Center for American Progress

: Forum on the New Obey Autobiography and the Evolution of the American Congress
Past Event

Forum on the New Obey Autobiography and the Evolution of the American Congress

9:30 - 11:00 AM EDT

Congress is the first branch of American government and many view it as the centerpiece of our democracy. But the American Congress has changed dramatically in recent decades. Understanding those changes and how they affect the country and our ability to govern ourselves is central to building a more effective and more enduring democracy.

Rep. David Obey (D-WI) offers us a unique perspective in understanding how our Congress has changed over the past four decades in a new autobiography, Raising Hell for Justice, the Washington Battles of a Heartland Progressive, due to be released the week of Sept. 10. The Center for American Progress will host a forum on Sept. 10 to talk about the Obey book and the problems facing our legislative branch. Joining Obey will be American Enterprise Institute scholar Norm Ornstein, the co-author of the recent critique of Congress titled Broken Branch, and National Journal reporter Richard Cohen, co-author of the Almanac of American Politics, to discuss “How Congress Evolves: The Perspective of a House Appropriator.”

The panel is expected to talk not only about the changes that have taken place but the forces behind those changes and the challenges facing the current Congress in repairing “the broken branch.”

David S. Broder of The Washington Post called Obey’s book, “more than a shrewd and candid inside look at Congress…a great testament to the enduring values of our system of representative government, a reminder of what public service can really mean when rendered by a person of courage and character.” Mark Shields says, “Obey suffers neither fools nor cheats. . . . Like its author, this book is passionate, honest, and funny.”

Tom Mann of the Brookings Institute commented, “Raising Hell for Justice is a powerful and enlightening political memoir by one of America’s all-time great legislators.”

Featured Panelists:
David R. Obey, Member of Congress
Norman Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute Resident Scholar
Richard Cohen, National Journal Congressional Reporter 

Moderated by:
Scott Lilly, Senior Fellow at Center for American Progress