Shawn Zeller

Trump Budget a Shock to Farmers, Needy and Environment
The Week Ahead, Episode 55

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Annual Capitol Insiders Survey: The Trump Effect
Tensions on the Hill from last year have carried over into 2017

Last year’s election was humbling for pollsters, and the Capitol Insiders Survey was no exception. The vast majority of congressional staffers surveyed by CQ Roll Call in the days before the election — 91 percent — predicted a Hillary Clinton win. Only 6 percent thought Donald Trump could pull it off.

Still, the results reflect how Trump’s win blindsided the Washington establishment. The majority of Republican aides said consistently during the campaign that they wouldn’t vote for Trump.

A Special Counsel for Russia
The Week Ahead, Episode 54

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is now leading the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the special counsel's work will likely eclipse four concurrent congressional investigations, says CQ Roll Call's Todd Ruger and Niels Lesniewski. They provide the latest political and legal developments on the rapidly expanding probe.

All the Russia Probes Dogging the President
The Week Ahead, Episode 53

Congressional investigations, as well as the FBI's, into Russian interference in the 2016 election are ongoing, but what will happen to them now that President Donald Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey? CQ Roll Call's legal affairs writer Todd Ruger and intelligence reporter Ryan Lucas examine the dynamics on Capitol Hill and at the Justice Department.

Vexed by North Korea
The Week Ahead, Episode 52

Survey: Republicans See Harm From Freedom Caucus
GOP staffers also fault Trump’s temperament and approach to governing

The Freedom Caucus, the conservative House faction that stymied Republican efforts to repeal the health care law in March and, before that, upended the speakership of John A. Boehner, is deeply unpopular with the bulk of Republican staffers.

That, anyway, was the case among the respondents to the April Capitol Insiders Survey, CQ Roll Call’s email poll of congressional staff. Asked if the caucus was a positive or negative force for the party, 71 percent of GOP respondents said it was negative, while 22 percent said it was positive. The remainder were unsure.

Another Attempt to Undo Obamacare, Another Set of Problems
The Week Ahead, Episode 51

The new effort by Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare helped secure conservative votes, says CQ Roll Call health editor Rebecca Adams, but it raises new issues for moderates: Of particular concern for many lawmakers is that it could allow states to permit insurers to sock people who have pre-existing conditions with huge premium increases.

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Ep. 49: Democrats Turning Up the Heat to Flip a Georgia District
The Week Ahead

This could be the Democrats best chance, says CQ Roll Call reporters Simone Pathé and Greg Tourial, to flip Georgia's 6th District, where Republicans are scrambling to stop Democrat Jon Ossoff from winning in an April 18 all-party primary. @ossoff #FlipThe6th

Ep. 48: Why Trump is Slow-Walking His Trade Policy
The Week Ahead

President Donald Trump is taking his time reshaping his trade policies, says CQ Roll Call's trade reporter Ellyn Ferguson. She provides valuable insight on where things stand with the president’s campaign pledges to rip up NAFTA and officially label China as a currency manipulator — neither of which has happened.

 

Survey: GOP Staffers Reeling From Health Care Setback
Ryan’s approval rating drops among House Republican aides

Republican aides are reeling from the implosion of their party’s attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law, according to the latest CQ Roll Call Capitol Insiders Survey.

Paul D. Ryan’s approval rating among House GOP staffers has dropped to its lowest level since he became speaker in 2015, plummeting from 85 percent three weeks after Election Day to 44 percent in March. Those are levels not seen — for either party’s congressional leaders — since the ouster of Ryan’s predecessor, John A. Boehner of Ohio, a year and a half ago.

Ep. 47: Why You Shouldn't Count On the Trump Tax Cuts
The Week Ahead

  President Trump has promised big tax cuts but as CQ Roll Call's tax editor Catalina Camia explains a tangled web of interests and Republican disunity in Congress could spoil efforts for the first major tax legislation in 30 years.

