Opinion & Analysis

Opinion: The GOP Tax Bill — All Hat and No Rabbit
Even passing no legislation might be a better option

From left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and Majority Whip Steve Scalise celebrate during a news conference after the chamber passed the GOP tax bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

All politics is state and local.

That update of Tip O’Neill’s dictum is inspired by the Republican tax bill. The legislation that passed the House on Thursday eviscerates the deduction for state and local taxes and the current Senate version, which just emerged from the Finance Committee, eliminates the write-off entirely.

Opinion: Remembering Recy Taylor and the Too Familiar State of Alabama
The Yellowhammer State has real heroes. Why Roy Moore?

Recy Taylor (Courtesy “The Rape of Recy Taylor”/Augusta Films)

In “The Rape of Recy Taylor,” a recently released documentary, you see the face of bravery. It is Recy Taylor, the 24-year-old African-American — a wife and mother of an infant daughter — kidnapped in 1944 by a carful of young white men, some the sons of the “respectable” leaders of Abbeville, Alabama, where they all lived. A gun held to her head, she was blindfolded, driven to a remote spot and violated in unimaginable ways. She escaped being killed by promising to keep quiet.

But she did not keep that promise.

Capitol Ink | Turkey Day

Capitol-Ink-11-16-17

Opinion: Joe Biden — The Most Decent Man in Politics
Former vice president served with honor while dealing with a lifetime of suffering

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., conduct a count of the Electoral College votes during a joint session of Congress in the House chamber in January. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

NEW YORK — Joe Biden’s Monday night book launch at Lincoln Center was oddly apolitical for an ostensibly political event. The name Donald Trump was not even mentioned until 40 minutes into Biden’s onstage conversation with Stephen Colbert.

Rather than cataloging Trump’s transgressions — a task that would be daunting for the loquacious former vice president — Biden took the softer approach of uttering soothing lines like, “I really do think that this is about to end.” In contrast to Trump, “the American people are basically decent and honorable,” he said.

Capitol Ink | Wicked Witch of the West Wing

Capitol-Ink-11-15-17

Opinion: Now McConnell Believes the Women
Comments in response to allegations against Roy Moore

Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore, is questioned by the media in the Capitol on October 31, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans are suddenly grossed out by their Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore and his conduct 30 years ago, when five women say he either sexually assaulted them, sexually harassed them, or simply tried to date them when he was a single deputy district attorney in his 30s and they were teenagers, one as young as 14 years old.

Moore has completely denied the accusations, but did allow in an interview with Sean Hannity that if he had ever dated a teenager when he was in his 30s, he would only have done it “with the permission of her mother.”

Capitol Ink | Good Old Days

Capitol-Ink-11-14-17

Opinion: Realizing the Vision of Evidence-Based Policymaking
Congress should act quickly to pass new Ryan-Murray legislation

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Washington Sen. Patty Murray recently introduced legislation that implemented many of the recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recently, amid the political turmoil over tax reform and other controversial issues, Congress set aside partisan differences to convey an important message to the American public: Better use of evidence in our policymaking process is necessary and possible.

Regardless of their politics, the American people want a government that operates effectively and transparently. The federal government spends billions on programs, yet often lacks the evidence needed to determine whether these programs are working as intended or how they could be improved. Evidence-based policymaking  — making better use of data and rigorous program evaluation to inform government decision-making —holds the key to driving government programs to be more effective.

Opinion: For the Republicans, Less Is (Roy) Moore
McConnell said it: Every day is a Maalox moment for the GOP

Republican senators started to abandon Alabama Senate GOP nominee Roy Moore after The Washington Post published allegations of sexual misconduct with underage women. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The implosion of the Senate candidacy of Roy Moore brings to mind the title of an early Spike Lee movie: “Do the Right Thing.”

After Moore romped home in the Alabama Senate primary runoff in late September, the national Republican Party could have shunned him for many valid reasons. There was Moore’s un-American belief that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in Congress; his wackadoodle claim that Sharia law governed communities in Indiana and Illinois; and his defiance of the law that twice led to his removal from Alabama’s Supreme Court.

Opinion: Republicans Reversed Course on ‘Blue Slips’ for Judicial Nominees
Practice ensures that nominees chosen by presidents of both parties are mainstream

Democratic Sen. Al Franken, left, opposes the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and has declined to return a blue slip. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Republicans have done a head-spinning 180 on the value of the “blue slip,” a 100-year-old tool that gives home state senators the ability to sign off on judicial nominees in their states. This practice ensures that the White House consults senators on lifetime appointments and that nominees are mainstream and well-suited to serve in their states.

Just three years ago, Sen. Orrin Hatchwrote about the value of the blue slip and his commitment to upholding it during his tenure as chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He said that “weakening or eliminating the blue slip process would sweep aside the last remaining check on the president’s judicial appointment power.”

Capitol Ink | Shifting Terrain

Capitol-Ink-11-13-17

Opinion: Will 2018 Midterms Follow Scorched-Earth Playbook?
Look to lessons from 2017

Polls that showed a tight race were no predictor of the result in Charlotte's mayoral contest Tuesday, which saw the outspent Democrat Vi Lyles win by nearly 20 points. (Courtesy Vi Lyles/Facebook)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – It was a nice little mayor’s race in the largest city in North Carolina, considering that Charlotte has gone through a lot of mayors (seven) in the past nine years. And that’s even taking into account Democratic incumbent Jennifer Roberts losing, in the primary, her chance to defend her spot because of her part in a “bathroom” bill that labeled the state in all the wrong ways and her handling of protests that turned violent after a police-involved shooting.

But all that aside, the scorched-earth campaign between two mild-mannered city council members competing to move into the mayor’s office was a bit unexpected. It reached a heated crescendo with a digital ad from the N.C. Values Coalition, which supported Republican Kenny Smith. The ad said Democrat Vi Lyles “is Jennifer Roberts” and featured an ominous voice-over, a man entering a bathroom to the frightened chagrin of a girl already claiming the space, scenes of rioting and the image of comedian Kathy Griffin holding a blurred severed head.

Opinion: Congress Must Act to Limit Hostile Foreign Influences
Americans deserve to know when foreign adversaries are trying to meddle

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse after a court hearing on the terms of his bail and house arrest on Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

 

 

Capitol Ink | Trump Tunnel

Capitol-Ink-11-09-17

Opinion: Democrats Go from the Window Ledge to Giddy
Caution advised in interpreting Va. gubernatorial election results

Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam greets supporters at a Tuesday night election night rally in Fairfax, Virginia. Northam defeated Republican candidate Ed Gillespie. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

For those Democrats who still revere the memory of Franklin Roosevelt, Tuesday night was a time for many lusty choruses of his theme song, “Happy Days Are Here Again.”

In 48 hours, the Democrats have gone from the fetal crouch to giddy exuberance. New Jersey offered few surprises as former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy bridged his Wall Street background to cruise to any easy victory over Chris Christie’s lieutenant governor, Kim Guadagno.