Many have commented on how much Congress has changed over the last 40 years for a variety of reasons, most noticeably from the increasing importance of political parties in the legislative process and their increased polarization from each other. Has this trend toward what some political scientists have termed, "conditional party government" provided a sharper choice for voters to choose from or has it pushed Congress into a parliamentary cul de sac with no central accountability exit ramps at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue? These were some of the questions this roundtable of former members, congressional staff and area political scientists tackled along with the ultimate question of whether there is any way to restore a greater measure of deliberation and bipartisan national problem-solving.
In the wake of the controversial 2000 presidential election - and high-profile close elections like those in 2008 and 2010 in Minnesota - scholars and practitioners alike are examining how states can best handle the challenges of disputed elections. Political considerations often get top billing, but the legal questions presented are often the most difficult to resolve. Add the fact that new technology and procedures are reshaping elections across the country and it becomes clear that the nation needs to think hard - and well in advance - how to resolve disputes about who actually won an election.
The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) Housing Commission held a public forum in Winter Park, Florida to discuss the state’s response to pressures on Florida’s housing market, where foreclosures are nearly double the national average. According to CoreLogic’s February foreclosure report, the Orlando and Tampa metros tied for the highest foreclosure rate, with 12.3 percent (1 in 8) of homes with a mortgage in some stage of the foreclosure process.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently stated that Iranian officials "have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime."
BPC announced the new members of its Homeland Security Project and examined the domestic nature of the Iranian threat, including actions that the U.S. can take to be better prepared to prevent and respond to transnational terrorism.
Since 2009, the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) has convened an Annual Political Summit in New Orleans. Far beyond the Beltway, BPC's summit brings together Washington's top leaders to discuss the current political landscape and examine where the two parties may find common ground going forward to address the nation’s key policy issues.
Hosted by popular political duo James Carville and Mary Matalin, the event features current and former elected officials, national political strategists from both sides of the aisle, and prominent pollsters and journalists.
Is there a demographic trend that favors either party? Ruy Teixeira, author of The Emerging Democratic Majority, has argued that the Democratic future is bright with the growth of the Hispanic vote and the move of younger educated voters to the Democratic Party. Sean Trende, in his recently released The Lost Majority: Why the Future of Government Is Up for Grabs - and Who Will Take It, argues that the future is less certain for Republicans and Democrats. Both the Reagan coalition and the Clinton/Obama coalition have fractures, and there is no clear indication of what the future holds.
The Eno Center for Transportation presented its recently completed paper on the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). NextGen is a comprehensive overhaul of our National Airspace System, replacing an aging ground-based radar system, with a satellite/GPS based system. With a continuous roll-out of improvements and upgrades, NextGen has the potential to guide and track air traffic with more precision and efficiency, reducing congestion, fuel consumption, noise and pollution.
With the release of the House Republican’s Fiscal Year 2013 budget resolution, budgetary issues are roaring back to the front burner. National Journal held a policy summit that took a substantive look at each of the leading budget proposals. Where might budgetary compromise and confrontation exist in the competing plans? What does each plan say about the political parties’ respective vision for the country? How are issues like entitlement reform or changes in the federal tax code addressed? And finally, given the long-standing political impasse on budgetary issues, is passing a comprehensive budget still possible, or is the age of continuing resolutions the “new normal” in polarized Washington?
If the U.S. is to achieve a timely transition to reliable, low-cost, low-carbon energy, we must make continued advances in a suite of energy technologies. Increasingly, the Department of Defense (DoD) is recognized as a powerful driver of advanced energy technologies. Although DoD has been one of the most potent innovators in history, DoD's security mission will always take priority. Therefore, a key challenge for policymakers is maximizing DoD's capacity to contribute to progress on energy-related technologies in ways that also advance its security mission. BPC hosted a discussion of the opportunities and challenges at DoD for accelerating advanced energy technologies. The conversation featured leading defense and innovation experts and highlighted findings from a new BPC-commissioned report, Energy Innovation at the Department of Defense: Assessing the Opportunities, by the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes at Arizona State University and the Clean Air Task Force.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) have received considerable attention in recent years from the policy and technology communities in the U.S. and internationally. BPC held an expert briefing on promising domestic and foreign SMR technologies, as well as a discussion of the business and technical case for SMR deployment and the possible role of government support for commercialization.