congress

New Book by Chuck Todd Analyzes the Obama Presidency

Lee Polevoi

One future historical analysis of Barack Obama’s presidency might read something like this: The most intellectually gifted politician of his generation takes office facing unprecedented challenges. An economy in freefall, two bitterly fought wars long past their expiration date, and a host of other infrastructural issues—all inherited from a presidential administration that history may yet judge to be the worst in modern times.

Four Reasons Why the Keystone XL Pipeline Might Not Be Built

Mark Trahant

The fact is that there is no way any politician can justify Keystone and still say it’s time to take stronger action on global warming. As Bill McKibbon’s 350.org puts it: “President Obama says that he will reject the pipeline if it poses a risk to the climate. That makes his decision simple: building an 800,000 barrel-per-day pipeline of the world’s dirtiest oil will mean more tar sands dug up and burned, and more carbon pollution.”

 

Is Obamacare Really in Danger in the New Congress?

Charles D. Ellison

The short answer is that in all probability, the Affordable Care Act isn’t going anywhere, but there’s a good chance that after a couple of years, it won’t be exactly the same ACA some of you love and others hate. To recap: Democrats pretty much handed over Senate control to Republicans because, among other things, they couldn’t figure out how to come up with a solid health care message in 2014—when all they had to do was wrap it nicely into a coherent economic pitch. 

What’s in Store for the Republican Congress

Dave Helfert

Their near sweep in the mid-term election has generated a lot of speculation about the impact of a Republican majority in the House and Senate for the first time since 2006. Will Mitch McConnell and John Boehner lead a unified, purposeful GOP and move major legislation smoothly through the legislative process? Could there even be attempts to work with Democrats and demonstrate to the American people that Congress is still functional?

Why America Works

Jim Jaffe

It is true that Congress enacts few new laws, but a census of legislation action is hardly a measure of government efficacy.  It may merely indicate that we’re talking a pause as we try to come up with a majoritarian position on a number of complex issues ranging from immigration to climate change.  There’s no glory in acting quickly but imprudently, and the main lesson of Obamacare is that making big changes with the slimmest of majorities throws sand in the gears until  we reach an equilibrium point where a substantial majority of voters agree with the outcome.

How Democrats Lost the Midterm Elections

Dave Helfert

Democrats across the country could have run on issues the public cares about; issues the public supports. Instead, they ran away from them.  They could have referred to the Affordable Care Act, rather than the dreaded ‘Obamacare,’ and pointed out that 10 million Americans now have healthcare coverage who didn’t before. Even if they didn’t want to suggest that the country is better off with more healthy people, they could have mentioned that 10 million fewer people will now have to rely on hospital emergency rooms for healthcare. 

Distancing Themselves From Obama Is What Cost Democrats

Peniel E. Joseph

As the losses for Democrats mounted during the course of election night, any number of pundits questioned the Democratic Party’s Obama Avoidance Syndrome. That philosophy failed to aid Democrats in Kentucky and Georgia hoping for upset victories. The party’s reluctance to embrace the Obama administration’s successes in providing health care, lowering unemployment and saving the nation from a great recession proved to be their undoing.

Reflecting on Obama’s Vow to Fix Immigration Policy

Ed Kissam

Immigration reform advocates will need to overcome their frustration and work hard to get pro-immigrant voters to the polls in November for what will, essentially, be a vote of confidence in Obama’s commitment to (very soon) take practical steps toward (substantially) better immigration policy. Of course, the challenge in getting demoralized pro-immigrant voters to turn out is, indeed, formidable. 

Democrats Could Win Eric Cantor’s Seat

Charles D. Ellison

Translated for a state that was once the Confederate capital, states’ rights nostalgia equals Voter-ID restrictions; Judeo-Christian principles means Bible-thumping; and free market sounds like predatory lending and sticking it to the working and middle class. That’s reason enough that African-American voters in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District should and can try to win that seat back for Democrats.

Assessing Chairman Camp’s Tax Reform Strategy

Jim Jaffe

There was a fairly recent time when the word most associated with the chairmanship of a major committee in the House of Representatives was powerful.  Retiring Representatives Dingell and Waxman enjoyed the aura that came with the gavel.That was then.  Confirmation of how things have changed came this week when the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee unveil a tax reform plan that everyone agrees is both credible and going nowhere.

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