nationwide

To rein in Big Pharma over high drug prices, start with patent reform
Bipartisan proposals represent a rare bright spot in a divided Congress

Abuse of the patent system by brand-name drug manufacturers is exacerbating the financial burden faced by American patients for their prescription drugs, Lane writes. (George Frey/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — With the Senate impeachment trial kicking off and partisan tensions running high on several fronts, Americans might be forgiven for thinking that Congress has lost the ability to find common ground. But lately, and despite the proverbial odds, there is a new bipartisan consensus forming on an issue of incredible importance to millions of Americans: prescription drug pricing. Specifically, reforming the U.S. patent system to end abusive practices that are directly contributing to high drug prices.

Across the country, Americans are struggling under the weight of skyrocketing prescription drug costs. It is no secret that affording medicines and treatments is an incredible burden for too many families. On average, Americans are paying considerably more than citizens of other high-income countries for the same exact prescription drugs.

Cory Booker bows out, Ben Carson backs off fair housing and issues of race recede in America
Latest Democratic debate was notable for what was not mentioned

With Cory Booker leaving the Democratic presidential race, following the exits of Kamala Harris and Julián Castro, issues of justice and inequality could get short shrift on the campaign trail, Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It doesn’t take a candidate of color on a debate stage to raise issues of justice and inequality. But that has been the way it has worked out, mostly.

For example, it was exhilarating for many when then-candidate Julián Castro said in a Democratic debate, “Police violence is also gun violence,” while naming Atatiana Jefferson, killed in her Fort Worth, Texas, home by a police officer who shot through the window without identifying himself. Castro’s words were an acknowledgment of the lived experiences of many in America. He has since dropped out of the race, as has California Sen. Kamala Harris, who chided her party for taking the support of black women for granted.

Super PACs after 10 years: Often maligned but heavily used
Democrats may slam Citizens United, but they benefit from the PACs the decision unleashed

A man demonstrates against super PACs in front of the Supreme Court in January 2012 to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United decision, which contributed to the rise of super PACs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The reelection campaign of Rep. Angie Craig, a first-term Minnesota Democrat, kicked off 2020 with an email plea to supporters: “We’ve got to overturn Citizens United.”

Noting the 10 years since the pivotal Jan. 21, 2010, Supreme Court decision, which helped spur along super PACs, the Craig campaign urged people to show their allegiance to the cause by providing their email addresses. Later, would-be donors were asked to chip in money for her campaign, even just $15.  

Reapportionment could force a Rhode Island showdown
Smallest state projected to lose a House seat after 2020

Rhode Island Reps. David Cicilline, left, and Jim Langevin may have to duke it in a primary in 2022 with their state projected to lose a seat after the next census. (Tom Williams/Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

This year’s census will likely prompt a political showdown between longtime members of Congress in the nation’s smallest state.

An analysis based on Census Bureau population projections has Rhode Island losing its second congressional seat in 2022, one of 10 states that could lose representation in Congress. The projections show a tight margin for the last few congressional seats, according to an analysis from Election Data Services. The Ocean State stands 14,000 residents shy of the seat, or about 1 percent of its population.

When science fiction becomes environmental fact, it might be time to worry
Storylines from ‘The Twilight Zone’ are now playing out in real time

A bushfire burns in the town of Moruya, New South Wales, Australia, on Sunday. As the country burns, many of its leaders remain unmoved on the science behind climate change, insisting Australia does not need to cut its carbon emissions, Curtis writes. (Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images)

OPINION — How did you spend your holiday? If you’re like me, one guilty pleasure was devouring TV marathons, designed to offer relief from the stresses of the season. Reliable favorites include back-to-back episodes of “The Twilight Zone” and, on Turner Classic Movies, one whole day devoted to science fiction, imaginings both cautionary and consoling of what the future holds for our world.

But usual escapes didn’t quite work this year, not when fact is scarier than anything “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling might have dreamed up, though the serious Serling who introduced each episode of his iconic series, all furrowed brow and cigarette in hand, did signal he suspected what was coming if mankind didn’t shape up.

California governor declines to call a special election to replace Duncan Hunter
Gavin Newsom’s decision means 50th District seat will remain vacant until 2021

California Rep. Duncan Hunter is resigning Jan. 13 and his seat will remain vacant until 2021. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday he would not call a special election to replace Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter, who is resigning next week after pleading guilty to misusing campaign funds.

“The governor’s office received Rep. Hunter’s resignation letter. Based on the timing of the resignation, a special election will not be called,” Newsom spokeswoman Vicky Waters said.

Reflexive anti-Trumpism, AOC’s shrink-the-tent strategy will cost Democrats in November
Republicans now have an opportunity to build a broader, winning coalition

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s assertion that her party “can be too big of a tent” is the perfect gift for Republicans to kick off the new year, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — For those of you who read this column regularly, you’ve heard me often urge Republicans to put their focus on building a broader majority coalition through a more positive political strategy. It’s the best path to electoral victory instead of relying heavily on negative campaigns.

But watching the Democrats over the last few weeks lurch from impeachment to progressive economics to armchair quarterbacking the president’s decision to take out one of the world’s worst actors has left me scratching my head. When it comes to their almost complete reliance on harsh and personal attacks against Donald Trump and the GOP, I find myself asking, “What are they thinking?”

Success of tobacco age change will depend on state efforts
E-cigarette popularity adds complication to drive to address youth tobacco use

Some states that already had “tobacco 21” laws in place saw drops in cigarette smoking rates among young people, but e-cigarette use increased. (Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images file photo)

The legal age for cigarettes, nicotine vaping products and other tobacco is now 21 across the country after Congress changed the age last month — but progress in reducing youth vaping will depend on states to ensure that underage sales are halted. 

While many states and localities adopted laws to raise the tobacco sales age to 21 in recent years, it’s unclear how effective they’ve been so far. Experts caution that raising the age nationally won’t be the only thing needed to address the high youth tobacco use rate ushered in by the popularity of e-cigarettes.

Who is Kelly Loeffler?
New Georgia senator is educated, young for the Senate and most importantly, rich

New Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s teamis prepared to spend $20 million of her own money for the 2020 cycle alone. (Marcus Ingram/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — When Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp appointed Kelly Loeffler to fill the Senate seat of the beloved-but-ailing Sen. Johnny Isakson, a single headline said it all, repeated many times over. “Who is Kelly Loeffler?” the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the local NBC affiliate, and Atlanta’s NPR station asked almost in unison.

Loeffler, 49, was such an unknown outside of Republican fundraising circles that even longtime political reporters struggled with the pronunciation of her last name. Was it LOFF-ler or LOW-fler? (Neither. It’s LEFF-ler.)

Picture perfect: CQ Roll Call photographers explain their favorite images of 2019
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 105

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks by at the Ohio Clock Corridor in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

From Jon Stewart’s smirk to an Elizabeth Warren scrum at the Iowa State Fair to the frenzy surrounding former presidential aide Hope Hicks, CQ Roll Call photographers Tom Williams, Bill Clark and Caroline Brehman are crashing this episode of Political Theater to explain their favorite images of 2019, how they got them and what goes into getting the shot they need.

It’s not entirely fair — seeing as how they take about 100,000 images during the year and have to whittle that down to about 10,000 that they file for editorial use — to ask them to pick just one.