Policymaking

The big picture

First look: McCarthy bill would sanction virus vaccine hackers

China, Iran and Russia have been accused of trying to steal U.S. research into coronavirus vaccine development.

Jul 20, 2020
The policies that could help fix policing

Cultural changes are needed, but policy can be a starting point.

Jun 5, 2020
The members of Congress departing in 2020

More Republicans than Democrats are exiting Congress in the lead up to the 2020 elections.

Updated Feb 26, 2020
Congress' partisan divide on paid family leave

Both parties like the idea but disagree on who should pay for it.

Nov 25, 2019
How many steps it takes to get an abortion in each state

State legislatures have tried to restrict abortion procedures since Roe v. Wade.

Updated Sep 19, 2019

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Lewis's death inspires push to restore Voting Rights Act provisions

Reps. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), former Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in 2016. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Democratic lawmakers and civil rights advocates have escalated calls for voting rights protections since the death of Rep. John Lewis, who made the issue his life's work.

Driving the news: House Democrats renamed a measure aimed at restoring a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act after Lewis. The bill, which passed in the House in December, has little chance of clearing the GOP-led Senate.

Trump admin to increase fees for asylum and naturalization applications

The Department of Homeland Security's seal. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday plans to hike fees for multiple immigration and work visa applications, including a more than 80% increase on naturalization applications and a new fee for asylum applicants.

Why it matters: The adjusted costs, which take effect Oct. 2, may deter low-income immigrants from pursuing citizenship and could prevent those seeking refuge in the U.S. from applying for asylum. The shifts come as USCIS is facing COVID-19-related budget shortfalls.

White House, Democrats at coronavirus stimulus stalemate

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at separate press conferences. Photos: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images; Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — speaking simultaneously at podiums on opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue Friday morning — painted a bleak picture of their stalled coronavirus stimulus talks, making clear that they are still a long way from striking a deal.

The bottom line: Everyone who matters in these talks is sending out dismal signals. Many important benefits, including enhanced unemployment insurance for millions of Americans, expire today — and those in charge of bringing relief admit they're nowhere close to finding common ground.

The next stimulus takes center stage — just as it runs dry

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Big Tech was buoyed by the exact thing that prevented the dreadful GDP report from being even worse in the second quarter: the pandemic stimulus measures.

Why it matters: The stimulus is in the spotlight as its key expanded unemployment benefits provision is set to lapse despite coronavirus cases surging across the country, reimposed lockdown measures and more businesses shuttering.

Senate adjourns without extending expiring unemployment benefits

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Senate has adjourned until 3pm on Monday, as Congress failed to reach an agreement on extending extra unemployment benefits that are set to expire on Friday.

Why it matters: Tens of millions of Americans are out of work and have been receiving $600 per week on top of their regular unemployment payments. That money has been used both to pay expenses and to prop up the broader economy via consumer spending.

Sanders endorses ending filibuster to pass voting rights legislation

Bernie Sanders during a Democratic Party presidential debate in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Thursday agreed with former President Obama's proposal to eliminate the Senate filibuster in order to pass the Voting Rights Act.

Why it matters: Sanders rejected abolishing the filibuster during the third Democratic primary debate in September 2o19, suggesting that congressional Democrats could instead pass progressive policies by attaching them to budget reconciliation bills, which cannot be filibustered by the minority party, according to Senate rules.

Obama endorses string of progressive policies during John Lewis eulogy

Barack Obama speaking at the funeral of late Rep. John Lewis on July 30. Photo: Alyssa Pointer/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama endorsed a slew of progressive policies related to voting rights during his eulogy for the late Rep. John Lewis on Thursday, including abolishing the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Revoking the Senate's long-standing 60-vote threshold used by senators to delay or block legislative action would significantly limit the minority party's power in the chamber.

Trump: Republicans who oppose funding FBI building in stimulus "should go back to school"

President Trump said Wednesday that Senate Republicans who oppose using the next coronavirus stimulus package to fund a new $1.75 billion headquarters for the FBI "should go back to school."

Why it matters: It's yet another public spat between the White House and congressional Republicans over the substance of their stimulus proposal. Trump's insistence on the issue, despite little support from his colleagues in the Senate, could drive another wedge into already protracted negotiations.

Congress' fight over the next coronavirus stimulus isn't ending soon

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The fight in Congress over the next round of coronavirus relief legislation is shaping up to be a long one, and that's bad news for the economy and the stock market.

Why it matters: Assistance from the government and the Fed has been an integral part of the stock market's rally since March 23.

Jul 28, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Sasse slams Mnuchin and Pelosi as "big government Democrats"

Mnuchin. Photo: Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) sharply criticized stimulus negotiations between House Democrats and the Trump administration on Tuesday, dismissing Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as "two big government Democrats."

Why it matters: Sasse is one of a number of Senate Republicans who have expressed frustration with key provisions in the White House-backed bill released by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday — underscoring how far Congress is from striking a deal on a coronavirus relief package.

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