FROM Sarah Binder
Speaker of the House Talks Next Steps Yesterday’s elections gave Republicans control of the Senate, and House Speaker John Boehner has a bigger majority than he had before. Today, he said he’ll push GOP priorities — especially when there’s hope of bi-partisan support. But he pulled no punches when it came for compromises with President Obama on issues including the Affordable Care Act. Sarah Binder is senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution and professor of Political Science at George Washington University.
Obama Steps Up Obamacare Push A 21-hour filibuster by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has failed, but Republican protests against Obamacare continue on Capitol Hill. Obsession with the Affordable Care Act may leave less than a day to decide whether to shut down the government on Tuesday of next week. But even if that were to happen, Obamacare enrollment would begin on that same day. We hear how the options will differ from state to state. The campaign to persuade uninsured people to sign up is already under way, and so is the campaign to persuade them not to. Particular targets are the young and the healthy. Will medical insurance be more affordable? Will there be enough doctors?
A Divided Congress Gets to Work before Winter Break Another holiday means another deadline for important legislation in Congress, and opportunities for each political party to embarrass the other. Last night, the Republican House passed a bill extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance. An hour later, the Senate's Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, called it " dead on arrival ." What's at stake for the latest example of dysfunctional government?
Holiday Sausage-Making on Capitol Hill Last night, the Republican House passed a bill extending payroll tax cuts and unemployment insurance. An hour later, the Senate's Democratic Leader, Harry Reid, called it " dead on arrival ." Deadline gamesmanship is under way in both houses of Congress. Bills that "must pass" before the holiday recess are loaded with so-called "poison pills." Other matters being held hostage include unemployment benefits and appropriations to keep government agencies open. Both parties are playing the game, with the President threatening vetoes and saying that, "nothing gets done until everything gets done." Can Congress accomplish its basic work in time to go home for Christmas? What's the price of dysfunctional government in the long term?
Could the Democrats Win a Supermajority? Whatever the outcome of the presidential campaign, Republicans may be in for a long night on November 4. The Democrats are poised to win so many seats in Congress that Republicans are warning about one-party rule if Barack Obama takes over the White House. The Wall Street Journal has editorialized about a "profound political and ideological shift" to "unchecked left-wing ascendancy." We look at the prospects for Democratic dominance. Can they win enough seats to overcome Republican filibusters in the Senate? What kind of majority can they get in the House? What about business as usual on Capitol Hill? Do special interests and public opinion moderate the potential excesses of either political party?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
Trump's ethical conflicts pile up as transparency diminishes President Trump's refusal to reveal his income tax returns is just one example of a lack of transparency that could be hiding conflicts of interest. Other conflicts are already obvious from his appointments. And he's being sued for using his job to increase his profits.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?