"The Senate of the United States is the only legislative body in the world which cannot act when its majority is ready for action. A little group of willful men, representing no opinion but their own, have rendered the great government of the United States helpless and contemptible."
Woodrow Wilson, March 4, 1917
Whether or not a relatively small minority of the U.S. Senate should be able to block the policies put forward by the president and majorities in both houses of Congress has been a matter of great controversy in American politics since before the Civil War. Today, however, the tactical tools available to the minority are being used more aggressively than at any time in our history and the impact on the nature and quality of American government is greater than ever. On Friday, March 12th the Center for American Progress Action Fund in cooperation with the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies of American University will sponsor a symposium the modern Senate and how current practices are impacting the quality of government.