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Do Debt and Deficits Matter? It Depends on Who's Minding U.S. Fiscal Policy: Podcast
CQ on Congress, Episode 116

Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, sits in front of books of the U.S. tax code, during a House Ways and Means Committee markup of the Republicans' tax reform plan in November. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Budget Office recently revised its earlier, already dire warning that the national debt will be 150 percent larger than the entire U.S. economy within 30 years — and GOP budget and tax proposals could make a bad situation much worse.

CQ News editors Patrick B. Pexton and Pete Cohn discuss the political landscape of debt and deficits heading into what could be a fateful midterm election.

When Spike Lee’s Art Is More Real Than a White House Reality Show
It’s a contrast that will reverberate all the way to, let’s say, November

He should have seen it coming, Curtis writes. So why don’t the loyal aides still surrounding President Donald Trump seem to realize that Omarosa’s book is a perfect next episode in this reality show presidency? (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — It was deliberate and fitting that “BlacKkKlansman” opened a year after the deadly march of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is not too much of a spoiler to say that director Spike Lee goes there in the telling of the improbable true story of an African-American police officer who, in the late 1970s, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado.

The film brings the lessons of the not-so-tall tale up to the present, to this 2018 moment. That includes an appearance from a youthful David Duke, who still appears whenever and wherever racial hate rises up.

Instead of Oversight, This Congress Believes in Under-Sight
Omarosa saga reminds us that no Trump offense is so big that the GOP can’t ignore it

President Donald Trump talks with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn after his State of the Union address in January. No offense by the president and his administration is so big that it can’t be ignored by Republicans on the Hill, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In “Dr. Strangelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s scabrously funny 1964 sendup of nuclear war, a fanatical anti-Communist general starts pummeling the Russian ambassador for taking photographs in the inner sanctum of the Pentagon. The hapless president breaks up the scuffle by saying in an outraged tone, “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”

If only Kubrick were still around to do justice to Omarosa Manigault Newman taping her own firing by John Kelly in the White House Situation Room. Even the fanatical Gen. Jack D. Ripper couldn’t match the deranged fury of Donald Trump’s Tuesday tweet calling Omarosa “a crazed, crying lowlife” and viciously likening her to a “dog.”

Trump’s Turkey Spat Could Rouse Army of Well-Paid, Connected Lobbyists
Turkey has spent millions to promote its interests in Washington

Former Rep. Jim McCrery, R-La., shown here in October 2005 with House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is one of numerous retired lawmakers who have signed lucrative agreements to lobby on behalf of Turkey. (Ian Hurley/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Whatever the result of President Donald Trump’s tariff fight with Turkey, it is almost certainly going to rouse a well-financed and deeply entrenched influence-peddling operation in Washington.

The Republic of Turkey spends hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on well-connected D.C. lobbyists to promote its interests in Washington. It makes major gifts to American think tanks that do not have to be reported under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

Abuse Allegations Loom Over Minnesota Race to Replace Ellison
Female candidates dominate 5th District Democratic-Farmer-Labor primary

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison vacated his 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic candidates running for Rep. Keith Ellison’s seat in Minnesota’s deep-blue 5th District are pushing voters to the polls Tuesday, as abuse allegations against the congressman threatened to send them off-message in the campaign’s closing hours.

The three front-runners for the Democratic-Farmer-Labor nod in Tuesday’s primary declined to take sides when asked at a candidate forum Monday about allegations that Ellison physically abused a former girlfriend — which he has denied. The six-term congressman vacated the 5th District seat to run for state attorney general. 

Rep. David Cicilline’s Sister Let Off Hook on ‘Live PD’
Some viewers say she caught a break because of political connections

Officer Matt Moretti administers a field sobriety test to Susan Cicilline-Buonanno, sister of Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, during Friday’s broadcast of “Live PD.” (A&E)

A local Rhode Island police officer let Rep. David Cicilline’s sister, Susan Cicilline-Buonanno, go home without any troubles after pulling her over and administering a sobriety test — on television.

The encounter was broadcast on A&E’s “Live PD,” a program that follows roughly six police officers from around the country as they feed delayed video to the show.

Trump’s Culture War Is Entering Its Scorched-Earth Phase
Will weary voters resist his tactics in the midterms?

LeBron James, shown here in 2016, was the target of a Trump Twitter attack last week. Slamming one of Ohio’s heroes right before a special election in the state may not have been the savviest move on the part of the president, Curtis writes. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

OPINION — President Donald Trump is crediting his raucous Ohio rally for propelling Troy Balderson over Democratic challenger Danny O’Connor in a U.S. congressional special election that is officially still too close to call. But what if his fiery rhetoric and the image of a sea of angry faces, attacks on the media and signs supporting the murky QAnon conspiracy actually derailed what should have been an easy Republican victory?

Republican candidates have signaled they will ride the Trump train, with their fearless leader promising to stoke the outrage all the way to the November midterms to persuade the base to show up. The Republican Party is Trump’s party now, so those wanting to win or keep office may not have a choice.

Why the Mueller Investigation Is the Wobble of Neptune
Nixon comparisons may be premature, but things can be anticipated before they are observed

President Richard Nixon says farewell to White House staff gathered in the East Room in 1974. Comparisons between Nixon and President Donald Trump may be premature, but Trump has good reason to be insecure, Shapiro writes. (Courtesy the Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library and Museum)

OPINION — It was the summer of “Chinatown” and Elton John’s best-selling album “Caribou.” Top-rated TV shows like “All in the FamilyM*A*S*H” were in rerun season. But August 1974 was not lacking in drama cut with pathos.

On Aug. 8, Richard Nixon spoke to the nation, announcing his surrender in the battle of Watergate because “I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort.”

Sorry Kanye, Black Voters Don’t Buy Celebrity Trump Endorsements
Poll: House votes in competitive districts could hinge on Trump’s racism

An NAACP poll found that ethnic minorities associate President Donald Trump with racism. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Kanye West and Dennis Rodman’s recent endorsements of Donald Trump have not impressed black voters in competitive districts whose deep dissatisfaction with the president could play a “key role” in the midterms, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The poll conducted for the NAACP by the African American Research Collaborative and Latino Decision is the latest to find that ethnic minorities associate Trump with racism, and that they are mobilized to vote against Republicans in November. That’s in spite of efforts by Trump and his supporters to enlist surrogates to rally support from the black community.