Book Launch

Moving Congress into the 21st Century

02/09 Tuesday | 5pm

To watch the event, please click here.

RSVP is required. Please RSVP here.

Join the Future of Democracy Working Group for a conversation between Beth Simone Noveck and Kevin Kosar, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and editor of the new book, Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform.

Congress is the least loved of our three branches. No doubt part of the public’s dismay is that Congress seems overwhelmed by the challenges of the 21st century. Whether it is the pandemic, immigration, infrastructure, or the national debt, our national legislature struggles to resolve public problems. Political polarization is one factor in the dysfunction, but far less appreciated but equally critical is congressional capacity. Our national legislature is in many ways anachronistic. Unlike private firms, it does not feel spurred to innovate to survive. Hence, it tends to hang on to outmoded ways of organizing, staffing, and resourcing itself.

Yet, there are signs that the institution is beginning to reform its ways. For the past two years, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress has been working to identify problems large and small within Congress that need addressed. During this event, Kevin will further explore the root of the shortcomings within Congress and the ways in which it can be reformed to work more efficiently, legitimately, and effectively to serve the American people.

Kevin R. Kosar is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he studies the US Congress, congressional oversight, the administrative state, American politics, and the US Postal Service. Before joining AEI, Dr. Kosar was at the R Street Institute, where he served as vice president of policy, vice president of research partnerships, and senior fellow and director of the Governance Project. He also cofounded and still codirects the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group ( The project is dedicated to assessing Congress’ capacity to perform its constitutional duties and collaborating on ideas to strengthen the legislative branch. Earlier, Dr. Kosar spent more than a decade working for the Congressional Research Service, where he focused on a wide range of public administration issues. He has taught public policy at New York University and lectured on public administration at Metropolitan College of New York.

His books include “Congress Overwhelmed: The Decline in Congressional Capacity and Prospects for Reform” (University of Chicago Press, 2020); “Unleashing Opportunity: Policy Reforms for an Accountable Administrative State” (National Affairs, 2017); “Moonshine: A Global History” (Reaktion Books, 2017); “Ronald Reagan and Education Policy” (2011); “Whiskey: A Global History” (Reaktion Books, 2010); “Failing Grades: The Federal Politics of Education Standards” (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005); and “Bridging the Gap: Higher Education and Career-Centered Welfare Reform” (National Urban League/Metropolitan College of New York, 2003).

Join Our Mailing List