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The United States Congress: An owners manual

An Insider’s Guide to Politics, Legislation, Advocacy and the Future of America
Brian Baird

How you thought Congress once worked or should work is not what happens today.
A six-term Member of Congress tells the inside story of how Congress really works (or
doesn’t), the state of politics, the secrets to effective advocacy, possible fixes to the
broken system and what it all means for the future of law and the nation.


Brian Baird served the people of southwest Washington for six terms in Congress and
was known and respected for taking principled stands, working with both sides of
the aisle and fighting to improve the practices and ethics of Congress. A licensed
clinical psychologist, university president, author, and President of 4pR2  Communication, he is recognized as “the funniest celebrity in Washington”, Baird combines real world insights, surprising facts, practical examples and humor into the most enjoyable, frightening and inspiring talk about our government and the people in it.


Program Highlights

  • How the fight for election influences everything else

  • The “rules” that lead to dysfunction

  • How budgets really evolve

  • Authorization, Appropriation and Taxation

  • The 10 reasons members of Congress do things

  • Issues that will drive congress in the foreseeable future

Program Agenda ( 6 hours, including 1 ethics)

[Part I: 90 Minutes]


Getting Elected: What it takes to be elected to Federal office and how that influences everything else.

  • The role of parties

  • Fundraising

  • Dark money

  • Media of all types

  • Voters

  • The candidates

  • Reforms and remedies


An Institution that has evolved for dysfunction

  • It is not the Constitution’s fault

  • The Rules of the Game

  • Caucus and Conference

  • Party Leadership

  • Committees

  • House and Senate

  • Reforms and remedies


[15 minute break]
[Part II: 90 Minutes]


Budgets: Where they come from and where they go

  • The President’s budget

  • The Congressional budget

  • What budgets do and don’t do


Authorization, Appropriation. And Taxation

  • Having permission versus having money

  • The power of the purse

  • What authorizing committees do

  • What appropriators do

  • Where the money comes from

  • Reforms and remedies


[Part III: 90 Minutes]


The Congressional Year in theory and in practice

  • When things are supposed to happen

  • When things really happen

  • When things don’t happen

  • Reforms and remedies



  • 10 reasons members of Congress do things

  • Beliefs, Facts, Voters, Party, Colleagues, Press, Money, Pressure groups, Staff, Psychology

  • Infinite Issues, limited bandwidth

  • Champions are the key

  • Political giving

  • Messaging

  • Grass roots

  • Lobbyists

[15 minute break]
[Part IV: 90 Minutes]


Key issues today and tomorrow

  • The cultural foundation of democratic republics

  • Deficits and Debt

  • Climate and energy

  • Foreign affairs and competitors

  • Defense

  • The economy in an age of automation and AI

  • Income inequality

  • Immigration



  • Checks and balances in theory and practice

  • Congressional ethics in theory and practice

  • Culture and ethics

  • The Media as ethical gatekeepers

  • Ethics and elections – the price of victory

  • Ethics and elections – the price of integrity

  • Ethical Exemplars


Unconditional Guarantee
If you are not convinced that your understanding of the course topic has
improved after completion of any P.E.G.® seminar, we will refund your course tuition.

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