Photo of James Wallner

James Wallner

Senior Fellow, Governance Project, R Street Institute

James Wallner is a senior fellow of the R Street Institute and member of R Street’s Governance Project and Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group teams. He researches and writes about Congress, especially the Senate; the separation of powers; legislative procedure; and the federal policy process.

James joined R Street in July 2017 from the Heritage Foundation, where he was group vice president for research. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the politics department and the Congressional and Presidential Studies Program at the Catholic University of America as well as in the Department of Government at American University. Additionally, James is a Fellow at American University’s Center of Congressional and Presidential Studies.

Earlier in his career, he was executive director of the Senate Steering Committee during the chairmanships of Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Mike Lee, R-Utah. He also has served as legislative director to Toomey and to former Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

He is the author of two books, The Death of Deliberation: Partisanship and Polarization in the United States Senate, published in 2013 and On Parliamentary War: Partisan Conflict and Procedural Change in the United States Senate published in 2017.

James received both his doctoral and master’s degrees in politics from the Catholic University of America. He also holds a master’s in international and European politics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Georgia.

He currently lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Kimberly; two children; and two golden retrievers.

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Forget ghostly apparitions…the Senate has disappeared!

November 2, 2020
In the wake of America’s scariest holiday and on the eve of what promises to be a contentious election, many people think Americans have a lot to be scared about. Read More
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The Constitution ensures no one rules America

October 30, 2020
The nation’s political class is at a fever pitch with less than one week to go until Election Day. Its denizens are convinced that American self-government’s fate hinges on whether… Read More
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Democrats Have Made It Easier for Republicans to Confirm Barrett

October 26, 2020
Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, announced that she intends to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to serve on the Supreme Court, reversing her prior pledge to vote no… Read More
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With Amy Coney Barrett, Democrats hold a master class on how to lose a Senate debate

October 22, 2020
Shortly after President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court’s vacancy created by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Senate Democrats vowed to do everything they could… Read More
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Senate Judiciary Committee Rules

October 16, 2020
This piece originally appeared in Legislative Procedure. Senate Rule XXVI empowers the Judiciary Committee to adopt rules to govern its proceedings. The committees rules can… Read More
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What Happens Now in the Senate Judiciary Committee

October 15, 2020
(This piece originally appeared in Legislative Procedure.) After two marathon days of questioning, the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to complete its review of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to… Read More
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For Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation process, the Constitution is on Senate GOP’s side

September 29, 2020
(This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.) Republicans are poised to remake the Supreme Court in their image. On Saturday, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett… Read More
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Twelve Ways to Find Dirt in “Clean” Appropriations Bills

September 29, 2020
(This piece originally appeared in Legislative Procedure.) If Congress does not act soon, funding for approximately one-third of the Federal government will expire on Thursday, at the end of… Read More
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Road to the Supreme Court Runs Through Capitol Hill

September 23, 2020
(This post originally appeared on Legislative Procedure.) President Donald Trump announced that he will soon nominate someone to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Read More
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The Senate isn’t the problem, senators are

September 22, 2020
According to today’s conventional wisdom, people are deeply divided about politics. Liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans, are at odds with one another when it comes to identifying the problems… Read More