opinion

Tax code typo is harming America’s restaurants
Congress needs to fix the ‘QIP glitch’

Congress needs to prioritize fixing the “QIP glitch,” a tax code mistake that is having a big ripple effect on the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, Berry writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Washington, D.C., is my adopted home, and it is where my restaurants have been embraced, including Succotash in our Penn Quarter and National Harbor locations and MiVida in District Wharf. And we have plans to open several new locations including The Grill in District Wharf, and Gatsby and Mah-Ze-Dahr at Capitol Riverfront, the home of our World Series champions.

Voting rights, a partisan issue? Yes, Republicans have fallen that far
‘Party of Lincoln’ seems to believe it can only win by placing as many obstacles to voting as possible

Reps. John Lewis, right, and Terri A. Sewell and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy at a news conference before the House passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act on Dec. 6. Only one Republican voted for the bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Stacey Abrams has it right, for right now. She lost her 2018 race to be the governor of Georgia to Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state was in charge of the election, a situation that would not pass the sniff test in North Korea.

OK, that comparison is a little far-fetched, but only a little.

Elizabeth Warren’s big bad idea: Taxing our way to prosperity
As Democrats peddle unproven economic theories, Republicans have a clear opening

As Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren peddle unproven economic theories, Republicans have a clear opening to tout the free-market principles that are making our economy work, Winston writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Last week, a New York Times headline caught my eye. “Could tax increases speed up the economy? Democrats say yes.” The story, written by Jim Tankersley, explained that Elizabeth Warren is “leading a liberal rebellion” against the “long-held economic view that large tax increases slow economic growth.”

Given the miserable track record of redistribution politics as economic theory and the strength of today’s free-market economy, I had to read on. Was this a case of economic illiteracy on the part of Warren and her fellow quasi-socialists who seem to be driving the Democratic debate? Or was this latest fascination with redistribution of wealth a focus group-tested battle cry for the base? Or maybe this was just the latest iteration of Democrats’ failed economic theories last seen in 2010 when Joe Biden promised a recession-weary America a “summer of recovery” that didn’t happen.

Democrats have an anger management problem
Their base is boiling over, but independents want dignity and competence

Nancy Pelosi has shown she’s a master of her own reactions, Murphy writes, but how will she manage the boiling rage of half of her caucus? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Nobody does anger better than Nancy Pelosi — and she doesn’t do it often. But when the speaker of the House delivered a velvet-gloved smackdown to Sinclair’s James Rosen last week for asking if she hates the president, her heel turn — “Don’t mess with me” — nearly broke the internet.

Hashtags of #DontMessWithNancy and #DontMessWithMamma consumed social media, while the C-SPAN clip of Pelosi telling Rosen she does not, in fact, hate the president had 2.5 million views before the sun came up the next morning. 

The PRO Act’s many cons
House expected to take up a bill that would hurt millions of small businesses and workers

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass the PRO Act this month — a bill that in its present form would hurt millions of small businesses and workers and upend the franchise industry, Cresanti writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In a divided Congress, Republicans and Democrats often pass legislation to signal what they’ll pursue if they gain complete control over the levers of federal power. That’s why the Protect the Right to Organize Act demands attention. The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass the bill in the coming weeks, even though in its present form it would hurt millions of small businesses and workers and upend one of the most important parts of the American economy: the franchise industry.

The PRO Act, as it’s called, is a Frankenstein bill that cobbles together more than 20 dangerous provisions, some new and some rejected numerous times by previous Congresses. The trouble with each of these provisions is they tip the scales against small businesses in solution of a problem that doesn’t exist — employees already have the right to organize small businesses under federal law. One section mandates that companies provide workers’ personal information to unions; another would repeal state right-to-work laws by forcing all employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Across the board, the bill rolls back balanced protections for workers and employers while tilting the playing field decisively toward unions.

Asking the hard questions to implement the National Defense Strategy
Conversation on the changing role of America’s military needs to expand beyond Washington

Oklahoma Sen. James M. Inhofe is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Two years ago, the National Defense Strategy, or NDS, shifted America’s military focus to a new era of great-power competition, especially with China and Russia. Welcomed with broad bipartisan support, this groundbreaking document calls on us to make tough choices to reshape our military, reform the Department of Defense, and recommit to strengthening alliances and attracting new partners around the world.

President Donald Trump has committed to rebuilding the foundations of American military power. The NDS provides the blueprint to achieve that objective, and it must be fully implemented. That is why we have made it our priority on the Senate and House Armed Services committees to ensure that we turn the NDS from a strategy on paper into a strategy in action.

The perils of positive thinking
America’s optimism aside, Pentagon's track record of buying arms has been spotty since WWII

An F-35 zips past the Capitol dome during a flyover in Washington on June 12. In the decades since World War II, the Pentagon’s track record of buying the weapons and equipment needed to execute its mission to protect America and its interests has become spotty. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

ANALYSIS — Americans like optimism. It goes hand in hand with the can-do spirit that saw industry transform itself into the juggernaut that powered the Allied victory in the Second World War.

The Defense Department’s overly optimistic approach to acquisition is a major factor behind that checkered performance. In part, that’s a reflection of military culture, where it is hard to tell a superior, especially one wearing stars on his or her shoulders, that a goal won’t be met.

Adam Schiff’s post-hearing review: He got nowhere
Half the country will reject his 300-page report as little more than a Democratic Party campaign document

Half the country will reject House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s 300-page impeachment report as little more than a Democratic Party campaign document, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Twenty years ago, after the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the departure of Speaker Newt Gingrich, I left my post as the speaker’s director of planning and opted to go into the business of survey research. My motivation wasn’t a great desire to enter the world of campaign politics. I was more policy animal than political consultant.

But I had learned a hard lesson during the months Republicans decided to impeach a sitting president. I learned that when either party tries to enact a major public policy initiative, which is what impeachment is, it takes more than partisan support and bravado to bring home the prize. It takes broad public support, a national consensus that the action, especially one as serious as overturning the results of an election, is truly in the best interests of the country.

The impeachment holiday gift catalog
John Bolton may be counting his book deal money, but he needs to think about future sales too

For John Bolton’s holiday gift, Shapiro has some free advice: Testify before the House Intelligence panel and watch your future book sales soar. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Flush with the holiday spirit, I have decided to hand out my presents early. Of course, given the economics of 21st-century journalism, I am offering the only gifts that I can afford — free advice.

Luckily, with the House Judiciary Committee kicking off impeachment hearings this week, Washington is filled with troubled and misguided souls in both parties who would benefit from my sage and selfless counsel.

American competitiveness requires a smarter Congress
Increasing science and technology advice would be an important first step

As technological innovations rapidly reshape the American economy, it’s time Congress took notice and brought itself up to speed, Grumet and Johnson write. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Technological advancements are rapidly changing the American economy and workforce. At the same time, lawmakers increasingly appear to lack the capability to understand and respond effectively to this transformation. Flip phone-wielding lawmakers may have been cutting edge in the 1990s, but not in today’s Congress, which routinely grapples with complex scientific and technological issues such as gene editing, cryptocurrency, facial recognition and digital privacy. Not to mention, they must oversee $150 billion in federal R&D funding that helps fuel future innovations.

Out of 541 members, the current Congress has only two scientists and eleven engineers. Most have backgrounds in law or business, which is obvious when hearings start to get technical. This gap has to be filled by congressional staff and support agencies. Yet only 15 percent of senior congressional aides themselves think staff have the knowledge, skills and abilities to support members’ official duties. And just 24 percent think staff have enough access to high-quality, nonpartisan expertise within the legislative branch, according to a 2017 survey.