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June 13, 2014
Walk through the Capitol South Metro station and you’ll pass SoftBank ads that festoon the walls — but you won’t see a campaign for the 3 million people hoping Congress will pass an unemployment insurance extension.
Business groups and most big-money lobbies that typically place such advertising to influence the people working in the Capitol either oppose extending jobless benefits, or they won’t take a position.
That leaves the unemployment extension lobbying mostly to people who are out of work themselves, along with an unusual collection of Washington allies: unions, religious organizations, anti-poverty and mental health groups. Full story
June 11, 2014
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s primary loss Tuesday shocked K Street and has left the business community without a crucial, well-placed ally in the ongoing battle between conservative and pro-business factions within the GOP.
The Virginia Republican’s defeat by a tea-party-backed political novice could deal a setback to the already toned-down summer agenda of the business community. In particular, business lobbyists working in support of the Export-Import Bank’s re-authorization by the Sept. 30 expiration say Cantor’s loss will only embolden the conservative Republicans who wish to block the bank.
“It is shocking,” said one business lobbyist speaking on the condition of anonymity. “As for policy, this completely kills any chance of immigration reform this year and surely imperils Ex-Im.” Full story
May 7, 2014
CQ Roll Call is excited to offer the first installment of a new video series, “Opinion Duel,” created by The Purple Network. Roll Call has partnered with National Review and The Nation to bring you in-depth discussions of top political issues with more discussion than a short cable news segment. Representing the left, right, and center, each Opinion Duel program will feature an intelligent debate on key legislative issues between The Nation on the left, National Review on the right, and CQ Roll Call editors playing the important role of moderator.
In this first installment of the Opinion Duel, Roll Call’s Editor-in-Chief Christina Bellantoni moderated a discussion with Charles C. W. Cooke, from National Review and The Nation‘s Zoë Carpenter. Carpenter and Cooke discussed the interests surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline and whether President Obama has been active on the climate change agenda. Bellantoni lead the discussion with questions that allowed Cooke and Carpenter to offer differing sides of the political spectrum concerning the Keystone XL pipeline and the administration’s current delay of any resolution to the hot-button issue.
The Purple Network is a partnership which strives to deliver content from all sides of the ideological divide to inform the whole spectrum of politically engaged thought leaders.
Watch the engaging discussion below:
April 2, 2014
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus could hardly contain his glee during a conference call with reporters shortly after the Supreme Court ruled to strike the aggregate limit on campaign contributions.
“We are excited about the outcome of this case,” exulted Priebus, noting that the RNC bankrolled the constitutional challenge brought by businessman Shaun McCutcheon from beginning to end. In McCutcheon v. FEC, the court ruled 5-4 to overturn the overall limit on what an individual may donate collectively to parties, candidates and PACs in one election cycle, which was capped at $123,200 total.
The ruling “allows us to go to our donors and say: Look instead of being able to give to only nine Senate candidates, you can now give to the 14 that are most in play,” Priebus told reporters. “And you can give to the Senate committee, the congressional committee and the RNC, and you can max out to all three.”
Priebus wasn’t the only party official rejoicing in the wake of the high court’s Wednesday ruling. One Democratic campaign committee operative confided that he was “happy as a pig in shit.” While advocates of campaign finance limits on and off Capitol Hill assailed the ruling as an invitation to corruption and campaign finance abuses, party officials welcomed the decision. Full story
March 25, 2014
Updated, 5:20 p.m. | Republican leaders are stepping up their campaign to discredit tea party activists who are challenging them on Capitol Hill and on the campaign trail, accusing conservatives of lining their own pockets at the expense of the GOP.
A recent radio ad for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. — who is under attack from the right in his own primary — blasts the Senate Conservatives Fund for spending its money “on a luxury townhouse with a wine cellar and hot tub in Washington, D.C.” House Republicans joke privately about the “conservative-industrial complex.” Even Ann Coulter has warned of “con men and scamsters” infiltrating the tea party movement.
Such claims hold more water for some groups than others in a movement with no clear leader. The tea party, loosely defined, is scattered among more than a dozen multimillion-dollar organizations, from the Club for Growth to FreedomWorks, to the Tea Party Express and the conservative startup Madison Fund, all with different bottom lines and spending patterns.
Some of the groups that have come in for the most criticism, such as the Senate Conservatives Fund — which calls the McConnell radio ad inaccurate — actually do spend most of their money on candidates. Others, such as the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, have spent exactly zero in this election cycle on candidates, even as they raise millions from low-dollar donors.
