We’ve previously written about the rules that rule the rules, which has to be one of the world’s wonkiest subjects. In short, each party in the House and Senate has rules that govern their conference or caucus, leading to different party rules for (1) House Democrats, (2) House Republicans, (3) Senate Democrats, and (4) Senate Republicans.
Party rules shape the power structure inside the party: they govern things like committee chair assignments and term limits for leadership. These rules can empower rank and file members and give them a voice, strengthen committees, or consolidate power in the hands of a few at the top. Continue reading “Rule of Law(makers)”→
On Saturday, white nationalists including neo-Nazis, the KKK, and the “alt-right” held a rally/riot in Charlottesville, VA. In the immediate aftermath, President Trump said “many sides” were to blame for the violence. Again on Tuesday, Trump drew a moral equivalency between white nationalists and those who opposed them in Charlottesville. These statements were widely interpreted by many, including by white nationalists, to be a tacit endorsement of white nationalism. How did Congress react?
We analyzed 327 communications issued by Members of Congress on Saturday, August 12th. On that day slightly more than half of Congress weighed in on Twitter and in press releases — 152 Democrats and 133 Republicans (285 total). When we analyzed the language and the timing of congressional statements, several trends emerged.
2/3s of those who weighed in on Charlottesville prior to Trump’s 3:33 p.m. statement were Democrats.
Democrats were 3 to 7 times more likely to condemn white nationalists by name than Republicans.
Only 7% of Congress condemned white nationalistsby name prior to Trump’s 3:33 p.m. speech — 34 Democrats, 5 Republicans, and 1 Independent.
By the end of the day, 19% of Congress condemned white nationalists by name — 77 Democrats, 24 Republicans, and 1 Independent.
Update at 12:52 pm on Tuesday: After an outpouring of phone calls, emails, tweets and an avalanche of news stories, House Republicans held a secret meeting just before noon and pulled the Goodlatte amendment, which would have eviscerated the Office of Congressional Ethics. While we have won for now, members are quoted as saying they’re going to revisit the issue later this year. We must remain vigilant. Continue reading “Effort Underway to Undermine the House’s Ethics Watchdog”→
Today the House of Representatives’ Committee on House Administration hosted its fifth annual Legislative Data & Transparency Conference in the U.S. Capitol. The Conference brought together staff from House and Senate and legislative support offices, civil society advocates, technologists, overseas legislatures, and featured a speech by House Speaker Paul Ryan. More than 150 people attended, with more participating online.
There’s too much to recap from the conference — my notes, taken in real-time, are online, as is a video of the proceedings — but this blogpost will focus on the highlights. Once again, the most important aspect of the conference was that it brought together all the internal and external stakeholders to work together, announce progress, celebrate advances, and educate one another. It was a tremendous success. Continue reading “Report from the 2016 Legislative Data & Transparency Conference”→
There is a weird difference in how Democrats and Republicans refer to the Democratic Party, and it comes down to the suffix “ic.” Republicans overwhelmingly use the term “Democrat Party,” while both democrats and republicans use the phrase “Democratic Party.”