Two prominent political scientists claim Republicans are principally to blame for Washington’s dysfunction because they are more extreme and less inclined to compromise. In this article, Don Wolfensberger notes Congress has been just as dysfunctional under Democratic majorities and the fault lies in the increasing polarization between the parties and the imperatives of “the permanent campaign” to hold on to power by shaping legislation for political purposes rather than finding common ground in the national interest.
While House Democrats charged Republicans with playing politics by forcing a contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder, and some Republican Members seemed too anxious to punish the Attorney General by pushing Speaker John Boehner for an earlier vote, Wolfensberger points out that neither party nor branch of government stands to gain politically from what is a complex interbranch dispute over documents related to the government’s botched Fast and Furious gun-walking operation in the southwest U.S.
January 4, 2007 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer
Congress has undergone many changes since World War II, most of which have had to do with adapting to the complexities of modern society and the commensurate growth in the Executive Branch bureaucracy and powers of the presidency. The first major post War reform efforts begun in 1945 and 1965 were premised on the belief that any institutional changes should be bicameral and bipartisan. Consequently, joint committees of equal party and chamber representation were formed to conduct a comprehensive study of the organization and operations of Congress with a view to strengthening it...
April 17, 2006 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer
The Wilson Center's Don Wolfensberger, former chief of staff of the House Rules Committee, reflects on the fate of well-intentioned congressional reforms.
Statement by Donald R. Wolfensberger before the House Bipartisan Task Force on Ethics Enforcement, April 19, 2007
Congress Project Director Don Wolfensberger parses the arbitrary 100-day deadline for Congress's budget resolution and documents the last-minute negotiations that followed it there.