Molly Reynolds’ dissertation project examines the development and strategic use of the budget reconciliation process in Congress.  Budget reconciliation is a component of the Congressional budget process.  Budget reconciliation measures, which can be used to pass major policy change, are interesting and unique because they are protected from a filibuster on the floor of the Senate.  This means that senators are prevented from extending a debate, allowing them to delay or even prevent a vote on a given proposal.  Molly wants to focus on when Congress uses reconciliation to accomplish policy changes and the effects the procedures have on policy outcomes.

“I became interested in budget reconciliation during the debate over health care reform in 2009 and 2010.  That bill was eventually passed using the reconciliation process, and there was considerable discussion in the media about other times when the procedure had been used to enact other major policy changes.”  

According to Molly, political scientists have not systematically explored the use of the reconciliation procedures, why they were developed, and what the effects have been.  Rick Hall and Chuck Shipan are the co-chairs of her dissertation committee, so she will be working most closely with them on this analysis.  

Molly will be using the Centennial award to conduct background research and initial data collection in preparation for her dissertation prospectus.  In her free time, Molly enjoys reading, watching sports, and outdoor activities.