Director’s Desk

Kristin Nicholson | November 2, 2021

Dear Friends,

If last week felt like a rerun of the end of September on Capitol Hill, you’re not alone. Once again, House Democratic leaders tried and failed to bring up bipartisan infrastructure legislation for a vote, while various members and factions continued their negotiations and position-taking on the sprawling Build Back Better reconciliation package. While a resolution does feel closer than it did a month ago, it remains to be seen whether Democrats can close things out this week in time for promised votes in the House on both the infrastructure and reconciliation packages.

With a December 3 deadline looming for continued federal funding, highway program authorization, and potentially a debt limit increase, Congress has set itself up for another frantic month of work. Meanwhile, it may not be a congressional race, but you can be sure the outcome of today’s gubernatorial election in Virginia will have major ramifications in Congress over the next year.

Our newsletter this month features an extremely timely and helpful article by Non-Resident Senior Fellow Susan Sullivan Lagon. Lagon explains the history of the Supreme Court’s “shadow docket,” and the recent dramatic increase in its visibility and importance. We’ve also got a new podcast episode featuring a fascinating discussion between Senior Fellow Laura Blessing and Professor Marina Omar about Omar’s native Afghanistan.

Dr. Blessing also provided congressional testimony, not on her academic area of expertise, but on the topic of caregiving, for a report for the Department of Health and Human Services that was made public recently.

Finally, if you’ve taken our classes before but want a quick refresher on 2021 and a scene-setter for the new year, I encourage you to register for our Congressional Update on January 25. This one-day, online course is a convenient way to get up to speed on current dynamics on the Hill and the outlook for 2022.

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving,


Kristin Nicholson is the Director of the Government Affairs Institute

Categories: Director's Desk, Media Center, Updates