Presidents and Party Teams: The Politics of Debt Limits and Executive Oversight, 2001-2013


  • AUTHOR'S NOTE: I thank Gary Andres, David Karol, Eric Schickler and Emery Lee for helpful comments on this article and Kelsey Hinchliffe for excellent research assistance.


This article analyzes the president's leadership predicament in light of purely partisan considerations in Congress, meaning members' interests in winning and holding control of national institutions. I examine congressional votes to raise the debt limit, which are highly dependent upon patterns of institutional party control. I also examine high-profile congressional charges of administration misdoing, another arena in which members of the president's party behave starkly differently from members of the president's opposition. These differences have consequences for presidential leadership, no matter the configuration of party control of national institutions.