Shawn Zeller

Congressional Staffers Speak Out
Podcast, Episode 124

Bipartisan Opioids Bill Explained
Podcast, Episode 123

CQ Health reporter Sandhya Raman explains what's in the sweeping opioids bill that Congress cleared on Oct. 3 – just in time for lawmakers to campaign on the issue before the November midterm elections.

An Anita Hill Skeptic Doubts Kavanaugh
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 122

Legal analyst Stuart Taylor Jr., a well known critic of the fairness of rape investigations, to men, says Christine Blasey Ford was credible enough, and Brett Kavanaugh evasive enough, to give senators reason to vote against Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

How to Read Midterm Polls
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 121

While Washington is obsessed with the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, voters — Republicans and Democrats— are more concerned about the economy, says Democratic pollster Brad Bannon, who adds that the positive top-line numbers cloak Americans' continuing economic fears.

Show Notes:

Primary Challengers Aren’t Always More Partisan in Congress
Some successors have been more willing to work across the aisle

It’s often said that conservative challenges to Republican incumbents in primary elections — the prime example being Dave Brat’s victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 — have led to more polarization in Congress, with the challengers less willing to compromise than their predecessors.

Now that two incumbent Democrats, Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts on Sept. 4 and Joseph Crowley of New York in June, have fallen to upstart challengers, it raises the question whether the phenomenon has now spread to the Democratic Party, foreboding even more dysfunction at the Capitol.

Trump’s FDA Takes on Tobacco
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 120

In an administration proud of its deregulatory approach, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has defied the trend. He's proposed to mandate lower nicotine levels in cigarettes and suggested a willingness to crack down on electronic cigarette products popular with kids. Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and CQ health reporter Andrew Siddons assess the proposals and the likelihood Gottlieb will follow through.

 

Anti-Trump Fervor Puts Senate in Play
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 119

Congress Expands Oversight of Social Media
CQ on Congress, Episode 118

Twitter, Facebook and possibly Google executives are preparing to testify before Senate and House committees next week over concerns that foreign governments could use their platforms to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections. CQ cybersecurity reporter Gopal Ratnam gives us a primer on what to expect.

Show Notes:

Battle Lines for the Supreme Court
CQ on Congress, Episode 117

Democrats are pushing for a delay in upcoming confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, arguing that Kavanaugh could ultimately sit in judgment of the president if Trump's legal problems reach the court. CQ legal affairs writer Todd Ruger says Republicans are likely to ignore their calls. ...
Democratic Aides on Hill Sour on Pelosi, Survey Finds
Many say California Democrat should step down, regardless of November result

In a sign of the growing unrest on the left, a plurality of Democratic congressional aides surveyed by CQ Roll Call last month said the party should replace Nancy Pelosi as leader whether Democrats win a House majority in November or not.

The Capitol Insiders Survey, which CQ Roll Call emailed to aides on July 13 and remained open till July 18, drew responses from 191 aides, 103 of them Democrats, 84 Republicans and four independents.

Abolishing ICE Doesn’t Have to Mean Firing Federal Workers, Advocate Says
Cesar Vargas of the Dream Action Coalition says ‘priorities are terribly misguided’

The Abolish ICE movement has split the Democratic Party. Some say the agency, formally the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Homeland Security Department, has lost all credibility for its involvement in separating immigrant families. Others say it’s the policy that is problematic, not the federal workers who carried it out.

Republicans, meanwhile, see it as a boon for their election prospects. President Donald Trump has cited it in fundraising appeals.

Super PAC Spends More to Defend Democrats Than Attack Republicans
Senate Majority PAC is the biggest super PAC in the country

Democratic activists have dreams of winning majorities in both the House and Senate this year, but at least in the Senate, Democratic donors are largely playing defense.

Podcast: Why Congress Has a Russia Problem
CQ on Congress, Episode 112

Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have denounced President Donald Trump's accommodation of Russia's Vladimir Putin, but as CQ foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald explains, Congress is still wrangling with how to stop Russia from tampering in another U.S. election. And Cesar Vargas of the Dream Action Coalition makes the case for abolishing ICE, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. ...
Blue Dog Democrats Vote With GOP More in 2018
Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider had biggest drop in party unity score

Blue Dog Democrats tend to move to the right in election years, which is understandable given that they typically represent swing districts.

And lately no district has swung more than Illinois’ 10th, in the affluent suburbs north of Chicago. Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider is currently serving his second, nonconsecutive term, having defeated Republican Robert J. Dold in 2016.

Podcast: Two Senators on How They Got a Bipartisan Farm Bill
CQ on Congress, Episode 111

"I'm all for principles, but I'm not an ideologue," says Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts of Kansas in explaining why he wrote a farm bill that doesn't add new work requirements to the food stamps program. He and the Agriculture panel's ranking Democrat, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, explain their bipartisan approach as they prepare for a fight with the House conservatives pushing the food stamp changes.

 

The President’s Mission to Mars Is a Real Long Shot
Trump really wants to go to Mars, but he’ll have to convince Congress, private companies and scores of scientists

For a man known for grandiose ambitions, perhaps President Donald Trump’s most lofty is his pledge, formalized in a December order, to land a human being on the surface of Mars.

It would be easy to doubt Trump’s seriousness, given that he’s equally known for inconsistent follow-through. But Trump has raised the idea repeatedly since that order, most recently last month before the National Space Council, the advisory group Trump revived last year and tasked Vice President Mike Pence with running.

Q&A: NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine
‘What we don’t know about the moon is critical’ and could change ‘the balance of power on Earth’

The Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine to lead NASA in April after months of delay related to Democrats’ concerns about his commitment to the agency’s climate research and Republican infighting over its resources.

During two terms in the House, and the start of a third, Bridenstine was a space enthusiast. He served on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and drafted an ambitious bill to overhaul the way the government manages its space resources.

Podcast: Over the Moon for the Mission to Mars
CQ on Congress, Episode 110

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is in charge of realizing President Trump's plan to put an astronaut on Mars by 2033. He says it's doable, albeit visionary. He talks to CQ's Shawn Zeller about why the mission is important, how it can lead to technological advances and why private in...
Podcast: On Civility, the Resistance Splits
CQ on Congress, Episode 109

Two political strategists, Democrat Ryan Clancy and Republican Rory Cooper, question whether progressives' anger will help Democrats at the polls, while also predicting it bodes ill for lawmaking in Congress....