The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track
Authors Norman J. Ornstein and Thomas E. Mann suggest that over the past fifteen years, Congress has seen the collapse of the deliberative process, the erosion of the regular order, and a corresponding decline in the quality of legislation passed. The authors believe that the state of today's Congress is worse than it has been in the more than three decades each of them has spent immersed in the dynamics of Congress.
Two former Speakers of the House, Thomas Foley (D-Wash.) and Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), join Ornstein and Mann to discuss the state of Congress today, how we got here, and what it means for governance in the future.
Thomas S. Foley was sworn in as the 25th (12th post WWII) U.S. Ambassador to Japan on November 6, 1997. Prior to taking up his diplomatic post, Ambassador Foley served as the 49th Speaker of the House of Representatives. He was elected to represent the State of Washington's Fifth Congressional District 15 times, and served his constituents for 30 years from January 1965 to December 1994.
Ambassador Foley served as Majority Leader from 1987 until his election as Speaker on June 6, 1989. From 1981 to 1987, he served as Majority Whip, the number three position in the House Leadership.
Born March 6, 1929, Ambassador Foley is a native of Spokane, Washington, and a graduate of the University of Washington and its School of Law.
Newt Gingrich is former speaker of the US House of Representatives. Now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Gingrich continues to advocate for smaller government and what he terms "fundamental values." He is also the founder and General Chairman of the American Solutions for Winning the Future group. On May 11, 2011, Gingrich announced he will seek the Republican nomination to run against Barack Obama in the 2012 United States Presidential election.
Gingrich is the author of Rediscovering God in America and To Try Men's Souls: A Novel of George Washington and the Fight for American Freedom.
Thomas E. Mann
Thomas E. Mann is the W. Averell Harriman Chair and Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution.
The author of numerous books on American government, and a contributor to major magazines and newspapers like Washington Post and New York Times, Mann is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Mann has served as co-director (with Ornstein) of the Transition to Governing Project and senior counselor (with Ornstein) to the Continuity of Government Commission.
Norman J. Ornstein
Norman J. Ornstein is a Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. An election analyst for CBS News, he writes a weekly column called "Congress Inside Out" for Roll Call.
His work has also appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and Foreign Affairs, and he appears regularly on television programs like The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Nightline, and Charlie Rose.
He serves on the board of the Public Broadcasting Service and several other nonprofit groups. Like Mann, he is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland.