Shawn Zeller

Charities Feeling Flush Despite Tax Law Change
Small gifts are down, but big donors have more than made up for it

Year-end holiday giving is make-or-break time for America’s charitable sector. Donors who give now may feel compelled by the spirit of the season, but many of them also know that they can soon write off their gifts on their taxes and recoup a portion of their money.

But that latter incentive affects fewer people this year, thanks to a provision in the 2017 tax law that roughly doubled the standard deduction. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office projects that 31 million fewer households will itemize their taxes next year, eliminating their tax incentive to give to charity.

Pelosi's Concessions Will Change the Way Laws Are Made
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 131

In seeking to solidify her bid for House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi promised members of the Problem Solvers Caucus she'd guarantee floor time for bills with broad, bipartisan support. Problem Solvers Co-Chairman Read more...
The Largest Congressional District, Montana’s, Also Had the Highest Turnout
In contrast, California’s 21st District saw fewest number of voters show up

The turnout for the midterm elections was the highest — 49 percent of those eligible to cast ballots did — since 1914, according to the United States Election Project.

But the enthusiasm was not evenly spread. The number of votes cast in some House districts was much higher than others and it did not depend on the competitiveness of the races.

Pelosi Wins First Round Against Dissidents
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 130

Nancy Pelosi has won the House Democratic Caucus' nomination to return as speaker in January, proving herself a formidable opponent to those in the party who'd depose her. Molly Reynolds, a fellow at the Brookings Institution think tank, unpacks the incentives Pelosi is deploying to get to a majority, and secure the speakership, when the full House votes in January.

Why Nancy Pelosi Won't Back Down
Podcast, Episode 129

The first woman to serve as Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, wants to return to the job now that Democrats control the chamber again. Dissenters in her caucus say they can block her ascent. Pelosi biographer Marc Sandalow says the renegades are in for a battle. ...
Fox News' Shannon Bream on the Record
Podcast, Episode 127

Shannon Bream, host of Fox News @ Night, answers the tough questions about Fox's ideological approach to journalism amid growing public concern about heated political rhetoric. Her show is part of Fox News' prime-time lineup that in October reached more than 2.8 million cable viewers a day.  In a 20-minute interview, Bream discusses a wide range of issues related to the politicization of the media on the left and right. 

Capitol Insiders Make Their Predictions on the Midterms
Half of Republican aides say they'll keep control of the House, 9 in 10 Democrats predict they’ll take control

The midterm elections are just days away and both Republican and Democratic aides are hoping for the best.

In their responses to CQ’s Capitol Insiders Survey, half of Republican aides said their party would retain the House majority. That’s optimistic. Political prognosticators give the GOP little hope of that, given the large number of House GOP retirements and the antipathy toward President Donald Trump in suburban districts. The website FiveThirtyEight puts chances of a GOP House majority at 17 percent.

What Will Happen if Democrats Win
Podcast, Episode 126

CQ senior writer Kate Ackley says Democrats agree on a few policy bills, from a lobbying and campaign finance overhaul to an increase in the minimum wage, but will likely have internal disagreements about whether to pursue more far-reaching goals, like Medicare for all, or restrictions on gun ownership. ...
Why Angry Senators Are Ready to Break Up With Saudi Arabia
Podcast, Episode 125

Senators are considering several options to punish Saudi Arabia over the suspected murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, says CQ foreign policy reporter Rachel Oswald. She adds that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have grown frustrated with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. He was once seen as a reformer but his crackdown on dissent has tarred his image.

 

Congressional Staffers Speak Out
Podcast, Episode 124

Bipartisan Opioids Bill Explained
Podcast, Episode 123

CQ Health reporter Sandhya Raman explains what's in the sweeping opioids bill that Congress cleared on Oct. 3 – just in time for lawmakers to campaign on the issue before the November midterm elections.

An Anita Hill Skeptic Doubts Kavanaugh
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 122

Legal analyst Stuart Taylor Jr., a well known critic of the fairness of rape investigations, to men, says Christine Blasey Ford was credible enough, and Brett Kavanaugh evasive enough, to give senators reason to vote against Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court.

How to Read Midterm Polls
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 121

While Washington is obsessed with the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, voters — Republicans and Democrats— are more concerned about the economy, says Democratic pollster Brad Bannon, who adds that the positive top-line numbers cloak Americans' continuing economic fears.

Show Notes:

Primary Challengers Aren’t Always More Partisan in Congress
Some successors have been more willing to work across the aisle

It’s often said that conservative challenges to Republican incumbents in primary elections — the prime example being Dave Brat’s victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014 — have led to more polarization in Congress, with the challengers less willing to compromise than their predecessors.

Now that two incumbent Democrats, Michael E. Capuano of Massachusetts on Sept. 4 and Joseph Crowley of New York in June, have fallen to upstart challengers, it raises the question whether the phenomenon has now spread to the Democratic Party, foreboding even more dysfunction at the Capitol.

Trump’s FDA Takes on Tobacco
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 120

In an administration proud of its deregulatory approach, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has defied the trend. He's proposed to mandate lower nicotine levels in cigarettes and suggested a willingness to crack down on electronic cigarette products popular with kids. Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, and CQ health reporter Andrew Siddons assess the proposals and the likelihood Gottlieb will follow through.

 

Anti-Trump Fervor Puts Senate in Play
CQ on Congress Podcast, Episode 119

Congress Expands Oversight of Social Media
CQ on Congress, Episode 118

Twitter, Facebook and possibly Google executives are preparing to testify before Senate and House committees next week over concerns that foreign governments could use their platforms to interfere in the upcoming midterm elections. CQ cybersecurity reporter Gopal Ratnam gives us a primer on what to expect.

Show Notes:

Battle Lines for the Supreme Court
CQ on Congress, Episode 117

Democrats are pushing for a delay in upcoming confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, arguing that Kavanaugh could ultimately sit in judgment of the president if Trump's legal problems reach the court. CQ legal affairs writer Todd Ruger says Republicans are likely to ignore their calls. ...