Whatever their overhead, tea-party-aligned groups are spending tens of millions collectively, sometimes with little or no board oversight. Such groups tend to operate multiple fundraising entities, simultaneously pulling in checks for a 501(c)(3) charity, a 501(c)(4) advocacy group, a conventional political action committee subject to contribution limits and an unrestricted super PAC. Public records filed with the IRS and the Federal Election Commission revealed some unusual expenditures.
January 29, 2014
From focusing on the minimum wage to celebrating the Olympics to addressing the partisan divide in Congress, Roll Call condenses President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union address into 190 seconds.
Read Roll Call’s full coverage of Obama’s speech here.
January 27, 2014
Watch Roll Call’s key moments from President Barack Obama’s five State of the Union addresses, including criticism of the Supreme Court, hammering Wall Street banks and pushing for immigration and gun reform.
December 23, 2013
The first session of the 113th Congress — the least productive in modern times — will be remembered for what it did, and did not, accomplish.
An immigration overhaul, gun control and health care mixed with “calves the size of cantaloupes,” “Alice in Wonderland” and cocaine. Together, it is the best and worst of the year that was, wrapped into one.
October 8, 2013
Faint glimmers are appearing that Republican grown-ups have decided to reclaim the schoolyard, but there’s a long way to go for the party to avoid long-term disaster.
Even Speaker John A. Boehner’s defiant-sounding statements Sunday demanding concessions from President Barack Obama can be interpreted as an appeal for face-saving help from the president, giving him permission to rely on Democratic votes to reopen the government and temporarily lift the U.S. debt ceiling to avoid a catastrophic default on the national debt.
Reportedly, other grown-ups — House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis. — are working on a GOP negotiating position that might lead to a “grand bargain” with President Barack Obama on entitlement and tax reform. Full story
September 23, 2013
The health of the U.S. economy depends on the legislative skill — and the courage — of Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.
It’s up to him to prevent a shutdown of the U.S. government at the end of this month and, a little later, the first-ever default on the national debt.
If he succeeds, he can prevent the economy from slipping back into recession — or, if we do default, possibly triggering a catastrophic new financial crisis.
But in the process, he will have to prove himself to be Master of the House — and may have to risk being toppled from office by furious tea party conservatives and their allied outside claques. Full story
September 9, 2013
An increasingly popular talking point for Democrats is that Republicans are responsible for the bickering, dysfunction and looming budget crises on Capitol Hill.
On its GrandObstructionParty.com Web page, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee declares: “This Republican Congress is broken — too focused on obstruction and scoring points against President Obama.”
Some experts sound a similar refrain, heaping blame on Congress and particularly on the GOP for budget showdowns, stalled legislation and a public approval rating stuck in the teens.
September 6, 2013
Even though the unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percent in August, the job growth number — 169,000 — was anemic. So many people have given up looking for work that the true unemployment rate is 17.7 percent. The economy is still 1.9 million jobs short of its peak before the 2008 recession. This has been the slowest job-market recovery since World War II.
So, who’s to blame and what’s to be done?
In a provocative Wednesday column in The Wall Street Journal, editorial writer Stephen Moore points out that the groups losing the most during the so-called recovery — young voters, single women, blacks, Hispanics and people with a high school or less education — are the very groups that voted most strongly for Barack Obama in 2012. Full story
August 19, 2013
The Republican National Committee’s ouster of CNN and NBC as 2016 GOP debate hosts over their Hillary Rodham Clinton programs is decidedly premature. It’s also small-minded.
If the CNN documentary and the NBC miniseries beatify Clinton or tacitly endorse her presidential campaign, it might be fitting for RNC Chairman Reince Priebus to say the networks disqualified themselves from moderating GOP debates. Full story
August 13, 2013
The idea that you’d shut down the federal government — or, perhaps, default on the national debt — to kill Obamacare is not just a “bad idea,” as President Barack Obama described it on Aug. 9. It’s utterly irresponsible, pure madness — and suicidal for the Republican Party to boot.
With economic growth running under 2 percent a year, a government shutdown or debt default would stifle the recovery and spike unemployment. And the consequences surely would be blamed on Republicans, much as the 1995-96 government shutdown that helped re-elect Bill Clinton. Full story
July 16, 2013
In 1972, as left-liberals led the Democratic Party to a near-unbroken 20-year run of presidential-election disasters, the late, great New York Times columnist William Safire wrote that “nothing is more certain in politics than the crushing defeat of a faction that holds ideological purity to be of greater value than compromise.”
Safire’s comment was cited this March in a trenchant Commentary article by former White House aides Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner, “How to Save the Republican Party.”
Their piece focused on the steps the party should take to avoid a fate similar to the Democrats a generation ago, while noting that the GOP has lost four of the past six presidential elections and is in danger of losing more unless it turns toward the center, as Democrats did with the presidency of Bill Clinton. Full story