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How the Senate Can Beat Gridlock—and Why That’s Not Always a Good Thing

Published by USC Bedrosian Center on

by Anthony Orlando

Americans are fed up with gridlock. Congress is one of the least popular institutions in the country. So you might think the solution is for legislators to pass major legislation. But what if the solution is even more controversial than the problem? If you’ve heard of “budget reconciliation,” you probably didn’t hear unanimously good things. That’s because it’s a risky game…a fascinating, strategic game deep in the trenches of our democratic tug-of-war.

In this episode, Molly E. Reynolds teaches us how budget reconciliation works, where it came from, how it’s being wielded, and why you should care.

Dr. Reynolds is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and the author of the recent book Exceptions to the Rule: The Politics of Filibuster Limitations in the U.S. Senate. To learn more, you can go to

To listen to this episode of Our American Discourse, click the arrow in the player here. Or download it and subscribe through ApplePodcasts, Soundcloud, or Google Play, Stitcher, or your favorite podcasting app – click the links or search “usc bedrosian.”

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Related Reading

What’s Wrong with the Congressional Budget Process?” by Molly E. Reynolds

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Reconciliation Bill (Again)” by Molly E. Reynolds

Considering the Budget Resolution in the Senate: Challenges and Consequences of Reform” by Molly E. Reynolds

Republicans Learn the Limits of Reconciliation with Failed ACA Repeal” by Molly E. Reynolds

What Republicans Must Answer About Their Next Steps on Health Care” by Molly E. Reynolds



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