Shawn Zeller

Curbing unexpected medical bills has bipartisan backing in Congress
CQ on Congress, Ep. 179

Many Americans have been to the hospital in an emergency, or for a procedure, only to get a huge bill after because a doctor treating them doesn’t take their insurance. Republicans and Democrats have reached agreement on legislation to ban so-called surprise billing. CQ Roll Call reporter Mary Ellen McIntire joins the podcast to explain the likely outcome of this bill. Claire McAndrew, Director of Campaigns and Partnerships at FamiliesUSA, which advocates for health care consumers, also joins the show.

Hill leaders get high marks from Hill staffers
But aides aren’t happy about lack of legislative accomplishments, survey finds

As Democrats prepared to take control of the House in 2019, some plotted against Nancy Pelosi, the presumed speaker. Lawmakers like Tim Ryan of Ohio and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts argued that it was time for new blood at the top and a generational shift in the Democratic Party.

Pelosi deftly squelched the revolt and a year’s worth of polling of congressional staffers by CQ Roll Call shows that she has consolidated her power. CQ Roll Call surveyed aides five times in 2019, in January, March, April, September and October, and Pelosi received glowing reviews from Democratic staffers for her job performance.

Hill Democratic aides remain conflicted between Warren and Biden
But latest staffer survey finds plenty of agreement across the aisle over 2020 outcome

A year’s worth of polling by CQ Roll Call on politics reveals that congressional aides are just as bewildered by the Democratic field and its prospects as anyone else.

They’re pretty sure, at the same time, that control of the House and Senate won’t change. And both sides are feeling confident about winning the White House.

New witnesses emerge after first week of public impeachment hearings
CQ on Congress, Ep. 175

House Democrats made the case for impeachment public this week. Three witnesses, Foreign Service officers in charge of U.S. relations with Ukraine, confirmed that President Trump pressured that country to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden. Republicans pushed back to discredit the testimony as ...
Hill staffers in both parties overwhelmingly believe Trump headed for impeachment
But both sides also agree the Senate won't remove the president from office

If Donald Trump’s presidency feels like a roller-coaster ride, with each hair-raising turn of events quickly giving way to a new one — and opinions about him constantly in motion — the results of CQ Roll Call’s Capitol Insiders Survey in 2019 buttress that view.

Few congressional staffers thought, at the beginning of the year, that Trump was headed for impeachment. But the results of CQ Roll Call’s October poll are unambiguous: Staffers in both parties overwhelmingly believe Trump will become the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

Colleges squawk over endowment tax
Universities push to reduce impact — or scrap levy altogether

A provision in the 2018 budget law aimed at shielding a college in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky from new taxes hasn’t actually done that.

In comments filed on a Treasury Department-issued guidance on the new endowment tax last month, Berea College said it believed Treasury’s interpretation of the tax would force it to pay $1 million a year. The college is asking Treasury to reconsider before finalizing the rules.

Closed-door impeachment inquiry irks the GOP
CQ on Congress, ep. 173

Gary Abernathy, a former staffer for Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman, assesses the impeachment inquiry from the GOP heartland and finds it wanting. And CQ Roll Call reporter Katherine Tully-McManus describes how House Republicans protested the inquiry in dramatic fashion this week. They find the closed-door style of the inquiry unsavory. 

Polling impeachment and remembering Elijah Cummings
CQ on Congress, Ep. 172

Polls now show a majority of Americans favor impeaching President Donald Trump and removing him from office. Democratic pollster Brad Bannon explains how people should read the rush of new surveys coming in. We also remember Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Maryland Democrat who passed away this week, by reprising his 2017 interview with CQ Roll Call.

‘We’re trying to protect children’: Donna Shalala on e-cigarettes
Florida Democrat touts bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes from 18 to 21

Hundreds of Americans have become sick and eight have died after using electronic cigarettes, prompting a bipartisan response in Washington. President Donald Trump last month called for a ban on the flavorings believed to attract young people to the devices.

But Florida freshman Rep. Donna E. Shalala says Congress needs to do more. Shalala, who was Health and Human Services secretary under President Bill Clinton, has teamed with a fellow House Democrat, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, on a bill that would raise the age to buy e-cigarettes, and any tobacco product, from 18 to 21, and add other restrictions aimed at keeping young people from getting hooked on nicotine.

White House staff on the hot seat
CQ On Congress episode 171

Capitol Insiders Survey: Democratic congressional aides prefer Warren
Biden may be ahead in many polls, but he’s trailing among Capitol Hill aides

In almost every poll, former Vice President Joe Biden has led the Democratic presidential field. But among the Democrats who work for representatives and senators, he’s behind.

Queried earlier this month by CQ Roll Call, those aides said by a margin of 45 percent to 39 percent that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has the Democrats’ best shot at beating President Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Trump upends bipartisan consensus on homelessness
CQ On Congress, Episode 170

Donald Trump has challenged the idea, pioneered in George W. Bush’s administration, that the best, and most cost-effective way to end homelessness is to offer people living on the streets homes, no strings attached, and to service their needs in a home setting.

A new report from the president’s Council of Economic Advisers says that has neither reduced homelessness, nor lowered costs. Richard Cho, who served in top positions at the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness during the Obama administration and now heads the Connecticut Coalition to End Homelessness, joins the program this week to discuss how “Housing First” has worked and how it hasn’t.

Congress returns for a bleak fall session
CQ on Congress, Episode 168

Democrats weighing new gun legislation in wake of mass shootings
CQ on Congress, episode 167

Updated 7:33 p.m. | The House Judiciary Committee had planned to return early from Congress’ summer break next week to mark up gun safety legislation. After this podcast previewing the proceedings was recorded, the committee announced it was postponing the markup until the week of Sept. 9 due to Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to hit Florida. Five of the panel members represent districts in the state. 

Will any House bills pressure Senate Republicans to respond to recent mass shootings? At a time when a majority of the country supports enhanced background checks and other measures to curb gun violence, House Democrats hope so.

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.