Author Archives: Sam Wice

How Congress Can Prevent President Trump from Using His National Emergency Powers to Build the Wall

by Sam Wice — Monday, Jan. 7, 2019@Wice_sam

President Trump has threatened that if Congress does not appropriate money to build a wall along the border with Mexico, then he will build the wall through his national emergency powers. However, if Congress does not want President Trump to build the wall, he cannot build it. The Appropriations Clause states that “[n]o Money shall be drawn […]

Why Federal Employees Will Not Be Working for Free During the Shutdown

by Sam Wice — Monday, Dec. 24, 2018@Wice_sam

Even though 25% of the federal government is shut down, many federal employees are considered essential (i.e., their service is necessary for emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property) and must work during the shutdown. Soon, you might hear about these employees having to work for free during the shutdown. However, […]

Why the Proposed House Rule on Income Taxes Would Not Prevent Democrats from Passing Progressive Legislation

by Sam Wice — Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018@Wice_sam

House Democrats have proposed that, as part of their changes to the House of Representatives’ rules, income-tax increases on the lowest-earning 80% of taxpayers would require a 3/5ths majority in the House of Representatives. This proposed rule has been attacked as antidemocratic and as an obstacle to passing future, Democratic legislation. However, this rule change would […]

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How Democrats Can Oppose the Republicans Only Judicial Hearings

by Sam Wice — Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018@Wice_sam

Even though the U.S. Senate is on recess, Senate Republicans held hearings on judicial nominees, which only Senate Republicans attended. Senate Democrats opposed the hearings as an attempt to prevent serious questioning of the nominees. Unlike the Brett Kavanagh nomination, Senate Democrats have several ways to prevent most of the nominees from being confirmed. First, […]

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Congress Should Follow Its PAYGO Requirements

by Sam Wice — Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018@Wice_sam

Congress and President Trump have increased the deficit by simultaneously increasing spending while cutting revenue. The Department of Treasury found that the deficit has ballooned to $779 billion per year. Partly in response to the ballooning deficit, Congress formed the Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform to propose reforms to the appropriations […]

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President Trump’s Elimination of the Federal COLA Is Likely Illegal

by Sam Wice — Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018@Wice_sam

President Trump recently wrote a letter to Congress explaining why he will eliminate the scheduled cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for federal employees. President Trump argued that “[w]e must maintain efforts to put our Nation on a fiscally sustainable course, and Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases.” However, President Trump’s decision to eliminate the COLA is likely illegal. […]

Proposed Reform of House Rules Would Not Be Enforceable

by Sam Wice — Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018@Wice_sam

With many Democrats already opposing Nancy Pelosi as speaker and many Republicans having already opposed Kevin McCarthy as speaker, whichever party wins the House of Representatives could struggle to get the 218 votes required to win a Speaker of the House election. Seeing an avenue to exchange their votes for reform, the bipartisan Problem Solvers […]

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When to Refer to the U.S. Code Versus the Underlying Statute

by Sam Wice — Wednesday, July 25, 2018@Wice_sam

In the spirit of Professor Nielson’s recent post on in-line versus footnote citations, I wanted to mention a personal pet peeve regarding references to the U.S. Code. The U.S. Code is roughly half non-positive law and half positive law. Even though there are important legal distinctions between the two types of law, attorneys often refer to titles […]

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How Democrats Could Fight the Senate Eliminating Its August Recess

by Sam Wice — Friday, June 15, 2018@Wice_sam

Senator Mitch McConnell recently announced that he intends to eliminate much of the August recess so that the Senate has more time to confirm nominees and pass funding legislation. Senate Republicans want this extra time because even if Republicans have the votes (i.e., 60 for legislation and 50 for nominations), they still need 30 hours […]

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The Death of the Senate as a Deliberative Body

by Sam Wice — Wednesday, May 2, 2018@Wice_sam

When the Senate lowered the threshold for nominees to a simple majority, it kept the 30-hour requirement to overcome a filibuster. While the Republican Senate has been willing to devote 30 hours to overcome filibusters on nominees to more important positions like cabinet secretary and circuit court judge, the floor time has added up quickly. […]

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