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I’ve mediated my share of disputes. Here’s how to end the shutdown
The issues here are not as complicated as people want to make them

Senate Democrats, carrying large photos of federal workers affected by the government shutdown, walk down the Capitol steps to call on the president to end the shutdown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Take it from a professional mediator: Both the president and Congress have engaged in bad bargaining practices. They have said and done things that create obstacles to reaching agreement on a Southern border “wall” and on ending the government shutdown. Of course, political considerations are diverting each side from making a reasonable compromise. But without compromise, each sides’ political standing will suffer.

What’s gone wrong, and how can the process of resolving such disputes be made to work? As a labor-management negotiator and mediator in hundreds of disputes, I have some ideas. Here are 7 basic tenets of bargaining that are essential to the process have been totally ignored and violated:

When life gives you shutdowns
But hey, at least the U.S. isn’t hurtling toward Brexit

Rep. Eliot L. Engel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is seen on a bus Thursday, before being dropped at the Rayburn Building after President Donald Trump canceled military support for an overseas congressional trip Engel and other lawmakers were scheduled to take. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s Week Four of the partial government shutdown. About 800,000 people have missed paychecks, and a lot of them are working for free at the behest of the executive branch. There is no end in sight. The State of the Union is canceled, kind of. The president tells you to cancel your military flight, but you can go ahead and fly commercial — after all, TSA is working for no money. And the only silver lining seems to be: At least we’re not Britain! 

You’re on the bus. You’re headed to the airport — and the president of the United States puts the kibosh on your trip to Afghanistan. Who hasn’t had that happen? When the commander in chief yanks military support for a dangerous trip to a war zone by someone in the presidential line of succession. 

Under Trump, our public lands are spewing carbon dioxide
Parks and forests could help us tackle the climate crisis — but right now they’re making it worse

Our public lands are currently hurting efforts to reduce emissions and achieve a zero-carbon economy. That’s absolutely backwards and unnecessary, Grijalva and Lowenthal write. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Getty Images)

OPINION — The Trump administration tried to sneak two alarming climate change reports past the public last year just after Thanksgiving, apparently hoping everyone would be shopping or sleeping off a turkey hangover. The attempt backfired spectacularly.

One of the reports, the National Climate Assessment, gave a new sense of urgency to climate policy in a way unmatched by other recent scientific analyses. Its projections of huge impacts on people’s health, their homes, and the overall U.S. economy from runaway climate change have spurred fresh calls for action and sharpened House Democrats’ focus on climate policy in the next Congress.

House voice vote to end government shutdown sows confusion, anger and eventually reconciliation

Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., right, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., right, was presiding over the chamber when the back and forth over the voice vote on ending the shutdown went down.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It seemed simple: The House on Thursday passed a continuing resolution that would reopen nine Cabinet departments through Feb. 28 on a voice vote, a result that devolved into partisan sparring on the floor as Republicans sought to vacate the vote and Democrats said, in effect, too bad. By the end, both sides hugged it out, vacated the initial vote, voted by voice again, and postponed a roll call vote until Wednesday. 

It all started with passage, via voice vote on the resolution. Then the gavel came down, ending the vote. 

White House challenges predictions of political hit if shutdown slows economy
Trump aides, Democrats both view floating new proposal as friendly fire

President Donald Trump, flanked by Senate Republican leaders, speaks in the Capitol on Jan. 9. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senior White House officials say they are unconcerned about a downgraded internal assessment of the partial government shutdown as a drag on the U.S. economy or polls that show most Americans mostly blame President Donald Trump for the impasse.

Instead, the president’s top aides on Wednesday said they are focused on the “long-term” health of the economy, which has shown signs of slowing in recent months as some economists warn that clouds of recession could be forming.

Revenge is best served cold on State of the Union night
Nancy Pelosi’s gambit reminds Trump that norms-trampling can cut two ways

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put the president on notice, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — At last, a welcome burst of creativity as the government shutdown slogs towards the end of its fourth week.

In tactical terms, it was devilishly clever for Nancy Pelosi to write Donald Trump to announce that the House Democrats, in effect, will be at home binge-watching two seasons of “Mrs. Maisel” on State of the Union night.

Very much up for grabs: this year’s profile in courage
Washington may not offer much in the way of inspiration, but look a little harder

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott occasionally calls out examples of racism in his own party, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Identifying the politician offering that idealistic advice is not so hard — President John F. Kennedy at his Jan. 20, 1961, inauguration. But that’s not all the 35th president had to say about the promise and challenges of America.

Climate change? “The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet.” Income inequality? “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

Support for ‘wall’ at all-time high among Republicans, low for Democrats, study finds
Pew study brings insight to the current Washington logjam

President Donald Trump’s border wall prototypes as seen from Tijuana, Mexico, in March. (Mario Tama/Getty Images file photo)

A new Pew Research Center poll finds Republican support for a southern border wall has reached an all-time high, while support among Democrats supporting the wall has never been lower.

The polling provides insight on deepening divisions between President Donald Trump’s $5.7 billion request for a border barrier and Democratic leaders’ opposition to any wall funding. It comes at a time when there’s no apparent end in sight for a partial government shutdown that’s now in its third week.  

Trump to try again to court moderate House Democrats on border wall
Goal for Situation Room meeting is funds for ‘real border security and the wall’

President Donald Trump, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, speaks earlier this month in the White House’s Rose Garden. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is scheduled to meet Wednesday with the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus in the Situation Room as the White House tries to cobble together votes for a shutdown-ending bill that includes funding for his proposed southern border wall.

The Problem Solvers group is composed of just under 50 Republican and Democratic House members. The session will mark the second time in as many days the White House has attempted to court moderate and deal-minded House Democrats.

Voters didn’t want a stalemate. But they expected one from Dems
There’s a big difference between what people hope the House will do and what they think it actually will

When it comes to political missteps, little compares to the Schumer-Pelosi “American Gothic” moment, Winston writes. It’s a far cry from what voters wanted — but not from what they expected.(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The 116th Congress has arrived, and less than two weeks into the session, America has already tasted the fruits of its electoral labors last November. It’s been quite a debut for House Democrats.

The country has been treated to profanity-laced rants from new Democratic members as a breathless, media-driven cult of personality grows around the newly-elected freshman class. Voters, desperate for real-world solutions to cost-of-living issues, have seen the Democratic Caucus’ increasingly dominant left wing call for budget-busters from a “Green New Deal” to single-payer health care while studiously avoiding a solution to reopen government.