Increased Transparency Makes Congressional Compromise Harder To Reach

Oct 28, 2015

Republican congressional leaders and the White House reached a budget agreement earlier this week that would modestly increase spending over the next two years, cut some social programs, and raise the federal borrowing limit. The House passed the bill on a 266 to 167 vote late Wednesday and a Senate vote is expected soon to follow.

When they have a camera pointed at them, members of Congress are more likely to take a hard line. - Rachel Caufield

Many House and Senate Republicans contend that House Speaker John Boehner gave away too much in order to reach a deal, and there are critics of the fact that lawmakers met in private to discuss the agreement.

Rachel Caufield, associate professor of political science at Drake and associate director of the Harkin Institute for Public Policy and Citizen Engagement, says that the deal may be more bipartisan precisely because these talks were private.

“When they have a camera pointed at them, members of Congress are more likely to take a hard line,” she says.

“They know they have to go back to their voters, and there’s a chance that somebody further to the left or further to the right will challenge them in a primary. So when you go to the table and say, ‘OK I’m willing to compromise on some of these core issues,’ that’s not popular among a lot of voters.”

On this politics day edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer talks about the deal with Caufield and Tim Hagle, associate professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa. They also discuss new polls showing Ben Carson topping Trump, what to watch for in tonight’s third GOP debate, and a new Monmouth University poll showing Hillary Clinton's 41-point lead in Iowa.