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Opinion: The Obama Effect — Pros and Cons for Republicans and Democrats
Former president could unite a party in distress

Former President Barack Obama’s influence could unite a Democratic Party that showed togetherness after President Donald Trump’s win but is already breaking apart on issues such as abortion rights, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call)

Barack Obama, the charismatic former president, can cause a scene just by walking into a coffee shop, as the rapturous crowds in usually blase New York City demonstrated at one of his cameos. So as he gently re-entered the public and policy eye this week, it’s no surprise that he could throw both Democrats and Republicans off balance — though of course for very different reasons.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave President Donald Trump possibly his most important first-100-day achievement by spearheading the maneuver to transform Obama’s Supreme Court pick to replace Antonin Scalia into the conservative Neil Gorsuch, whose first significant vote allowed an Arkansas execution to proceed. McConnell’s obstruction and subsequent “nuclear option” may have played a part in breaking the democratic process, but isn’t that a small price to pay for a win —  at least I’m sure the president feels that way.

Opinion: How Jon Ossoff Became the Face of the Anti-Trump Fight
Liberal blog Daily Kos led the way in resistance to president

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s rise to national prominence happened largely thanks to the efforts of the liberal blog Daily Kos, Patricia Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In the days after Donald Trump was inaugurated in January, liberals in America were depressed, despondent, and asking themselves what to do next. David Nir, the political director of the liberal blog Daily Kos, had an answer and that answer was Jon Ossoff.

Nir and the Daily Kos team had been crunching the numbers from Trump’s election since the day after it happened. Which districts did Trump underperform in? Where were the opportunities for Democrats? They quickly noticed that in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, which Mitt Romney won by 23 points in 2012, Trump had won by just a point and a half. Could Rep. Tom Price be vulnerable the next time around?

Opinion: Trump Must Resist His Inner MacArthur on Korea
A miscalculation could be very costly

A propaganda mural painting outside the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang, North Korea. The country has bedeviled American policymakers for nearly seven decades, Shapiro writes. (Feng Li/Getty Images file photo)

Melissa McCarthy ended her latest impersonation of Sean Spicer — delivered in Easter garb on “Saturday Night Live” — by offhandedly mentioning, “And, by the way, the president's probably going to bomb North Korea tonight.”

Beyond the incongruity of a presidential press secretary announcing impending war while wearing a bunny suit, what made this moment funny was its small glimmer of plausibility.

Opinion: Why Congress Should Value, and Keep, AmeriCorps
The national service program efficiently lifts America’s most needy schoolchildren

Without AmeriCorps, roughly 14.5 million children currently living in families strained by poverty would fall further behind, Dale Erquiaga writes. (Courtesy AmeriCorps Facebook page)

When the new administration’s budget blueprint arrived last month, the math was, to say the least, unsettling. The EPA and State Department would see their budgets slashed by nearly one-third, Agriculture and Labor by 21 percent and the Education Department — which affects my area of work and interest — would take about a 13 percent hit.

The severe proposals sparked an intense and important national debate that continues today. Largely lost in the back and forth, however, has been the proposals affecting AmeriCorps, a program that since its inception has been a model for how to efficiently and effectively improve millions of lives. The Corporation for National and Community Service, or CNCS, which has administered AmeriCorps and other volunteer service programs for a quarter-century, has undoubtedly changed America for the better. But in the proposed budget, CNCS, and with it AmeriCorps, would be eliminated.

Opinion: House Members Should Take Civics Tests
… and avoid ‘let them eat cake’ moments

Oklahoma Rep. Markwayne Mullin recently told his constituents that the idea that he works for the voters of his district is “bullcrap.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of Congress should have to take a civics test. 

As you may have heard by now, Rep. Markwayne Mullin has a unique take on his relationship to his constituents. At a town hall meeting recently, the three-term Republican from Oklahoma, said the idea that he works for the voters of his district is “bullcrap.”

Opinion: Trump Is Paying Back Corporations by Wiping Out Regulations
11 protections have been lost through CRA resolutions so far

More than 80 days into his administration, the CRA resolutions are the only legislation of consequence that President Donald Trump has signed, Gilbert writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If many of President Donald Trump’s proposals become law, regular Americans — including many diehard Trump supporters — have a great deal to lose.

In the past month, this has been illustrated most clearly through Trump’s health care plan and his proposed budget, both of which would harm regular Americans to pay back the Republicans’ benefactors and corporate cronies.

Opinion: Would Trump Nuke Congressional Budget Rules?
They could stand in the way of president’s infrastructure plans

President Donald Trump may feel that he has the credibility to shatter the Republican consensus on budgetary issues now that his nominee has joined the Supreme Court, Walter Shapiro writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If real life resembled apocalyptic 1950s movies, the triggering of the nuclear option would have left a radioactive cloud all over North America and Europe. And the remnants of humanity would be hunkering down in Australia, calculating how long it would take for the deadly wind currents to reach that far south.

Instead, when the Senate went nuclear, Neil Gorsuch was elevated to the Supreme Court and Congress went home for recess without needing Geiger counters or fallout shelters. In fact, amid the thrill-a-minute gyrations of the Donald Trump White House, the nuclear option is already half-forgotten as all punditry is now raining down on the cruise missile strike in Syria.

Opinion: Extreme Executive Orders — A Reckless Assault on Life-Saving Protections
President targeting immigrant communities

President Donald Trump has used executive orders to target immigrant communities, Brent Wilkes and Trip Van Noppen write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In January, President Donald Trump took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” and assumed the awesome responsibilities of that office. Presidents are charged with the responsibility to protect all Americans, but unfortunately, he has yet to do so.

He has particularly targeted immigrant communities with executive orders that tear families apart. Most recently, Trump has engaged in a new campaign with executive orders that attack our access to clean air and water while denying climate change.

Opinion: The S.S. Trump Is Sinking — Find a Lifeboat
An open letter to House Republicans

If they're smart, House Republicans will see that being tied to President Donald Trump is a recipe for defeat next year, Allen writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Dear Republican member of the House:

Run away from Donald Trump. Run hard. Run fast. And don’t look over your shoulder.

Opinion: Not So Fast, Democrats. You Had a Good Day, but Now What?
Party needs to focus on a clear message

Democratic leaders such as Charles E. Schumer and Nancy Pelosi may be celebrating the GOP’s recent health care debacle, but they need to focus on making sure that Americans know what they stand for, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the Republican Party has learned, it’s much easier to be the party of “no” than to actually have a plan to lead. So while Democrats are celebrating a GOP in disarray, the party out of power needs a message and a plan.

Understandably, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosicelebrated as the GOP’s new-and-improved health care plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed. But long term, she must truly want to experience a return to the speaker’s post. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer knows just how to rile Donald Trump, his fellow New Yorker. But he still has to call Trump Mr. President.