A Glimpse of History: Working for the House Majority Whip in the Early Days of the 111th Congress

PSC 49 V2 CoverThe latest virtual issue of PS features articles written by alumni of the Congressional Fellowship Program (CFP) from 2010 to 2015. The CFP fellows serve yearlong placements in congressional and executive offices, and they chronicle their firsthand experiences in the pages of PS. Enjoy the full virtual issue here.

A Glimpse of History: Working for the House Majority Whip in the Early Days of the 111th Congress

Bryan MarshallBryan W. MarshallMiami University

“The rapidity, duration, and intensity of it all caught me by surprise. Nearly at a full run, I dashed through a corridor and down a winding staircase to my first morning meeting. I took a place along a wall with a few other staff, but my eyes were fixed upon the principals. Gathered around a vast table were the chairs, the majority leader, and my boss—the house majority whip. The discourse was mostly heavy—President Obama’s historic election, the burden of leadership, and the daunting task to balance politics and policy in order to deliver on the promises and hopes of the people who sent them. The immediate business was expanding children’s health insurance and a stimulus package to turn around an economy teetering on the brink. The majority leader was resolute. Congress would need to deliver bold actions in order to overcome the deep anxiety of the times and to build confidence for the long struggle ahead. The whip was equally resolute as he summoned back hard lessons from lost eras—Roosevelt’s New Deal and Truman’s Fair Deal. Congress could not allow mistakes of the past to be repeated. With a clear appreciation of history, the whip made the case for a 21st Century New Deal that ensured the poor and most vulnerable would not be left behind. No sooner did I try to reflect upon this special moment and it was time to rush off once again.” Read More.


Bryan W. Marshall is professor and Assistant Chair of the Department of Political Science at Miami University. His teaching and research focuses in the areas of Congress, congressional-executive relations, and quantitative methods.  Marshall’s recent articles appear in Social Science Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Journal of Theoretical Politics, American Politics Research, and Conflict Management and Peace Science.

PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 43 / Issue 01 / January 2010, pp 183-186