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Civil Discourse

Companion to the podcast

Welcome to Civil Discourse

Nia and Aughie explain the reasons for the podcast, the expected format, and the hoped-for outcomes.

15 Unicorns: Becoming a Department Secretary

15 Unicorns Pt. 1:

This podcast, 15 Unicorns Pt. 1, is one in a series of three about the process of becoming a cabinet secretary for the US Government. In this part, the key elements needed to be considered for the nomination are discussed. These include who they know and/or their importance to the ruling party, previous government expertise, connection to the president, and expertise in the field. In addition, the vetting process is reviewed and key benchmarks are noted.

15 Unicorns Pt. 2:

This podcast, 15 Unicorns Pt. 2 continues the discussion about process of becoming a cabinet Secretary in the US Government, and focuses on the nomination document for Alex Azar, II to be the Secretary of Health and Human services before the Committee on Finance. The document (which has been heavily wordsmithed by lawyers, speech writers, etc.) is used to lay out the convincing groundwork prior to the nominee talking. The idiosyncrasies of the confirmation process are revealed including what happens when the confirmation is opposed and why.

15 Unicorns Pt. 3:

This final podcast in the 15 Unicorns series delves into the confirmation hearing itself which is to give information to the senators on the committee who make the initial decision for the Senate.  The questioning process is sometimes contentious and looking for areas of weakness such as conflicts of interest and speech and voting records; nothing is off the table.  The sessions are available for public scrutiny as well as being open to the press (think C-SPAN, etc.).

Not Quite Schoolhouse Rock: Getting a Bill Through Congress

Bill Through Congress, Pt. 1:

This podcast delves into how to get a bill through Congress. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 is used as an example of the process of creating a bill and what happens once it leaves the hands of the creator and moves through committee, to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) where it is scored, to the Congressional Research Service for further research, and then to the committee chair where they can move it forward or “chair it” (AKA 86 it) the bill.

Bill Through Congress, Pt. 2:

This podcast picks up where we left off last time – at the point where the Senate majority leader has almost the unilateral discretion to decide when a bill is going to get a vote by the Senate body as a whole. The process then moves to the floor for unlimited debate, aka the filibuster, to not take a vote or make amendments to further negotiate the bill before, if approved, it goes to the house for approval (checks and balances). Believe it or not, there are still many steps before a bill becomes a law, and they are all covered in this podcast. 

Additional Links of Interest: Schoolhouse Rock, SNL School House Rock, West Wing S6, E12.