Shawn Zeller

Google under pressure from Congress, activists, shareholders
CQ on Congress, Episode 165

In the face of gridlock in Congress, investors, pension funds, and some states are pushing public companies to do more to diversify their boards, combat climate change, stamp out sexual harassment and give workers a voice.

CQ Roll Call's Laura Weiss talks about what happened at Google's annual shareholder meeting where board members were confronted with protests and calls for change. 

Obamacare takes another hit, this time from Democrats
CQ on Congress, Episode 164

Democrats were nearly unanimous in voting to end the so-called "Cadillac tax" on high cost health insurance plans that was the principal mechanism in the Affordable Care Act aimed at reducing health care costs. Josh Gordon, policy director for the Concord Coalition, a group that seeks to restrain budget deficits, says that's regrettable. And CQ Roll Call health care reporter Mary Ellen McIntire explains why Democrats are willing to weaken the financing of the 2010 law.

Why the US is behind in the 5G race
CQ on Congress, Episode 163

Poor allocation of airwaves and the absence of a domestic telecom supplier could delay U.S. mobile carriers from deploying 5G as effectively as some other countries and thus cede leadership to China, says CQ Roll Call's senior technology reporter Gopal Ratnam. He explains how the U.S. is hoping to respond and why the trade war between Washington and Beijing may be complicating those efforts.

Did the Pentagon weaponize ticks?
CQ on Congress, Episode 162

Immigrant raids could lead to more family separations
CQ on Congress, Episode 161

The Trump administration says it will round up undocumented immigrants who have missed a court date in an effort to deter others migrants from seeking refuge in the United States. But raids could exacerbate family separations, report CQ Roll Call’s Tanvi Misra and Jinitzail Hernandez, who just returned from visiting one of the largest migrant detention centers in Homestead, Fla., where the government is holding 2,000 teenage immigrants.

How the GOP won by losing on census citizenship question
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 159

GOP-held states with growing immigrant populations, Texas, Florida and Arizona, are more likely to gain House seats following the 2020 Census, as well as additional federal funding, if a citizenship question remains off, as the Supreme Court ordered on June 27. In this episode of the CQ on Congress podcast, CQ Roll Call reporter Michael Macagnone and Bryce Dietrich, a fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, discuss why Republican lawmakers continue to back President Donald Trump's plan to add it.  

Some Republicans snubbed the many Dreamers in their districts
GOP lawmakers with sizable DACA constituencies voted against a bill to help them

Most Republican representatives with a lot of beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program lost their seats in November, among them Texas’ Pete Sessions and John Culberson and California’s David Valadao and Jeff Denham.

So there was pressure on those remaining when the House voted June 4 on HR 6 which would codify and expand Obama’s DACA program. Still, the bill, which offers a path to citizenship not only for those immigrants brought to the country illegally when they were children but also those already granted temporary protected status because of unsafe conditions in their homelands, drew only seven Republican votes in passing 237-187.

When it comes to Facebook, breaking up is hard to do
2020 Democratic hopefuls rail against social media giant, but rely on it for fundraising

Most of the current lawmakers spending big on Facebook advertisements are Democrats running for president. That’s no surprise, given the effectiveness the social media giant gives them in reaching the slice of the electorate they need to raise money and qualify for primary debates.

Still, it’s notable that the one using the platform the most is Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who has called for breaking up the tech giant.

The Pentagon has a leadership vacuum at the top as tensions with Iran rise
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 158

The departure of acting Defense Department Secretary Patrick Shanahan raises questions about who is advising President Donald Trump, who pulled back a planned military strike on Iran this week, says CQ defense reporter Andrew Clevenger in this episode of the CQ on Congress podcast. And Chris Lu, who served as Barack Obama's liaison to his Cabinet, says Trump's apparent preference for churn among his agency heads gives him more power to direct policy on his own.

Abortion threatens congressional impasse on funding
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 157

House Democrats' effort to rescind Trump administration anti-abortion policies threatens to hold up government spending bills. CQ Roll Call reporter Sandhya Raman details the debate and surveys how lawmakers are using abortion politics, both in Washington and the states, to rile their voters ahead of next year's election. 

