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Poll: Slight Majority of Americans Disapprove of Graham-Cassidy
Only 18 percent of independents approve of latest GOP effort to replace 2010 health care law

From left, Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., John Cornyn, R-Texas, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and John Thune, R-S.D., talk with reporters in the Capitol after the Senate policy luncheons last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A new poll shows that a majority of Americans disapprove of the latest Republican legislation to replace the 2010 health care law.

The CBS News poll released Monday found that 52 percent of those surveyed disapprove of the law being proposed by Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Dean Heller of Nevada.

Civil Rights, Racial Disputes Fuel Divide Over Judicial Nominee
North Carolina senators defend Thomas Farr

Sens. Richard M. Burr, right, and Thom Tillis prepare for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Sept. 20. The two support North Carolinian Thomas Farr for a federal judgeship, a nomination that has raised the ire of civil rights groups and African Americans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s pick for a federal judgeship in North Carolina has drawn the opposition of the Congressional Black Caucus and civil rights groups in part because of past work defending the state’s congressional redistricting plans and voter ID law, which courts have struck down as unfair to minorities.

The vacancy in the Eastern District of North Carolina has fallen victim to the Tar Heel State’s contentious politics and the Senate’s confirmation process — making it now the oldest judicial vacancy in the country at 11 years and 9 months.

Opinion: In Reaching for Deals, Will Parties Overlook Certain American Voices?
Lawmakers shouldn’t ignore divisive or unpleasant issues of justice and race

Protesters and police officers clashed in St. Louis on Sept. 17. In their recent dealings with President Donald Trump, Democratic lawmakers have shied away from social justice and race issues, Curtis writes. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“He likes us,” Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer said of his fellow New Yorker Donald Trump last week. This was after “Chuck” joined “Nancy” — House Democratic leader Pelosi from California — in a White House gathering that resulted in a deal on DACA reform, unless it didn’t.

Whatever the interpretation of what happened during that chummy get-together, and there was a different one for every person who attended or heard about it first, second or thirdhand, the president reportedly reveled in the relief of positive headlines that followed.

Opinion: The Fatal Flaw for Republicans in Graham-Cassidy
Bill’s passage would make health care dominant issue in 2018 midterms

The Republicans’ latest attempt to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care law is reminiscent of “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Shapiro writes. (Painting by Richard Caton Woodville/Wikimedia Commons)

The Republicans’ latest drive to repeal Obamacare is reminiscent of a poetry fragment from Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade”: “Theirs not to make reply, theirs not to reason why.”

Whatever happens with the bill likely slated to reach the Senate floor next week, it is hard to escape the feeling that this wild charge will end badly for the Republicans.

Alexander Juggles Bipartisan Health Care Deal With GOP Repeal Effort
His decision could undermine a reputation the Tennessee Republican has spent years cultivating

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has been trying to assemble support for a measure to stabilize the health insurance industry, but could run into interference because of GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For Sen. Lamar Alexander, two roads are diverging in a yellow wood.

The Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate, Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is facing a difficult quandary on health care that Democrats say could undermine a bipartisan reputation he has spent years cultivating and simultaneously determine the fate of the nation’s insurance system.

Opinion: Strange Times for Mitch McConnell in the Alabama Senate Race
A Moore victory could be a big headache for the Senate majority leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has become the Nancy Pelosi of the right, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

When President Donald Trump tapped Sen. Jeff Sessions to be his attorney general last year, the last thing on anyone’s mind was what would happen to the Alabama Senate seat that Sessions would leave behind. With a Republican governor in a reliably Republican state, the assumption was that the governor would appoint a safe placeholder for the seat, who would then easily get elected to finish out Sessions’ term in the next election.

But fast forward nine months, and the Alabama governor who appointed that placeholder has resigned in disgrace. The placeholder, Sen. “Big” Luther Strange, finished second in the GOP primary to former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been removed from the bench twice.

Record Gains by Latinos Contradict Narrative
Trump’s 2016 victory overshadowed congressional victories

From left, Reps. Adriano Espaillat of New York and Ruben Kihuen of Nevada are the first formerly undocumented members of Congress. Also seen, Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, right, and Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, second from left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump’s victory last year was widely understood to challenge predictions of a coming surge in Democratic-leaning Latino voters that would forever alter the American electorate. 

But as Latino political leaders kick off National Hispanic Heritage Month this week, some are pointing to Congress to argue that Trump’s win was an anomaly. 

Opinion: Dancing With the Democrats Will Not Save Trump
Long-term consequences of president’s actions will catch up with him

President Donald Trump would remain a reprehensible president even if he were to permanently move from the nationalistic right to the progressive left, Walter Shapiro writes. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Memo to the Democrats: Figure out how far Donald Trump is willing to travel on the ground before he gets bored and restless. Whatever the number is for our short-attention-span president (maybe a mile by golf cart and 10 miles by limousine), the Democrats should agree to build a border wall of precisely that length.

Consider it a Potemkin Wall.

Senate Set to Pass Defense Authorization Measure

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, left, seen here with Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, expressed regret the chamber could not agree on how to bring up all the amendments senators wanted to vote on. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With the Senate’s 2018 defense authorization bill passing a procedural hurdle Thursday, the chamber is expected to vote on final passage of the massive military policy bill Monday.

The Senate voted 84-9 to invoke cloture and limit debate on a substitute version of the bill that includes 104 amendments.

Opinion: How Donald Trump Made Congress Great Again
It may help the country — if not the president

President Donald Trump’s rocky relationship with lawmakers has made Congress free enough to act in the country’s best interests, Murphy writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

If you were a member of Congress, especially a Republican member of Congress, you could be forgiven for having at least some contempt for President Donald Trump.

He’s used the GOP-led Congress as a punching bag and a scapegoat. He demands absolute loyalty from Republican members, but abandoned them last week the moment he saw an opening to strike a deal to raise the debt ceiling with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.