Immigration

McCarthy Bill Would Fund Border Wall, Boost Speaker Bid
Legislation not likely to move this year, but raises issue profile

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has introduced legislation to fund a border wall, something that could boost his bid to lead the House Republican Conference. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has introduced legislation that includes more than $23 billion for President Donald Trump’s border security agenda and numerous enforcement provisions aimed at cracking down on sanctuary cities and undocumented criminals, a proposal that could boost his bid to lead the House GOP after next month’s elections.

The California Republican introduced the bill on Friday after visiting the El Paso, Texas, sector of the southern border on Thursday.

Three States Get Ready to Vote on Abortion
Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia have measures on the ballot

Students protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in June. When voters in three states go to the polls this November, they’ll see abortion initiatives on the ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Oregon, Alabama and West Virginia voters will face separate ballot initiatives next month aimed at restricting abortion access in those states.

These initiatives fit into a larger fight over abortion that continues to heat up. Anti-abortion advocates hope that changes at the state level can be used as test cases and later implemented more broadly, while abortion rights advocates hope to defeat them. A particularly contentious ballot initiative can be used as a messaging move to drive voters to the polls in tight elections such as this fall’s West Virginia Senate race.

You’d Think Samuel Beckett Was In Charge of Our Health Care
Finding a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot

Estragon and Vladimir — above as portrayed in a 1978 French production of Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” — were stuck in limbo. After waiting on Congress to act on health care, we all know how they feel, Hoagland writes. (Fernand Michaud/Gallica Digital Library)

OPINION — Finding bipartisan agreement in Congress on a path forward for the Affordable Care Act has been like waiting for Godot. Polls tracking Americans’ views have consistently shown an evenly divided public. No single public policy issue captures the country’s polarization better than the debate that has surrounded this law.

That doesn’t mean we have to settle for “nothing to be done.” Improving health insurance markets is a goal worth pursuing, and Republicans and Democrats at the state level are already showing us the way.

One Way to Fix the Child Care Crisis? Look to the Tax Law
‘Opportunity Zones’ incentive can help close the early childhood gap

A Chicago teacher works with kids as part of an early childhood education program. The “Opportunity Zones” incentive could help expand such programs across the country, Smith and Shaw write. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — America faces a mounting child care crisis. Too many families lack access to safe, affordable and high-quality care for their infants and toddlers. But a small but important provision in last year’s tax law, designed to spur investment in under-resourced communities, could provide an unlikely solution.

That solution comes in the form of a new economic development incentive known as Opportunity Zones. Under the tax law, investors will receive a steep reduction in taxes on their capital gains in exchange for substantial and long-term investment in low-income communities designated as Opportunity Zones. This tax incentive could be combined with others in the economic development toolkit, such as the New Markets Tax Credit and historic building preservation tax credits, to support a wide variety of investments in real estate and businesses.

Want to Build a More Diverse Capitol Hill? Start With the Staff
Congress has a diversity problem, and I had a front-row view

If we’re going to grow the pool of diverse candidates for Hill jobs, we have to start by directly addressing the barriers that young people of color might face, Perez writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Diversity is a driving force behind a changing America: People of color now represent almost 40 percent of the U.S. population. Yet somehow, a new Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report shows that they make up merely 13.7 percent of senior staffers in the U.S. House of Representatives.

That means our elected officials’ legislative directors, communications directors, and chiefs of staff are overwhelmingly white, even in offices representing states with large Latino and African-American populations.

Words and Deeds Can Come Back to Haunt Incumbents in Tight Races
Yoder, McCaskill and others face attacks on past votes, policy positions

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., now finds himself in a “Tilts Democratic” race in Kansas’ 3rd District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Incumbency comes with benefits, but in a throw-the-bums-out kind of year, it also offers sitting lawmakers one potential major disadvantage on the campaign trail: a voting record on Capitol Hill.

Political opponents can, and do, weaponize one vote, one position on a hot-button policy such as health care, tax or immigration. They might target a pattern of partisanship or, more importantly this year, support for an unpopular president.

Senate Republicans Ready to Limp Into Border Wall Fight
With Democratic votes needed, wall funding may not meet what Trump and House GOP want

From left, Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and John Thune, R-S.D., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, conduct a news conference in the Capitol on Wednesday after the policy lunches. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Republicans say they are willing to join their House counterparts in a postelection fight over border wall funding but recognize that their chamber will be more constrained by the need for Democratic votes.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan predicted Monday that there would be a “big fight” in December on appropriating more money for President Donald Trump’s desired wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. The Wisconsin Republican wouldn’t foreshadow how that fight would play out, but he didn’t rule out a partial government shutdown as a potential outcome.

Republicans Restart Push for Lower Court Judges
Democrats object to the process

Eric E. Murphy, nominee to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the Sixth Circuit, introduces his wife, Michelle, and daughters Isabelle, 7, right, and Grace, 9, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on judicial nominations in Dirksen Building on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With the fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh behind them, Republicans on Wednesday restarted the Senate Judiciary Committee’s push to confirm lower court judges with a hearing on a pair of nominees that Democrats staunchly oppose for their legal work on health care, LGBT rights and other issues.

The hearing featured almost everything Democrats have complained about the confirmation process during President Donald Trump’s administration — including scheduling more than one circuit court nominee in a single hearing and doing so over the objections of a home state senator.

Trump Largely Focuses on Own Re-Election at Iowa Rally for GOP Incumbents
President wants to find out if Elizabeth Warren really ‘has Indian blood’

President Donald Trump, here in July, was in Iowa on Tuesday night for a campaign rally for two vulnerable House Republicans. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Very much in re-election mode even before next month’s midterms, President Donald Trump took jabs at potential Democratic candidates at an Iowa rally Tuesday night, calling their party “an angry mob.”

“You don’t hand matches to an arsonists. And you don’t hand power to an angry mob,” he told rallygoers in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “If you want to defeat the swamp, you’ll have to elect Republicans.”

Progressive Caucus Launches Center for Policy Development, Outreach
The center’s board raised $1.5 million to hire an initial staff of 8 to 10 people

Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairman Mark Pocan, D-Wis., announced the launch of a center to coordinate progressive policy development, messaging and outreach. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Progressive Caucus on Tuesday announced the launch of a center that will coordinate progressive policy development, messaging and outreach inside and outside Congress. 

The center is not yet fully operational, but it starts off with a board of directors that has spent the past four and a half months raising money to fund staff for next year.