Executive Branch

Shutdown kick-starts the 2020 congressional campaign
From the airwaves to inboxes, both parties are already in attack mode

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association rally to “Stop the Shutdown” in front of the Capitol (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While it’s impossible to predict what issues will dominate the campaign trail 22 months out from Election Day, the partial government shutdown could be an early test for both parties’ 2020 messaging.

For Democrats, the shutdown reinforces their message that congressional Republicans are not willing to stand up to President Donald Trump — a theme that resonated last November among independent voters who helped deliver a Democratic House majority. Trump has insisted that any legislation to reopen the government include funding for a wall along the southern border, something most Democrats remain opposed to.

‘Amnesty Don’ returns? Trump curiously challenges his conservative base
GOP strategist: ’He runs the risk of the movement passing him by‘ if they feel betrayed

Supporters of the so-called DREAM Act march to the Capitol on March 5, 2018, to call on Congress to pass the legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The timing, to say the least, was curious. Even by President Donald Trump’s unpredictable standards.

First, he angered his conservative base with a Saturday pitch to end a partial government shutdown that included temporary protections for the so-called Dreamer population. The next day, the president, once dubbed “Amnesty Don” by a popular far-right news site, made a surprising — even defiant — return.

House Democrats’ gun agenda to start with where they might get GOP votes
Early bills will be more narrow in focus to avoid a pileup of go-nowhere legislation

Rep. Mike Thompson  is chairman of the House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic supporters who helped sweep in a new class of lawmakers promising a gun law overhaul might have to wait longer than they’d like for that agenda to materialize in the form of bills.

While Democrats wrestled back the majority in the House, Republicans still control the Senate, and Donald Trump is still in the Oval Office.

The shutdown is exactly what voters asked for
Americans demanded a ‘fight,’ and boy did they get one

The famously poll-tested Hillary Clinton promised she would “fight,” Murphy writes. But Donald Trump went even further. “We’re going to win so much you’re going to be tired of winning,” he said. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Are you sick of all the fighting in Washington? Are you sure? Because for the last 20 years, with a few hopeful exceptions, Americans have voted for exactly this — fighting, intransigence, and leaders who have made a habit of specifically promising to fight and not back down.

Fighting in American politics is nothing new, of course, especially in a country founded by revolutionaries. But at some point, American leaders went from promising to fight the country’s enemies to believing we are each other’s enemies. The story of that evolution, at least in the last several years, comes down to a single word — “fight.”

Democrats are playing a blame game they may not win
Americans want solutions and they expect new House majority to be a part of it

Congressional Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi and Charles E. Schumer, may be misinterpreting their mandate from the voters in last year’s midterms with their intransigence in the border wall impasse, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s feeling like Groundhog Day in Washington. Every morning, each side in the partial shutdown fight digs in and blames each other for what seems to be devolving into one of the great paradoxes of physics — what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

But blame isn’t a solution.

State of the Union status unclear as White House seeks to keep it on Jan. 29
Pelosi still hasn't brought up a concurrent resolution needed to hold joint session of Congress

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., pictured Jan. 22 with chef José Andrés, touring his World Central Kitchen as it serves free meals to federal workers who have been affected by the partial government shutdown, has not received a formal response from the White House to her request that President Donald Trump delay the State of the Union. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The logistics of the annual State of the Union address are in limbo, caught up in the partial government shutdown that has stretched into a second month.

President Donald Trump has so far refused to agree to delay his State of the Union address — unofficially scheduled for Tuesday — but without Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s cooperation, he will not be able to deliver it to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber.

Republican urges Trump to ‘jump start’ infrastructure push

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 25: Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., walks through the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democrats in Congress say they want to do it. President Donald Trump says he wants it, too.

But if a major transportation bill is going to happen this year, the ranking Republican on the House committee that would write it says Trump needs to get his own party on board, and that starts with State of the Union speech.

Meet the Democrat who wants to give Trump money for the wall
“I’d give him the whole thing,” Minnesota’s Collin Peterson said Tuesday

Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson, seen here in Willmar, Minn., last fall, represents a district President Donald Trump carried by 30 points. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With Democratic leaders standing firm against giving any money to President Donald Trump to build a border wall, the comments of one 15-term Democratic lawmaker stood out Tuesday.

“Give Trump the money,” Minnesota Rep. Collin C. Peterson said on KFGO’s “News and Views” radio program. 

With ‘RBG’ and ‘Vice,’ Ginsburg and Cheney are officially Oscar bait
Cinematic stories of SCOTUS justice, ex-veep make case that politics does not always have to be un-entertaining

With the Oscar nod for "RBG," the pop culture status of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg seems set. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Academy Award nominations now in hand, the movies “RBG” and “Vice” provide some faint hope that political stories coming out of Washington aren’t all a drag. 

Early on Day 32 of the shutdown, with seemingly no end in sight to that standoff, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its slate of 2019 nominations. Among them were eight, including Best Picture, for the somewhat experimental studio biopic about former Vice President Dick Cheney “Vice,” and two for a documentary feature on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “RBG.”

Senate sets up Thursday test votes on ending shutdown, but no deal in sight
Senators will vote on amendments featuring Trump's immigration proposal as well as a continuing resolution

Senate leaders have a deal to hold test votes on legislation that could end the government shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer have announced an agreement for a pair of test votes Thursday afternoon on government funding legislation.

But it may not get lawmakers any closer to a deal to re-open the closed portions of the federal government.