Last November's midterm elections shifted Congress to a Democratic leadership, and with it, a new agenda and promise to change how business is done. On the day the 110th Congress returns from its August recess—September 4—Brookings's Mending the Broken Branch project hosted an event to assess Congress's performance to date and what to expect in the coming months.
Brookings senior fellows Thomas E. Mann and Sarah Binder graded congressional accomplishments this year on the war in Iraq and a range of domestic issues—including health care, immigration, energy and education reform—and examined legislators' progress in reforming the way they do business. They were joined by American Enterprise Institute resident scholar Norman Ornstein, who recently published with Mann The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track (Oxford University Press, 2006). After the program, panelists took audience questions.
The Mending the Broken Branch project examined policy-making and oversight activity in the 110th Congress as well as action on key issues to provide a complete picture of the legislative branch's efforts to mend itself. The project will issue regular reports as it monitors Congress's performance under its new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.