Stephanie Akin

Congressional Democrats Call for More Gun Violence Research
Report, House bill draw attention to lack of federal funding

Congressional Democrats have launched renewed calls for federal research into gun violence prevention in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday presented a report from the Government Accountability Office highlighting the limitations lawmakers have imposed on researchers attempting to understand gun violence, which they called a “public health crisis.”

Want to Know How to Curb Gun Violence? Don’t Ask Congress
Majorities have blocked gun-related research for decades

The mass shooting in Las Vegas last week — like every high-profile mass shooting — raised a host of questions about why such horrors happen and how they can be prevented. But don’t look to Congress to help provide the answers.

Could gunman Stephen Paddock have been stopped while he was stockpiling dozens of weapons ahead of his rampage if law enforcement officials had tracked and flagged suspicious gun purchasing patterns?

Record Gains by Latinos Contradict Narrative
Trump’s 2016 victory overshadowed congressional victories

President Donald Trump’s victory last year was widely understood to challenge predictions of a coming surge in Democratic-leaning Latino voters that would forever alter the American electorate. 

But as Latino political leaders kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month this week, some are pointing to Congress to argue that Trump’s win was an anomaly. 

Trump and Sessions: In a Relationship — and It’s Complicated
Strife with presidents is common for post-Watergate AGs

When Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last week that the Trump administration would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, he was also signaling a new act in one of the summer’s most riveting political dramas. 

Sessions had been considered a dead man walking since mid-July, when Trump began berating him in interviews and on social media for his decision to recuse himself from the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Yet here he was, on a podium, serving as a proxy for the president as he announced a controversial policy decision that Sessions has sought for years — and on which Trump was reportedly wavering. 

Patrick Murphy Talkin’ ’Bout His Generation
Former congressman to begin Georgetown fellowship this fall

One of the first millennials elected to Congress will head to Georgetown University this fall to help students understand political issues unique to their generation. 

As a fellow with the Institute of Politics and Public Service at Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, Former Rep. Patrick Murphy, 34, will lead discussions on how government must adjust to accommodate the so-called “gig” economy, how political careers have changed in the age of social media, and how an anticipated flood of millennial voters could upend norms in Washington, among other issues. 

Democrats Tell Trump to Withdraw Clovis Nomination for USDA
Schumer, Schatz cite nominee’s “extremist views” on race, homosexuality

Senate Democrats said Wednesday they would “vehemently oppose” the appointment of Sam Clovis Jr., President Donald Trump’s nominee for a top scientific post at the Department of Agriculture, potentially dovetailing with unrelated reservations already expressed by a key Senate Republican.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York and Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii cited Clovis’ rejection of climate science and his “extremist views” on race and homosexuality in a press release. They called for the immediate withdrawal of his nomination as USDA undersecretary for research, education and economics.

Congress Is Broken, and Staff Members Know Why
Survey reveals dissatisfaction with key performance measures

Members of Congress will return in September to a glut of complex and technically challenging tasks, including tax policy, the debt ceiling, and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

But they won’t have the staff expertise, time or outside resources to do the job.

Millennials and Gen Xers Eclipse Boomers in the Voting Booth — but Will It Matter?
But population shift has yet to impact elections, researchers say

American politics are on the cusp of a revolution. And it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

That’s because younger generations — who are generally more liberal and reluctant to identify with either political party — are overtaking their older counterparts for the first time since the baby boomers began to dominate every aspect of American life in the last half of the 20th century, researchers say.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus Is Out
Trump announces that he has named Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as successor

By STEPHANIE AKIN and JOHN T. BENNETTUpdated at 7:20 p.m. President Donald Trump has named Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly as his new White House chief of staff, replacing an embattled Reince Priebus.

Trump’s announcement came after a week of turmoil in the White House that had prompted fervent speculation Priebus would be the next to go. But Priebus’s job has been in question almost since the beginning when he was given the almost impossible goal of uniting disparate ideological factions within the Trump administration and serving as a bridge to establishment Republicans.  

