As Gridlock Deepens in Congress, Only Gloom Is Bipartisan

The following article by Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Nicholas Fandos was posted on the New York Times website January 27, 2018:

If tensions between Republicans and Democrats in Congress do not cool, the parties might careen toward another fiscal showdown in February. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — As lawmakers recover from a dispiriting government shutdown and prepare for President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, Capitol Hill is absorbed with concern that Mr. Trump’s presidency has pushed an already dysfunctional Congress into a near-permanent state of gridlock that threatens to diminish American democracy itself.

The sense of gloom is bipartisan. A group of Republicans in the House and the Senate are warning of a secret plot in the F.B.I. to overthrow the Trump government. Democrats speak of corruption and creeping authoritarianism, unchecked by a Congress that has turned into an adjunct of the executive. Read More

Lawmakers, US allies seek assurance that Trump won’t rashly launch nuclear

The following article by Jim Acosta and Barbara Starr was posted on the CNN website November 14, 2017:

(CNN) — A decades-old presidential authority to use nuclear weapons is suddenly coming into question as US allies and some lawmakers from both parties want the Trump administration to assure them that President Donald Trump cannot rashly launch a nuclear strike, according to multiple sources.

The potential that Trump could use existing law to authorize the deployment of a nuclear weapon on his own is becoming the subject of frequent conversation — and bipartisan anxiety — on Capitol Hill. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker will hold a hearing Tuesday on the authority of the President to maintain sole authority to launch nuclear weapons. Read More

Congress Took Three Decades to Come This Far, Sexual Harassment Victim Says

The following article by Stephanie Akin was posted on the Roll Call website November 11, 2017:

Dorena Bertussi filed Hill’s first successful harassment complaint in 1988

Shortly after Dorena Bertussi’s name was published in one of the first major sexual harassment scandals in the House of Representatives, she came home to the sound of a ticking clock on her home answering machine.

The police told her she might want to find someplace else to stay for a while.

It was one of many episodes that help Bertussi understand — perhaps more than most — why 29 years later a national firestorm over sexual harassment in American institutions has been slower to ignite in Congress.

Bertussi has since shared the details of her story countless times when women who worked in Congress or other government jobs approached her about following in her footsteps. It is no surprise to her, she said in a recent interview, that most of those women never came forward — and that even today, amid the cascade of public complaints against high-profile figures in other industries, members of Congress have been largely spared. Read More

Congress breaks impasse on bill to slap sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea

The following article by Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian was posted on the Washington Post website July 22, 2017:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) left, speaks with reporters during the Speaker’s weekly news conference on June 8 on Capitol Hill. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) is to the right. (Cliff Owen/AP)

A weeks-long impasse over imposing new financial sanctions on Iran and Russia broke late Friday, with the House preparing to vote next week on a measure that would prevent President Trump from lifting measures against Moscow.

House leaders agreed to vote on an expanded version of the bill after incorporating sanctions aimed at freezing North Korea’s nuclear program and draining the government of revenue it uses to fund it. The measures against Pyongyang, which passed the House 419 to 1 as a stand-alone bill earlier this year, were inserted at the request of House Republican leaders.

While some details have yet to be finalized, congressional aides said, the bill is set for a vote Tuesday, according to a schedule circulated Saturday by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). It will proceed under special expedited procedures for noncontroversial bills expected to pass with a two-thirds majority.

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