Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Richard Arenberg

Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs
Visiting Professor of the Practice of Political Science


Richard A. Arenberg retired after more than thirty-four years on Capitol Hill in senior staff positions with Majority Leader Senator George Mitchell (Maine) and Senators Carl Levin (Michigan) and Paul Tsongas (Massachusetts). He served on the Senate Iran-contra Committee in 1987 and helped Senators Mitchell and William Cohen write Men of Zeal analyzing those hearings. He was a principle negotiator of the Alaska Lands Act, which President Carter called “the most important piece of conservation legislation passed in the 20th Century.” 

Arenberg authored Congressional Procedure: A Practical Guide to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress (2018, TheCapitol.Net).The book was awarded five national awards including the Ben Franklin Book Award Gold Medal. He co-authored Defending the Filibuster: Soul of the Senate (2012, Indiana U. Press).  The authors were awarded a Congressional research award by the Dirksen Congressional Center in 2010.  Defending the Filibuster was named “Book of the Year in Political Science” by Forewords Reviews in 2012. Defending the Filibuster, Revised and Updated Edition was published in 2014. Richard A. Arenberg: Oral History Interviews was published by the Senate Historical Office in 2011 and can be read or heard on the U.S. Senate website.

Arenberg served as the Interim Director of the Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy at Brown University from July 2020 to July 2021.

Arenberg has significant experience in intelligence matters, Congressional history, procedure, rules and protocol, and the role and impact of Congress on public policy. Arenberg teaches a number of courses related to Congressional politics and policy, the presidency, political communication and campaigns and elections in Brown’s public policy program and the political science department.

Arenberg has previously taught at Northeastern and Suffolk Universities. He serves on the Board of Directors of Social Security Works and the Board of Directors of Social Security Works Education Fund, and a Senior Congressional Fellow at the Stennis Center for Public Service Leadership.  He is an affiliate at the Taubman Center for American Politics & Policy.  His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Providence Journal, Politico, and The Boston Globe. He is a Contributor at Newsmax and The Hill.


Richard Arenberg is focuses on the U.S. Congress, particularly the use of abuse of Congressional procedure, appropriations and budget processes, oversight of the executive branch, and political polarization.


POLS 1822C  Congress

POLS 1130     The American Presidency

POLS 1120     Campaigns and Elections

POLS 1824C   Political Communication

POLS 1090      Polarized Politics

POLS 0010      Introduction to the American Political Process

PLCY 2650      Congress and the Federal Budget: Procedure, Politics and Public Policy

PLCY 1701H   Congressional Leadership, Policy, and Public Policy

PLCY 1702F    Political Communication

GISP  0006       Campaign Strategy- Media and Message


Congressional Procedure: A Practical Guide to the Legislative Process in the U.S. Congress, TheCapitol.Net Publishers, 2018.

Defending the Filibuster: The Soul of the Senate (revised and updated edition), co-authored with Robert B. Dove, Indiana University Press, 2014.

Defending the Filibuster: The Soul of the Senate, co-authored with Robert B. Dove, Indiana University Press, 2012.

Richard A. Arenberg: Staff of Senator Paul Tsongas, George Mitchell and Carl Levin: Oral History Interviews with Donald A. Ritchie, Historian of the U.S. Senate, U.S. Government Printing Office, 2011.

Talks & Media

Sirius XM POTUS Midday Briefing 7/20/2018“Recaps the Helsinki Summit”(Louise Schiavone)  6/19/2018

Watson Institute Panel (video) 4/4/2018“Broken: Can the Senate Save Itself and the Country?” (Susan Moffitt,  moderator)

Newsmax  6/19/2018“GOP Congress Stands Silent – Where are the Voices of Conscience?”

Providence Journal  6/2/2018 “Richard A. Arenberg: Courts Get More Conservative, Less Diverse”

 White House Chronicle (TV)  3/25/2018  “The Future of the Republican Party” (Llewellyn King and Linda Gasparello)

Newsmax   9/16/2017Richard Arenberg: Why President Trump is Wrong About the Filibuster”

The Conversation US  1/7/2015“Fond Farewell to the ‘Babies’ of Watergate”

The Hill  7/29/2017  “Republicans Can Learn from McCain’s Heroism”National Constitution Center Podcast  4/6/2017

“The History and Constitutionality of the Filibuster”  (Josh Chafetz & Jeffrey Rosen)

New York Times   1/4/2017“Why Republicans Shouldn’t Weaken the Filibuster” 

Yorke State of Mind (FoxProvidence TV)  4/5/2017 “Local Professor Works to Broker Bipartisan ‘Hail Mary’ Gorsuch Deal” (Dan Yorke)

Washington Post  5/3/2014“Senate Filibuster Reform Would Benefit Both Parties, Whether in Power Now or Later”

 New York Times  11/22/2013   “These ‘Reforms’ Are a Huge Mistake”

New York Times 12/2/2012  “The Wrong Way to Make the Right Changes”

Washington Post 11/14/2012  “Filibuster Reform: Avoid the ‘Nuclear Option’”

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