Director’s Desk

Kristin Nicholson | May 6, 2020

Dear Friends,

As we navigate the new realities of daily life, Congress finds itself in much the same position as the rest of us. Despite dramatic safety and logistical challenges, and an uncertain timeline for when they may abate, Congress must still find a way to do its work. Further legislative responses to the pandemic and its economic consequences will be required, in addition to the heightened oversight demanded by massive new programs and spending. And then there are must-pass measures like annual appropriations, the defense authorization bill, and a major water infrastructure reauthorization.

Despite some concerns, the Senate returned this week, with hearings and votes occurring under new social distancing protocols. The House plans to return next week, though that schedule may shift. Meanwhile, offices and hearing rooms are being reconfigured, health and safety guidelines are being implemented, and plans are evolving for conducting more business remotely.

Senior Fellow Josh Huder was asked to testify last week before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee virtual hearing on concerns and options related to remote voting. His testimony highlighted both the urgent need for some ability to legislate remotely, as well as potential dangers inherent in such unprecedented changes.

In this month’s newsletter, Senior Fellow Laura Blessing compares the legislative response to the current economic crisis and the Great Recession. She breaks down some lessons that should – and shouldn’t – be learned from Congress’s action in the late 2000’s.

Finally, I want to let you know that GAI is working hard to adapt to our new environment by moving some of our training online. In June, we will be conducting online versions of our Advanced Budget and Appropriations Process and Advanced Legislative Process classes, and we hope to add more online options throughout the summer. We also have the ability to conduct tailored online training via short courses like the Congressional Update and Understanding and Working With Congress. Please let us know if we can help bring a virtual class to your team.

Our best wishes to you all,


Categories: Director's Desk, Media Center, Updates