Opinion & Analysis

Opinion: When Holiday Values Meet Policy, It May Be Awkward
From Roy Moore to immigration, there’s plenty of food for thought this holiday season

Partisanship has affected the way people view the Alabama Senate race featuring Republican Roy Moore, who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Just as the generosity of Angel Tree donations and turkey giveaways clash with the kill-or-be-killed stampede of folks looking for a Black Friday bargain, the warm holiday greetings lawmakers disseminate this time of year might strike a dissonant cord when compared to the current policies and politics coming out of Washington.

Pre-holiday news has included a tidal wave of charges and accusations of sexual harassment and sexual assault, with some lawmakers preferring to view the stories of women and some men through a lens of partisan politics rather than right and wrong — surely not a positive lesson for the kids gathered around the turkey.

Capitol Ink | Taxsgiving Day

Opinion: Sexual Harassment From John Tower to Donald Trump — and Beyond
America has belatedly reached a moment of reckoning about sexual harassment

Sen. Al Franken should stay in the Senate and give Minnesota voters a chance to offer their own verdict in 2020 on accusations of sexual harassment made against him, Walter Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In early 1989, with the inauguration of George Bush, John Tower’s failed confirmation fight for secretary of Defense riveted Washington.

A diminutive former four-term Texas Republican senator who had served as chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Tower seemed, on paper, as a noncontroversial choice.

Opinion: Stop the Next Internet Power Grab
FCC should establish a strong deregulatory federal framework for broadband regulations

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, wants the Federal Communications Commission to establish a strong deregulatory federal framework for broadband regulations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By Sen. Ted Cruz and Michael O’Rielly

The internet has changed how we communicate, engage in commerce and live our lives. It not only provides a platform that can be used to promote free speech, but serves as a great equalizer when it comes to jobs and opportunity by dramatically reducing the barriers of entry for anyone with a new idea and broadband connection.

Opinion: Time to Investigate Members for Sexual Harassment
Congress needs to root out serial offenders

California Rep. Jackie Speier has shed light on the longtime problem of sexual harassment on Capitol Hill.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This is not a #MeToo column about sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. I worked in the Senate for nine years and never experienced anything other than professional conduct and opportunities for advancement in my own offices. I was once told my salary would be less than my male predecessor because I wasn’t “a powerful man,” but that’s another issue for another time, and a moment I wish I could go back to again and again, because I know now I could have argued for more and won.

This is a #GetReal column about sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, because now that the longtime problem of sexual harassment on the Hill has been acknowledged, even by members like Rep. Jackie Speier and Rep. Debbie Dingell, it’s hard to believe that the only solutions being proposed are mandatory sexual harassment training or legislation that continues to rely solely on the victims of harassment coming forward to address this embedded cultural disease.

Opinion: The GOP Tax Bill — All Hat and No Rabbit
Even passing no legislation might be a better option

From left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Majority Whip Steve Scalise celebrate during a news conference after the chamber passed the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All politics is state and local.

That update of Tip O’Neill’s dictum is inspired by the Republican tax bill. The legislation that passed the House on Thursday eviscerates the deduction for state and local taxes and the current Senate version, which just emerged from the Finance Committee, eliminates the write-off entirely.

Opinion: Remembering Recy Taylor and the Too Familiar State of Alabama
The Yellowhammer State has real heroes. Why Roy Moore?

Recy Taylor (Courtesy “The Rape of Recy Taylor”/Augusta Films)

In “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” a recently released documentary, you see the face of bravery. It is Recy Taylor, the 24-year-old African-American — a wife and mother of an infant daughter — kidnapped in 1944 by a carful of young white men, some the sons of the “respectable” leaders of Abbeville, Alabama, where they all lived. A gun held to her head, she was blindfolded, driven to a remote spot and violated in unimaginable ways. She escaped being killed by promising to keep quiet.

But she did not keep that promise.

Capitol Ink | Turkey Day

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Opinion: Joe Biden — The Most Decent Man in Politics
Former vice president served with honor while dealing with a lifetime of suffering

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conduct a count of the Electoral College votes during a joint session of Congress in the House chamber in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

NEW YORK — Joe Biden’s Monday night book launch at Lincoln Center was oddly apolitical for an ostensibly political event. The name Donald Trump was not even mentioned until 40 minutes into Biden’s onstage conversation with Stephen Colbert.

Rather than cataloging Trump’s transgressions — a task that would be daunting for the loquacious former vice president — Biden took the softer approach of uttering soothing lines like, “I really do think that this is about to end.” In contrast to Trump, “the American people are basically decent and honorable,” he said.

Capitol Ink | Wicked Witch of the West Wing

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Opinion: Now McConnell Believes the Women
Comments in response to allegations against Roy Moore

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, is questioned by the media in the Capitol on October 31, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are suddenly grossed out by their Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and his conduct 30 years ago, when five women say he either sexually assaulted them, sexually harassed them, or simply tried to date them when he was a single deputy district attorney in his 30s and they were teenagers, one as young as 14 years old.

Moore has completely denied the accusations, but did allow in an interview with Sean Hannity that if he had ever dated a teenager when he was in his 30s, he would only have done it “with the permission of her mother.”

Capitol Ink | Good Old Days

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Opinion: Realizing the Vision of Evidence-Based Policymaking
Congress should act quickly to pass new Ryan-Murray legislation

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Washington Sen. Patty Murray recently introduced legislation that implemented many of the recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recently, amid the political turmoil over tax reform and other controversial issues, Congress set aside partisan differences to convey an important message to the American public: Better use of evidence in our policymaking process is necessary and possible.

Regardless of their politics, the American people want a government that operates effectively and transparently. The federal government spends billions on programs, yet often lacks the evidence needed to determine whether these programs are working as intended or how they could be improved. Evidence-based policymaking  — making better use of data and rigorous program evaluation to inform government decision-making —holds the key to driving government programs to be more effective.

Opinion: For the Republicans, Less Is (Roy) Moore
McConnell said it: Every day is a Maalox moment for the GOP

Republican senators started to abandon Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore after The Washington Post published allegations of sexual misconduct with underage women. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The implosion of the Senate candidacy of Roy Moore brings to mind the title of an early Spike Lee movie: “Do the Right Thing.”

After Moore romped home in the Alabama Senate primary runoff in late September, the national Republican Party could have shunned him for many valid reasons. There was Moore’s un-American belief that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress; his wackadoodle claim that Sharia law governed communities in Indiana and Illinois; and his defiance of the law that twice led to his removal from Alabama’s Supreme Court.

Opinion: Republicans Reversed Course on ‘Blue Slips’ for Judicial Nominees
Practice ensures that nominees chosen by presidents of both parties are mainstream

Democratic Sen. Al Franken, left, opposes the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and has declined to return a blue slip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans have done a head-spinning 180 on the value of the “blue slip,” a 100-year-old tool that gives home state senators the ability to sign off on judicial nominees in their states. This practice ensures that the White House consults senators on lifetime appointments and that nominees are mainstream and well-suited to serve in their states.

Just three years ago, Sen. Orrin Hatchwrote about the value of the blue slip and his commitment to upholding it during his tenure as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He said that “weakening or eliminating the blue slip process would sweep aside the last remaining check on the president’s judicial appointment power.”