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SPA Gives Low Down on the Shutdown

Several SPA Leadership students went to the Capitol to watch the proceedings on the night the government officially shut down earlier this month.

The SPA community experienced the recent 16-day government shutdown in a number of ways, from watching the Senate debate the shutdown in person, hosting experts to debate the issues, and helping drive the conversation in the media.

Three students in the SPA Leadership Program went to the Capitol on the night of October 1, when the government officially announced that it would shut down. They expected to just take pictures outside, but were able to watch the debates from the Senate viewing gallery as Sen. Harry Reid officially announced the shutdown.

“It was such an amazing experience, and a wonderful way to be a part of history,” wrote Wes Young. “Just another one of the many advantages about coming to American University that I will never forget!”

The group also posted a photo of themselves to Instagram that was later used in a “Today Show” online article.

Center Hosts Debate

SPA’s Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies hosted a panel discussion with two Washington scholars titled, “What’s Wrong With Congress and What Can Be Done About It?” Thomas Mann, Brookings Institution, and Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute, provided their thoughts on the causes of the shutdown and how to prevent it in the future. 

They are the authors of a book published in May 2012 called It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.

Event Video

Faculty In the Media

Finally, several faculty were quoted in a variety of stories about the shutdown:

Director of SPA’s Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute Patrick Griffin and Distinguished Professor Jim Thurber were quoted in a Bloomberg News story on October 15.

Prof. Patrick Griffin was also quoted in a separate Bloomberg News story on October 15.

Congressional Quarterly interviewed Ambassador-in-Residence Connie Morella on October 14.

Distinguished Professor Jim Thurber was quoted in Mashable.com story about Rep. Van Hollen’s (D-MD) discussion of the altering of House rules during the shut down on October 14.

Assistant Professor Chris Edelson wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on the GOP’s strategy for defunding the Affordable Care Act on October 9.

Ambassador-in-Residence Connie Morella discussed in a New York Times article on October 8 her experience with a government shut down when she represented Maryland in the House during the previous shut down 17 years ago.

Ambassador-in-Residence Connie Morella was interviewed on WTTG Fox 5 (by AU alum Tony Perkins ’81) on October 4.

Prof. Patrick Griffin was quoted in a CBS News story on October 3.

Adjunct Instructor Javier Bronfman, SPA/PhD ’14, was interviewed for Univisión’s “Perspectiva Nacional” show on October 2.

Director of Key Executive Leadership Programs Bob Tobias discussed the impact on morale of the shut down on Capitol Hill on October 2 for National Journal.

Distinguished Practitioner in Residence Bob Tobias was interviewed on October 2 by Bloomberg News on the impact the shut down will have on business.

Assistant Professor Chris Edelson wrote an op-ed for the Constitution Center in Philadelphia on October 1.

Ambassador-in-Residence Connie Morella was interviewed by WTOP and discussed options available to Speaker Boehner on October 1.