Sarah Binder is senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and professor of political science at George Washington University, where she specializes in Congress and legislative politics. Binder’s current research explores the relationship between Congress and the Federal Reserve over the Fed’s hundred-year history. She is also a contributor to the Monkey Cage.
Binder is a former co-editor of Legislative Studies Quarterly, a co-author with Forrest Maltzman of Advice and Dissent: The Struggle to Shape the Federal Judiciary (Brookings, 2009), author of Stalemate: Causes and Consequences of Legislative Gridlock (Brookings, 2003), Minority Rights, Majority Rule: Partisanship and the Development of Congress (Cambridge University Press, 1997), and co-author with Steven S. Smith of Politics or Principle? Filibustering in the United States Senate (Brookings, 1997). Her other work on congressional politics has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, and elsewhere.
Her book on legislative gridlock was awarded the 2003 Richard F. Fenno, Jr. Prize by the American Political Science Association for the best book published on legislative politics, and she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2015.
Binder received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota in 1995 and B.A. from Yale University in 1986. She joined Brookings in 1995 and George Washington University in 1999. Between 1986 and 1990, she served as legislative aide and press secretary to Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Indiana).
"...the extreme rhetoric surrounding the Fed is partly a product of political partisanship, which has "seep[ed] over into how lawmakers, politicians and the public see the Fed."
“The more criticism the Fed gets, it makes it harder on someone like Janet Yellen to maintain the Fed’s reputation as a nonpartisan expert institution that is doing the right thing,” said Sarah Binder, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied the Fed’s relationship with Congress.
The biggest source is the rise of polarization. With a more liberal Democratic Party and a more conservative Republican Party, there are higher and higher levels of partisan team play in Congress. It reduces the incentive to accept a compromise. There’s also increased electoral competition. When was the last time we had a landslide? When the “big enchilada” [all three elected branches] is in reach, why not hold off until your party controls the White House, House, and Senate, and then legislate?