I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material there. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. (Please let me know if you do not get such an invitation.) I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:
To post questions or comments about the readings before we discuss them in class;
To follow up on class discussions with additional comments or questions.
To post relevant news items or videos.

There are only two major limitations: no coarse language, and no derogatory comments about people at the Claremont Colleges.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Legislative Process II

  • Hearings and celebrity testimony

  • Markup

  • Reporting the HEAR Act

  • A committee report
  • The end of open rules in the House (UPDATE TO GRAPH, CONNELLY, P.95)
  • Motion to proceed  -- health care example

  • Filling the tree -- Cruz gets personal

  • Senate floor debate can get ... testy

  • TENTATIVE List of Simulation Roles

    Here is a tentative list of roles.  For simulation purposes, we are assuming a D majority and add Schumer and McConnell to Finance.*

    Armed Services Committee

    • Jack Reed, RI, chair
    • Kirsten Gillibrand, NY
    • Tim Kaine, VA
    • Elizabeth Warren, MA
    • John McCain, AZ, RMM
    • Tom Cotton, AR
    • Joni Ernst, IA
    Finance Committee

    • Ron Wyden OR, chair
    • Charles Schumer NY, majority leader*
    • Debbie Stabenow MI
    • Maria Cantwell WA
    • Claire McCaskill MO
    • Orrin Hatch UT, RMM
    • Mitch McConnell, KY, minority leader*
    • John Cornyn, TX
    • Tim Scott, SC
    Judiciary Committee

    • Dianne Feinstein, CA, chair
    • Dick Durbin, IL
    • Cory Booker, NJ
    • Kamala Harris, CA
    • Chuck Grassley IA, RMM
    • Ted Cruz, TX
    • Lindsey Graham, SC

    Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    Leadership and Elections

    Yesterday, the New York Times wrote a lengthy piece on the current ideological divide within the Democratic Party. The division highlighted is age, and the article quotes Tim Ryan, who ran for the Minority Leader against Pelosi in 2016. If the Democrats take back the House, the fight for Speaker of The House might be more contentious than previously thought. 

    Today Nate Cohen, the New York Times election specialist, wrote that multiple factors are working against the Republican's bid to maintain the House. The overturning of gerrymandering, incumbents retiring, and Democratic recruiting, are all reasons why Cohen predicts that Dems will take back the House in 2018.

    Monday, February 12, 2018

    The Legislative Process I


      Bill Drafting (Davidson,  220-226)
    The Name Game

    Do They Read The Bills? No.  

    A recent example

    John Conyers:

    The fiscal cliff -- search for "algae"
    The committee system

    Second Paper, Spring 2018

    1.   Pick any bill from the 114th (2015-2017) or 115th (2017-present) Congresses.  Explain its fate. Instead of giving a mere chronology, tell why the measure moved or stalled. What happened to previous versions? Which groups or blocs backed and fought it? Which strategies and tactics did its friends and foes use? Even if it failed or stalled, did it prompt the passage of a similar measure in a different form? Look at parliamentary strategies, major amendments, and roll calls.  Again, you should explain the outcome, not just describe the processFor possible topics, click here.

    2.  Analyze a proposed reform of congressional procedure (e.g., Rand Paul's Read the Bills Act).  Carefully explain arguments for and against the reform.  Would it achieve its goal?  Would it improve the operation of Congress? (The two questions are not necessarily the same.)

    3.  Pick pending legislation that has not yet passed either house.  Write a memo to its prime sponsor detailing a plausible strategy for securing its passage at least in one chamber.  In your answer, consider all phases of the legislative process and take account of the influence of interest groups and the administration.

    Get background from a source such as Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, where you may find the partisan breakdown of roll-call votes. (Use the hardcopy, or the online version at http://library.cqpress.com). 

    Other possible sources include:
    • Essays should be typed, double-spaced, and no more than five pages long. I will not read past the fifth page. 
    • Cite your sources with endnotes in standard Turabian format. Endnote pages do not count against the page limit.
    • Watch your spelling, grammar, diction, and punctuation. Errors will count against you. Return essays (as Word documents, not pdfs) to the Sakai dropbox by 11:59 PM, Friday, March 2. Papers will drop one gradepoint for one day’s lateness, a full letter grade after that.

    Wednesday, February 7, 2018

    A Claremont Moment

    At the University of Minnesota, Professor Kathryn Pearson (CMC 1993) -- author of chapter 8 of Is Congress Broken? -- puts the Ph.D. hood on Paul Snell (CMC 2008). Dr. Snell is now a professor at Pacific University in Oregon.  In the Congress simulation, Prof. Pearson played Secretary of the Treasury Nick Brady -- and Barbara Bush.

    Image may contain: 2 people

    The Candy Desk

    Candy desk.jpg

    The current keeper of the Senate's candy desk is Pat Toomey (R-PA).  A 2017 release from his office:
    WASHINGTON, D.C. - Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) will once again have the sweetest seat in the Senate. In the 115th Congress, Toomey has been assigned and has the responsibility of stocking the Senate's coveted "Candy Desk."
    According to the Secretary of the Senate, in every Congress since 1965, the Candy Desk has been located in the back row of the Republican side, on the aisle and adjacent to the Chamber's most heavily used entrance.
    "Pennsylvania is home to more than 200 confectioners employing 10,000 people," said Sen. Toomey. "I know my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are delighted the Candy Desk will be filled with the Keystone State's best treats. In fact, I am told that Senators implored cloak room and floor staff to make sure Pennsylvania maintained the desk, because -- as we all know -- our candy is the best.
    "My fellow Senators are going to need Pennsylvania's finest chocolates to make it through the many, many votes in the coming weeks. I hope they will set partisanship aside and join me at my desk for some candy.
    "Our state is home to the best confectioners in the world. Hershey's, of course, is headquartered in Central Pennsylvania. Mars makes Three Musketeers in Elizabethtown. Asher's is based in Kulpsville. Just Born creates Peeps in Bethlehem. One senior Republican senator, who shall remain nameless, makes a special request for Gertrude Hawk candies from Dunmore. And there are so many more. I am proud to spotlight the best of Pennsylvania in the Candy Desk."