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Events

Balanced Budget Proposal Tilts on Procedure

Part of the debt limit deal last August was a provision mandating that both Houses vote on an amendment to the Constitution to require a balanced budget each year. When the House Judiciary Committee reported a version that required a two-thirds vote to raise taxes, House Republicans reversed the committee in favor a simple majority vote to attract Democrats. In this article from Roll Call's Procedural Politics column, Don Wolfensberger comments that while the procedural acrobatics to make this change were complicated, they still left the amendment short of the two-thirds vote needed for constitutional amendments.

Incivility Is Symptom of Larger Problem on Capitol Hill

October 1, 2007 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer

In Blaming Republicans, Authors Miss the Point

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.

Congress Should Police Itself on Ethics Violations

January 16, 2007 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer

President-Elect Obama Off to a Good Start, Panelists Agree

At a Congress Project seminar, a panel of former White House aides, a journalist, and a congressional scholar agreed that Barack Obama's actions during the White House transition will help ensure him legislative success with Congress.

A Brief History of Congressional Reform Efforts

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...

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