Visiting scholar to focus on US gridlock

James Pfiffner in suit and tie at lectern
Professor James P. Pfiffner will address the Centre for Governance and Public Policy on the political stalemate in the US.

Dysfunctional politics in the United States is affecting the delivery of important policy in areas like immigration, gun control, climate change and abortion. Fiscal policy remains a constant sticking point.

This stalemate, says Professor James P Pfiffner, is because of a fundamental shift towards the end of the last century which triggered extreme polarisation among members of Congress.

“This led to an erosion of political compromise and a deadlock now restricting the most basic duties of government.”

Professor Pfiffner will examine the causes of this political stalemate and the potential consequences of polarisation for public policy making when he addresses Griffith University’s Centre for Governance and Public Policy on Friday (July 26).

James P. Pfiffner is Director of the Doctoral Program at the School of Public Policy, George Mason University in the United States, and a renowned academic expert on the US presidency, American national government and national security.

He is also a visiting scholar at the Centre for Governance and Public Policy in Brisbane.

Professor James P Pfiffner delivered the Senate Occasional Lecture on the subject of dysfunctional politics in the US in Canberra last Friday.

“Congress and the nation have not been addressing important public policy issues because of the gridlock,” he says.

“Immigration reform, affecting 11 million immigrants presently in the US, and a postal service that continues to lose money are two key issues where agreement cannot be found on how to deal with policy.

“More politically divisive issues, such as gun control and abortion, have little chance of passing both the Democratic Senate and the Republican House and becoming law.”

Professor Pfiffner has written numerous books on the presidency and American National Government including The Strategic Presidency: Hitting the Ground Running and Power Play: The Bush Administration and the Constitution.

“Polarised politics are entrenched in American politics and government, and policy making on important issues is likely to suffer for the foreseeable future.”

James Pfiffner received the Distinguished Faculty Award at George Mason University in 1990 and the College of Arts and Sciences Award for Scholarship in 1999.

He is listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World.

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