U.S. Domestic Policy Publications
I am often asked about the differences between the House and Senate. Sometimes I jokingly respond, “Do you have another hour?” However, some political scientists make the case that the two bodies have become more alike.
President Obama is asking Congress to renew a fast-track government reorganization process that expired in 1984. He would first use the process to submit a plan to consolidate various trade-related agencies and functions in a newly name and reconfigured Commerce Department. Congress is leery of giving presidents carte blanch authority to get an up-or-down vote on their plans, especially under divided party government. There is nothing to prevent Congress from using the normal legislative process to deliberate and amend the president’s reorganization proposals.
Following the acclaimed Uncle Sam and Us (2002) and the influential Does North America Exist? (2008), Stephen Clarkson—the preeminent analyst of North America’s political economy—and Matto Mildenberger turn continental scholarship on its head by showing how Canada and Mexico contribute to the United States’ wealth, security, and global power.
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.
Mutual perceptions between the United States and China are notoriously varied and changeable. This Kissinger Institute publication examines this broad topic through several lenses from distinguished guests from both China and the United States.
Congress will not celebrate fiscal new year’s eve Sept. 30. That’s because: (a) it will not be in town; and (b) it will have nothing to celebrate.
If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, is a duck-billed platypus a duck conceived by a bipartisan, joint committee of Congress? We may soon know, as the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction is mandated to report additional budget savings of at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade by Nov. 23.
If you got the impression during the debt limit imbroglio that our leaders were creatively trying to extricate themselves from a box of their own making, you’ve been cribbing from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s manual: Crises (fabricated or not) can advance worthy goals—even restoring fiscal sanity. It’s getting there that sometimes seems insane.
On July 29, the first pieces of Arizona’s new immigration law, SB 1070, take effect without the most controversial parts of the legislation. The sections that mandated that Arizona police enforce federal immigration laws have been blocked by a federal judge pending further review.1 If fully implemented, the law would direct police to ascertain the immigration status of people they stop or detain while enforcing other laws, make it a state crime for immigrants to not have papers documenting legal status in their possession, and otherwise increase state pressure on unauthorized (some would say all) immigrants.
In Praise of Deadlock explains the legislative process and its checkpoints, with a noncomformist respect for the hurdles and hang-ups in the American system. W. Lee Rawls offers a candid perspective on partisan struggle, which he sees as essential to advancing policy and generating consensus.