 

Some vulnerable Democrats stick to the middle — though not all of them
On votes, Matt Cartwright is a notable exception among Democrats in Trump districts

Thirty-one Democrats in the House face a daunting challenge next year. They must win re-election in districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. For many, the 2016 results were close. But in eight of the districts, Trump won in a romp, by more than 9 points.

It would make sense for those Democrats to stake out moderate territory to distinguish themselves from their party’s vocal liberal wing. Most of them are, with one notable exception.

Getting rid of an agency isn’t easy
‘I would keep OPM,’ says Trump’s original pick

President Donald Trump’s plan to shutter the White House Office of Personnel Management has stirred opposition from employee unions and Democrats in Congress. It is also opposed by the first person Trump nominated to run the agency, George Nesterczuk.

Trump chose Nesterczuk in May 2017 to lead OPM, which oversees government pay, benefits and performance management, but Nesterczuk later withdrew under stiff opposition from the employee unions.

Trump denies climate change as his Pentagon prepares for it
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 156

In this episode of CQ on Congress, former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says President Trump's climate change denial risks an apocalyptic future that will stress the U.S. military. Ben Hulac, author of a forthcoming CQ magazine cover story on how climate change is affecting the Arctic, explains why that could create conflict between world powers.

You’ve seen the Freedom Caucus in action, now read the book
Author, in his new book, explains how hard-line conservative group changed the legislative game

Matthew Green, a professor of politics at the Catholic University of America, argues in his new book, “Legislative Hardball: The House Freedom Caucus and the Power of Threat-Making in Congress,” that the House Republicans who conspired against Speaker John A. Boehner in 2015 pioneered something new in American history.

Here’s an edited transcript of his interview with CQ Roll Call.

Vulnerable Republicans move to the middle in 2019
With Democrats ruling the House, some GOP members aren’t voting with their party as much

In the 2016 election, voters in 23 House districts simultaneously elected a Republican representative and cast ballots for the Democrats’ presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, over Republican Donald Trump.

They became top Democratic targets in the 2018 midterms and 21 of them mostly either retired or were defeated.

Lawmakers on impeachment and F-35s to Turkey
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 155

In his first public statement after his two-year probe, Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, said this week that he had never considered charging President Donald Trump with a crime as he investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election. That’s emboldened those in Congress who say representatives must read Mueller’s report, which found evidence Trump may have obstructed the special council’s investigation as an impeachment referral. 

[As Turkish leader courts Russia, U.S. prepares to cut ties]

Here’s what House Democrats are saying about impeaching Trump
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 154

Democrat Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee that would lead an impeachment inquiry, says he believes President Donald Trump has committed high crimes, both in obstructing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation and in refusing to cooperate with congressional investigators. CQ Roll Call senior politics reporter Simone Pathé talks about her interviews this week with Democrats from competitive House districts. They told her they are more open to beginning impeachment proceedings because of Trump’s refusal to cooperate with congressional investigators.

Show Notes:

Impeachment? Democratic Hill aides say no
Respondents to CQ’s Capitol Insiders Survey rejected the idea overwhelmingly

Since the release of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report last month, some Democrats have reiterated, or joined, the calls for impeaching President Donald Trump, on the grounds that he obstructed Mueller’s probe.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for example, said on May 7 that the only mechanism to hold the president accountable and to ensure that the president is not above the law is for Congress to initiate impeachment proceedings. Texas Rep. Al Green, on April 30, said he’d introduce articles of impeachment, as he did in the last Congress.

The tax man may be coming for Uber and Lyft drivers
The IRS believes many Uber and Lyft drivers cheat on their taxes, and it wants Congress to help crack down

Between the lackluster initial public offerings and struggles to turn a profit, ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft aren’t short of problems. Now, Congress is threatening to make it more difficult for them to retain drivers who are already outraged over low wages.

The IRS believes many Uber and Lyft drivers are cheating on their taxes, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is pushing legislation that would dramatically reduce the income threshold above which gig economy companies that rely on contractors must report to the IRS.

Lawmakers seek solutions in Venezuela, Iran
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 153