Welcome to our pause-and-think newsletter on politics and policy, sent out every Tuesday. (Invite a friend to sign up!
) This is a place for analysis, overlooked facts and a bit of trivia. And a dash of holiday cheer.
PRESS PASS: What we just learned from Kevin McCarthy
By Lisa Desjardins, Political Director
Occasionally, Congressional leaders go behind closed doors with reporters, giving those with a Capitol Hill press pass the chance to sit down and ask in-depth, on-the-record questions. But without cameras. Called “pen and pad” briefings, these sessions are a great source of less-scripted politicians. And a pen and pad Monday with House Republican No. 2 — Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — brought some insight that we think is worth flagging. Two standout topics, with quotes from our notebooks:
1. Shutdown Deadline? Dec. 11–ish
Asked about the upcoming Dec. 11 deadline to fund most of government, McCarthy told reporters:
“I’m hopeful to get it all done and voted on by the 11th, if not, we’re here until the 18th, it won’t make any difference, we will get it done.”
Takeaway: Congress may end up passing another short-term funding bill to buy itself a week or so of time, pushing the actual deadline closer to its planned day to leave for the holidays: Dec. 18. There is no sense of panic.
2. Planned Parenthood: pivot to mental health and away from funding fight
On the topic of the deadly shooting
at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado last week as well as the debate over Planned Parenthood funding, McCarthy indicated a possible direction for Republican response on both facets.
“… this man was mentally ill, and we have before us, just so happens that I met with Tim Murphy about his bill, Tim Murphy has had a bill dealing with mental health.”
“… didn’t the president of Planned Parenthood, a month or so ago, come back about some of the funding themselves, that they were going to stop some of the charges?” … “I do not, from the prospects, hear people shutting the government down over it. That’s what I’m hearing.”
First, by “they were going to stop some of the charges” McCarthy is referring to Planned Parenthood’s voluntary decision to stop charging processing fees for fetal tissue.
Second, here are two takeaways: 1. Republicans may pivot and move closer to action on mental health and a longstanding bill from Rep. Tim Murphy
, R-Pa. (Note: there was much less support for the bill when he introduced it in 2013. I remember that news conference as notably empty.) Democrats are already questioning Republican motives for this pivot.
2. Republicans may dial down the Planned Parenthood funding fight, separating it from the must-pass omnibus spending bill.
Bigger picture: This is a moment where Republican leaders are trying to stabilize the boat, hoping to get through the next fiscal crises with minimal drama and damage. The next two weeks will test both the ship and its captains.
Julie Percha and Kamaria Roberts contributed to this story.
BACKGROUNDER: Abortion in America
By Pamela Kirkland, Politics Producer
As the issue continues to flare, here are four quick facts on the abortion and Planned Parenthood debate:
- According to a survey by the Associated Press, the number of abortions is down 12 percent
from 2010*. Data from the Centers for Disease Control show the number of abortions has declined in 19 of the past 22 years
- Thirty-eight states have enacted at least one new law restricting abortion access since 2011.
- For the first time since 2008, half of Americans consider themselves “pro-choice”
on abortion, compared with the 44 percent who identify as “pro-life.”
- There’s a difference between what Americans think should be legal and what they think is moral
. Fifty-five percent of U.S. adults say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but 49 percent say that having an abortion is morally wrong.
QUIZ: The politics of climate change
By Lisa Desjardins
As world leaders meet in Paris to discuss climate change, we decided to test what we know about the difficult politics of climate change for the U.S., the world’s second largest emitter of carbon gasses. (China is No. 1.)
Go here for the full quiz.
One question to get you started: What is the stance of the current U.S. Senate on climate change?
- All bills using the phrase “climate change” have failed or been blocked.
- Canada is responsible for any climate-related changes in the U.S.
- Climate change is real and not a hoax.
- The Senate passed a bill to enact a “cap-and-trade” system to lower emissions.
By Rachel Wellford, Elections Producer
On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat at the front of a public bus to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. Who was president when the Supreme Court finally banned segregation on public transportation? Tweet your answer using #PoliticsTrivia. If you guess correctly, we’ll give you a shoutout in next week’s “Deal.”
LAST WEEK, WE ASKED: In which foreign country did Lee Harvey Oswald live in briefly before returning to the U.S. a year before the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Answer: The Soviet Union.
