Shawn Zeller

Ep. 46: Border Wall Design Begins and Guess Who Is Paying? Not Mexico.
The Week Ahead

Catch-up here on what is happening with President Donald Trump’s illegal immigration crackdown and plan to build a border wall, including its price tag. The project will involve taking private property and at least $15 billion taxpayer dollars, says CQ Roll Call’s national security reporter Gopal Ratnam. The wall was a cornerstone of Trump’s agenda, but some of his campaign promises on immigration have yet to be realized, adds immigration reporter Dean DeChiaro. @cqnow @rollcall

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Ep. 45: House Russia Inquiry Goes Public With FBI, NSA
The Week Ahead

In a highly anticipated hearing, the House Intelligence Committee's investigation of Russia's election meddling makes its public debut with lawmakers set to press the directors of the FBI and the NSA about the Kremlin's interference operation and potential ties with the Trump campaign, says CQ Roll Call's intelligence reporter Ryan Lucas. Listen in for details.

Conservatives Take Shots at Independent-Minded GOP Senators
Activists worry party mavericks could upend health care repeal efforts

Activist groups that want conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill have aimed their fire previously at Republicans including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his predecessor, John A. Boehner. Now they have some new targets. 

Their focus has turned to three senators who’ve shown some willingness to challenge President Donald Trump: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona.

Ep. 44: GOP's Achilles' Heel: Medicaid
The Week Ahead

As Republicans push full steam ahead with repealing and replacing Obamacare, cuts in Medicaid may become an issue that could not only further divide the party but can have severe consequences for state budgets and recipients, says CQ Roll Call's health reporter Joe P. Williams. He also takes us to the first marathon hearing on the GOP's health care bill and why it could be a dress rehearsal of what's to come.

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Tough Choices for Democrats: Obstruct or Govern
Angry constituents want members of Congress to step up

It’s now well known in Washington that on Feb. 4, police escorted GOP Rep. Tom McClintock, a fifth-term libertarian whose district stretches from the Sacramento suburbs to Yosemite National Park, out of a town hall meeting full of angry constituents in Roseville, Calif., 30 miles northeast of the state capital. The calls of activists opposed to President Donald Trump rained down: “This is what democracy looks like!”

Less than a week later, activists ambushed another Republican representative also starting his ninth year in Congress, Jason Chaffetz, at a town hall in a high school auditorium in suburban Salt Lake City. “Do your job!” they yelled at the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, demanding that he investigate Trump’s conflicts of interest.

Ep. 43: FCC Moves to Weaken Internet Privacy Safeguards
The Week Ahead

CQ Roll Call's privacy reporter Paul Merrion explains why the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission is moving to dismantle broadband privacy protections set up by the Obama administration. Those safeguards were designed to prevent hackers from accessing users’ data. The FCC will reconsider the broader rule that also requires internet service providers such as Comcast to get permission from customers before selling information about their online activity to advertisers. The move, some fear, could lead the agency to undo aspects of net neutrality that prevents broadband providers from treating web content differently.

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Survey: Democratic Aides Doubt Senate Can Block SCOTUS Nominee
Staffers overwhelmingly expect Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed

Liberal advocacy groups are spending lots of time and money organizing for what they hope will be a big fight over President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch.

They might be disheartened to learn that Democratic congressional aides don’t think they can block him.

Ep. 42: D.C. Establishment Anxiously Awaits Trump’s First Address to Congress
The Week Ahead

President Donald Trump will address a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 and no one knows what to expect from this most unpredictable of presidents. It’s another episode in the Washington reality show that is Trump’s presidency and representatives and senators are extras, perhaps against their will, in the drama. CQ Roll Call’s White House reporter John T. Bennett went to Capitol Hill to take their temperature.

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Ep. 41: The New Liberal Tea Party and What it Can Learn From its Foes
The Week Ahead

Democrats and liberals hoping to build a movement against the policies of President Donald Trump should take a page out of the Tea Party's 2010 movement and focus on "policies that build power," says Vanessa Williamson, the co-author of the 2012 book The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Like the Tea Party in 2010, anti-Trump activists plan to storm lawmakers’ offices and town hall meetings during Congress’ President’s Day recess and Williamson explains what it means for politics and for governance on Capitol Hill.

Conversation: Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government
Trump’s election represents ‘quantum shift’ on attitudes on free trade

As president of the activist group Americans for Limited Government, Rick Manning has lobbied conservatives for years about the failings of free trade deals.