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Ep. 46: Border Wall Design Begins and Guess Who Is Paying? Not Mexico.
The Week Ahead

Catch-up here on what is happening with President Donald Trump’s illegal immigration crackdown and plan to build a border wall, including its price tag. The project will involve taking private property and at least $15 billion taxpayer dollars, says CQ Roll Call’s national security reporter Gopal Ratnam. The wall was a cornerstone of Trump’s agenda, but some of his campaign promises on immigration have yet to be realized, adds immigration reporter Dean DeChiaro. @cqnow @rollcall

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Ep. 45: House Russia Inquiry Goes Public With FBI, NSA
The Week Ahead

In a highly anticipated hearing, the House Intelligence Committee's investigation of Russia's election meddling makes its public debut with lawmakers set to press the directors of the FBI and the NSA about the Kremlin's interference operation and potential ties with the Trump campaign, says CQ Roll Call's intelligence reporter Ryan Lucas. Listen in for details.

Conservatives Take Shots at Independent-Minded GOP Senators
Activists worry party mavericks could upend health care repeal efforts

Activist groups that want conservative orthodoxy on Capitol Hill have aimed their fire previously at Republicans including House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his predecessor, John A. Boehner. Now they have some new targets. 

Their focus has turned to three senators who’ve shown some willingness to challenge President Donald Trump: Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John McCain of Arizona.

Ep. 44: GOP's Achilles' Heel: Medicaid
The Week Ahead

As Republicans push full steam ahead with repealing and replacing Obamacare, cuts in Medicaid may become an issue that could not only further divide the party but can have severe consequences for state budgets and recipients, says CQ Roll Call's health reporter Joe P. Williams. He also takes us to the first marathon hearing on the GOP's health care bill and why it could be a dress rehearsal of what's to come.

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Tough Choices for Democrats: Obstruct or Govern
Angry constituents want members of Congress to step up

It’s now well known in Washington that on Feb. 4, police escorted GOP Rep. Tom McClintock, a fifth-term libertarian whose district stretches from the Sacramento suburbs to Yosemite National Park, out of a town hall meeting full of angry constituents in Roseville, Calif., 30 miles northeast of the state capital. The calls of activists opposed to President Donald Trump rained down: “This is what democracy looks like!”

Less than a week later, activists ambushed another Republican representative also starting his ninth year in Congress, Jason Chaffetz, at a town hall in a high school auditorium in suburban Salt Lake City. “Do your job!” they yelled at the Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman, demanding that he investigate Trump’s conflicts of interest.

Ep. 43: FCC Moves to Weaken Internet Privacy Safeguards
The Week Ahead

CQ Roll Call's privacy reporter Paul Merrion explains why the Republican-led Federal Communications Commission is moving to dismantle broadband privacy protections set up by the Obama administration. Those safeguards were designed to prevent hackers from accessing users’ data. The FCC will reconsider the broader rule that also requires internet service providers such as Comcast to get permission from customers before selling information about their online activity to advertisers. The move, some fear, could lead the agency to undo aspects of net neutrality that prevents broadband providers from treating web content differently.

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Survey: Democratic Aides Doubt Senate Can Block SCOTUS Nominee
Staffers overwhelmingly expect Neil Gorsuch to be confirmed

Liberal advocacy groups are spending lots of time and money organizing for what they hope will be a big fight over President Donald Trump’s choice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch.

They might be disheartened to learn that Democratic congressional aides don’t think they can block him.

Ep. 42: D.C. Establishment Anxiously Awaits Trump’s First Address to Congress
The Week Ahead

President Donald Trump will address a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 and no one knows what to expect from this most unpredictable of presidents. It’s another episode in the Washington reality show that is Trump’s presidency and representatives and senators are extras, perhaps against their will, in the drama. CQ Roll Call’s White House reporter John T. Bennett went to Capitol Hill to take their temperature.

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Ep. 41: The New Liberal Tea Party and What it Can Learn From its Foes
The Week Ahead

Democrats and liberals hoping to build a movement against the policies of President Donald Trump should take a page out of the Tea Party's 2010 movement and focus on "policies that build power," says Vanessa Williamson, the co-author of the 2012 book The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism. Like the Tea Party in 2010, anti-Trump activists plan to storm lawmakers’ offices and town hall meetings during Congress’ President’s Day recess and Williamson explains what it means for politics and for governance on Capitol Hill.