Act of Congress: How America's Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn't
This event was streamed live by C-SPAN2 Book TV.
In his new book, Act of Congress: How America’s Essential Institution Works, and How It Doesn’t (Knopf, 2013), author Robert G. Kaiser chronicles the dramatic story of Congress’ struggle to pass financial reform overhaul in the wake of the financial collapse in 2008. As a reporter with the Washington Post, Kaiser was a first-hand observer of the legislative process that resulted in The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, one of the most significant pieces of legislation regulating Wall Street in recent memory. In this book, Kaiser pulls back the curtain and shows us the inner machinery—the politics and players, the successes and the failures—of the U.S. Congress.
On May 28, as part of the Management and Leadership Initiative, Governance Studies at Brookings hosted a book event for Act of Congress, which discusses lessons from the process of passing Dodd-Frank and the impact of partisanship, lobbyists, and staffers on the legislative and policymaking process. Moderated by Senior Fellow E.J. Dionne, author Robert G. Kaiser presented his findings, followed by the reflections of Senator Chris Dodd, one of the two legislators who worked to move these reforms through Congress, and for whom the act is named, and Brookings scholar Tom Mann.
I think it's unusual for the chief of staff to go on a trip, particularly on a trip this long. The chief of staff is usually more of a chief operating officer in the White House itself, and normally when your principal—whether it's the president himself or the head of Cabinet agency—goes abroad, you have his deputy and those folks staying behind to help manage operations in his absence.