Congress Publications

Filibusters Sometimes Serve Purposes

Mar 27, 2013
Senate filibusters have long been a target of congressional reformers, though as much as the Senate might tweak the rules, they are unlikely to give up this valuable right of the minority to talk. And sometimes talking does build support for an issue.

Rubber-Band Politics' Snapback Sting

Mar 12, 2013
Sometimes Congress’s budget gimmicks snap back and sting. Sequestration (or across the board spending cuts) wasn’t supposed to happen, but something snapped, and everyone got stung.

Getting Back to Legislating: Reflections of a Congressional Working Group

Feb 19, 2013
A group of former Members of Congress, staff and scholars has urged Congress to return to a culture of legislating and abandon the election centered culture that has produced hyper-partisanship and gridlock. The experts suggest the transformation will not require major changes in rules and procedures, but rather leadership-led encouragement of a more deliberative legislative process in committees and on the floor.

Information on the 113th Congress

Jan 25, 2013
The 113th Congress has nearly the same partian makeup, but with over 80 new House members and 12 freshman senators it's bound to produce some different results. Information on the new Congress and data on previous ones still point to increasing partisanship.

Process Gimmicks Can't Replace Policymaking

Jan 24, 2013
It is often said that process is policy; that he who makes the rules controls policy outcomes. But in recent years, process has often been used to avoid tough policy choices, especially when it comes to getting government spending under control, writes Don Wolfensberger.

New House Adopts Its Rules in the Dark

Jan 11, 2013
The adoption of House rules on the opening day of a new Congress is a perfunctory and partisan exercise that gets little attention. It hasn't always been that way, writes Don Wolfensberger.

VPs Hold Key on Filibuster Change

Dec 28, 2012
The Senate will decide in January whether it wants to change its filibuster rule. How it is done could usher in either a constitutional nirvana or a nuclear winter.

Fast-Track Funding Bills Always Hard to Derail

Oct 23, 2012
In a rare show of bipartisanship, Congress agreed in October to fund the government for six more months rather than suffer the political consequences of a government shutdown. While outrage over the killing of U.S. personnel in Libya threatened to derail the agreeement, pressures to adjourn for election campaigns prevailed.

Policy Gridlock: Is It the New Regular Order?

Oct 09, 2012
Is the dysfunction and policy gridlock in government simply a product of our polarized country politically, or a deeper symptom of a changing culture in Congress aimed more at gaining and holding political power than in producing good public policy for the country. Don Wolfensberger sees more signs of the latter taking place.

Sharing Space with our Hemispheric Partners

Oct 02, 2012
The final report of the Latino Leadership Task Force is a call to action for Washington to prioritize partners and markets in the Western Hemisphere, and to engage the Latino community as partners in the effort. The report urges Washington to enact hemispheric policy that better reflects changing demographics in the United States and the growing influence of the U.S. Latino community, which drives desperately needed job creation and growth in the United States.