Collins, Murkowski Set the Stage for McCain’s Dramatic Vote
Female senators came under withering criticism, threats in run-up to health care vote

Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine withstood withering criticism — including a rhetorical challenge to a duel and a threat from the White House — to set the stage for the dramatic last-minute health care vote early Friday morning. 

In the end, though, it was Arizona Sen. John McCain — returning to Washington during treatment for brain cancer diagnosis — who got the spotlight.

The Investigations Trump Can’t Stop
Presidential pardons offer no protection from state prosecutions

President Donald Trump might be able to pardon everyone he wants — possibly even himself. But that would not end his legal troubles.

Trump already fired FBI Director James B. Comey amid an investigation into allegations of collusion between his campaign and Russia. He has attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, raising questions about whether he intends to try to remove Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel appointed by the Justice Department to head the Russia probe.

Analysis: Moving Past Obamacare May Include Embracing Some of Its Conservative Roots
Parts of 2010 health care law based on Republican ideas

Missteps, miscalculations and mistakes have almost defined efforts to repeal Obamacare. 

Some political theorists and economists — including conservatives — suggest that one of the biggest mistakes may be the reluctance by Republicans to acknowledge that significant parts of the Affordable Care Act were based on conservative principles.

Analysis: Moving Past Obamacare May Include Embracing Some of Its Conservative Roots
Parts of 2010 health care law based on Republican ideas

Missteps, miscalculations and mistakes have almost defined efforts to repeal Obamacare. 

Some political theorists and economists — including conservatives — suggest that one of the biggest mistakes may be the reluctance by Republicans to acknowledge that significant parts of the Affordable Care Act were based on conservative principles.

Congress Still Grappling With Cybersecurity Concerns
Experts say networks on Capitol Hill lag in basic protections

Lawmakers and their staffs have been aware for years that their internet communications could be prime targets for both foreign and domestic spies.

But after last year’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee by Russian operatives, many are reassessing security protocols that once seemed sufficient — even overbearing — and finding them lacking.

What Voters Can Learn From Tax Returns
Tax returns and annual financial disclosures contain different information

Candidates and members of Congress are required by law to file personal financial disclosures that are designed to shed a light on their potential conflicts of interest.

These documents show a lawmakers' assets and liabilities, reported in broad ranges. Tax returns, in contrast, provide snapshots of their annual net income, are subject to audit and require taxpayers to report specific amounts.

In Tax Return Secrecy, Congress Unites
What some lawmakers said when we asked for copies of their returns

No matter what their political affiliation, members of Congress have this in common: They don’t like releasing their tax returns. Only 37 of the 532 members of the House and Senate responded when Roll Call asked for copies of their tax returns over several weeks, starting in April. Most of them declined to release their tax returns.

Here are some of their responses.

Lawmakers Want Trump’s Tax Returns, but Won’t Release Their Own
Only a handful willing to release documents to Roll Call

Rep. Ben Ray Luján — like many in Congress — wants President Donald Trump to release his tax returns.

Transparency, the New Mexico Democrat said recently in a Facebook post, “is a cornerstone of democracy.”

Scalise, Shot at Baseball Practice, Known as Behind-the-Scenes Mover
Republican Whip has been credited with moving signature bills, working with Trump

On the Hill, Rep. Steve Scalise works behind the scenes to convince other Republicans to line up behind his Party’s agenda.

But on the baseball field during the annual Congressional game, he plays up the middle: He’s the second baseman.

Trump Mum on Comey, but Donald Jr. Chimes In
First son is tweeting responses to Comey hearing

President Donald Trump has yet to offer a reaction to explosive testimony from former FBI director James B. Comey before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. But his son has now chimed in, using an expletive to describe Comey’s account.

“Flynn stuff is BS,” Donald Trump Jr. wrote, referring to Comey’s allegation that the president tried to coerce him, during a one-on-one meeting, to drop an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Trump Twitter Feed Still Mum on Comey Testimony
Anticipate live-Tweet attack yet to materialize

There’s only one thing more highly anticipated in Washington than what former FBI Director James Comey will say Thursday during his first public appearance since President Trump fired him.

It’s what — and if — the president will tweet.