Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2007


In 2001 - 2006, Republican leadership in the legislature circumvented procedural norms to implement an ideological agenda that precluded the minority party from making alternative proposals and voicing criticisms. With the Republican majority in the Senate falling to 50-50 in 2000, President Bush's assumption of office, despite having lost the popular vote, set the tone for what would become an era of illegitimate procedural reform cloaked in secrecy and deniability. Through closed-door conferences and closed-rules, Republican leadership in the House and Senate turned the clock back on civil liberties, passed unfavorable and convoluted tax cuts, and used transformed health care law.

In this article, the author traces the history of the 2001-2006 "Republican Revolution," and discusses the numerous factors that allowed the majority party to overcome procedural safeguards and push their ideological agenda in the House, Senate, and Court. Tracing the history of Congressional procedure and analyzing key examples of recent Republican abuse, the author suggests that the Republican 2001 - 2006 control over Congressional procedure resulted in democratic unaccountability, imposing upon the new Democratic majority numerous political challenges - and the incentive to conduct themselves differently.



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