Immigration

Maybe Stu Rothenberg Isn’t So Bad at This After All
2016 was a disaster, 2018 not so much

From left, Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., talk during a photo-op in Schumer’s office in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boy, I stunk up the joint in 2016. I was sure that Donald Trump wouldn’t — couldn’t — win the presidency, and I said so without any “ifs” or “buts.” I didn’t pay enough attention to the possibility that Trump could lose the popular vote badly but still win an Electoral College majority. I tried to explain my mistakes as completely as I could in an end-of-the-year Washington Post column.

But this year, watching the midterms from 10,000 feet instead of being in the weeds, I feel pretty good about my analysis throughout the cycle. Maybe it was dumb luck. Maybe it was years of watching campaigns and candidates. Maybe it was some of each.

In Appropriations Endgame, All Roads Lead to Border Wall
Dec. 7 funding deadline fast approaching

Border Patrol vehicles stand guard along the United States-Mexico border fence in on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. The fence runs through the cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali on the Mexico side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sooner or later, President Donald Trump will have to confront the political reality that Congress is extremely unlikely to provide the $5 billion he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That realization has to occur in less than a month, with the House and Senate both in session for only 12 legislative days before the current stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 7.

House Democratic Factions All See Gains After Midterms
Progressive Caucus, New Democrats, Blue Dogs tout their expanding ranks

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman Mark Pocan expects his group to see a net gain of 13 members, not counting the uncalled races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two largest ideology-based Democratic factions in the House — the Congressional Progressive Caucus and the New Democrat Coalition — are both projecting they’ll have more than 90 members next year after the party picked up over 30 seats in last week’s midterms.

The growth comes at a time when numbers will matter for these groups, more than they have for the past eight years when their party has been in the minority. With the House in their hands next year, Democrats will get to set the legislative agenda and control what bills come to the floor.

Trump Predicts ‘Deal-Making,’ Many Fights Ahead With Democrats
First up, both sides face border funding test in lame-duck session

President Donald Trump talks to reporters Wednesday, the day after the midterm elections. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump appears ready to make some deals — except when he’s threatening Democrats with “warlike” tactics.

Despite losing the House and several governorships in states that could be key for Trump’s 2020 re-election prospects, the president used a press conference last week to send widely divergent messages to lawmakers about just how much he wants to get done in the lame-duck remainder of the 115th Congress and after the 116th is seated in early January.

Nadler Wants to Hear From ‘Political Lackey’ Whitaker as First Order of Business
Acting AG’s only qualification seems to be ‘hatchet man to destroy the Mueller investigation,’ Nadler says

New York Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the likely incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said reports that President Donald Trump was involved in negotiations over hush money payments before the 2016 election to two women he allegedly had affairs with could constitute an impeachable offense. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top Democrats who will be in charge of conducting oversight on the Trump administration have begun laying out a rigorous investigative plan, they said over the weekend.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the presumed next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said the first official his committee will want to hear from is new acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, whom the New York Democrat called a “political lackey” bent on undermining the Russia investigation.

Republican Study Committee to Decide Between Mike Johnson, Tom McClintock for Next Chairman
Both candidates want to boost the RSC’s role in developing and communicating conservative policy ideas

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., is running to be the next chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in the House. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republicans aren’t shying away from their conservative beliefs after they lost more than 30 seats to Democrats in last week’s midterm election. If anything they’re doubling down and trying to hone in on a more conservative message heading into 2020.

The Republican Study Committee, the largest conservative caucus in Congress, has long wrestled with questions about what it means to be a conservative and how to enact conservative policy in a divided Congress. Even with unified Republican government these past two years, the RSC struggled to enact some of its key priorities, such as pro-life policies and work requirements for government benefits.

Trump Rule Would Bar Asylum Claims by Migrants at Border
Officials claim system is ‘overwhelmed’

U.S. Border Patrol agents pause after chasing and detaining an undocumented immigrant on November 6 in McAllen, Texas. Border Patrol agents on the ground, assisted by a helicopter unit of U.S. Air and Marine Operations agents, detained a group of immigrants who had crossed the border illegally from Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Trump administration is moving to block undocumented immigrants from seeking asylum in the U.S. unless they present themselves at a port of entry, senior administration officials said.

Under the new policy, migrants apprehended illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border between ports of entry will not be eligible to seek asylum, said the officials, who spoke to reporters on background because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Meet Jerry Nadler, the Next House Judiciary Chairman and Trump’s New Enemy No. 1
New York Democrat may not impeach president, but his rigorous oversight will be a thorn in his side

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., is poised to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over impeachment proceedings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jerrold Nadler remembers when he began to figure out that you’ve got to fight back when life seems unfair.

It was 1957. Nadler was 10. He was at home in Brooklyn watching Disney’s film production of the 1943 novel “Johnny Tremain,” a young apprentice of silversmith Paul Revere on the eve of the American Revolution.

GOP Didn’t Have a Turnout Problem, It Had a Focus Problem
Turnout was high across the board, but Republicans minimized their No. 1 issue

Voters fill out their ballots at Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, Va., on Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Did the 2018 midterm electorate break new political ground as the media had predicted for months or was it déjà vu all over again? The answer is both. 

In my last column before the election, I suggested that four key measurements would tell the story of this year’s midterms: party ID, ideology, turnout by unique voter groups (young voters and women), and how independents break.

Veterans Still Outpace Civilians in Congress, But Declines Continue
Midterms saw House increase in Democratic Vets, women with military experience

Jason Crow, Democratic candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District won his election Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file)

The number of military veterans in both chambers of Congress will at best remain unchanged despite a midterm cycle featuring dozens of candidates with military experience on both sides of the aisle.

Seventy-four veterans won House seats Tuesday night. Eight others were locked in races still too close to call Wednesday afternoon. In the Senate, a projected win for retired Air Force office Martha McSally in an Arizona race would bring the number of veterans in the next Congress to 17 — the same number that finished the 115th Congress. Even if veterans win all the outstanding races in the House, the percentage of House lawmakers with military experience will remain unchanged: 19 percent.