The Senate is gridlocked but not for the reason you might think

July 31, 2019
The Senate is gridlocked. But not in the way we think. Gridlock arises whenever senators choose not to act- to debate legislation in committee and on the floor, offer amendments,… Read More

Why is the Senate gridlocked?

July 30, 2019
The Senate is gridlocked. Political scientists do not fully understand why. More than twenty years ago, Keith Krehbiel observed that “no existing theory or school of thought provides a… Read More

The evolving role of the Senate parliamentarian

July 23, 2019
The Senate’s parliamentarian is an influential figure in present-day Washington. In 2016, former Speaker, Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reportedly recommended to Republicans that they closely follow the position’s current… Read More

The House is more courteous than you might imagine

July 22, 2019
Debate on the House floor heated up Tuesday over Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments regarding recent controversial tweets by President Donald Trump. During consideration of a Democratic resolution to… Read More

The take down that wasn’t: Pelosi and yesterday’s House kerfuffle

July 16, 2019
Official portrait of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, photographed January 11, 2019. Late Tuesday afternoon, a rare level of excitement hit the floor of the House… Read More

How McConnell blocked amendments on the defense bill

July 8, 2019
The Senate voted Monday to begin debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (S. 1790). Senators approved the motion to proceed to… Read More

APSA Task Force Memorandum: Floor and committee processes in the House of Representatives: Issues, options for reform, and potential consequences

July 1, 2019
To:             The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress From:       Molly E. Reynolds, Senior Fellow; Brookings Institution; E. Scott Adler, University of… Read More

Explainer: The House of Representatives committee markup process

June 25, 2019
View/download this House Committee Markup Explainer. Read More

Are amendment strategies learned through experience or contingent on the institution?

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May 27, 2019
Seniority in Congress is a standard explanation for why some legislators are more effective lawmakers. Studies in political science reinforce this assumption with empirical observations that senior members are more… Read More

How the Senate keeps track of its precedents

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April 22, 2019
An intricate architecture of rules and practices governs the legislative process in the Senate. The institution’s procedural structure rests on five interlocking supports: the Constitution; the Standing Rules of the… Read More