Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the Speaker in waiting, reportedly has promised to shift some power over policymaking back to committees. This is good to hear. The history of the House of Representatives over the past 50 years is a story of power flowing upward to the Speaker. As Don Wolfensberger recently pointed out in this publication, for much of the […]
Recent Democratic rhetoric and the longer history of Congress and midterm elections remind us that parties on their way to losing congressional majorities often talk the following way about their legislative agendas: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York declared last week that the party-line passage of the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act… (Read more)
The other week I found myself testifying before the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. Someone on the committee had seen my column grousing about the crazy process used to pass a half billion debt increase last autumn. I was asked to show up and discuss why I thought the People’s House was drowning in a surfeit of […]
How does a bill become a law? These days, it rarely is the “regular order” style described by School House Rock. On July 28, 2022, I testified on the prolixity of House rules for legislating and on the peculiar fact that they so often are waved.
Those of us who have been working to goad Congress to reform itself got some bad news recently. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) lost in his primary, thanks to Illinois’ Democrats redistricting him. Davis is the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration (CHA) and also served on the Select Committee on the Modernization of […]
Recently, I conducted an informal survey. I asked 10 friends and professional colleagues whether they had ever visited the office of their member of Congress. Not a single one of them had. I was not surprised: Until I went to work for Congress in my early 30s, I had not visited a legislator or his […]