will not support any continuing resolution not tied to the defunding the ACA. The law goes into effect on October 1st and many see this as

Nuclear Showdown

Earlier this year a good faith, bipartisan deal was made in the Senate to put minor limits on the use of the filibuster on legislation. But this effort apparently did not tamp down the intense partisanship. In response, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is laying the rhetorical groundwork for much more aggressive reform later

Are “Gangs” the Solution?

Gangs of lawmakers have been making news since at least the 1983 reform of Social Security. The theory is that smaller, nimbler groups including members from both parties are more likely to get results on contentious issues. While in recent years gang activity in the Senate has proliferated, their record has been at best spotty.

The Boehner Rule: A Minority of the Majority?

What do the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the Hurricane Sandy Relief Act, and the fiscal cliff deal have in common? All passed the House this year over the objection of a majority of the majority party. In bringing these bills to the House floor, Speaker John Boehner chose to willfully violate the “Hastert Rule”

Filibuster Rules Changes Epitomize the Senate

The more things change… The Senate has spoken—at length—and the result is…not much. This sentence could characterize the 112th Congress as well as the changes agreed to in Senate Resolution 16, the first roll call of the 113th (86 yeas, 9 nays). After months of the majority’s frustration with constant filibuster threats, impassioned pleas for

Debt Ceiling Extension Likely to Pass; No Federal Pay Freeze

Later today the House will vote on a plan to effectively lift the debt limit for four months, removing, or at least postponing, the threat of default. The bill, HR 325, temporarily extends the debt limit without seeking any concessions on spending, and allows Republicans a way to avoid having to actually cast a vote

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