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With hopes high for the new era of GOP majority control, House and Senate Republicans are headed off the Hill to plot a course for the party’s stymied legislative agenda.
In the center of the country there’s a quiet revolution taking place that holds great promise for our nation, though only if we address the growing innovation deficit facing America.
Many members of Congress profess to want the top priority for their congressional office to be “constituent focus.” But when the Congressional Management Foundation probes, “How does that translate into the priorities, decisions and actions of your staff,” we often get a blank stare. In some respects, members of Congress are just another service provider in our society. Their customers (constituents) want something when they interact with the office. They may want an answer to a question, such as how a legislator might vote on an upcoming bill; or assistance with a problem, such as a casework request on immigration.
As the newly installed Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., convenes his first House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Tuesday about policies to boost our economy, undoubtedly, tax reform will be a top priority.
The most important debate occurring in Washington today isn’t about partisan politics or 2016 prognostications. It’s about what Washington — particularly, the Republican- controlled Congress — will do to regain the trust of the American people.
Congress has employed budget reconciliation to enact dozens of laws, addressing issues that range from tax cuts to student loans.
Democrats used the complicated process of budget reconciliation to pass part of President Barack Obama’s health care legislation in 2010, and avoid a Senate filibuster; now Republicans are weighing whether to use the same process to chip away at the law.
With Republicans now controlling both chambers of Congress, no law will come under more scrutiny than Obamacare.
They were the eight words that turned New Jersey politics — and the 2016 Republican presidential primary — upside down.
As many analysts have pointed out, cross-straits issues concern not only the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, but also the Asian-Pacific region, because it may be the only issue that could provoke a conflict between the United States and China. At a deeper level, China still presents a distinct challenge to the United States. The 114th Congress leaders in the House and the Senate must focus on how the nation will deal with it’s rebalancing in the Asia-Pacific, their associated security concerns, and regional evolving security realities.
House Republicans are moving to increase the use of dynamic scoring through a rules change that would require long-term estimates of the economic effects of major legislation.
For generations, affordable homeownership has been a pillar of the American dream and the primary driver of wealth creation and social mobility. While Congress has not yet come to a consensus on how to proceed with housing reform, studies have shown the host of positive externalities that stem from homeownership — ranging from better health and education to safer streets and more vibrant communities.
Members of Congress are so caught up in their parties that they are oblivious to recent history where politicians have been successful working together to pass some of the nation’s most cherished legislation. The just-passed appropriations bill, where everyone wanted to hurry home for the holidays, is an outlier. Orientation for new members teaches ethics and rules, gives a tour, takes pictures and restates the primer of “How a Law Is Made.” It lacks lessons showing how Congress has worked in passing bipartisan legislation. Members of the House and Senate are probably as rusty as classes of young people who know few leaders of the past.
Over the past several years the United States has achieved an energy turnaround that few experts could have anticipated. Led almost singlehandedly by improvements in shale production, the country has transitioned from a position of foreign dependence to a global energy leader — bolstering American consumers, businesses and manufacturers at every turn.
As was highlighted at the recent nomination hearing for Michelle Lee as the next director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office it is important to take a look at the patent landscape and the talk of more legislative action on our patent system under discussion in Congress.
The 113th Congress is winding to a close and however few things Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Barack Obama agree on, both dropped the ball on making the government more accountable and transparent.
As the dust settles after the midterm elections, it is clear that voters across the country sent a strong message that they have had enough of partisan gridlock and inaction in Washington. And now the hard work begins – turning to the future and to the ideas that will move our nation forward.
Over the past few years, the United States has witnessed an erosion of trust in our public institutions by our citizens. This mistrust is most readily apparent in my generation, the millennials. As the Harvard Institute of Politics pointed out after their March poll of young Americans, “18- to 29- year-olds’ trust in public institutions is at a five-year low — and their cynicism toward the political process has never been higher.”
Republicans won the Senate by promising to reform a dysfunctional Congress. Yet with their new majority secure, Republicans are considering rolling back recent filibuster changes that reduced the number of votes required to invoke cloture on executive and most judicial nominees to a simple majority.
Wisconsin is a particularly significant test case for considering alternatives to the excise tax on fuel, especially considering the proposal that emerged in the days after Gov. Scott Walker won re-election.