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Conversation: Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government
Trump’s election represents ‘quantum shift’ on attitudes on free trade

Rick Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, says current free trade deals haven’t allowed American workers to compete on the world stage. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As president of the activist group Americans for Limited Government, Rick Manning has lobbied conservatives for years about the failings of free trade deals.

He says Donald Trump’s election shows that there’s been “a quantum shift in attitude” in the U.S. toward opposing such deals, and Republicans on Capitol Hill are coming around, too.

Puzder Is First Trump Nominee Spiked by GOP
Votes just weren’t there for fast-food tycoon

Andrew Puzder, left was the first of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to not get enough Republican votes for confirmation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination to be Labor secretary represents a milestone in the nascent Trump administration: the first time congressional Republicans played a significant part in spiking a Donald Trump Cabinet pick. 

The nomination of the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, had been plagued by scandal, including revelations he had employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper and failed to pay taxes on her, as well as the fallout from a 1987 divorce that brought up allegations of domestic violence against him.

Puzder Backs Out of Labor Secretary Nomination
Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. head lacked confirmation votes

Andrew Puzder leaves a November meeting with Donald Trump in Bedminster Township, New Jersey. Trump later nominated Puzder to head the Labor Department though recent reports indicate that Puzder is expected to withdraw his nomination. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Andrew Puzder, President Donald Trump’s nominee for Labor secretary, backed out of the confirmation process Wednesday.

In a statement released by the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, Puzder said he decided to withdraw his nomination after “careful consideration and discussions with [his] family.”

Capitol Hill: Trump’s Ultimate Truth Squad
Presidents don’t usually get to decree what facts and figures will shape legislation

President Donald Trump arrives at the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday where he addressed employees. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If President Donald Trump’s emphatic disregard for the facts continues, it will soon threaten the viability of the legislative process and imperil the minimal credibility now afforded Congress. 

During his initial week in office, Trump has stood fast by three whoppers of substantial import — given that they now bear the imprimatur of the Oval Office, not the campaign trail or the board room or the set of a reality TV show. But so far, his spreading of falsehoods has not managed to muddy, or sully, the process of advancing the policy changes the country elected him to make.

In Break from Trump, Mattis Pushes for Tough Stance on Russia

Secretary of Defense nominee James Mattis testifies during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

James Mattis, Donald Trump’s choice for Defense secretary, advocated several shifts in U.S. national security policy in his confirmation hearing Thursday, including a much tougher stance on Russia than the president-elect has articulated.

On several topics during his Senate Armed Services testimony, the retired Marine Corps four-star general differed in substance or tone from positions Trump took in the campaign. Unless Trump or Mattis changes his view, the contrasts could lead to tensions between the White House and the Pentagon.

Obama Touts Record, Sends Trump Message in Farewell Letter
Letter accompanies exit memos from Cabinet secretaries

President Barack Obama takes questions from student journalists at the White House last year. (Getty Images file photo)

The United States is “stronger and more prosperous” than it was on Inauguration Day 2009, President Barack Obama wrote in a letter to the American people, a dispatch that appears to have a message for his successor.

The letter, which will accompany exit memos from each of Obama’s Cabinet secretaries, begins with the 44th president reminding Americans of the challenges he faced when he was sworn in. Obama then ticks off what he sees as his top achievements, from bailing out U.S. automakers to avoiding an economic depression to passing his health care law to killing Osama bin Laden to a historically high high school graduation rate.

Washington Politics: A Hint of Compromise or North Carolina-Style Dysfunction?
Few signs of a fresh start in 2017

Is House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, left, listening to all of the American people when his party is deciding what it will deliver, Mary C. Curtis asks. Ryan is seen here with Vice President-elect Mike Pence at a press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Though the year has just begun, there are already signs that the partisan power struggle in Washington will not benefit from a fresh start or optimistic resolutions of renewal.

“I want to say to the American people: We hear you. We will do right by you. And we will deliver,” said re-elected House Speaker Paul Ryan, as he no doubt relished uniting with President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Washington to celebrate the consolidation of power by undoing President Barack Obama’s actions of the last eight years.

Nuclear Threats Rise in Concert With Trump's Ascension
Odds of war with Russia are rising

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said there might be the need for legislation that would prohibit the president from launching a first-strike nuclear attack without a congressional declaration of war. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Since the Cold War ended 25 years ago, Americans haven’t thought much about nuclear war. That changed slightly in the recently concluded presidential campaign, but it needs to change dramatically, many experts say.

A growing cadre of security analysts says the risk that nuclear weapons might be used by nations or terrorist groups is increasing, and it may even be higher than it was in the Cold War.

Navy's Surgeon General Reworking Military Medicine

The San Diego Union Tribune reports: Nearly a year into his job as the Navy’s top doc, Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III wants to make wide-ranging reforms designed to better heal millions of sailors, Marines, military retirees and their families."

"The 38th surgeon general of the Navy wants to wage war against complacency on three fronts — making health services more convenient for troops and their families; ensuring positive, 'friction-less experiences' with Navy medical providers; and using technology to connect troops with the best physicians."

It's Official: Darrell Issa Re-Elected in California
Democrat Doug Applegate falls short in upset bid against GOP incumbent

California Rep. Darrell Issa is returning for a ninth term in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa officially won re-election Monday, giving the House GOP yet another win in a seat it had once feared losing. 

The Associated Press called the race nearly three weeks after Election Day, with Issa leading Democrat Doug Applegate, 51 percent to 49 percent.