Neither political ideology nor electoral concerns are solely responsible for paralyzing polarization in Congress. Both are, combined with divided party government and fragile majorities in both houses that could flip at the next election.
Ideological differences in Congress do not account for all of the hyperpartisanship. Sometimes parties draw the lines simply to advance their electoral interests.
March 3, 2008 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer
Remarks of Don Wolfensberger before the Executive Council on Diplomacy Briefing of Foreign Diplomats on "The Washington Roadmap: How Congress Works." April 8, 2004
Congress Project Director Don Wolfensberger urges House to emulate past bipartisan ethics task forces to overcome partisanship and strengthen the institution.
When Hillary Clinton was told June 22 that House Republicans were scheduling two votes on Libya later that week, she reportedly asked, “Whose side are they on?” If that sounds reminiscent of a president telling other nations, “You’re either with us or against us,” welcome to the world of war rhetoric.
In the recent contretemps over funding the federal government this year, the Wilson Center found itself in the same position as scores of other government departments and agencies in our neighborhood. Congress Project Don Wolfensberger shares his perspective.
Former House Rules Committee staffer and Wilson Center expert Don Wolfensberger lays out a step-by-step plan to restore Congress’ “culture of lawmaking.” Committees—not party leaders—should control legislative work, he says, and campaign finance reforms are needed to shift attention from 24-7 fundraising.