Jonathan Miller

Grassroots Have Grown Deeper Since Trump. Now Comes the Hard Part
It hasn’t been all roses, sunshine and lollipops

First there was the shock of Donald Trump’s election. Then came the marches and protests. Next came the outraged phone calls to Congress.

Now comes the hard part: Getting people elected.

Republicans Poised to Stand by Trump, Win or Lose
No matter the outcome in November, those who have backed Trump will continue to do so

In 2006, the reckoning finally came for Republicans. After 12 years in power in the House, scandal after scandal brought the party down — Tom DeLay, the powerful majority whip from Texas, quit after being indicted, and Rep. Mark Foley of Florida resigned following a scandal involving underage congressional pages. The Iraq War was looking lost. And the president was a drag on everyone. Republicans lost 30 seats in the House, six in the Senate.

Almost immediately after the election, Republicans started eating their own.

The Last of the Gingrich Revolutionaries
Come January, the GOP class of 1994 could be down to seven

It was nearly 24 years ago that Republicans swept into power in stunning fashion, ending 40 years of Democratic rule in the House.

But those 73 new Republicans who came to the House and 11 who came to the Senate on the 1994 wave engineered by Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich and his “Contract with America” have now dwindled down to a handful, and after this election only seven will likely be left in Congress.

Chuck Schumer Navigates the Resistance
The Senate’s Democratic leader wants to get along with everyone. Now he finds himself between Scylla and Charybdis

Back when he was policy director for Sen. Charles E. Schumer, Jim Kessler had a conversation with his boss about working with a high-profile Republican. This is how it went, according to Kessler.

Schumer: I can call Newt, he likes me.

National Mall Softball Reprieve Was Example of D.C.-Federal Communication
D.C. delegate to Congress praises National Park Service for listening

In November, the National Park Service stunned many when it announced that it would be closing wide swaths of the National Mall to organized sports and would be raising fees elsewhere.

But in a partial victory for sports on the Mall, the park service now says it is withdrawing that proposed ban and will instead conduct a formal study to come up with a “comprehensive” new plan.

The Blue Dogs Are Barking Again
Moderate Democrats, nearly wiped out in 2010, have hopes for a comeback this year

Brendan Kelly is running in a district in southern Illinois that went for Donald Trump by nearly 15 points in 2016, so his message shouldn’t come as a surprise.

“We see a system that is rigged for a powerful few,” he said in a voice full of gravel. He rails against “elites on the coasts” and understands why many are “frustrated” and “angry” over low-paying jobs and high health care costs.

GOP Power Play in Hurricane-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Conditional funding gains support amid talk of new Marshall Plan

In late September, just over a week after winds of 155 miles per hour flattened homes and struck down power lines and more than 30 inches of rain inundated parts of the island of Puerto Rico, a leader of the recovery efforts with the Army Corps of Engineers offered his blunt assessment of the damage.

“This is a massive undertaking, one in which I don’t think we’ve undertaken before in terms of this magnitude,” Col. James DeLapp told CNN. The closest thing he could think of by way of comparison? “When the Army Corps led the effort to restore … electricity in the early stages of the Iraq war in 2003 and 2004.”

Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel Remains Lightning Rod
Some see commission as Washington’s most dangerous advisory board

If anyone in Washington was wondering just how seriously Democrats were taking a presidential advisory commission tasked with finding voter fraud, the answer came in late August, when Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer compared the commission with the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who clashed with counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier in the month.

“If the president wants to truly show that he rejects the discrimination agenda of the white supremacist movement, he will rescind the Executive Order that created this commission,” the New York Democrat wrote in a post on Medium.com. He added that the commission was “a ruse,” whose “only intention is to disenfranchise voters.”

Voter Fraud Panel Chair Swipes at Schumer Over Charlottesville
Kobach: ‘It’s a pathetic, partisan attempt to wrap Charlottesville around every issue’

The vice chair of a presidential commission charged with investigating voting fraud swung back at the Democratic leader of the Senate Friday, saying it was “pathetic” that Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer equated the panel with white supremacists and a deadly rally earlier this month in Charlottesville, Virginia.

“It’s a pathetic, partisan attempt to wrap Charlottesville around every issue he can think of,” said Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. “It’s complete nonsense.”

