independents

Charities Feeling Flush Despite Tax Law Change
Small gifts are down, but big donors have more than made up for it

Charities argued against doubling the standard deduction, but so far the change hasn’t slowed down giving. Above, President Donald Trump, flanked by Republican lawmakers, celebrates the 2017 tax law. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Year-end holiday giving is make-or-break time for America’s charitable sector. Donors who give now may feel compelled by the spirit of the season, but many of them also know that they can soon write off their gifts on their taxes and recoup a portion of their money.

But that latter incentive affects fewer people this year, thanks to a provision in the 2017 tax law that roughly doubled the standard deduction. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 31 million fewer households will itemize their taxes next year, eliminating their tax incentive to give to charity.

All Is Not Lost for Republicans in the Suburbs
Party can regain its suburban advantage with a clearer economic message

Supporters of Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., cheer during an Independence Day parade in Leesburg, Va., in the suburban 10th District, which flipped to the Democrats this year. Republicans can regain their advantage in the suburbs by refocusing on household economic issues, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Will Ferrell once joked about his all-too-normal, stress-free upbringing: “Maybe that’s where comedy comes from, as some sort of reaction to the safe, boring suburbs.”

Safe? Boring? Not any more, especially not for Republicans this year. It was suburban voters — women and men — who voted Republican in 2010, 2014 and 2016 but leaned Democratic this year who played a major role in Republicans losing the House.

Trump’s Action-Packed Week Previews a Wild Year Ahead
‘They would be impeachable offenses,’ Nadler says of campaign finance violations

President Donald Trump argues about border security with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby in the Oval Office on Dec. 11. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS | Democratic hands in Washington spent the 2017 holiday season musing at cocktail parties about how little they would miss Donald Trump's first year in office, only to be shocked by an even more chaotic 2018.

Just wait until they see 2019.

House Primaries on the Horizon for Democrats in 2020
Illinois’ Dan Lipinski is most likely to face intraparty challenge

Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., narrowly beat back a primary challenge earlier this year. He’s unlikely to go unchallenged in the next cycle, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We already know the Democratic presidential primary is going to be crowded and crazy as a few dozen candidates battle for the right to take on President Donald Trump.

But at least a handful of 2020 House primaries are also on the horizon for Democrats as the party fights over ideology and loyalty. And there’s still plenty of time for more intraparty races to take shape.

Senators’ Yemen Vote Is Precursor to Debate on Saudi Relations
Corker eyes nonbinding resolution to condemn kingdom over Khashoggi murder

With the Senate expected to vote Wednesday on a resolution aimed at the Yemen war, Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker wants to ensure any amendments offered are germane. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is expected Wednesday to debate and vote on a resolution that would order an end to military involvement in the war in Yemen, one of several measures that lawmakers are considering to punish Saudi Arabia.

But Wednesday’s discussion may be shortened due to scant floor time and several competing high-priority legislative items that, unlike the Yemen resolution, could still become law before the year is over.

Criminal Justice Bill Could Bring Out Drama in Senate
Tom Cotton threatens Christmas showdown, throws gauntlet at colleagues

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., says the chamber will consider a criminal justice reform measure, but opponents might make it a rough debate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is poised to vote on a bipartisan criminal justice bill as soon as this week, the culmination of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a public campaign by lawmakers, the White House and advocates to press Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring it to the floor this year. But that does not mean the debate will be free of drama. 

McConnell announced Tuesday that the revised bill would be put on the floor agenda this month “following improvements to the legislation that [have] been secured by several members.” That ended weeks of uncertainty about whether the Senate would have a chance to vote on prison and sentencing changes that would be the first in a generation and could become a signature accomplishment right before the end of the 115th Congress.

Another End-of-the-Year Winners & Losers Column
From Trump to Beto to the Red Sox, it has been, well, another year

President Donald Trump provided much fodder for Stu Rothenberg's annual end of the year winners and losers column. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Well, it’s time for another of my end-of-the-year winners and losers columns. I’ve titled it “Another End-of-the-Year Winners & Losers Column” just so you don’t miss the point.

As I have often done in the past, I’ll offer up a category with some nominees. Then I’ll give you my winner. If you disagree, please send your complaints to Nathan Gonzales of Inside Elections or Charlie Cook of the Cook Political Report. Just don’t send them to me.

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

For Riverby Books, a Time to Close
For owner Paul Cymrot, decision was personal, based on several factors

Paul Cymrot, the owner of Riverby Books, in one of the store’s coziest spots. He is closing the store’s Capitol Hill location at the end of the month. Cymrot and his father Steve opened it in 2001. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The closing of Riverby Books’ Capitol Hill location brings with it all the hallmarks of the great literature that animated its business: a sense of place, change, ambiguity and loss.

“I love the way it looks. I love the way it feels. I have a lot of memories here. It’s a neighborly place,” owner Paul Cymrot said of what he will miss most about the store he opened at 417 East Capitol St. SE in 2001 with his father, Steve.

House Could Go Its Own Way on Sexual Harassment Policy, Says Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House could accept some of the Senate’s sexual harassment proposals and then tighten their own rules. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nancy Pelosi has a plan to move forward on the proposals to overhaul sexual harassment policies on Capitol Hill before year’s end, but House Republicans say they’re still working on a strong compromise. Senators, meanwhile, are looking past negotiations and toward getting a final bill passed.

The House minority leader signaled Thursday that House negotiators may be willing to accept some of the Senate language that they’ve been rejecting for being less stringent.