Shawn Zeller

Big Tech's Breakup With Democrats
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 145

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but especially Democrats, are saying that the government should intervene to rein in, or even break up, tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook. CQ technology reporter Dean DeChiaro says an antitrust action would require a novel legal approach focused less on pricing power and more on market dominance, while Patrick Pexton, CQ's tech editor, says the tech industry, long aligned with the Democratic Party, could shift its political loyalties

Show Notes:

Navy spends epically on shoddy ships
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 144

For the U.S. Navy, buying warships that are defective, unfinished or both has become the norm. The habit is expensive, dangerous and leaves overworked sailors to deal with faulty ships in need of repair from day one. Yet, the practice has escaped sufficient scrutiny in Washington even though taxpayers are on the hook for repeated repairs, reports CQ senior writer John M. Donnelly. Most new ships, he says, go to sea with one or more major defects — even after months of repair work and test...
Two Takes on Rep. Omar, Democrats and Israel
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 143

Janeen Rashmawi of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Logan Bayroff of the pro-Israel group J Street worry that Congress is losing sight of the bigger issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amidst the debate over Rep.
Compromise or resist? Democrats still have a choice to make
The problem is that their voters are genuinely divided on whether to play nice with Trump

On the House side of the Capitol and on the presidential campaign trail, progressives are talking about “Medicare-for-all” and a Green New Deal. They want not only to save Social Security but to expand it, to guarantee a job to everyone and to abolish the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.

This, they admit, is all about drawing contrasts with Republicans to set the terms of the 2020 campaign. The proposals won’t go anywhere with the GOP in control of the Senate and Donald Trump in the White House.

Challenges for Trump’s Democratic overseers
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 142

Democrats have ramped up oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration with hearings this week on Trump’s finances, the Russia inquiry, the immigrant child separation policy and more.

But holding hearings and asking questions is only the first step in successful oversight, says Justin Rood, director of the Congressional Oversight Initiative at the Project on Government Oversight and a former staff investigator for Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn. Congressional overseers must then grapple with their targets to make sure they cooperate, or cultivate whistleblowers who will provide information outside the standard channels.

Rants aside, Trump scores big with Congress
Podcast, Episode 141

The latest edition of CQ's study of congressional voting comes out in CQ Magazine on Feb. 25 and the authors, CQ reporters John Bennett and Jonathan Miller, explain that Congress voted as Trump wanted at record levels in 2017 and 2018, while representatives and senators who crossed party lines more than their peers paid at the ballot box. Laura Weiss, who profiled Larry Hogan for the magazine, discusses what is prompting the Maryland governor to consider challenging Trump in the 2020 GOP pr...
The Americans paying more taxes
Podcast, Episode 140

 

Tax season has begun, and upper-middle-income taxpayers earning between $120,000 and $200,000 in states with high local taxes are the most likely to be among the 5 percent who paid more last year because of the 2017 law, says Kyle Pomerleau, director of the Center for Quantitative Analysis at the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank. Doug Sword, CQ’s tax reporter, explains how congressional Democrats, and those running for president, are attacking the law.

#MeToo reconsidered: One feminist on equalizing campus sexual assault rules
Podcast, Episode 139

Patricia Hamill calls herself a feminist and a liberal Democrat, but as a defense attorney for students accused of sexual assault and harassment on college and university campuses she backs the Education Department's controversial proposal to require schools to change the way they handle these cases. The department is now considering the more-than-100,000 comments it received about its proposal, most of them opposed. ...
Why Republicans bucked Trump on Afghanistan and Syria
Podcast, Episode 138

CQ senior defense writer John M. Donnelly and Michael Rubin, a former Middle East adviser in the George W. Bush administration who’s now a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, discuss the implications of President Donald Trump’s moves to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Syria and the Republican-led backlash in Congress. 

 

Shutdown ends but its damage will last
Podcast, Episode 137

CQ Homeland Security Editor Patrick B. Pexton discusses the details of the deal between President Donald Trump and lawmakers to end the shutdown. Max Stier, president of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, says it has done lasting damage to the civil service and that Congress must never allow it to happen again.

Furloughed government contractors to Congress: ‘Pay us too’
Podcast, Episode 136

Tens of thousands of government contractors are out of work and their employers are losing millions in revenue because of the partial government shutdown. Alan Chvotkin of the Professional Services Council, a contractor trade association, says his group is lobbying Congress to pay contractors for their missed work, as it has already agreed to do for furloughed civil servants. And Roll Call senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski says the impasse on Capitol Hill over government funding is showin...
EU to move first on crypto rules. Will US follow?
Podcast, Episode 135

 

European officials are expected to fire the first shot in the regulation of cryptocurrencies, with recommendations on what should be done to protect investors and preserve the integrity of financial markets. 

Pelosi stresses climate action, but activists push for more
Podcast, Episode 134

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls climate change "an existential threat" and has established a committee to look for solutions. CQ energy & envir...
Divided government will pose an obstacle to lawmaking in 2019
Congress was most dysfunctional from 2011 to 2014 when control of House and Senate was split

Washington tends to work best when one party controls both Congress and the White House. It’s most gridlocked, usually, when control of Congress is split.

The Congress of the past two years demonstrated the first principle. By any honest measure, President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate got a lot done in 2017 and 2018.

Sen. Tester Targets Dark Money
Podcast, Episode 133

Democrats plan to make so-called "good government" laws to tighten campaign finance and lobbying rules a priority in the new Congress. Democrat Jon Tester, who is featured in a documentary about outside campaign money in his state of Montana, tells host Shawn Zeller and lobbying reporter Ka...
Charities Feeling Flush Despite Tax Law Change
Small gifts are down, but big donors have more than made up for it

Year-end holiday giving is make-or-break time for America’s charitable sector. Donors who give now may feel compelled by the spirit of the season, but many of them also know that they can soon write off their gifts on their taxes and recoup a portion of their money.

But that latter incentive affects fewer people this year, thanks to a provision in the 2017 tax law that roughly doubled the standard deduction. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 31 million fewer households will itemize their taxes next year, eliminating their tax incentive to give to charity.

Pelosi's Concessions Will Change the Way Laws Are Made
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 131

In seeking to solidify her bid for House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi promised members of the Problem Solvers Caucus she'd guarantee floor time for bills with broad, bipartisan support. Problem Solvers Co-Chairman Read more...
The Largest Congressional District, Montana’s, Also Had the Highest Turnout
In contrast, California’s 21st District saw fewest number of voters show up

The turnout for the midterm elections was the highest — 49 percent of those eligible to cast ballots did — since 1914, according to the United States Election Project.

But the enthusiasm was not evenly spread. The number of votes cast in some House districts was much higher than others and it did not depend on the competitiveness of the races.

Pelosi Wins First Round Against Dissidents
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 130

Nancy Pelosi has won the House Democratic Caucus' nomination to return as speaker in January, proving herself a formidable opponent to those in the party who'd depose her. Molly Reynolds, a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, unpacks the incentives Pelosi is deploying to get to a majority, and secure the speakership, when the full House votes in January.