Congressional Review Act Gets a Workout
Window for expedited nixing of regulations closes, maybe

On May 11, Republicans in Congress had a little celebration for the end of more than a dozen Obama-era regulations, with member after member coming to the Senate floor heaping praise on a once-obscure law known as the Congressional Review Act.

Sen. James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma could barely contain himself: “I’m almost speechless when I think about the success. You know, we went 20 years taking up one CRA and then we end up passing 14 of them — all but one. It’s a huge success record.”

Immigration Players to Watch
Democrats from Trump states in a tight spot

By JONATHAN MILLER and DEAN DeCHIARO

Several important groups of lawmakers will have outsized roles influencing the immigration debate in the 115th Congress. They include:

Hard-Liners Are Confident Heading Into Immigration Battle
Sharp rightward turn could lead to increased deportations

By JONATHAN MILLER and DEAN DeCHIARO

Donald Trump’s administration will feature a host of emboldened immigration hard-liners plucked from Congress, chief among them Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the president-elect’s pick for attorney general.

North Carolina May Be on Verge of Repealing Bathroom Bill
Special session will address state law on access by transgender people

A controversial North Carolina law that restricts bathroom access for transgender individuals will be the subject of a special session of the state’s legislature Wednesday — and the incoming governor said that he had been assured by lawmakers that the law would be repealed in full.

The governor-elect, Democrat Roy Cooper, said in a statement Monday that he had been assured by Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore, both Republicans, that a session would be called to deal with the law, known as HB2. Said Cooper: “I hope they will keep their word to me and with the help of Democrats in the legislature, HB2 will be repealed in full.”

GOP Readies Cuts to Federal Workforce Under Trump
Reductions part of long-sought civil service overhaul

For years, Republicans in Congress have been eyeing an overhaul of the federal workforce — by reducing the number of workers and curtailing benefits and pay while making it easier to fire bad employees.

Now, with a president-elect who has promised to do much the same, 2017 could be the best time in recent memory to make sweeping changes affecting those who work for the bureaucracy.

Kimberly Yee Goes Against the Grain in Arizona
Conservative lawmaker blazes a trail for Asian-Americans in the GOP

When Kimberly Yee ran for a full term in the Arizona House of Representatives in 2010, political consultants had a few suggestions on how to address her Chinese heritage.  

One said she should use her husband’s last name — Mar — which somehow seemed less Asian, even though he is also of Chinese descent. Another suggested she drop her last name altogether from campaign signs, which would simply read: “KIMBERLY.” Yee was taken aback.  

Senate Approves Puerto Rico Rescue, Sends to Obama
Bill would set path for territory's restructuring debt, establish oversight board

The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation aimed at rescuing Puerto Rico from its debt crisis, and President Barack Obama said he would sign it.  

Although the measure passed easily, 68-30, there was strong opposition from some Democrats, including Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who said the action treated the people of Puerto Rico "like subjects, not citizens."  

Puerto Rico Rescue Bill Moves Forward
Vote comes ahead of Friday deadline for default on debt

The Senate agreed Wednesday to move forward with legislation to rescue Puerto Rico from its fiscal crisis just days ahead of a July 1 deadline when the island would default on as much as $2 billion in debt.  

Despite reservations from Democrats and Republicans alike, the Senate voted 68-32 to close debate on a measure already approved by the House.  

Ryan, Pelosi Praise New Puerto Rico Rescue Bid
Lobbying efforts, House opponents could still undermine the plan

After more than a month of wrangling, House Republicans unveiled the latest version of a bill that seeks to rescue Puerto Rico from its debt crisis, but its path forward remains unclear.  

The new language rolled out on Wednesday tries to allay concerns from Democrats, Republicans, the Obama administration and creditors, all raised amid the collapse of an earlier version of the legislation last month.  

Zika Scares Major League Baseball Out of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico governor calls the decision to move two games 'offensive'

Major League Baseball has decided to cancel two games slated to be held this month in Puerto Rico and move them instead to Miami due to fears over the Zika virus .  

Just ahead of the announcement on Friday, the governor of Puerto Rico called the reported fears from baseball players “offensive.”  

Oregon’s Tina Kotek Downplays Gay Milestone
'People have worse comments about me as a politician'

When Tina Kotek was a graduate student at the University of Washington in the mid 1990s, she applied for married student housing with the woman who was her partner. The school refused her application, and Kotek filed a discrimination suit, which she lost.

But then, as president of the graduate student government, Kotek was able to get the university to change its rules and allow housing access for domestic partners.