President Obama is asking Congress to renew a fast-track government reorganization process that expired in 1984. He would first use the process to submit a plan to consolidate various trade-related agencies and functions in a newly name and reconfigured Commerce Department. Congress is leery of giving presidents carte blanch authority to get an up-or-down vote on their plans, especially under divided party government. There is nothing to prevent Congress from using the normal legislative process to deliberate and amend the president’s reorganization proposals.
June 18, 2007 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer
Post-election sessions of Congress are usually unproductive and unpredictable. And yet lame-duck sessions have been held in nine of the last ten Congresses, counting this one. It’s a sign of Congress’s growing propensity to procrastinate on even its most routine business. This time the so-called “fiscal cliff” of expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts threatens another recession if Congress doesn’t act.
October 10, 2006 By Don WolfensbergerRoll Call Contributing Writer
Ideological differences in Congress do not account for all of the hyperpartisanship. Sometimes parties draw the lines simply to advance their electoral interests.
Remarks of Don Wolfensberger before the Executive Council on Diplomacy Briefing of Foreign Diplomats on "The Washington Roadmap: How Congress Works." April 8, 2004