10 Thoughts After the Alabama Senate Election

The following article by Nathan L. Gonzales was posted on the Roll Call website December 13, 2017:

Supporters of Democrat Doug Jones celebrate his victory over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election Tuesday night in Birmingham, Ala. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of the best parts about covering elections is that there is always a result. After all the prognosticating, projecting, discussing and arguing, there’s a winner. But determining the true meaning of victory and loss can be difficult.

There will be plenty of time to analyze the Alabama Senate special election (at least until the next special election on March 13 in Pennsylvania’s 18th District), but here are some initial postelection thoughts:

This was a historic victory for Doug Jones. Of course, Roy Moore had some unparalleled flaws as a candidate, but Jones overcame a 20-point deficit in partisan performance to win. The last Democrat to win a Senate race in Alabama was Sen. Richard C. Shelby in 1992, and he’s now the state’s senior senator as a Republican. Tonight’s upset will be talked about for years to come. Read More

GOP’s fear and loathing of Hillary Clinton cost you $100 million

NOTE:  With the increasing chorus of Republican congress members calling for Special Prosecutor Mueller to be fired, we’re looking back at their investigations into Hillary Clinton, which ran on and on and on and cost the American taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and resulted in absolutely nothing.

The following article by James Williams was posted on the Newstalk Florida website July 29, 2016:

Republican’s hate Hillary Clinton because she is smarter than they are

PHILADELPHIA — The conventions are over and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton watched as her party did a wonderful job of showing her to be human. A wife, mother, grandmother, someone who loves life and doesn’t mind that she has a boisterous laugh.

Clinton is smart, and likes to play hard ball with the boys and that is something the Republican’s in and out of Washington hate. Let me say that Hillary Clinton is not a saint, nor has she always made the wisest choices, but she is a political survivor in a man’s world.

Truth is that the Republican’s in the House and the Senate have had two decades of defining Hillary Clinton as un trustworthy and un truthful. They have done it spending more taxpayers money on battling her than any other political figure in history. Read More

FBI agent becomes GOP public enemy No. 1

The following article by Katie Bo WIlliams was posted on the Hill website December 12, 2017:

© Getty Images

Republicans have a new public enemy No. 1: Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who was reassigned from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative team over allegedly anti-Trump text messages he sent during the presidential race.

A slate of reports from multiple outlets have catapulted the once-anonymous intelligence agent into the political maelstrom over what Republicans say is a woeful double standard of political bias at the FBI. Read More

Congressional Republicans in advanced talks to reduce the tax rate for top earners to 37 percent as part of final tax bill

The following article by Erica Werner and Damian Paletta was posted on the Washington Post website December 12, 2017:

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) talks with reporters on Capitol Hill this month. Credit:
Katherine Frey/The Washington Post

Congressional Republicans are in advanced talks to lower the top tax rate for individuals from 39.6 percent to 37 percent as they finalize a massive $1.5 trillion tax package, said three people familiar with the negotiations.

The move follows complaints from wealthy taxpayers in New York and elsewhere that their taxes could go up under the legislation because of other changes it makes to the code.

The change, if finalized, would amount to a major tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. And it would be certain to spark a furious response from Democrats who are unanimously opposed to the legislation which they already have been casting as a giveaway to corporations and the rich. Read More

Democrats Won’t Support Another Stopgap, Hoyer Says

The following article by Lindsay McPherson was posted on the Roll Call website December 12, 2017:

House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer cited several bills that Republicans have yet to get through Congress. Credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo

Democrats will not support another clean continuing resolution that would allow Republicans to continue shirking their governing responsibilities, House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday.

The Maryland Democrat named several “must pass” bills Republicans have yet to get through Congress, including reauthorizations of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as the next disaster supplemental and legislation providing a path to legal status for immigrants brought illegally into the country as children. Read More

Six Things to Watch as Tax Overhaul Endgame Nears

The following article by Ryan McCrimmon was posted on the Roll Call website December 11, 2017:

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady says both Senate and House tax plans have “strengths” when it comes to the treatment of income of pass-through entities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A number of sticking points emerged last week as Republican lawmakers began jockeying for their favorite parts of the House and Senate tax plans.

Top tax writers from each chamber will formally meet Wednesday at 2 p.m. to discuss their differences, but the real negotiations have already begun behind the scenes.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthysaid last week a finished tax bill likely wouldn’t be ready this week, so final votes could come just before lawmakers leave for the holidays. Congress is scheduled to remain in town until at least Dec. 22, when a stopgap government spending measure expires. Read More

Roy Moore said taking away the right of women to vote would ‘eliminate many problems’

The following article by Zach Ford was posted on the ThinkProgress website December 11, 2017:

Removing all amendments after the Tenth “would eliminate many problems,” Moore said.

Alabama Republican Roy Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama Senate runoff. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2011, Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore agreed with a radio host known for promoting conspiracy theories that the United States would be better off if the seventeen constitutional amendments that followed the original Bill of Rights were repealed.

“That would eliminate many problems,” Moore said in audio unearthed by CNN. “You know people don’t understand how some of these amendments have completely tried to wreck the form of government that our forefathers intended.”

The amendments following the 10th Amendment served some fairly important functions in the U.S. government: Read More

Taxing the rich to help the poor? Here’s what the Bible says

The following article by Mathew Schmalz, Associate Professor of Religion, College of the Holy Cross, was posted on the Conversation website December 10, 2017:

Credit: Associated

The new tax reform bill has led to an intense debate over whether it would help or hurt the poor. Tax reform in general raises critical issues about whether the government should redistribute income and promote equality in the first place.

Jews and Christians look to the Bible for guidance about these questions. And while the Bible is clear about aiding the poor, it does not provide easy answers about taxing the rich. But even so, over the centuries biblical principles have provided an understanding on how to help the needy.

The Hebrew Bible and the poor

The Hebrew Bible has extensive regulations that require the wealthy to set aside for the poor a portion of the crops that they grow. Read More

Senators clash over direction of Russia, Clinton probes

The following article by Jordain Carney was posted on the Hill website December 10, 2017:

President Donald Trump, flanked by Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faces the prospect of the first government shutdown when one party controlled all levers of government. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Partisan tensions are mounting on the Senate Judiciary Committee, with both parties accusing the other of stonewalling.

The panel’s investigation into the 2016 election appears to have hit the skids, with members increasingly fighting over the direction of the probe.

Republicans want to dig back into Obama-era scandals, including the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

But Democrats say the committee should be focused on potential collusion between President Trump’s campaign and Russia, as well as the circumstances of former FBI Director James Comey’s firing. Read More

The Middle Class Might Not Even Notice If the GOP Cuts Their Taxes

The following article by Sahil Kapur was posted on the Bloomberg.com website December 11, 2017:

  • Americans didn’t notice similar measure in 2009, poll showed
  • Republicans seek ‘more middle-income tax relief,’ Roskam says
Jared Bernstein Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

A funny thing happened when Congress approved a tax cut for the middle class eight years ago: Most Americans didn’t notice.

The 2009 economic-stimulus bill contained a one-year tax break worth $800 for married couples in 95 percent of working households — a little over $15 a week. A February 2010 poll found that just 12 percent said their taxes had been reduced. More than half, 53 percent, said they saw no change. A remarkable 24 percent thought their taxes had increased.

“Virtually nobody believed they got a tax cut,” said Jared Bernstein, an economist who worked in former President Barack Obama’s White House. He called it a source of frustration at the time. Read More