So, What's in the Tax Bill?
Dec. 13, 2017, 3:12 p.m.
Many may remember the classic song “I’m Just a Bill” from Schoolhouse Rock!; it’s one of my favorites. It does a great job of explaining the legislative process. But if I were the writer of that catchy tune I would amend the chorus slightly:
“I’m just a bill. Yes I’m only a bill,
And I was rushed into Capitol Hill.
Well, now I’m back in committee
Because Congress violated some rules trying to claim a victory.”
It’s hardly a surprise that the leading party would try to rush a bill into law—both parties do it. This process cost Congress some time in their efforts to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. After the bill was debated in committee it passed for a second time in the House, but violated some budget rules and was edited and sent back for another final vote on December 20th. With this process, it’s easy to get confused about where the bill stands and what provisions remain. So I’m sure you have questions.
Is it a Muslim Ban?
June 27, 2017, 9:37 p.m.
Many voters don’t like to read–I’ve probably lost those voters already. Politicians use titles and labels to steer the conversation in whatever direction they choose–think Trumpcare vs. Better Care Reconciliation Act. This was no different with the President’s “Travel Ban.” Because many are unlikely to read the executive order, the labels and titles attached to it have a lot of influence into its perceived impact. Is it a Muslim Ban? A Travel Ban? Or extreme vetting?
After several roadblocks, the Supreme Court has, by a unanimous decision, allowed part of the “Travel Ban” (formally titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States) to go into effect. Since its inception, this executive order has received criticism for its restrictions that would limit entry from certain predominantly Muslim nations to the US.
Trump Announces US-Cuba Relations Changing Once Again
June 19, 2017, 4:26 p.m.
“Good afternoon. Today, the United States of America is changing its relationship with the people of Cuba.” These were the opening lines of Barack Obama’s announcement of his plans to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba back in December of 2014. Those words could have also opened President Trump’s speech on Friday where he announced plans to roll back some of the changes set forth by the Obama administration.
“We will not lift sanctions on the Cuban regime,” President Trump proclaimed, ”until all political prisoners are freed, freedoms of assembly and expression are respected, all political parties are legalized, and free and internationally supervised elections are scheduled. Elections.”
These plans come just weeks after the bipartisan coalition consisting of US Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) introduced legislation that would lift the Cuban trade embargo.
Filibusters: Political Strategy or Wasted Effort?
May 8, 2017, 7:37 p.m.
In political news, there is a lot of talk over the use of filibusters in the Senate, especially during the U.S Senate's recent confirmation of supreme court judge Neil Gorsuch. Are these efforts an effective political strategy or are legislators wasting everyone's time?
“Campus Carry” versus “Gun Free”
Aug. 4, 2016, 2:09 p.m.
The ideological debate between campus carry supporters and opponents remains contentious, with students rallying around both sides of the argument.
The Minimum Wage Debate
Aug. 1, 2016, 2:06 p.m.
Some legislators are beginning to act on the task of increasing the minimum wage, while others are actively trying to stop the increases.
What is an Omnibus Bill?
June 27, 2016, 2:31 p.m.
Have you seen a recent headline about Congress passing an omnibus bill? Curious about what this obscure sounding piece of legislation is? Below we provide a non-partisan explanation of omnibus bills.....
Getting to the Core of Common Core
June 1, 2016, 2:11 p.m.
Heard of Common Core, but not sure what it is? Curious about how states receive federal funding for education? Below, we break down this hot-button issue, and provide the 2016 presidential candidates’ stances towards Common Core......
VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Massachusetts
Oct. 27, 2014, 6:09 p.m.
Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy
at VoteSmart.org, giving Massachusetts voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Thirteen congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.
'Supercommittee' misses deadline
Nov. 22, 2011, 8:19 p.m.
The U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was established with the goal of improving both the short and long term financial outlook of the US and reducing the deficit “...by at least $1,500,000,000 over the period of fiscal years 2012 to 2021” But they missed their deadline...