I'm a Ph.D. candidate in politics at Princeton University, where I'm affiliated with the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics. I study American political institutions with a focus on Congress, the separation of powers, and the federal budget. My dissertation leverages an original data set of appropriations with a combination of formal theory and observational methods to explain the design of the federal budget process and to explore bargaining outcomes between Congress and the President in the annual appropriations process. Other research projects use an original data set of location-based appropriations to investigate the effect of committee position on the allocation of military construction projects and an original data set of House and Senate staff directories to investigate whether congressional committee staff are becoming increasingly politicized.
I also serve as the Director of Congressional Programs at the Stennis Center for Public Service, a legislative branch agency that seeks to promote and strengthen the highest ideals of public service in the country. I oversee the Stennis Center's flagship congressional staff program, which aims to meet the challenges Congress faces as an institution by providing practical bipartisan leadership development for senior staff members in both parties and in both chambers.
Before attending Princeton, I worked on Capitol Hill as an appropriations staffer for nearly a decade. From 2008 to 2014, I was a professional staff member on various appropriations subcommittees in both the House and Senate, where I specialized in energy, environment, veterans, and military construction budgets. From 2015 to 2016, I worked for the Senate Appropriations Committee as senior staff on the full committee while serving as a John C. Stennis Congressional Staff Fellow for the 114th Congress. I also have experience in transatlantic relations as a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow from 2011 to 2012, during which time I worked in the German Ministry of Finance and the Bundestag with a focus on the German budget process. I received a B.A. in International Studies and History from Ole Miss in 2006, and I currently live in Princeton, NJ with my son and my dog.
I'm excited to talk about my research and am always open to new collaborations. Please don't hesitate to reach out!
Email: blh2 [at] princeton [dot] edu