8 episodes

Congress is the least liked and perhaps least understood part of government. But it’s vital to our constitutional government. Congress is the only branch equipped to work through our diverse nation’s disagreements and decide on the law. To better understand the First Branch, join host Kevin Kosar and guests as they explain its infrastructure, culture, procedures, history, and more.

Understanding Congres‪s‬ Kevin Kosar

    • Government
    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Congress is the least liked and perhaps least understood part of government. But it’s vital to our constitutional government. Congress is the only branch equipped to work through our diverse nation’s disagreements and decide on the law. To better understand the First Branch, join host Kevin Kosar and guests as they explain its infrastructure, culture, procedures, history, and more.

    What does the House Rules Committee do? (with Don Wolfensberger)

    What does the House Rules Committee do? (with Don Wolfensberger)

    The subject of today’s episode is, “What does the House rules committee do?”
    My guest is https://bipartisanpolicy.org/person/donald-r-wolfensberger/ (Don Wolfensberger). He is a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and a https://www.wilsoncenter.org/person/donald-wolfensberger (scholar) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. He served as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives for 28 years and was the director of the Rules Committee. Don is the author of two books: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/changing-cultures-in-congress/9780231190152 (Changing Cultures in Congress: From Fair Play to Power Plays), and https://www.wilsoncenter.org/book/congress-and-the-people-deliberative-democracy-trial (Congress and the People: Deliberative Democracy on Trial).

    • 19 min
    How Congress tricks Americans (with David Schoenbrod)

    How Congress tricks Americans (with David Schoenbrod)

    “How Congress tricks Americans” — that is the topic of this episode.
    My guest is https://www.nyls.edu/faculty/david-schoenbrod/ (Prof. David Schoenbrod) the author of the book, https://www.amazon.com/DC-Confidential-Inside-Tricks-Washington/dp/1594039119 (DC Confidential: Inside the Five Tricks of Washington). David is a Trustee Professor at New York Law School, where he teaches and studies environmental law, regulation, and other heady subjects. He also is a senior fellow at the https://www.niskanencenter.org/ (Niskanen Center).

    • 17 min
    Is Congress broken? (with John J. Pitney)

    Is Congress broken? (with John J. Pitney)

    “Is Congress Broken?” — that is the topic of this episode. My guest is https://www.cmc.edu/academic/faculty/profile/john-pitney-jr (Dr. Jack Pitney), the coeditor of the book, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N9VMONC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8andbtkr=1 (Is Congress Broken? The Virtues and Defects of Partisanship and Gridlock). Jack is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Politics at Claremont McKenna College, where he teaches American politics and government.
    This book, which was coedited by William Connelley and Gary Schmitt, is a marvelous collection of essays written by top scholars. All of the chapters, I should note, are accessible to the lay reader. One need not be a political scientist or academic to enjoy this book, and come away with a greater understanding of the First Branch.

    • 21 min
    How does the budget process work and not work? (with Tori Gorman)

    How does the budget process work and not work? (with Tori Gorman)

    The topic of today's episode is, “How does the budget process work and not work?” My guest is https://www.concordcoalition.org/people/tori-gorman (Tori Gorman), the Policy Director for The Concord Coalition. It is a non-partisan, grassroots organization dedicated to educating the public about federal budget issues, and their consequences for the future. Tori spent 16 years on Capitol Hill where she held director level positions, advising senior members of the budget, appropriations, and tax writing committees in both the House and the Senate. Prior to her career in the federal legislative branch, she was the economist for the Maryland General Assembly.

    • 19 min
    What is the filibuster and does it have a future? (with Molly Reynolds)

    What is the filibuster and does it have a future? (with Molly Reynolds)

    The topic of today's episode is “What is the filibuster?” And does it have a future? My guest is https://www.brookings.edu/experts/molly-e-reynolds/ (Dr. Molly Reynolds), who is a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. She studies Congress, with a focus on how congressional rules and procedures affect domestic policy outcomes. She also supervises the maintenance of the “https://www.brookings.edu/multi-chapter-report/vital-statistics-on-congress/ (Vital Statistics on Congress),” Brookings’ long running resource on the first branch of government. Importantly, for our episode today, Molly is the author of the book https://www.brookings.edu/book/exceptions-to-the-rule/ (Exceptions to the Rule: the Politics of Filibuster Limitations in the US Senate).

    • 23 min
    How does the House of Representatives organize itself for a new Congress? (with Matthew Green)

    How does the House of Representatives organize itself for a new Congress? (with Matthew Green)

    The topic of today's episode is, “How Does the House of Representatives Organize Itself for a New Congress?” My guest is https://politics.catholic.edu/faculty-and-research/faculty-profiles/green-matthew/index.html (Dr. Matthew Green), an extraordinarily accomplished scholar of the U.S. Congress. He has been a professor of politics at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. since 2005, and he received his doctorate from Yale. Matt has authored or coauthored six books, the most recent of which is https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/legislative-hardball/37488C1E94117DFBFF924E5B67188E07 (Legislative Hardball). The first book-length examination of the tactics and effectiveness of the House Freedom Caucus. Matt is also a regular contributor to “https://www.mischiefsoffaction.com/ (Mischiefs of Factions),” a blog about political parties. And he has written about Congress elections and other topics in the Washington Post, Roll Call, and The Hill.

    • 21 min

Customer Reviews

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3 Ratings

North Carolina prof ,

Wonderful, instructive podcast.

A podcast devoted to understanding Congress has never really been tried. And here we finally are, with perhaps the best guide (Kevin Kosar) to its operations in both theory and practice.

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