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Articles on US Congress

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Bills have a long journey that includes going through the parliamentarian’s office in the Senate. Here, a corridor in the Senate. dkfielding/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The obscure, unelected Senate official whose rulings can help – or kill – a bill’s chance to pass

The Senate has a lot of rules, and its parliamentarian interprets what those rules allow – and what they don't. That can mean a bill will face either huge obstacles, or very few obstacles to passage.
After mass shootings, there are more calls for gun control. Here’s one in Boulder, Colo., where 10 people died in a shooting. Jason Connolly / AFP/Getty Images

Gun control fails quickly in Congress after each mass shooting, but states often act – including to loosen gun laws

After mass shootings, politicians in Washington have failed to pass new gun control legislation, despite public pressure. But laws are being passed at the state level, largely to loosen restrictions.
U.S. taxpayers spend more than $2 billion annually in tax preparation fees. Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images

Why can’t the IRS just send Americans a refund – or a bill?

Dozens of prosperous countries save billions of dollars and hours annually by not requiring residents to fill out tax returns, so what is the United States waiting for?
Government spending bills that cost billions or trillions of dollars can seem abstract. Siri Stafford/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Support for Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package may not be as broad as it seems – it’s all a matter of perspective

It's awfully hard to wrap your mind around a sum that large. But converting it to a more bite-size representation can affect a voter's willingness to support government spending.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats meet with reporters before the House voted to pass a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package on Feb. 26, 2021. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Why using reconciliation to pass Biden’s COVID-19 stimulus bill violates the original purpose of the process

In 1974, Congress invented the reconciliation process to reduce deficits. More recently, reconciliation has been used in ways that increase the deficit. A public policy scholar explains the process.
One study found that 95% of baby foods tested contained at least one heavy metal. Plume Creative via Getty Images

How safe is your baby food?

Reports from baby food companies show questionable levels of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals. Here's what parents need to know.
Laws and policy are being made in Washington – both inside Congress and out. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Debunking the myth of legislative gridlock

The idea that Washington, DC is paralyzed by gridlock rests on half-truths about the legislative process and a basic misunderstanding of how contemporary policymaking works.

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