He says Donald Trump’s election shows that there’s been “a quantum shift in attitude” in the U.S. toward opposing such deals, and Republicans on Capitol Hill are coming around, too.

Ep. 40: The Public Education of Betsy DeVos
The Week Ahead

After a bruising Senate confirmation process, Betsy DeVos is now Education Department chief. But she still has a lot of distrust to overcome, says CQ Roll Call’s education reporter Emily Wilkins. Even so, she's poised to influence how Congress and America view one of the pillars of American life – public schools.

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CQ Roll Call Staff Survey Finds GOP Doubts on Border Wall
Aides confident of GOP’s chances for enacting contentious policy overhauls

At their retreat in Philadelphia last week, Republican congressional leaders painted a picture of unity with President Donald Trump. Their aides aren’t sure about that. 

Only 49 percent of the GOP staffers who responded to CQ Roll Call’s January Capitol Insiders Survey thought Congress would enact a law to construct a wall along the Mexican border, while just 44 percent see the $1 trillion infrastructure package Trump has promised becoming law.

Ep. 38: The Prickly Road Ahead for Repealing Obamacare
The Week Ahead

CQ Roll Call Health reporter Joe Williams brings us up to speed on the developments of Republican efforts to decimate Obamacare, what came out of the GOP policy retreat in Philadelphia and whether President Donald Trump’s executive order makes any difference.

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CQ Roll Call Survey: Democratic Staffers Prefer Tim Ryan Over Pelosi
Election results left a ’lot of shock and anger’

If Democratic staffers, instead of their bosses, had voted in last month’s House caucus leadership elections, Tim Ryan of Ohio would be the new minority leader.

That, at least, was the result in CQ Roll Call’s latest Capitol Insiders Survey of congressional staff. Democratic respondents preferred Ryan to the actual winner, Nancy Pelosi of California, by a margin of 40 percent to 35 percent. Sixteen percent said they didn’t know, while 9 percent suggested other names, including Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the longtime Democratic whip, or Joseph Crowley of New York, the incoming caucus chairman.

GOP Aides Predict Trump Loss, Control of Both House and Senate
Responses underscore rift between Republican base and Washington establishment

Republican Capitol Hill aides believe they will retain their congressional majorities in next week’s elections, even as they expect their party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, to lose, according to CQ Roll Call’s latest Capitol Insiders Survey.

Fifty-one percent of the Republican aides who took the poll say their side will hold 51 or more Senate seats come January, while another 21 percent predict a 50-50 split. And only one Republican aide who responded expects the Democrats to win the House.

Clinton Has an Inherent Advantage, But It's Not as a Woman
The political party of the candidate has much more pull than gender stereotypes

(First published in CQ Magazine on July 25, 2016.)

There are those who believe that women will propel Hillary Clinton to the presidency in November, seizing the opportunity to put the first of their kind in the White House. After all, that’s what black voters helped to do for Barack Obama in 2008.

Not Your Father's GOP: The Deficit Debate Has Disappeared
Neither party is pushing to end the era of Big Government anymore

(First appeared in CQ Magazine on Sept. 19, 2016.)

Of all Donald Trump's heresies as a GOP presidential candidate, perhaps his biggest split with Republican orthodoxy has come on the issue of the debt.

Fear and Loathing Among Latinos in the 2016 Campaign
Losing swing states with growing Hispanic populations makes electoral math tough for GOP

(First published in CQ Magazine on April 11, 2016.)

It’s hard to believe now that there was a time in the not-so-distant past when Republicans made a serious and successful play for the Hispanic vote.

As a Senator, Hillary Clinton Got Along With the GOP. Could She Do So as President?
Democratic presidential nominee worked across the aisle on noncontroversial issues

(First appeared in CQ Magazine on May 16, 2016.)

It looks increasingly likely that voters this November will have a clear choice. In Donald Trump, they’d have a true Washington outsider seeking to upend the way of doing business in the capital. In Hillary Clinton, a creature of Washington, they’d have a politician with a lengthy government resume and an argument that her experience would enable her to grease the wheels of government after years of gridlock.

Republican Hill Aides Gain Confidence in Trump Victory
Six in 10 believe they’ll also keep control of the Senate

Donald Trump is making a run at Hillary Clinton in the national polls. On Capitol Hill, Republican aides’ support for their party’s nominee is at an all-time high.

But that’s still not all that high.