Congress

3 yards and a cloud of shutdown

What’s next in the partial government shutdown border wall standoff? Who knows?

Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., speaks with a reporter as he boards the Senate subway in the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

3 yards and a cloud of shutdown

Three yards and a cloud of dust was how Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes described his style of football, a steady, if unglamorous and gritty, progress toward the goal line.

The negotiations over the partial government shutdown — although the term negotiation is used loosely here — could be described as minus-three yards and a cloud of dust. Instead of progress, the president and the Senate Judiciary chairman say a national emergency should be invoked, despite the legal tenuousness of such a move.

The House majority leader compared making feds work without pay to slavery. There is even a disagreement over whether someone slammed a hand on a table. Meanwhile, federal workers miss their first full paycheck on Friday.

We got into this fine mess for several reasons, including that the two sides do not even agree on what the main goal is.

Help wanted: visionary architect who would have 535 bosses

Want to honcho “the upkeep and preservation of more than 17.4 million square feet of facilities and 580 acres of grounds on the Capitol campus. That includes the historic House and Senate office buildings, the Capitol itself, thousands of works of art and even the trees that dot the campus?” Then have we got a job for you: Architect of the Capitol.

Keeping up with the (Doug) Jones

Doug Jones’ win in Alabama’s special Senate election in 2017 put steam in Democrats’ strides. But can a guy from the party of Clinton win in the Yellowhammer State in 2020, when Jones would run for re-election to a full term? Stu Rothenberg handicaps the race in Jeff Sessions’ house. 

Shutdown connection

Want to get the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO on the same page? Have a government shutdown. Because they both hate it. (They both wanted immigration reform, too, but that’s a story for another time.)

Everything you always wanted to know about Congress but were afraid to ask

New to town? Just now figuring out how to work your voting card? Wondering how much to study the issues for the committee you’re not too psyched to be on? Tom Davis, a former Virginia congressman, respected policy wonk and all-around good guy, has some pointers. “Decide what kind of member of Congress you want to be,” he says on the latest Political Theater Podcast. “Voters see through phoniness pretty quickly.”

UFOs! Reid all about it!

Yep. Things can always get weirder. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, retired, battling cancer and back home in Nevada, wants his colleagues to make it easier for military folk to talk about UFOs, without fear of people thinking they’re nuts. (Reid is the PERFECT guy to deliver this message.)

Teardown, interrupted

So you want to tear down the existing environmental regulatory structure. There’s just one problem: the shutdown is preventing the government workers who would do that from coming to the office

Yes, more Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Yes, you have likely already heard an earful about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Here’s something else you should read: Patricia Murphy’s column on “what could be a lifelong career of impact or a two-year experiment in modern, celebrity legislating.”

Non-pay day

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