nationwide

Democrats need to stop playing politics with our nation’s pipeline safety
Reauthorization bill should not be a partisan issue

Sections of steel pipe lie in a staging area in June before being inserted underground as part of the ETP-Sunoco Mariner East 2 pipeline in Exton, Pa. Reauthorizing the pipeline safety bill is something both parties can get behind, as they have done in the past, Upton writes. (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — In 2012, as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I worked with my good friend and fellow Michigander, the late Rep. John Dingell, to reauthorize our nation’s pipeline safety laws. This was in response to a pipeline burst that spilled 20,000 barrels of oil into the Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River near my district.

It didn’t matter that I had an ‘R’ next to my name and John had a ‘D’ next to his. What mattered was getting a final bill that could advance through a Republican House and a Democratic Senate and be signed by a Democratic president — a dynamic similar to the one we face today, with a Democratic House, a Republican Senate and a Republican president. Back then, we needed legislation that would make critical safety improvements to our nation’s vast pipeline infrastructure — and that’s exactly what we did, cutting down on incident reporting times and increasing financial penalties for violations.

When celebrity luster gives cover to how America judges its own
Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll remind us of the unfair burden placed on icons of color

People who hold up the late Jessye Norman, left, or Diahann Carroll as exemplifying America’s promise, that hard work will inevitably lead to reward, ignore the women’s own struggles , Curtis writes. (Gregg DeGuire/WireImage/Getty Images file photos)

OPINION — I am not one of those folks who see celebrities as larger-than-life icons to be worshipped and admired. Usually. But the recent deaths of Jessye Norman and Diahann Carroll hit me in the gut because those two amazing women were at once larger than life and so very real. The reactions to their accomplishments also illustrate an American or perhaps universal trait — the ability to compartmentalize, to place certain citizens of color or underrepresented citizens on a pedestal, at once a part of and apart from others of their race or gender or religion or orientation.

It allows negative judgment of entire groups to exist alongside denials of any racist or discriminatory intent. There are a lot of problems with that way of thinking. It places an unfair burden on the icons, a need to be less a human being than a flawless symbol. And it uses them as a rebuke to others who never managed to overcome society’s obstacles.

Texas Democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson says she’ll run for one final term
Longtime lawmaker chairs House Science, Space and Technology Committee

Texas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is running for one final term in Congress. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Longtime Texas Democratic Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson is running for one final term in Congress. Her decision was first reported by the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday.

“I fully intended to retire after my current term, but with much pressure and encouragement, I have agreed to one more term,” Johnson told constituents in a voicemail this week paid by her campaign, the newspaper reported. Her chief of staff confirmed the decision to CQ Roll Call.

Local newspapers wait anxiously for pension funding relief
Crucial retirement savings package appears stuck in the Senate

Washington Sen. Patty Murray blames Republicans for holding up the retirement savings package that includes pension relief for local newspapers. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Local newspapers serving communities from Tampa, Florida, to Walla Walla, Washington, say they’re under the gun from a pension funding “cliff” they face next year that will make them have to rapidly catch up on required contributions, exacerbating their well-documented financial decline.

When relief for some 20 publishers passed the House in May on a 417-3 vote as part of sweeping retirement savings legislation, it seemed like a slam dunk that lawmakers would ride to the rescue in time.

The women trying to impeach Trump — and the men making it so damn hard
From Lindsey Boylan to Nancy Pelosi, women are proving to be the president’s most formidable obstacles

New York Democrat Lindsey Boylan, left, with her spirited primary challenge likely pushed House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler into publicly supporting an impeachment inquiry, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced last month, Murphy writes. (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Women's Forum of New York, Tom Williams/CQ RollCall)

OPINION — Not all heroes wear capes, but lots of them wear high heels. If you’re a Democrat watching the impeachment saga unfolding in Washington right now, nearly all of your superheroes are wearing heels today. That’s because when you look carefully at the pressure points in the widening impeachment inquiry against the president so far, women have been at the center of nearly all of them.

First, there was Lindsey Boylan, 35, a mom and former public housing advocate in New York City. Her name is probably unfamiliar to people outside New York, but Boylan is challenging Rep. Jerry Nadler in a Democratic primary next June. Not only has she absolutely hammered Nadler for what she says has been his failure to produce results for their district, she’s been relentless in calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment since February and criticizing Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee responsible for drafting articles of impeachment, for not doing more sooner to remove him from office.

The Supreme Court is ready for its close-up
Political Theater, episode 95

Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her fellow Supreme Court justices are political issues themselves, a topic for discussion in the latest Political Theater podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Hot topics? The Supreme Court’s got ’em this term. LGBTQ rights. Guns. Immigration. Abortion. 

The first Monday in October marks the start of the high court’s term each year, providing the titles of a 1981 Walter Matthau-Jill Clayburgh feature film — “First Monday in October” — and a short-lived CBS television drama with James Garner and Joe Mantegna, “First Monday.”

Rappers not named Kanye defend Trump with #MAGAChallenge
You never thought that hip hop would take it this far

Making it rain at Trump Tower (Courtesy @dvs7_0 / Twitter)

President Donald Trump’s relationship with the rap industry is actually more complicated than you might think. Trump’s been named-checked in rap lyrics for decades. As a professionally famous rich person, his ostentatious displays of wealth were aspirational among MCs who similarly brag about success and their hustler mentalities.

But of course, that changed once Trump ran for president by using racially divisive rhetoric and attacking Barack Obama, another president popular with rappers.

Elizabeth Warren’s lobby tax may not hold up to legal scrutiny
Massachusetts Democrat’s proposals take aim at what she dubs “excessive” lobbying

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s proposals to curb what she calls “excessive” lobbying would face near-certain legal challenges, experts say. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s long-shot tax on big K Street lobbying tabs were to make it into law, the measure would face legal challenges and is widely seen more as a political platform than an actual policy.

The Massachusetts Democrat’s presidential campaign has unveiled broad proposals to curb what she has dubbed “excessive” lobbying, including a hefty tax on companies, trade associations and other groups that spend more than $500,000 per year on federal lobbying.

Americans as ‘High Noon’ heroes against lawlessness? Nope
Signs of courage are few and far between, as reactions to Trump impeachment inquiry show

Gary Cooper as Marshal Will Kane in the 1952 film “High Noon.” Americans may fancy themselves heroes like Kane, standing alone and risking all in the face of impossible odds, but the reactions to the impeachment inquiry show that belief is largely a myth, Curtis writes. (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Americans like to imagine themselves as Gary Cooper’s Marshal Will Kane in “High Noon,” facing impossible odds, struggling, yet managing to stand up, even if it means standing alone and risking it all. We are all rugged individuals, we think, rushing in while cowards run for cover.

Think again.

DHS advances plan to get DNA samples from immigrant detainees
Immigration advocates worry about long-term privacy implications of proposal

U.S. Border Patrol agents watch over a group of undocumented immigrants in June after chasing and apprehending them in a cane field near Mission, Texas. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

Immigration advocates sounded alarm over the Department of Homeland Security’s new proposed rule to collect DNA samples from migrants in government custody, expressing grave concern over long-term privacy implications.

“The government doesn’t have a very good track record of collecting and protecting the genetic material of marginalized populations, including foreign nationals and black and brown people,” Andrew Free, a Nashville-based immigration and civil rights lawyer, told CQ Roll Call. “In the absence of a limiting principle, I just really worry about the abuses.”