Chris Coons

Congress can help win the peace in South Sudan
Approving bipartisan Senate resolution is a way to reaffirm U.S. support for peace deal

South Sudanese refugees are helped off a truck at the Kuluba refugee center in northern Uganda in May 2018. (Geovien So/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar on Thursday pulled back from the brink and agreed to delay the formation of a government of national unity by 100 days. A crucial element of the peace process, this extension buys time to resolve critical components of the agreement, such as decisions on state borders and the reunification of security forces. However, without a new approach and reinvigorated international diplomatic effort to break the political stalemate, parties to South Sudan’s revitalized peace risk finding themselves in the same place early next year.

The consequences could be dire for the people of the east-central African nation: Two-thirds of the population (7.2 million people) are in urgent need of humanitarian aid. While ultimate responsibility rests with the South Sudanese, the U.S. government must play a concerted role in assisting their leaders to establish the necessary conditions for a sustainable peace. Congress can help by swiftly approving a bipartisan resolution reaffirming U.S. support for South Sudan, which was introduced in the Senate by Democrats Chris Coons of Delaware and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois along with Republicans Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Todd Young of Indiana. Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Cory Gardner have since signed on as co-sponsors.

Impeachment threatens to freeze Democratic presidential race
Six senators seeking nomination would have to sit in Washington during trial

An impeachment trial could require six senators — Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — to get off the Democratic presidential campaign trail to hear witnesses and debate in Washington. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump is threatening to freeze the Democratic presidential contest in place, at least for the coming weeks, and possibly months.

A year out from the general election, the greatest X-factor for the field of candidates seeking to challenge the president might just be how the impeachment process plays out, and if it makes any new stars in the Democratic field along the way, or takes out any of the front-runners.

What happens if a Senate seat opens during an impeachment trial
With the announced early retirement of Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson, it is a possibility

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, left, was sworn into the Senate during impeachment proceedings in 2010. Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson may vacate his seat during a similar situation. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

What happens if a newly chosen senator gets thrown into the middle of an impeachment trial?

Ask Sen. Chris Coons.

The three places where senators can ‘actually’ talk
Sen. Chris Coons’ favorite places to reach across the aisle

From left, Sens. Charles E. Schumer, D.N.Y., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Coons, D-Del., share a laugh after a markup hearing on judicial nominations. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“We’re real people. We’re not just two-dimensional targets,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., told a lecture hall of law students at Notre Dame last week.Flanked by former Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Coons talked about the hyperpartisan environment on Capitol Hill and the intention required to cut through it and work. For the Delaware senator, this means talking to his colleagues “in the three settings [he has] found where there [are] no lobbyists, no staff and no press.”

Joking that Flake spent more time in the gym than he did, Coons told the students about the senators-only gym — a place “you can actually chat as you’re working out.” While little information is publicly available about the gym, Roll Call learned more about the facility in 2013 by standing in the hallway outside it for several hours. 

New national security adviser faces personality test with Trump’s inner circle
Robert O’Brien is largely a blank slate on policy, which could help him manage internal disagreements

Robert C. OBrien, serving as special envoy for President Donald Trump, arrives at a courthouse in Stockholm during the rapper A$AP Rocky assault trial in August. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images file photo)

Internal debates during President Donald Trump’s first two and a half years in office have been marked by acrimony, tension and high-stakes negotiations. So perhaps it was no surprise that Trump named as his fourth national security adviser the State Department’s lead hostage negotiator, Robert C. O’Brien.

No president has had so many national security advisers in his first term. However long O’Brien lasts in the job, his tenure will be defined less by his policy views and more by how he manages disagreements within Trump’s inner circle.

Road Ahead: Will Congress, Trump agree to any new gun laws?
Environment legislation and appropriations will highlight the week while senators wait for the president

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is waiting to hear from President Donald Trump before moving on new gun legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Will Congress do anything about gun violence in September?

That question will be front and center as the House and Senate return to legislative business this week, even if the answer to the question may come down to one man on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue: President Donald Trump.

Congress has college affordability in its grasp. They should vote for ISAs
Income share agreements reduce risk for students while incentivizing schools

Income sharing agreements protect students from paying for educational experiences that don’t create value for them in the labor market, Price writes. (Courtesy iStock)

OPINION — Each year, our higher education system confers roughly two million bachelor’s degrees. Unfortunately, it also produces one million student loan defaults. This isn’t simply “two steps forward, one step back.” This is a system-wide failure that, while creating immeasurable value for some, is financially crippling many others along the way. We need college to generate more value for more students.

Some on Capitol Hill are vying for free college. While aspirational, such calls are unlikely to succeed in today’s political environment, and don’t address the broken business model of traditional higher education in the first place. Instead, Congress needs to address not just how much students pay for college, but also “how” they pay. Income share agreements, or ISAs, are an option worth considering.

Nuclear power would get support in bipartisan Senate bill
With support from industry, legislation touted as a way to extend the lifespan and efficiency of America’s nuclear plants

“My overall goal is to develop legislation that can pass the Senate,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bipartisan pair of senators unveiled nuclear energy legislation Wednesday, describing it as a serious and pragmatic approach to tackle climate change and connecting it to rising greenhouse gas emissions specifically.

Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware and Republican Martha McSally of Arizona floated the bill, which has support from the nuclear power lobby, as a way to extend the lifespan and efficiency of America’s fleet of nuclear power plants.

Bipartisan bills push carbon tax, as GOP pollster offers Democrats help on climate
Frank Luntz pledged to help Democrats with their climate messaging

Republican pollster Frank Luntz, pledged to help Democrats address climate change in a nonpartisan, dispassionate way. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Climate change policy may be in for a softer, less polarized atmosphere with Republicans and Democrats teaming up on a flotilla of legislation to tax carbon emissions and decarbonize American industries, and a longtime Republican spin guru pledging to help Democrats with their climate messaging.

For instance, in the Senate, Democrats Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Cory Booker of New Jersey joined with Republicans Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Mike Braun of Indiana on Thursday to introduce a bill targeting emissions from the industrial sector.

‘He’s a television character’: Democrats worry about Trump’s U.S. intelligence pick
Devin Nunes, another skeptic of U.S. intelligence, called the appointment a ‘great choice’

From left, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, Reps. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, and Will Hurd, R-Texas, prepare for testimony by former special counsel Robert Mueller before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election in Rayburn Building on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. He testified earlier in the day before the House Judiciary Committee. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated: 5:12 p.m.

Rep. John Ratcliffe, first appointed to the House Intelligence Committee just seven months ago, could soon be delivering the president’s daily intelligence briefings.