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Thomas B. Edsall, “How Much Does Nancy Pelosi Have to Worry About a Left-Center Split?” New York Times:

“Two key wings of the congressional Democratic Party have divergent political interests — on one hand the ascendant progressives led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, many of whom have proudly declared themselves democratic socialists, and on the other the band of moderates who flipped most of the 41 districts that went from red to blue in November.”

Paul Kane, “Democratic divide over Omar’s remarks tests Pelosi’s ability to unify caucus,” Washington Post:

“House Democrats find themselves in one of the trickiest battles on Capitol Hill, trying to prove their unity in the fight against President Trump and on core issues they campaigned on last year.”

Jessie Bur, “Looking inward: Congress’s effort to improve itself,” Federal Times:

“As a fresh Democratic majority begins to set policy and priorities for the House of Representatives, Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., will chair a new Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Kilmer sat down with Federal Times Associate Editor Jessie Bur to talk about how the committee will work to bring Congress into the 21st century.”

Melanie Zanona, Sarah Ferris, and Heather Caygle, “‘It is like high school’: Meet the House’s freshman cliques,” Politico:

“Within the House class of 2018, the biggest in a generation, some of the most high-profile Democratic freshmen have begun to splinter off into their own little cliques. The creation of such alliances is a longtime tradition on Capitol Hill — a play not just for friendship, but influence. Together, these freshman lawmakers have a far better chance of bending the fractious caucus in their direction.”

Jennifer Shutt, “Earmarks won’t be back this year, at least in the House,” Roll Call:

“House Democrats don’t plan to revive home-state earmarks during the upcoming appropriations process, though they expect to continue discussing the issue with their Republican colleagues.”

Jennifer Shutt, “Senate to follow House, keep earmarks out of spending bills,” Roll Call:

“Senate appropriators don’t plan to revive earmarks this year, following the House’s lead set late last week by the Democratic majority across the Capitol.”

Matthew Yglesias, “The Democratic debate over filibuster reform, explained,” Vox:

“Candidates are debating whether to get rid of the filibuster, a procedural quirk that has evolved over time into a nearly insurmountable barrier to most forms of legislation. Once rare, it’s become standard practice in recent years to filibuster everything in the Senate, thus requiring 60 votes to pass anything.”

Burgess Everett and Marianne Levine, “McConnell preps new nuclear option to speed Trump judges,” Politico:

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his GOP caucus have long prioritized confirming conservative judges to lifetime appointments. But they’re about to accelerate their ability to unilaterally approve many nominees in dramatic fashion.”

Judd Gregg, “A serious time for the Senate,” The Hill:

“Political gain will not result from the Republican Senate asserting the right of the entire Senate to be a separate and equal branch of government rather than an adjunct to this or any other president. But even if walking down that path may involve some political discomfort, it is the right and necessary route to take.”

Kate Shaw, “When Executive Privilege and Congressional Oversight Collide, Who Wins?” New York Times:

“Will the White House be able to use executive privilege to successfully block investigators from getting information? When executive privilege and congressional oversight collide, who wins?”

Don Wolfensberger, “National Emergencies Act leaves Congress lacking,” The Hill:

“Whether the president will be barred from his wall-building enterprise by a judicial injunction, pending resolution of the court challenges, remains to be seen. But one can probably wager that in the meantime the Democratic-controlled House will be working on an amendment to the National Emergencies Act that better defines and confines the triggering of future emergencies.”

Amelia Strauss, “The Congress’s Edifice Problem,” First Branch Forecast:

“According to the Architect of the Capitol, it will take several billion dollars to keep the Congress from literally falling apart. This, and much more, was the subject of four legislative branch appropriations hearings this past week.”

William Bianco, “Republicans don’t like the National Science Foundation, and there’s a perfectly good reason for it,” Mischiefs of Faction:

“My research on the National Science Foundation reveals a different motivation. Over the last 25 years, shifts in the states and districts represented by each political party have dramatically reduced the proportion of grants awarded to Republican constituencies. Leaving Republican rhetoric aside, their complaints about the NSF and other federal science agencies reflect a simple truth: These programs disproportionately benefit people and organizations represented by Democrats.”

Brookings Institution, “Vital Statistics on Congress: Data on the U.S. Congress, Updated March 2019,” Brookings Institution:

Vital Statistics on Congress, first published in 1980, long ago became the go-to source of impartial data on the United States Congress. Vital Statistics’ purpose is to collect and provide useful data on America’s first branch of government, including data on the composition of its membership, its formal procedure (such as the use of the filibuster), informal norms, party structure, and staff.”

Griffin Connolly, “The conservative House Freedom Caucus is launching a podcast series,” Roll Call:

“The conservative House Freedom Caucus is launching a podcast series, marking the first time an organized group in Congress will host its own show.”

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Marian Currinder
Marian Currinder is a senior fellow with the R Street Institute’s Governance Project and editor of LegBranch.org. Marian previously served as senio...

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