ICYMI: Top reads on Congress

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By Marian Currinder

Senate

Niels Lesniewski, “Senators Keeping Hope — and ‘Regular Order’ — Alive,” Roll Call:

“Does the Senate’s sudden appetite for “regular order” have any chance of continuing through the summer, particularly when it comes to writing spending bills? “One only hopes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Appropriators seem to be able to get along better than other people.””

Jordan Fabian, “Trump renews call to end filibuster amid immigration furor,” The Hill:

“President Trump on Thursday renewed his call to end the filibuster in the Senate, venting his frustration as his immigration agenda has hit a stalemate on Capitol Hill.”

Gregory Koger, “How Democrats can shut down the Senate,” Vox:

“Let’s say Democrats want to shut down the center in order to force a vote on one of their own proposals — for example, a bill to prevent the federal government from separating parents and children as they seek asylum at our nation’s borders. They can do it anytime they want. Let me explain.”

Jeff Greenfield, “Trump Is Nothing Without the Senate,” Politico:

“It’s the Senate that has been the most significant political player of the past four years. Although the president has made himself the obsessive focus of friends and foes, it was the Republican capture and retention of the Senate in 2014 and 2016 that was and is the key to what Trump has wrought.”

House

Jonathan Bernstein, “The House Makes Doing Nothing Look Hard,” Bloomberg:

“If both the farm bill and an immigration measure actually reach the floor on Thursday, the House is going to look like a real legislative body, at least on the surface. Don’t be fooled.”

Matt Fuller, “Tensions Run High For Republicans As House Heads To Doomed Immigration Votes,” Huffington Post:

“Conservatives took issue with leaders putting up an older version of the Goodlatte bill because aides were telling reporters that it was the Freedom Caucus who wanted a vote on the proposal “as introduced.” Conservatives say that was never their demand, and, according to a source with knowledge of the exchange, when Meadows confronted Ryan about the claim, Ryan then said it was the moderates who demanded the original version of Goodlatte.”

Melanie Zanona, “Advocacy group seeks key pledges from next Speaker,” The Hill:

“A bipartisan advocacy group is launching an ambitious effort to overhaul how the House conducts legislative business, with the goal of breaking through the partisan gridlock that has long paralyzed Congress.”

Elena Schneider and Heather Caygle, “Democratic candidates vow to dump Pelosi,” Politico:

“If Democrats win the House by a narrow margin, the 78-year-old leader could lose only a handful of lawmakers' support and still secure the 218 votes needed to clinch the speakership in a floor vote.”

Jonathan Bernstein, “Nancy Pelosi Is a Nonissue,” Bloomberg:

“Pelosi has been an excellent politician and was an effective speaker. While I’ve criticized her on some grounds, I’d say on balance Democrats are lucky to have her, and I suspect a lot of those who turn against her on the campaign trail will come to appreciate her if she does have another term as speaker in her future.”

Paul Krawzak, “House Budget Resolution May Have Short Lifespan,” Roll Call:

“Amid virtually no interest from the Senate, Democrats in either chamber, and even other House Republicans, Budget Chairman Steve Womack is apparently pushing forward with a fiscal 2019 budget resolution this week.”

Congress, Miscellaneous

Yuval Levin, “Congress Is Weak Because Its Members Want It to Be Weak, Commentary:

“So whether you measure it by legislation, public approval, member satisfaction, even just committee work or each house’s ability to live by its own rules and procedures, the institution looks awfully dysfunctional. And the primary reason for that dysfunction may be the worst news of all: Congress is weak because its members want it to be.”

Saikrishna Bangalore Prakash, “Congress as Elephant,” Virginia Law Review:

“All in all, while modern scholars tend to obsess about the imperial presidency, Congress has the tools to dominate its interbranch rivals. There were sound reasons why many Founders considered the legislature the most formidable. As Publius warned, “The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.” In time, Congress could reassert its many latent prerogatives and rediscover the ability to bend the executive to its will.”

Greg Weiner, “A Stealthy Congressional Abdication,” Law and Liberty:

“What makes the Justice Department’s decision not to defend the shell of the individual mandate and the consumer-protection provisions of Obamacare remarkable is that Republicans fully control Congress and the White House. Repealing those provisions would be an afternoon’s work if they had the political will. The highest hurdle would be the compromise required to surmount a Senate filibuster.”

Patrick Kelley, “Trump’s Space Force Order Would Need Congressional Action,” Roll Call:

“Despite being commander in chief of the armed forces, Trump will need Congress’s help to establish a new space service. “The president can’t create a new military service on his own,” said Todd Harrison, director of the aerospace security project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There’s going to have to be legislation.””

Alex Gangitano, “Pete Olson on Respect in Congress: ‘We’ve Lost That’,” Roll Call:

“Rep. Pete Olson tries to make sure his staffers get home at a reasonable hour because he remembers long nights on the Senate floor, endless debates and the chaos of 9/11. Before he ran for Congress in 2008, the Texas Republican worked for Sen. Phil Grammand his successor John Cornyn, now the majority whip.”

Keturah Hetrick, "For young staffers, retirement can lead to opportunity," Legistorm:

"Congressional jobseekers might be wary of going to work for a lame-duck boss who is about to retire from Congress, with all the ineffectiveness and job instability that that may imply. But it could also mean a great career boost.