Oct
30
12:00 PM12:00

The Threat of the Congressional Primary and its Haunting, Driving Influence on Incumbents

Congressional primary elections are pinpointed as one of the leading causes of polarization on Capitol Hill and as a focal point of member action. However, analysis of the validity of that threat shows that since 1970, only 65% of re-election challenges have been competitive, with only 2.8% successful in unseating the incumbent. With such a slight rate of success, how has the threat of being primaried held such an influential effect on members' agendas and actions? And how could it be that the liberal and conservative activist primary challengers have had such a polarizing effect on Congress if they only rarely win?

In their newly released paper, Anticipating Trouble: Congressional Primaries and Incumbent Behavior, Brookings Senior Fellow of Governance Studies Elaine Kamarck and R Street Senior Governance Fellow James Wallner take on this conundrum to answer the question of how incumbents' behaviors change when considering the threat of a primary challenger and the long-term effects of this behavior.

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Sep
21
12:00 PM12:00

Can the House Strengthen Civil Enforcement of Subpoenas to the Executive Branch through Rules Changes?

The executive branch has obstructed legislative information gathering with increasing frequency and effectiveness for the better part of the last two decades. Executive agencies have become ever more adept at undermining congressional inquiry by asserting a panoply of non-constitutional privileges, meritless objections, and questionable policy, legal, and procedural delaying tactics. AT this meeting we will discuss a mens for strengthening the House’s oversight hand.

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Jun
25
12:00 PM12:00

Tired of living shutdown to shutdown? Let's discuss how to Build a Better Budget Process.

Most acknowledge the congressional budget process is broken. But, what realistic steps can we take to fix it? In this Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group session, a diverse panel will discuss tangible proposals Congress can take to  restore congressional power of the purse. Topics will include: the current fiscal state of the U.S.; debt limit and spending caps; principles for a better budget process; authority of Budget Committees; and the value of independent budgetary information.

    RSVP here

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    May
    25
    12:00 PM12:00

    Congress and National Security

    This gathering of the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group convenes a panel of national security experts who will discuss a wide range of vital topics including: Congress' role in national security and foreign policy, past and present; the use of authorizations of military force (AUMF); emerging threats, including issues of cybersecurity, and more. Is Congress up to the job on these critical issues? Does it have the resources? What more can it do?

    RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/congress-and-national-security-tickets-45950808104

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    Feb
    20
    12:00 PM12:00

    Open Discussion on Congressional Budget Reform

    The fifteenth meeting of the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group will take stock of the broken congressional budget process and likelihood of its reform with our budget expert guests, Maya MacGuineas and Philip Joyce. Discussion topics will range from the latest shutdown threats and spending deals to perennial reform proposals such as biennial budgeting. 

    RSVP at https://congressionalbudgetreform.splashthat.com/

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    Jan
    23
    12:00 PM12:00

    Power in the House: The House Freedom Caucus and Intraparty Organizations

    The fourteenth meeting of the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group will examine the political and policy influence of intraparty organizations in the House of Representatives. Catholic University Professor of Politics, Matt Green, will discuss his work on the House Freedom Caucus and how it can help us understand the conditions under which intraparty organizations will be influential.

    RSVP at https://intrapartyorganizations.splashthat.com/

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    Oct
    19
    12:00 PM12:00

    Meeting #5: Should We Revive the Office of Technology Assessment?

    The fifth meeting of the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group is on Wednesday, October 19 at 12pm in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center. The subject to be discussed is, "Should We Revive the Office of Technology Assessment?" Lunch will be provided.

    RSVP: https://officeoftechnologyassessment.splashthat.com/

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    May
    18
    12:00 PM12:00

    Inaugural Meeting

    New America and the R Street Institute launched the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group in Spring 2016. The impetus for establishing the group is the widespread perception that Congress is dysfunctional.
     
    The Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group aims to assess the capacity of Congress to perform its constitutional duties; and to collaborate on ideas for improving the legislative branch’s performance in our separation of powers system. Meetings are open to Capitol Hill staff, experts on Congress, and anyone who cares about the well-being of America’s legislative branch.

    Please join our inaugural meeting on Wednesday, May 18th from 12:00-1:30 in 2226 Rayburn House Office Building. Lunch will be served. Space is limited, so please RSVP quickly to reserve your place.
     
    Our first event we will have opening remarks by Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., and Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., and feature a discussion led by Lee Drutman, Senior Fellow, New America Political Reform Program and Kevin Kosar, Senior Fellow, R Street Institute Governance Project. 

    RSVP: https://letsmakecongressgreatagain.splashthat.com/

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