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In major shift, Chamber of Commerce to rate lawmakers on bipartisanship
Change reflects business community’s frustrations with crisis governing

Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue says lawmakers should be “rewarded for reaching across the aisle — not punished.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a frequent ally of Republicans in Congress, will revamp its criteria for rating and endorsing lawmakers, relying more on bipartisanship in an attempt to rebuild the governing-focused political center, the group announced Thursday.

It marks the first major change in 40 years in how the nation’s biggest business lobby tabulates lawmakers’ support for the business community, said Thomas Donohue, the chamber’s longtime president. The new method will offer 20 percent credit for bipartisan work and leadership on what the chamber considers “good legislation,” even if such bills never come to a vote. The remaining 80 percent will come from votes.

The real toll of the volatile stock market: Americans’ retirement
It’s not a Washington crisis yet, but the impact is coming faster than you think

A monitor displays the day’s final numbers after the closing bell on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 27. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

OPINION — “I’m taking a beatin’ on my retirement funds. I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

Those feelings expressed by a 70-something retiree in a recent Midwestern focus group reflect a growing concern among average Americans about their ability to retire — and retire comfortably — in the aftermath of one of the worst Decembers in stock market history.

US-China trade talks are a big deal for startups
Business owners are watching this week as a U.S. delegation negotiates with Chinese officials

Congress has remained largely on the sidelines as President Donald Trump and Beijing wage their tariff battle. A U.S. delegation is in China this week. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Vicki Mayo helps run an Arizona company that makes a watch-like device it boasts eases stress. Now the future of her company could hinge on the outcome of talks this week to resolve the tariffs standoff between the United States and China.

As owner and co-founder of Scottsdale-based tech startup The TouchPoint Solution, Mayo said she had high hopes of expanding the business. But she put those plans on hold after the Trump administration imposed 10 percent tariffs on Chinese imports last year, with a threat to increase those duties to 25 percent.

Senate Hints It Doesn’t Oppose Sanctions Relief for Russian Linked to Putin, Manafort
Oleg Deripaska will relinquish majority ownership stake in three companies in exchange for sanctions relief from U.S. Treasury

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., delivered a cautious statement Wednesday supporting the deal. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee signaled Wednesday that they do not oppose the Treasury Department’s decision to loosen sanctions on three companies owned by a Russian oligarch with links to Russian President Vladimir Putin and key players in Ukrainian politics, including former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Congress has 30 days to nix the deal Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has struck with Oleg Deripaska, who currently owns the largest non-Chinese aluminum producing company in the world and two other multibillion-dollar energy companies.

Are the Suburbs Getting More Progressive on Guns? Moms Demand Action Bets Yes
Gun control group found winning candidates within its own ranks

Rep.-elect Lucy McBath, D-Ga., was previously a national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Amid a debate within the Democratic Party about whether progressive ideas can sway voters in suburbia, candidates affiliated with an advocacy group that campaigns against gun violence sought — and won — elected office even in historically conservative suburban districts.

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America appealed to suburban women on overhauling gun laws amid a rash of mass shootings in recent years, including the one in Parkland, Florida, in February. 

The Future of Ads Is Digital — But Not Quite the Present
Some say campaigns are still slow to shift to digital-focused strategies

An iPhone captures then-presidential candidate Donald Trump after the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary debate in early 2016. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There were plenty of signs that Democrats found success online this election cycle: catchy videos went viral; a burgeoning army of small-dollar donors produced eye-popping fundraising numbers; and voters targeted online showed up at the polls. 

But for some in the party, their digital efforts left much to be desired. Television ads still dominated campaigns, and Republican outside groups outpaced Democrats in digital ad spending. 

Low Pay (or No Pay) on Capitol Hill Hits Two New York Democrats
Chuck Schumer and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez faced two sides of the issue

New York Democrats Sen. Charles E. Schumer and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez faced realities of low pay and unpaid work on Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 12/7/18 at 9:17 a.m. |  New York Democrats faced intern and staff pay issues on Capitol Hill when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer posted an unpaid internship opening and Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio Cortez talked with staffers moonlighting at a D.C. dive to make ends meet.

Schumer’s office posted an unpaid internship opening on the official site for Senate job opportunities that quickly drew criticism on Twitter.

2018 Midterms: A Missed Opportunity for Republicans
They should have been touting good economic news. Instead they drowned it out

In the final days of the campaign, Republicans kept their focus on curbing immigration, popular with the base but also controversial and divisive. That was a mistake, Winston writes. Above, members of a migrant caravan clash with Mexican riot police at the border between Mexico and Guatemala on Oct. 19. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — We’ve assessed the 2018 campaign that began and ended with the fight for the election narrative. Our conclusion: This was not a base election. Independents decided the outcome, breaking for Democrats by 12 points.

It was a missed opportunity.

Dan Conston Takes Helm of Top House GOP Outside Groups
Conston will lead the Congressional Leadership Fund and American Action Network

Interns work the phones at the Congressional Leadership Fund office in GOP Rep. Steve Knight’s district in Lancaster, Calif. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The two major GOP outside groups involved in House races are getting a new leader. Dan Conston will take over as the president of both American Action Network and its related Super PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the groups announced Tuesday. 

The move comes after Republicans lost 40 seats in the midterm elections, meaning Republicans will shift from defense to offense in the upcoming 2020 elections. Conston will replace Corry Bliss, who oversaw record fundraising for the group and the creation of a new Congressional Leadership Fund field program with offices in 40 districts. Bliss will remain an advisor to both groups.

Congressional Hispanic Caucus Selects Joaquin Castro As Next Chairman
Gallego, Barragán, Espaillat and Rep.-elect Escobar round out CHC leadership team

Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, will chair the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in the 116th Congress. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Joaquin Castro was elected Friday as the next chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which will begin the next Congress with its largest membership since the group’s founding. 

The CHC had 31 members this Congress and will grow to 39 members next year — two senators and 37 House members.