Congress

When life gives you shutdowns

But hey, at least the U.S. isn’t hurtling toward Brexit

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seen on a bus Thursday, before being dropped at the Rayburn Building after President Donald Trump canceled military support for an overseas congressional trip Engel and other lawmakers were scheduled to take. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When life gives you shutdowns

It’s Week Four of the partial government shutdown. About 800,000 people have missed paychecks, and a lot of them are working for free at the behest of the executive branch. There is no end in sight. The State of the Union is canceled, kind of. The president tells you to cancel your military flight, but you can go ahead and fly commercial — after all, TSA is working for no money. And the only silver lining seems to be: At least we’re not Britain! 

CODEL interruptus

You’re on the bus. You’re headed to the airport — and the president of the United States puts the kibosh on your trip to Afghanistan. Who hasn’t had that happen? When the commander in chief yanks military support for a dangerous trip to a war zone by someone in the presidential line of succession. 

Finding their voice … vote

Who knew a voice vote over a resolution that is going exactly nowhere could be so much fun? But that’s what happened Thursday when Republicans wanted a do-over and all procedural morass broke out

Marino drops back, sets, resigns

Rep. Tom Marino, the Pennsylvania Republican who was once President Donald Trump’s drug czar in waiting, is resigning his seat, announcing the move two weeks after being sworn into a fifth term. His constituents must be thrilled. He represents a solid GOP district, but as Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales writes, “The seat has a significant GOP lean to it, but Republicans seem to find new ways to make special elections closer and more competitive than they should be.”

White House wooooo!

You’ve heard of the Monroe Doctrine. The Wilson Doctrine. But what about the Ric Flair Doctrine? Trump offered a peek into what that is during a visit to the Pentagon on Thursday. (Periodic reminder: Trump, like Flair, is a member of the WWE Wrestling Hall of Fame.)

Off the map

The very first 2020 Senate race ratings from Inside Elections are here, and a couple of things are remarkable about them: (1) The competitive field of races is pretty small; and (2) Although the Republicans are defending almost twice as many seats, they have a pretty favorable map in their quest to hold the majority, at least for now. Nathan L. Gonzales does the numbers on this week’s Political Theater podcast

But what if you just aren’t good?

“But what if your authentic self is a truly, deeply boring person? No amount of lessons on proper hashtag usage can change that.” That’s one of the questions surrounding whether the social media tutelage of New York freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can rub off on her fellow Democrats. Count Heard on the Hill as skeptical

(Law)suit yourself

Things are getting so bad, people are having trouble suing each other. One of the effects of the partial government shutdown is that the courts and the Justice Department are running out of, or are out of, cash, and so only the most basic cases are being heard. Among the cases set aside for the time being? Challenges to the 2010 health care law — a fave of Republicans — and to the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker — a fave of Democrats — are among the casualties.

Please explain this ‘no’ word

One of the reasons we find ourselves amid such an epic power pissing match between the president and the speaker is that, for the most part, Nancy Pelosi has been one of the first people who has power and is willing to use it. Walter Shapiro writes about the breaking of norms, and who gets to do it

The Special Relationship

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