The First Hundred Days: An Early Look at the 112th Congress
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What do the first hundred days tell us about the future of the 112th Congress? How has the House of Representatives changed since the 1994 Republican takeover? What are the similarities and differences from the early days of the Gingrich-led House? How do the leadership teams compare in style and substance? Will the House GOP freshmen infuse new ideas and initiatives into policy debates? Or, will they be a thorn in the Republican leaders' sides? What is the relationship between the legislative and executive branches in the current age of divided government? Will the fights over budget priorities lead to an impasse and a budget shutdown in a replay of 1995? Or, is there hope for a resolution? These and other questions will be discussed by a panel of seasoned operatives, including former congressmen Vic Fazio, a Democrat, and Vin Weber, a Republican; Janet Hook of the Wall Street Journal; and Norman J. Ornstein of AEI.
8:45 a.m.

VIC FAZIO, Akin Gump
JANET HOOK, Wall Street Journal


VIN WEBER, Clark & Weinstock



Question and Answer

Speaker Biographies
Vic Fazio is a senior adviser at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. He served as a member of Congress from 1979 to 1999, representing California’s third district. During his tenure of distinguished public service, he was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, serving as a subcommittee chairman or ranking member for eighteen years. He was also a member of the House Armed Services, Budget, Ethics, and Administration Committees. In addition to his role on the Appropriations Committee, Mr. Fazio was active in the Democratic leadership of the House, holding several appointed and elected positions. He served as the vice chair of the Democratic Caucus from 1989 until 1994, when he was elected chairman, the third-ranking position in the House. He was the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the political arm of the House Democrats, for four years in the early 1990s. He also was a majority whip-at-large and a regional representative on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

Janet Hook is a political reporter for the Wall Street Journal Washington bureau. She has covered Congress and national politics since 1995. Ms. Hook began her journalism career in 1978 as the assistant editor of the Public Interest. A year later, she left to become an assistant editor for the Chronicle of Higher Education. In 1983, she began work for the Congressional Quarterly as senior writer. In 1993, Ms. Hook was awarded the John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists, as well as the Everett Dirksen Award for her distinguished reporting on Congress. In 2002, Ms. Hook won the American Political Science Association’s annual award for political reporting. Before joining the Journal, she covered politics and Congress for the Los Angeles Times.

Alex Brill is a research fellow at AEI. Prior to joining AEI in 2007, he served for five years on the staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, where he was chief economist and senior adviser to the chairman. In this capacity, he led the staff in work on major tax, pension, trade, and health legislation and oversaw efforts to expand the analytical capability of the Joint Committee on Taxation's revenue-estimating process. In addition to providing legislative and policy counsel to the chairman, Mr. Brill advised committee members about general economic trends and the effects of various tax, trade, health, and Social Security proposals. Prior to his work for the committee, he served on the staff of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. Mr. Brill began his career in Washington as a research assistant at AEI. He studies a variety of tax policy issues and is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Vin Weber is managing partner of Clark & Weinstock. He served in the House of Representatives from 1981 to 1993, representing Minnesota’s second congressional district. His committee assignments included Science and Technology, Small Business, Public Works, Transportation, Budget, and Appropriations, and he was an elected member of the House Republican leadership. While in Congress, he was part of the Conservative Opportunity Society, founded by Newt Gingrich, which allowed young conservative House Republicans to meet and discuss policy. Mr. Weber was the Bush-Cheney 2004 plains states regional chairman. He has been featured in numerous national publications, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, National Journal, and the New Republic. He is a sought-after political and policy analyst, appearing frequently on major television outlets, including NBC’s Nightly News, the News Hour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, ABC’s This Week, the CBS Early Show, Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC. Mr. Weber is a contributing columnist to the Hill newspaper. Washingtonian magazine named him fifth on its list of Washington’s fifty top lobbyists in 2007. 

John C. Fortier
is a research fellow at AEI. He studies American politics, the presidency, continuity of government, elections, the Electoral College, election reform, and presidential succession and disability. He is a principal contributor to the AEI-Brookings Project on Redistricting, executive director of the Continuity of Government Commission, and a fortnightly columnist for Politico. Mr. Fortier’s books include Absentee and Early Voting: Trends, Promises, and Perils (AEI Press, 2006), After the People Vote: A Guide to the Electoral College (AEI Press, 2004, 3rd ed.), and Second-Term Blues: How George W. Bush Has Governed (Brookings Institution Press, 2007). He is also a frequent radio and television commentator on the presidency, Congress, and elections.

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