nationwide

Congress must turn the corner on big tech this year
Lawmakers should start by taking a close look at Amazon

A spray-painted protest message directed at Amazon is seen Jan. 9 on a wall near a construction site in Long Island City, Queens, one of two locations that will house the tech giant’s second headquarters. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

OPINION — The ongoing government shutdown is a clear sign to anybody who still needed one that the next two years will be rife with partisan wrangling.

But on the heels of last year’s sweeping tech backlash, there is at least one issue lawmakers agree on: Something must finally be done to protect Americans from the many ills of Big Tech. Congress should start by taking a close look at Amazon.

Democrats propose legal status for undocumented immigrant farmworkers
Legislation would protect workers from deportation, ease labor shortages, proponents say

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., says the legislation “would ensure that hardworking immigrants don’t live in fear and that California’s agriculture industry has the workforce it needs to succeed.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Two California Democrats filed legislation Thursday that would give undocumented immigrant farmworkers and their families a path to legal resident status and possibly U.S. citizenship.

The legislation by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Zoe Lofgren is designed to ease agricultural worker shortages and protect undocumented workers already in the United States from deportation. The bills come as the nation grapples with an extended partial government shutdown fueled by an impasse between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall and broader differences over immigration policies.

Stefanik launches PAC to boost female candidates, now with GOP leadership support
New York Republican says party’s problem with women goes beyond Trump

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., aims to help more Republican women win primaries in the 2020 cycle through early political money and mentorship. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republicans have trouble electing women. And for at least one afternoon in Washington, everyone recognized that problem.

House GOP leadership, consultants, members and former candidates all showed up Thursday to a five-hour confab just off Capitol Hill to help New York Rep. Elise Stefanik launch her rebranded leadership PAC, which will be dedicated to helping women in primaries.

Pennsylvania 12 special election: Is Marino’s seat at risk?
It’s a solid red seat, but nothing has come easy for the GOP the last two years

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., is saying goodbye to the House for a job in the private sector. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Carolina’s 9th District was the clear front-runner to host the first congressional election of 2019 until Republican Tom Marino announced his resignation from Pennsylvania’s 12th District. The seat has a significant GOP lean to it, but Republicans seem to find new ways to make special elections closer and more competitive than they should be.

The four-term congressman said Thursday he would be leaving Jan. 23 for a job in the private sector. Marino was re-elected last November with 66 percent and just began his fifth term. 

Push intensifies for cryptocurrency industry to police itself
Group is working to establish an industry-sponsored regulator

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are legally considered commodities and occupy the same category as gold or oil, which are considered “exempt.” (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images file photo)

BY CHRIS MARQUETTE

Proponents who tout the revolutionary potential for digital assets may turn to a more traditional model to protect investors and pre-empt additional scrutiny: self-regulation.

Time for Republicans senators to override the shutdown
A genuine national emergency — not the kind you have to declare — is taking root

Passengers wait in a TSA line on Jan. 9 at JFK airport in New York City. With TSA agents going unpaid during the partial government shutdown, many are forced to call in sick to work hourly jobs elsewhere to pay the bills. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

OPINION — It’s Day 25 of the longest government shutdown in American history and there’s only one end in sight.

It’s not a compromise between Democrats and President Donald Trump. White House aides say the president is “dug in” on his demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the wall “immoral.” There is very little hope for a breakthrough between “dug in” and “immoral,” especially between two sides that both think they’ve got the moral high ground — and voters — on their side.

In major shift, Chamber of Commerce to rate lawmakers on bipartisanship
Change reflects business community’s frustrations with crisis governing

Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue says lawmakers should be “rewarded for reaching across the aisle — not punished.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a frequent ally of Republicans in Congress, will revamp its criteria for rating and endorsing lawmakers, relying more on bipartisanship in an attempt to rebuild the governing-focused political center, the group announced Thursday.

It marks the first major change in 40 years in how the nation’s biggest business lobby tabulates lawmakers’ support for the business community, said Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s longtime president. The new method will offer 20 percent credit for bipartisan work and leadership on what the chamber considers “good legislation,” even if such bills never come to a vote. The remaining 80 percent will come from votes.

Raiding military budget for wall would contradict previous Trump administration statements
Mulvaney complained last year of key military projects being underfunded

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter flies over a piece of border fence on Nov. 7 in Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

If President Donald Trump uses emergency powers to tap the military’s construction budget to bankroll a border wall, it would contradict his administration’s previous statements that the so-called milcon programs need more money, not less.

While the president signed into law last September legislation that allocated about $8.1 billion for military construction projects in fiscal 2019, that figure was nearly $800 million less than Trump proposed. And it was almost $1.5 billion less than the military services had wanted at that time.

The real toll of the volatile stock market: Americans’ retirement
It’s not a Washington crisis yet, but the impact is coming faster than you think

A monitor displays the day’s final numbers after the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 27. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

OPINION — “I’m taking a beatin’ on my retirement funds. I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

Those feelings expressed by a 70-something retiree in a recent Midwestern focus group reflect a growing concern among average Americans about their ability to retire — and retire comfortably — in the aftermath of one of the worst Decembers in stock market history.

Can Doug Jones win a full term in Alabama?
Democrat faces a very different voter dynamic in 2020 Senate race

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., faces voters in 2020 in what is likely to be a very different voting dynamic than his 2017 special election win. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Alabama’s junior senator, Democrat Doug Jones, has been in office for only 13 months, but he’s already preparing to face voters again in 2020. With the Senate at 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer can’t afford to lose any seats next year if he hopes to win back control of the chamber. Does Jones have any chance of winning, or is the handwriting already on the wall for a GOP pick-up in Alabama?

The top race handicappers are split on Jones’s re-election prospects.