Recent work supports “structured consent” approach to decision-making

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February 26, 2019
Nearly ten years ago, I set out to tell a story about the Senate that was not being told. I wanted to understand better how the Senate actually worked at… Read More

R Street Explainer: How the minority party can impact legislation in today’s Congress

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February 19, 2019
The House of Representatives is fundamentally a majoritarian institution. That is, any coalition or party with the majority of votes can largely dominate the chamber’s agenda, scheduling, procedure and outcomes. Read More

McConnell maintains firm grip despite pledging to restore the Senate

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February 12, 2019
In January 2014, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made the case that Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was running the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body” into the… Read More

Rule on start-up funding for Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress approved

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February 7, 2019
On January 29, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), chair of the Committee on House Administration, introduced H. Res. 86, “providing amounts for the expenses of the Select Committee… Read More

Senate rules of procedure

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February 5, 2019
The Senate’s rules of procedure are comprised of five parts: the Constitution; Standing Rules; statutory rules; standing orders; and precedents. The interaction of these component parts creates the procedural architecture… Read More

Republicans propose using standing order to nuke Senate rules

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January 29, 2019
Senate Republicans are threatening to go nuclear if Democrats do not support a deal to lower the maximum amount of debate time that presidential nominations can receive after cloture is… Read More

McConnell-Schumer agreement attempts to block unauthorized action

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January 24, 2019
Last year, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced shortly before the Senate adjourned for the holidays that he and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY., agreed that the… Read More

Real purpose of the Senate: To check the actions of the House

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December 6, 2018
Niccolò Machiavelli was one of the principal architects of American constitutionalism. A heterodox thinker in his day, Machiavelli observed in his Discourses on Livy (1531): “Those who blame the quarrels of the Senate… Read More

Getting back to governing

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December 3, 2018
Last September, one of us (Spulak) co-authored an op-ed with George Crawford, another former Democratic staff director of the House Rules Committee, suggesting a simple, one-step way “to fix” Congress:… Read More

Special House rules explained

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November 20, 2018
In teaching introductory legislative procedure, the House Rules Committee is justifiably given a fair amount of attention given its outsized role in determining policy consideration for the… Read More