Reforming Congress – John Lawrence, Former Chief of Staff to Speaker Nancy Pelosi

April 19, 2022  

  • Video
  • 00:09 Intro
  • 00:14 What is your background?
  • 03:18 Why did you seek a role within Congress?
  • 05:27 What did the role of Chief of Staff to the Speaker entail?
  • 10:39 What were the various functions of the Speaker’s Staff?
  • 12:00 How does the legislative function actually operate?
  • 17:15 To what degree is legislation intended to pass?
  • 21:18 How much does an individual Speaker’s personal interests influence legislation?
  • 26:43 How is the schedule determined?
  • 30:23 What factors constrain scheduling flexibility?
  • 35:08 Does the speaker have ultimate control over the schedule?
  • 37:07 What tools does the Chairman have to ensure members appear in Congress?
  • 39:06 What does success mean for a Speaker?
  • 6:16 What does success mean for a Majority Speaker?
  • 51:47 How do your various Chief positions compare?
  • 55:22 How do you assess staff members?
  • 59:43 Can you tell us about your book (The Class of ’74)
  • 1:07:18 What are your thoughts on the dominance of Party?
  • 1:14:39 What incentives are there within Congress to curtail party lines?
  • 1:22:20 Is there a hidden bipartisanship?
  • 1:24:47 Are there legislation that won’t get passed because the minority refuses to express private support?
  • 1:27:12 Is there a set of rules or processes to incentivize bipartisanship?
    [Lightning Round]
  • 1:31:25 What should congressional representation mean?
  • 1:38:21 How would your ideal Congress allocate its time?
  • 1:43:39 How should debate, deliberation, or dialogue occur or be structured in Congress?
  • 1:48:53 What fundamental institutional improvement should Congress make in the next 50 years?
  • 1:54:24 What book or article most shaped your thinking with respect to congressional reform?
  • 1:56:26 Research plans for the long term