Thinking Out Loud: Irregular Order: How Congress Really Works

Date and Time
November 13, 2018
Event Details

Washington insiders join journalists from ProPublica and the Washington Post  to explore the changing faces and shifting inner workings of Congress. 


• Wyatt Cenac, comedian, actor and writer
• Lindsey Cormack, Stevens Institute of Technology Assistant Professor of Political Science
Paul Kane, Washington Post senior congressional correspondent
James Wallner, R Street, academic & former Senate staffer
Derek Willis, ProPublica news applications developer
• Stephanie Young, When We All Vote, former Congressional Black Caucus staffer

Congress’s approval ratings over the past decade have been at their lowest in polling history. But when people say the legislative branch is “broken” and can’t get anything done, they are often imagining Schoolhouse Rock and a friendly bill on Capitol Hill waiting to become a law. In their forthcoming series, “Irregular Order,” ProPublica and the Washington Post demonstrate how that legislative model no longer reflects the actual, radically altered mechanics of Congress.

The series comes to life at the Library. Learn how a tiny circle of congressional leaders control important bills, why legislative policy expertise among congressional staff has declined, and who the new archetypes for today’s lawmakers are—from “The Blocker,” whose primary goal is to prevent the passing of laws, to “The Celebrity” mostly interested in serving as a media talking head. Speakers will also share real and usable advice on how constituents can effectively get their representatives to hear their concerns and take action, based on their experience from the halls of Capitol Hill.


For free events, we generally overbook to ensure a full house. Priority will be given to those who have registered in advance, but registration does not guarantee admission. All registered seats are released shortly before start time, and seats may become available at that time. A standby line will form one hour before the program.

Please send all press inquiries (photo, video, interviews, audio-recording, etc.) at least 24-hours before the day of the program to Sara Beth Joren at For all other inquiries, please contact