The last major legislative train of the year is about to leave Capitol Hill and a lot of high-profile cargo will be left behind.
Lawmakers had hoped to attach several significant and unrelated provisions to a massive government funding bill that Congress will address later this week. The $1.3-trillion omnibus bill is the last major “must pass” piece of legislation that Congress will take up until the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, so lawmakers from both parties and chambers had hoped to use it as a vehicle to address everything from shoring up Obamacare’s health insurance markets to new gun control measures, immigration reform and protecting special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Continue reading “Odds Fade For Last-Minute Flurry Of New Legislation”
Beware of a growing trend in politics—websites masquerading as unbiased news organizations that are run by politicians, political parties or activists created to tout their partisan views.
Republicans have been particularly savvy in utilizing this technique to spread their messages and discredit Democrats. Continue reading “Fake News Websites Proliferating”
Next time congressional leaders suggest they’re ready to bury the political hatchet and work together in good faith toward a common goal, take their words with a grain of salt. In fact, make it a block.
Take this week’s immigration “debate.” When Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) agreed to reopen the government last month, he did so on a promise from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to debate a key Democratic agenda item: Legislation to protect the 1.8 million “Dreamers,” immigrants brought to the United States illegally as minors. McConnell vowed an “amendment process that is fair to all sides.” Continue reading “Don’t Believe The Hype. Congress Can’t Play Nice.”
The controversial “Nunes memo” – named for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA), who spearheaded it – has been made public, and Washington is in a frenzy trying to prove or disprove its explosive allegations of bias against President Trump at the top levels of the FBI and Justice Dept. (For our take, check out the latest issue of The Kiplinger Letter).
Further muddying the waters is the potential release of committee Democrats’ rebuttal memo, which Trump would also have to authorize.
Continue reading “Nunes Memo Won’t Hinder Trump-Russia Probe”
Presidents come and go, but the annual State of the Union address endures. It’s mostly an opportunity for political grandstanding but can offer insight into an administration’s goals for the year.
President Trump delivered his first official entry into this historic canon Tuesday. In typical fashion, he took the occasion to celebrate his achievements—major tax legislation, extensive deregulation, the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq—and call for national unity and bipartisanship.
Continue reading “Trump’s State of the Union Charts Uncertain Path”
It’s too early to make a definitive call on the midterm elections, but here are some key factors shaping the campaign landscape.
The Generic Congressional Ballot: This poll asks people which party they would support in a congressional election, without mentioning any specific candidate. So far, Democrats have a clear advantage. RealClearPolitics, a political polling and news aggregator, shows the party with an average lead of 9 points on the generic ballot, based on polling data dating back to January 2017.
Continue reading “Control of Congress Rests on Handful of Critical Variables”
Lawmakers are again leaving town without making some tough decisions, punting numerous issues into the new year ahead of a midnight Friday deadline to keep the federal government open.
Given the disagreement among congressional Republicans—not to mention with Democrats—on everything from how much money to dole out to various agencies, to how to deal with foreigners illegally brought to the U.S. as children, GOP leaders have decided to leave Washington on a high note after passing their massive overhaul of the tax code. Continue reading “GOP Lawmakers Aim To Stave Off Government Shutdown”
Republicans’ loss in this week’s special election in Alabama strengthens the hands of a cadre of independent-minded Senate GOPers.
Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Arizona’s Jeff Flake and John McCain, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Susan Collins of Maine, Tennessee’s Bob Corker and occasionally others have used the GOP’s tenuous 52-48 majority to their advantage, threatening to hold up major legislation unless they get certain concessions. Continue reading “Democratic Win Inadvertently Helps Republican ‘Wildcards’ Gain Clout”
Reports that President Trump may force out Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo have rocked Washington, D.C., once again underscoring the ongoing turmoil within the administration.
To some extent, this isn’t a surprise. Washington pundits have been writing Tillerson’s political obituary ever since reports emerged this summer that the secretary of state privately called Trump a “moron.”
Continue reading “Palace Intrigue at the State Department: Trump Contemplates Plan to Force Out Secretary of State”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is set to lose some of its potency. Although Republicans—who have opposed the agency since its inception—will succeed in extracting some of its teeth, the GOP won’t be able to totally defang it.
Now that CFPB Director Richard Cordray is stepping down at the end of the month, President Trump, a critic of the consumer watchdog, is free to nominate a more business-friendly replacement. The administration also will work with congressional Republicans, many of whom want to dismantle the agency, to revamp its structure and refocus its mission. Continue reading “Consumer Watchdog Down But Not Out”