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Podcast: Pentagon Aims at Russia, China With Big Budget Boost
CQ on Congress, Episode 91

Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., escorts Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis to the hearing room for his confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Congress' budget deal gives the Pentagon the money it says it needs to deter the world's other great powers. CQ defense reporter Andrew Clevenger and Mandy Smithberger of the Project on Government Oversight discuss lawmakers' reasoning in approving the big budget boost.

 

GOP Unlikely to Revisit Spending Ban on Gun Violence Research
Congress has restricted such endeavors for more than two decades

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole says it was “just not helpful to turn a funding bill into a debate over gun control.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans, at least for now, appear unlikely to allow federal funds for research on gun violence after a nearly 22-year prohibition.

Following yet another mass shooting on Wednesday, at a Parkland, Florida, high school that left 17 dead, two key Republican appropriators said Thursday they don’t anticipate removing or altering an amendment in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that bars the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from using injury prevention research dollars “to advocate or promote gun control.”

Opinion: Sexual Harassment Legislation Breaks With Glacial Pace on Capitol Hill
Success often comes down to seizing the moment

California Rep. Jackie Speier is flanked by her staffers Molly Fishman, left, and Miriam Goldstein. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Like most Hill staffers, we came here with a dream of making a difference and quickly realized that the wheels of change grind at a glacial pace in Congress. It’s certainly not a secret, but until you become part of the process, it’s hard to understand just how painful it can be.

You can imagine our elation at finally seeing our dream realized last week, when the House of Representatives passed two pieces of legislation that will radically alter the way Congress prevents and responds to harassment and discrimination in the congressional workplace.

Trump Divided, Conquered in First Year in Office
An analysis of votes cast in 2017 shows GOP senators voted with the president 96 percent of the time

President Donald Trump speaks in January. An analysis of congressional votes suggests that Trump’s first year in office was a time of deepening partisanship. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Donald Trump campaigned as a successful business mogul whose negotiating skills made him uniquely qualified to be a president capable of ending Washington’s decades of bitter partisanship to get things done.

Trump, in fact, got his way on almost every vote last year where he publicly stated a position, setting a record for success. The results of votes by both House and Senate combined show he won 98.7 percent of the time on issues he supported. That set a new bicameral record, besting Obama’s 96.7 percent success level in 2009 (the last time a president’s party controlled both chambers.)

Opinion: Trump’s Political Retribution Threatens Palestinian Lives and Israeli Security
We can’t allow bruised egos to endanger our nation’s interests

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip carry bags of provisions after unloading them from a truck at an UNRWA distribution center in 2004. (Ahmad Khateib/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration’s decision to withhold funding from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, or UNRWA, abandons millions of vulnerable refugees, jeopardizes Israel’s security and undermines the credibility and interests of the United States in the Middle East.

Since 1949, UNRWA has provided health care, education, stable housing and other vital services to Palestinians displaced by conflict who live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian territories. While the United Nations, the European Union and other governmental and private-sector partners also fund UNRWA, the United States has historically been the largest single contributor.

Opinion: America Doesn’t Care How the Sausage Is Made
Both parties need to outline the outcomes of their policies first

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at a news conference in March 2017. It was easy for Republicans to call for repealing the 2010 health care law, but defining its replacement and the outcomes it would deliver was harder, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Process rather than outcome has become the new definition of governing in D.C. and that’s not good for America.

The inside story of how a controversial bill is passed or a presidential decision is reached has historical value. But when day-to-day political discourse thrives on gossipy renditions of process as we see now rather than focusing on the outcomes these actions will deliver, a disillusioned electorate is the unfortunate consequence.

Opinion: The ‘Dreamer’ Fight Could End in One of Three Ways
Senate has launched debate, House soon to follow

Supporters of so-called Dreamers, immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children, protest outside the Capitol on Jan. 21. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It began more than 16 years ago with two senators, a Democrat and a Republican, offering heart-tugging stories about young constituents buffeted by immigration laws.

For Utah’s Orrin Hatch, it was the tale of a boy named Danny, who was brought to this country as a six-year-old by his mother who had crossed the border illegally. By the time Danny was 14, he was roaming the streets of Salt Lake City without supervision.

Opinion: The Russians — and the Midterms — Are Coming
U.S. elections are vulnerable, and that needs to change

A march near the Kremlin in 2015 honors Russian opposition leader and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, a fierce critic of President Vladimir Putin who was fatally shot shortly before a major opposition rally. Reps. Bennie Thompson and Robert A. Brady warn against Russian meddling in future U.S. elections. (Alexander Aksakov/Getty Images file photo)

In November 2016, 139 million Americans cast their votes in the wake of a massive Russian cyber-enabled operation to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

The Kremlin spread disinformation through hundreds of thousands of social media posts. Russian agents hacked U.S. political organizations and selectively exposed sensitive information. Russia targeted voting systems in at least 21 states, seeking to infiltrate the networks of voting equipment vendors, political parties and at least one local election board.

Corker ‘Listening’ to Encouragement to Reconsider Senate Race
Blackburn campaign blasts ‘ego-driven, tired old men’

A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker confirmed he’s been “encouraged” to rethink his decision to retire at the end of this term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker confirmed Tuesday night the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman is “listening” to pleas to reconsider his decision not to seek a third term.

“In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Senator Corker with concerns about the outcome of this election because they believe it could determine control of the Senate and the future of our agenda,” spokeswoman Micah Johnson said in a statement.

Democrats Pan Bill Curbing Lawsuits by People With Disabilities
As ADA-related bill consideration gets under way, protest erupts in Rules Committee

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., who was a sponsor of the landmark American Disabilities Act in 1990, says new legislation being considered by the House would seriously undermine incentives for businesses to comply with the longstanding law. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic leaders are actively opposing a bill scheduled for a vote in the House later this week that they say would undermine a landmark law providing protections for Americans with disabilities.

The bill would make it harder for disabled individuals claiming discrimination in places such as hotels, restaurants or private schools from filing suit against the business under the Americans With Disabilities Act.