Category Archives: Congressional Briefings

The National History Center’s Congressional Briefings are designed to provide historical context and perspective on current issues for policy makers and members of their staff. The speakers reflect upon historical events and developments that have influenced the evolution of current policies and provide knowledge pertinent to the consideration of policy alternatives.

Congressional Reform

At February’s Congressional Briefing, “How Congress Reforms Itself: Historical Perspectives on Rules Changes” — recently aired on C-SPAN — leading historians of both bodies of Congress addressed past changes to rules and the overall history of congressional reform and rule changes since 1789. A panel of four historians — Matthew Wasniewski (House of Representatives), Daniel S. Holt (Senate), John Lawrence (University of California’s Washington Center), and moderator Michele Swers (Georgetown University) — presented perspectives on how these modifications have changed the way congress works over time, and they explored some of the unintended consequences of reform efforts.

A video recording of the briefing can be found here, in C-SPAN’s video library.

A briefing summary, with bios of the panelists, is available here.

History of US Refugee Policy

In October, the National History Center hosted a congressional briefing on the history of US refugee policy.  At the briefing, Carl Bon Tempo (SUNY-Albany) and Maria Cristina Garcia (Cornell) outlined the evolution of refugee policy from the immediate postwar period through the Refugee Act of 1980.

A video recording of the briefing is available here, in C-SPAN’s video library.  You can read a one-page briefing summary here.

Read Dane Kennedy’s recap of the event, “Myths and Realities of the US Refugee Policy,” for Perspectives Daily.

Historical Perspectives on Federal Agricultural Policy

In August, the National History Center hosted a congressional briefing on the history of US agricultural policy.  At the briefing, Anne Effland (USDA), Sarah Phillips (Boston University), and David Hamilton (University of Kentucky) discussed the origins of the modern “Farm Bill,” and the evolution of federal agricultural policy since 1970.

A video recording of the briefing is available here, in C-SPAN’s video library.  You can read a one-page briefing summary here.

Read Dane Kennedy’s recap of the event, “Ground Strategy: How Federal Farm Policy Shaped America,” for Perspectives Daily.