A BIG SHOUTOUT to Joseph Iliff (@SeekOutWisdom) and Donna Bowling (@bowling_donna) who both correctly guessed Russia or the USSR. And who have two of the best Twitter handles we’ve seen in a while.
QUIZ ANSWER: 3. The Republican-led chamber voted 98-1
in January that “It is the sense of the Senate that climate change is real and not a hoax.” The lone “no” vote was Mississippi Republican Roger Wicker, who gave his local paperhis explanation
. The vote was a Democratic-sponsored amendment to a bill aimed at approving the Keystone XL Pipeline project. Subsequent motions to declare that climate change is caused by human activity and a threat to mankind did not pass the Senate. (Want more? Here’s another link to the rest of the quiz
That’s it for today. We’ll be back next Tuesday.
Thoughts? Comments? Let us know how we can improve and what interests you by emailing us at NHpolitics@newshour.org.
Thank you for reading. We wish you a happy political season.
In her new book, Unequal City, Carla Shedd looks at race, schools and perceptions of injustice through the eyes of young people…
edu.shy·ster ej-oo/ˈshīstər/ n. A crook or con artist who seeks to profit from the public schools or their students, the edushyster is aided by politicians who find his faddish jargon irresistible. http://www.edushyster.com
Review these frequently asked questions about how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) affects you and your family.
The AARP Daily News Alert will feature answers to a health care law “question of the day” throughout the month of December. Be sure to tune in throughout the month for more answers to frequently asked questions about the health care law.
After I sign up for a health plan in the Health Insurance Marketplace, can I change my mind and sign up for a different plan instead? Once I buy one plan can I change my mind and switch?
Once again we are being treated to the latest confrontation
in the ongoing saga known as Armed With Reason
versusThe Crime Prevention
Research Center – the former a research effort led by two economists out of Oklahoma, Devin Hughes and Evan DeFilippis; the latter a fundraising and self-promotional effort conducted by and for John Lott. These combatants have been going at each other for the last several years, with Hughes and DeFilippis traying to maintain some degree of objectivity in what they say and John Lott doing what he does best, namely, reminding everyone that if he said it then it must be true because he said it.
Back in June I reported on legislation –Senate Bill 250 which would cut the minimum wage for 18 and 19 year olds to 85% of the level for everyone else. In defending it, the sponsor, Margaret O’Brien, claimed that it was necessary because “Most of the employers I’ve talked to in my community do not have a youth training wage but they feel having a youth minimum wage will resolve their issues.” The fact is that Michigan DOEShave a youth minimum wage. It applies to young people under the age of 18. And, if you’re under 20, employers can pay you 85% of the minimum wage for the first 90 days of employment which is considered a training period.
Apparently they haven’t squeezed young workers enough so now they are trying to extend just a bit further to include 18 and 19-year olds, as well.
“There are now four classes in America: an underclass, an anxious class in the middle, an overclass, and an oligarchy at the very top.
The underclass is the bottom 20 percent with family incomes under $26,000 this year, who live in marginal neighborhoods, whose kids attend lousy schools, and whose families are in continuous danger of hunger, homelessness, or serious medical problems.
The anxious class is the old middle class — 75 percent of Americans, with family incomes between $26,000 and $80,000 a year, whose jobs are becoming less secure and who are living paycheck to paycheck, and most of whose children will not live as well as they do.
The overclass is the top 5 percent, earning between $80,000 and $300,000 a year, who still feel pressured and worry about the future but can afford to live in good neighborhoods and send their kids to good schools.
The oligarchy is the top 0.1 percent, most earning over $1 million a year and sitting on over $15 million of wealth, who now possess almost all the power. Through their political contributions, lobbying, “think tanks,” and media, they essentially rule America – influencing politicians and organizing the market to get most of the economic gains.
It’s a vicious cycle. The only way to reverse it is through a political revolution of the sort Bernie has been advocating.
What do you think?”
(PS: If any of you still harbor doubts that America is being taken over by an oligarchy, you might take a look at what’s happening in Illinois, via article below).
Unprecedented political spending helped elect a fresh-faced financier. But his ideological vision has unsettled many in the state.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is out after coming under widespread criticism for his handling of a high-profile shooting that eventually led to a white officer being charged with the first-degree murder of a black teenager shot 16 times in a Southwest Side street last year, sources told the Tribune on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the group Clean Energy Now created a website that allows Michigan energy consumers to choose the sources for their energy needs and to compare those choices to what they have now…