Shawn Zeller

Mueller report’s second act: congressional scrutiny
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 149

CQ legal affairs reporter Todd Ruger says House Democrats now have plenty of leads from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report to investigate, especially as to whether President Donald Trump sought to obstruct justice.

Louisiana wants some gator aid
A pending ban on alligator products has lawmakers scrambling

A united Louisiana congressional delegation is lobbying a key California official to try to avert a pending Golden State ban on the “importation, possession or sale of alligator and crocodile products.”

Gators are big business in Louisiana. The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries estimates alligator harvesting is a $50 million-a-year industry in the state. It says ranchers collect over 350,000 alligator eggs, trappers harvest over 28,000 wild alligators and farmers harvest over 250,000 farm-raised alligators annually.

Assessing the new tax law as April 15 arrives
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 148

 

How Congress helps companies hire foreign workers over Americans
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 147

Under pressure from a bipartisan group of senators, the Homeland Security Department last month increased the number of visas available for foreign guest workers seeking to toil in America's seasonal industries, from seafood processing to resort housekeeping. Two critics of the decision, Daniel Costa of the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank that supports pro-labor policies, and Preston Huennekens of the Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates more restrictive immigration polic...
Why progressives are ready to ditch Obamacare
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 146

The 2010 health care law has left tens of millions uninsured, leading to a groundswell of support from the left for a single-payer system, or “Medicare for All.” Health care reporter Mary Ellen McIntire explains why progressives are ready to move on, what it would take politically to get there, and how they would transform American health care.

Big Tech's Breakup With Democrats
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 145

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, but especially Democrats, are saying that the government should intervene to rein in, or even break up, tech giants like Amazon, Google and Facebook. CQ technology reporter Dean DeChiaro says an antitrust action would require a novel legal approach focused less on pricing power and more on market dominance, while Patrick Pexton, CQ's tech editor, says the tech industry, long aligned with the Democratic Party, could shift its political loyalties

Show Notes:

Navy spends epically on shoddy ships
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 144

For the U.S. Navy, buying warships that are defective, unfinished or both has become the norm. The habit is expensive, dangerous and leaves overworked sailors to deal with faulty ships in need of repair from day one. Yet, the practice has escaped sufficient scrutiny in Washington even though taxpayers are on the hook for repeated repairs, reports CQ senior writer John M. Donnelly. Most new ships, he says, go to sea with one or more major defects — even after months of repair work and test...
Two Takes on Rep. Omar, Democrats and Israel
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 143

Janeen Rashmawi of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and Logan Bayroff of the pro-Israel group J Street worry that Congress is losing sight of the bigger issues surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict amidst the debate over Rep.
Compromise or resist? Democrats still have a choice to make
The problem is that their voters are genuinely divided on whether to play nice with Trump

On the House side of the Capitol and on the presidential campaign trail, progressives are talking about “Medicare-for-all” and a Green New Deal. They want not only to save Social Security but to expand it, to guarantee a job to everyone and to abolish the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division.

This, they admit, is all about drawing contrasts with Republicans to set the terms of the 2020 campaign. The proposals won’t go anywhere with the GOP in control of the Senate and Donald Trump in the White House.

Challenges for Trump’s Democratic overseers
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 142

Democrats have ramped up oversight of President Donald Trump and his administration with hearings this week on Trump’s finances, the Russia inquiry, the immigrant child separation policy and more.

But holding hearings and asking questions is only the first step in successful oversight, says Justin Rood, director of the Congressional Oversight Initiative at the Project on Government Oversight and a former staff investigator for Oklahoma GOP Sen. Tom Coburn. Congressional overseers must then grapple with their targets to make sure they cooperate, or cultivate whistleblowers who will provide information outside the standard channels.

Rants aside, Trump scores big with Congress
Podcast, Episode 141

The latest edition of CQ's study of congressional voting comes out in CQ Magazine on Feb. 25 and the authors, CQ reporters John Bennett and Jonathan Miller, explain that Congress voted as Trump wanted at record levels in 2017 and 2018, while representatives and senators who crossed party lines more than their peers paid at the ballot box. Laura Weiss, who profiled Larry Hogan for the magazine, discusses what is prompting the Maryland governor to consider challenging Trump in the 2020 GOP pr...
The Americans paying more taxes
Podcast, Episode 140

 

Tax season has begun, and upper-middle-income taxpayers earning between $120,000 and $200,000 in states with high local taxes are the most likely to be among the 5 percent who paid more last year because of the 2017 law, says Kyle Pomerleau, director of the Center for Quantitative Analysis at the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank. Doug Sword, CQ’s tax reporter, explains how congressional Democrats, and those running for president, are attacking the law.

#MeToo reconsidered: One feminist on equalizing campus sexual assault rules
Podcast, Episode 139

Patricia Hamill calls herself a feminist and a liberal Democrat, but as a defense attorney for students accused of sexual assault and harassment on college and university campuses she backs the Education Department's controversial proposal to require schools to change the way they handle these cases. The department is now considering the more-than-100,000 comments it received about its proposal, most of them opposed. ...
Why Republicans bucked Trump on Afghanistan and Syria
Podcast, Episode 138

CQ senior defense writer John M. Donnelly and Michael Rubin, a former Middle East adviser in the George W. Bush administration who’s now a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, discuss the implications of President Donald Trump’s moves to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and Syria and the Republican-led backlash in Congress. 

 

Shutdown ends but its damage will last
Podcast, Episode 137

CQ Homeland Security Editor Patrick B. Pexton discusses the details of the deal between President Donald Trump and lawmakers to end the shutdown. Max Stier, president of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, says it has done lasting damage to the civil service and that Congress must never allow it to happen again.

Furloughed government contractors to Congress: ‘Pay us too’
Podcast, Episode 136

Tens of thousands of government contractors are out of work and their employers are losing millions in revenue because of the partial government shutdown. Alan Chvotkin of the Professional Services Council, a contractor trade association, says his group is lobbying Congress to pay contractors for their missed work, as it has already agreed to do for furloughed civil servants. And Roll Call senior Senate reporter Niels Lesniewski says the impasse on Capitol Hill over government funding is showin...
EU to move first on crypto rules. Will US follow?
Podcast, Episode 135

 

European officials are expected to fire the first shot in the regulation of cryptocurrencies, with recommendations on what should be done to protect investors and preserve the integrity of financial markets. 

Pelosi stresses climate action, but activists push for more
Podcast, Episode 134

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi calls climate change "an existential threat" and has established a committee to look for solutions. CQ energy & envir...
Divided government will pose an obstacle to lawmaking in 2019
Congress was most dysfunctional from 2011 to 2014 when control of House and Senate was split

Washington tends to work best when one party controls both Congress and the White House. It’s most gridlocked, usually, when control of Congress is split.

The Congress of the past two years demonstrated the first principle. By any honest measure, President Donald Trump and his Republican colleagues in the House and Senate got a lot done in 2017 and 2018.

Sen. Tester Targets Dark Money
Podcast, Episode 133

Democrats plan to make so-called "good government" laws to tighten campaign finance and lobbying rules a priority in the new Congress. Democrat Jon Tester, who is featured in a documentary about outside campaign money in his state of Montana, tells host Shawn Zeller and lobbying reporter Ka...