Over the last three decades majority parties in Congress have come to dominate the policy agenda, often at the expense of committees and deliberative lawmaking. In this article from Roll Call's Procedural Politics column, Wolfensberger finds evidence of this power shift in the growing prominence of leadership staff over committee staff and in the number of unreported bills given major status by the party leaders.
In its August 2003 budget and economic update, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected a $401 billion deficit this year, and $480 billion next year, with no sign of a surplus reemerging until 2012. How will Congress deal with this new sea of red ink? Will mounting deficits be an issue in the 2004 presidential and congressional campaigns? These were some of the issues that were explored at this recent Congress Project seminar.
October 15, 2007 By Don Wolfensberger,Roll Call Contributing Writer
Two prominent political scientists claim Republicans are principally to blame for Washington’s dysfunction because they are more extreme and less inclined to compromise. In this article, Don Wolfensberger notes Congress has been just as dysfunctional under Democratic majorities and the fault lies in the increasing polarization between the parties and the imperatives of “the permanent campaign” to hold on to power by shaping legislation for political purposes rather than finding common ground in the national interest.
One of President Obama's first orders of business in office was to create a White House Office of Urban Affairs to coordinate the various agencies working on pieces of urban policies. Mercedes Marquez of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and experts outside the government takes stock of the efforts to date.