congress

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.

Note to Congress: Raise the Minimum Wage

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The GOP has ruthlessly sold the outlandish myth to millions that a hike in the minimum wage is a huge job killer. It has been so effective in its hard sell that President Obama and Congressional Democrats have repeatedly been stymied and frustrated in every effort they’ve made to boost the minimum wage nationally. And almost certainly, Obama in his State of the Union Address later this month will again demand that Congress, meaning House and Senate Republicans, immediately raise the minimum wage. 

The GOP’s 'No Win' Strategy

Bob Neuman

Here is a bold and risky conclusion:  the Republican Party, as now constructed, knows it cannot win the White House.  It probably cannot get a majority in the Senate.  But it can continue its hold on the House of Representatives and thus continue its strategy of blocking legislation rather than acting on the needs of the nation. Looking at current polling numbers, the GOP is at a historic low in public opinion.  

The Continuous Failure of the Tea Party

Dave Helfert

Okay, everybody who thinks the Tea Party and the other rightwing nuts and bolts in Congress have learned a difficult but valuable lesson, take one step forward.  Not so fast. The far right’s immediate reaction to overwhelming rejection of Tea Party priorities by the American public has been to take a step back, shake their heads a little and get ready for the next fight in January.  And make no mistake: there will be another fight in January.

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