exclusions

Opinion: Best and the Brightest? Trump’s Troika of Troubled Nominees
Senate can stop president’s dismal choices for cabinet jobs

White House physician Ronny Jackson, nominee for Secretary of Veterans Affairs, had better hang on to his day job after lawmakers cited “serious concerns,” Walter Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate confirmation fights have been the stuff of Washington drama from the fictional “Advise and Consent” (1960 Pulitzer Prize) to the real-life rejection of John Tower (a rumored alcoholic and inveterate skirt chaser) for Defense secretary in 1989. And of course, Mike Pence last year had to break a 50-50 Senate tie over the fate of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

But never in modern times has a president in the midst of his first term had three nominees as troubled as the Trump Troika.

Opinion: The Big Test for Business
Private sector needs to make the most of tax cuts and regulatory relief

President Donald Trump signs the sweeping tax overhaul into law at the White House on Dec. 22. The private sector now needs to make the most of the tax cuts and regulatory relief that the GOP has provided, Winston writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Last December when President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax cut bill, large and small businesses were given an opportunity, literally and figuratively, to deliver the goods for the American people.

The economic advantages business is now enjoying are obvious. Lower tax rates and less regulation for both large companies and smaller S corporations lead the list and position the private sector to drive growth and reap the financial benefits of that growth.

Opinion: Negotiating Advice From Capitol Hill to Emmanuel Macron
The last shall become the first. And assume nothing

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron head for Marine One following a tree-planting ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Monday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Bienvenue to Washington, Emmanuel Macron! You’ve got a lot on your plate, and we’re not talking about the jambalaya that’s on the menu for President Donald Trump’s first-ever state dinner that he’s throwing in your honor Tuesday night.

From convincing the president to stay in the Iran nuclear deal and Paris climate accords to making the case that new steel tariffs shouldn’t apply to the European Union and urging continued cooperation in Syria, there’s no shortage of items on your negotiating list.

Opinion: Virtually Safe? Not Until We Root Out Online Terrorism
As lawmakers grill tech CEOs on data, extremists still have their virtual safe havens

A policeman stands guard in Times Square not far from the site of a pipe bomb explosion on Dec. 11. Virtual safe havens make it harder to counter terrorism, Misztal and Michek write. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

The bomber who shut down Times Square last December reportedly found instructions online and read Inspire, al-Qaida’s digital magazine. One of the men who opened fire on a free-speech event three years ago in Texas had been in contact with terrorists abroad using Twitter and Surespot, an encrypted messaging application.

Terrorist groups are thriving online — recruiting followers, disseminating propaganda, planning attacks. While lawmakers are looking at the dangers that lurk on the internet, from Russian interference to Facebook data scrapes, they should be paying more attention to countering terrorism in the digital realm.

Opinion: Congress Needs to Hold On to Its Power of the Purse
Any rescission proposal from the White House should be acted upon quickly

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul D. Ryan at the Capitol in February. Congress should act quickly on any rescission proposal from the Trump administration to avoid relinquishing more control over the appropriations process to the executive branch, Hoagland writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sixteen words in the U.S. Constitution have governed the federal government’s budget process for over 230 years: “No money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law.” Presidents of all parties over the country’s long history, nonetheless, have sought to wrest from Congress more control over the Treasury than those 16 words allow.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln spent millions of dollars without congressional approval. While this was otherwise an unconstitutional act, Lincoln felt his actions were guided by the greater responsibility of his oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Congress’ Ch-Ch-Changes
Retirements, resignations and deaths around the Capitol

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Congress is going through one of those times when everything seems to be changing, especially the personnel, and that’s not even counting the mounting pile of retirements and resignations among lawmakers. 

Opinion: When the World of Politics Collides With the Real One
New political forces may impact midterms

The March for Our Lives rally demonstrated that millennials and young people may be a force to be reckoned with in the midterms, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It is months away from November 2018, but that doesn’t stop predictions not only for the midterms but also for President Donald Trump’s re-election chances in 2020. But while the world of politics is preoccupied with whether a blue wave is inevitable or a figment of hopeful Democrats’ imagination, events outside the bubble might shift the electorate in unpredictable ways.

My Roll Call colleague Walter Shapiro explains, with examples from recent history, how politically fraught these pre-election prognostications can be. It’s also wise to remember how life and politics can be determined by “moments,” despite what consultants who make a living steering candidates and campaigns may say. And right now, America is in the middle of moments that could challenge conventional electoral wisdom.

Opinion: A Message for Midterm Poll Jumpers
It’s not that political handicapping is worthless, but a little humility will go a long way

When soothsayers read the signs in April 2010, they thought Democrats might lose only two dozen seats in the midterms. John A. Boehner knows how that turned out, Shapiro writes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The conventional wisdom creeps in on little cat feet.

Over the last few months, the political community has come to assume that the Democrats will take back the House in November. And with the impatience that defines our era, the smart money is already speculating on when the newly assertive House majority will try to impeach Donald Trump.

Congressional Leadership Fund Reserves $48 Million in TV, Digital Ads
Super PAC is aligned with House GOP leadership

Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman is among the beneficiaries of the Congressional Leadership Fund’s fall ad reservations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC aligned with House Republican leadership, is making $38 million worth of television reservations for ads in the fall, and an additional $10 million investment for digital ads.

CLF is the first outside GOP group to make early advertising reservations ahead of the November elections, and it is investing four months earlier than it did in the 2016 cycle. Locking in airtime early allows the group to make the reservations at lower rates.

Opinion: When the Party of Conscience Slinks From the Fight
What was supposed to be a power struggle for the ages has turned out to be more like a used-car sale

Principles abandoned. Lawmakers fleeing. If Sen. Barry Goldwater could see the Republican Party now, he wouldn’t recognize it, Murphy writes. (Courtesy the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Ever since Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president, national headlines have predicted an epic fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party sometime in the very near future. In this corner is the big-mouthed New York billionaire untethered to any particular policy besides winning. In the other are the conscience-driven, high-minded intellectuals of modern-day conservatism, who see themselves as the keepers of the party flame.

Two ideologies will enter the fight, but only one can emerge, and the good money up to now has been on the conservatives. After all, they have the experience, the knowledge and each other to count on, while Trump has only himself.