Legislative Negotiation Project

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The Harvard Legislative Negotiation Project, with funding from the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation Madison Initiative, has developed cases and simulations for teaching effective legislative negotiation at the state and congressional level. It is our hope that these materials may be effective in reaching outcomes that better maximize the goals of legislators and in overcoming legislative impasses, particularly in these days of increased political polarization. For a list of people involved in this project visit the Ash Center webpage on Legislative Negotiation.

All of these materials are freely available to qualified instructors for use in training Congressional Members or staffers, state legislators or their policy aides, or students in legislative negotiation. The Harvard Legislative Negotiation Project is working with the Library of Congress, the Program on Legislative Negotiation at American University, and the National Conference for State Legislators to deliver these materials to Congressional and state legislative audiences.

 

Video/Multimedia Case
BIPARTISANSHIP IN THE U.S. CONGRESS: THE WATER FOR THE WORLD ACT OF 2014
#2151.2 - February 2019

Case Author: Patricia Garcia-Rios
Video Producer: Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:  Kessely Hong

This multimedia case focuses on the key decision points leading up to the unlikely passage in 2014 of the bipartisan Water for the World Act in the U.S. Congress. It features interviews with members of the House and the Senate, Congressional staffers, advocates and lobbyists. Through seven short videos to be played in class, faculty and students can explore the challenges of bipartisan negotiation in a highly polarized legislative environment, and of strategies to increase the chance for success when the only way to pass legislation is through bipartisanship.

(90-100 minutes to teach)




Case Study 
NEGOTIATING A COALITION OF THE WILLING: CURT BRAMBLE AND THE UTAH IMMIGRATION FIGHT

#2127.0 - May 2018

Case Author: Laura Winig
Faculty Lead: Brian Mandell

The case describes how state legislators in Utah, a very conservative state, assembled a “Coalition of the Willing”— Republican and Democratic representatives alongside religious, civic and business leaders—to negotiate a bipartisan compromise to address the emotionally-charged issue of immigration reform in 2010-2011. The case illuminates issues such as: diagnosing the barriers to agreement; understanding the role of the Utah Compact in shaping the negotiation strategy and trajectory of the 2010-2011 legislation; showing how a focus on problem framing brings more people to the table and creates the conditions for buy-in of an acceptable compromise solution.

(90 minutes to teach)



Video/Multimedia Case
OREGON TACKLES EQUAL PAY... AND WRESTLES WITH BIPARTISAN COMPROMISE
#2142.4 - January 2019

Case Author: Pamela Varley
Video Producer: Patricia Garcia-Rios
Faculty Lead:
Kessely Hong

This multimedia case provides a lively portrait—from multiple points of view—of the creative bipartisan negotiations in both the Oregon House and Senate that ultimately led to passage of the 2017 Equal Pay Act. The case helps participants gain insights on the benefits and risks of bipartisanship, how a culture of bipartisanship is created, and strategies to resolve thorny issues and maintain support from political allies.

Two versions available:

  • Version 1 (for executive education, trainings — 100-120 min.): Five classroom videos, backgrounder, and a teaching plan. No pre-class prep required. 
  • Version 2 (for standard classes — 75-90 min.): Multimedia website (click here for a preview), four classroom videos, two handouts, and a teaching plan. Requires pre-class prep.



BUILDING A 21st CENTURY WORKFORCE
#2144.2 - January 2019

This 1-on-1 Congressional simulation involves negotiations before the introduction of a bill between a senior Senator (D-OH) and the President of the Business Association of Ohio (SBAO), a key interest group for the Senator. The two parties are trying to find agreement on a workforce assistance package for small businesses in rustbelt states hurt by the economic recession.

(90-120 minutes to teach)




BRIDGETON'S POLLUTED WATERS
#2143.0 - January 2019

This 1-on-1 Congressional simulation between two senior Representatives on the House Water Resources Environment subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee involves sorting out a sub-issue in a water infrastructure bill that affects water pollution in the Ranking Member’s District.

(120-150 minutes to teach)




NEGOTIATING AN ENERGY POLICY BILL
#2147.2 - February 2019

This 1-on-1 Congressional simulation involves a scored negotiation between the Chair of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (D-WA) and Ranking Member from same committee (R-NC). The case requires negotiating the final six remaining issues for an energy policy bill: nuclear power; addressing climate change; offshore drilling; investing in renewable energy; safeguarding the electrical grid; and funding offsets.

(195 minutes to teach)




FUNDING THE FDA
#2145.0 - February 2019

This 4-person Congressional simulation concerns how to fund FDA User Fees. The negotiation is a 4-corners pre-conference scored exercise among: the Majority staffer of Senate HELP Committee; the Minority staffer of Senate HELP Committee; the Majority staffer of House Energy & Commerce; and the Minority staffer of House Energy & Commerce. The costs of not reaching agreement rise as the simulation continues and the impact of the FDA not being funded are felt.

(195 minutes to teach)




TURNING DOWN THE HEAT: NEGOTIATING WILDFIRE PREVENTION AND RECOVERY
#2150.0 - February 2019

This 2-on-2 Congressional simulation of a pre-conference negotiation involves reconciling quite different House and Senate bills on wildfires; the goal is to develop a uniform bill that could pass both chambers. The negotiation is among staffers to the Chair of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee (Dem), a Minority Member of Senate Energy and Natural Resources (Rep), the Chair of House Committee on Natural Resources (Rep), and a Minority Member of Committee on Natural Resources (Dem). All negotiators share a desire to address wildfire prevention and funding, but differ on key sub-issues.

(160 minutes to teach)




RE-BUILDING BRIDGES
#2152.0 - February 2019

This 6-person capstone Congressional simulation centers on negotiating elements of a Manager’s Amendment before introducing a large infrastructure bill on the floor. There are 6 issues to be resolved: the number of amendments allowed, implementation timeframe, size of infrastructure bill, gas taxes, how the bill is paid for, and provisions on self-driving vehicles. Outcomes are scored for each negotiator. The parties negotiating include the Senate Majority Leader (R-IA), the Senate Minority Leader (D-OR), a Republican Majority Senator (R-AR), a Minority Senator (D-NJ), the White House Legislative Affairs representative, and the president of an autonomous vehicles interest group (AVIA).

(150-210 minutes to teach)




A NEW AIRPORT?
#2146.0 - February 2019

This 6-role capstone state-level negotiation simulation in the Senate Public Works Committee involves several issues, including siting the airport, regional transportation, possible healthcare concerns, and environmental questions.

(225 minutes to teach)



BE REASONABLE, SEE IT MY WAY
#2148.2 - February 2019

This research-based exercise is designed to enhance legislators' or staff’s willingness to engage with and listen to those with whom they disagree on important, partisan issues, a key obstacle in many bipartisan negotiations.

(90-120 minutes to teach)



CURRICULUM OPTIONS GUIDE
February 2019

This guide, available only to Educators, helps teachers sequence Legislative Negotiation Project materials and understand what packages of materials work well together, depending on the amount of time the educator has available.


Funding for these materials has been provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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