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The Discharge Petition: Brookings Scholars Explain the Politics of Procedure

(L-R) U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) stand together during a news conference with fellow House Republicans at the U.S. Capitol in Washington (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst).

The House of Representatives rarely uses the “Discharge Petition.” Yet, as the government shutdown continues and gridlock remains, House Democrats have floated the idea of the discharge petition as the path to resolution. In a series of posts, Brookings’ Governance Studies scholars and FixGov contributors have weighed in on the procedure, strategy and benefits and costs of this tool. Below is a roundup of these items.


In Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog on Thursday, Senior Fellow Sarah Binder engaged whether the discharge petition was feasible and whether political costs would likely limit its use. Click to read Sarah’s “Governing from the Monkey Cage, discharge rule edition.”


On Brookings’ FixGov Blog on Thursday, Fellow Molly Jackman detailed the technical processes involved in the discharge process (from petition to passage). She notes the uphill battle facing any group seeking to advance such action. She also uses some of her prior research to put the action into historical perspective. Click to read Molly’s “Shutting Down the Government Shutdown: The Discharge Petition in the House.”


This morning, Sarah Binder posted another item on Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog about the discharge petition. In it, she notes the historical lessons learned from the use and attempted use of this procedure, and questions its viability in resolving the current budget standoff. Click to read Sarah’s “Dis-charge! Historical data and prospects for success.”


Happy Reading!
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