On this episode of Now & Then, “Speakers of the House: Velvet Gloves and Iron Fists,” Heather Cox Richardson and Joanne Freeman revisit significant Speakers of the House and the development of the role in American politics. They reflect on legendary Speakers Henry Clay, Thomas Brackett Reed, and Tip O’Neill. In the process, they examine how Speakers leverage their influence over the legislative process and the culture of congress. How did the Speakership become such a crucial role in Washington? How do Speakers balance control with collaboration? And how can iconic Speakers from the past help to contextualize Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s current efforts to pass the Democrats’ budget reconciliation passage?
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