podcasts

James Inhofe and the art of the bipartisan joke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 78

Senate Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe and ranking member Jack Reed have a warm relationship that enables them to move bipartisan legislation, something Inhofe discusses in the latest Political Theater podcast. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. James M. Inhofe is one conservative guy, and he is proud of it, trumpeting vote-tracking organizations that peg him as the most right-wing in the chamber. And yet, the Oklahoma Republican has an equally proud history of working with some of his most liberal colleagues on bipartisan legislation. 

As chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he and Rhode Island’s Jack Reed, the panel’s ranking Democrat, constructed the highly popular defense authorization bill the last two years. And before that, he worked quite productively with California Democrat Barbara Boxer, the yin to Inhofe’s yang on environmental issues, as leaders of the Environment and Public Works Committee. This, despite Inhofe writing a book that claimed global warming was, as the title attested, “The Greatest Hoax.” And yet, “We prided ourselves in getting things done,” he says. 

The politics behind spending limit negotiations
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 114

House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., said Democrats would be open to a one-year spending deal, but acknowledged it might create problems for getting another deal during an election year. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Abortion threatens congressional impasse on funding

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., referred to some GOP colleagues as "sex starved males" on the House floor, setting off a brief spat. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats' effort to rescind Trump administration anti-abortion policies threatens to hold up government spending bills. CQ Roll Call reporter Sandhya Raman details the debate and surveys how lawmakers are using abortion politics, both in Washington and the states, to rile their voters ahead of next year's election. 

 

‘Running with Beto’: The offstage version of Beto O’Rourke
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 77

Beto O’Rourke’s campaign for Senate in Texas provided plenty of fodder, warts and all, for David Modigliani’s ‘Running with Beto’ documentary on HBO. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Filmmaker David Modigliani got to first base with Beto O’Rourke. At an amateur club baseball game in Austin, Texas, in early 2017, O’Rourke, center fielder for the Los Diablitos de El Paso, singled and introduced himself to Modigliani, first baseman for the Texas Playboys Baseball Club, and said he was a congressman running for Senate.

This anecdote doesn’t make it into Modigliani’s documentary for HBO, “Running with Beto,” but it fits right into the movie’s vibe. O’Rourke’s “Let’s put on a multimillion-dollar Senate campaign” approach did not suffer from a lack of exposure, but Modigliani casts it in a different light by showing more than just the Texas Democrat’s armpit-sweat and crowd-surfing, DIY schtick. He wanted to document someone like O’Rourke “trying something new” in Texas, where Democrats “have been banging their heads against the wall for 30 years.”

Democrats’ Spending Bill Strategy
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 113

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., says he'd like to have all 12 spending bills done by the end of June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats are packaging spending bills with the aim of completing all 12 by the end of the month, a goal that is likely to generate a lot of policy debates and amendments, explains Jennifer Shutt in this episode of the CQ Budget podcast. The first package contains five bills including the two largest, Defense and Labor-HHS-Education.

Trump denies climate change as his Pentagon prepares for it
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 156

Former Navy Secretary Raymond Mabus, Jr., urges Congress to address climate change. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

In this episode of CQ on Congress, former Navy Secretary Ray Mabus says President Trump's climate change denial risks an apocalyptic future that will stress the U.S. military. Ben Hulac, author of a forthcoming CQ magazine cover story on how climate change is affecting the Arctic, explains why that could create conflict between world powers.

Why the Grim Reaper thing works for Mitch McConnell
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 76

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has his own way of doing things, to the consternation of his political foes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Mitch McConnell is an extraordinarily successful politician, despite lacking what might be described as traditional attributes of a public official.

The Senate majority leader pursues his policy goals with metronomic unflashiness. He is almost proudly uncharismatic, brandishing his fuddy-duddyism as a boy scout might display a merit badge.

Ex-CBO director knocks GOP on Obamacare and Congress for rising deficits
CQ Budget Podcast, Episode 112

Keith Hall, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, wants Congress to deal with the rising deficit and faulted the process Republicans followed to repeal Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In an usually candid interview with CQ Roll Call's budget reporter Paul Krawzak, the recently departed Congressional Budget Office director Keith Hall said the often secretive process the Republicans followed defeated their effort to repeal Obamacare. He also urged Congress to deal with the rising deficits that will fall on the backs of younger Americans, saying that in the coming decade 50 percent of federal funding will be spent on just 20 percent of the population -- people who are 65 and older.

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Lawmakers on impeachment and F-35s to Turkey
CQ on Congress podcast, Episode 155

Special counsel Robert Mueller is seen on a monitor in Russell Building making a statement at the Department of Justice on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News listens in the background. CQ Roll Call reporter Todd Ruger discusses the special counsel’s first public statement in two years on the long-awaited Mueller report.. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In his first public statement after his two-year probe, Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, said this week that he had never considered charging President Donald Trump with a crime as he investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election. That’s emboldened those in Congress who say representatives must read Mueller’s report, which found evidence Trump may have obstructed the special council’s investigation as an impeachment referral. 

[As Turkish leader courts Russia, U.S. prepares to cut ties]

When Werner met Mikhail … ‘Meeting Gorbachev’
Political Theater, Episode 75

Filmmaker Werner Herzog, seen here in 2016 promoting his film “Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World” discussed his documentary “Meeting Gorbachev” recently with Political Theater podcast host Jason Dick. (Jason Dick/CQ Roll Call)

Everything about Werner Herzog becomes theater. Talk to the iconic German filmmaker about his documentary “Meeting Gorbachev” and he might just end up scolding you about your interpretation of Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov. Scroll through historic footage of the fall of the Iron Curtain, and you could end up learning how much beer garden slugs like to drink. Quote from his movie about worries that the U.S. and Russia are heading toward an arms race, and he will downplay that Russia is a threat, while also saying world leaders need to “look beyond the horizon again,” and strive toward peace, much like Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev once did.

For better or worse, he’s always interesting. He doesn’t have much patience for small talk, so your latest Political Theater podcast, which features our conversation with him about his film on the last president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, is a real ride. “I never would have dreamed I would have spoken to Gorbachev himself,” he says. The movie demonstrates his undreamed reality. Listen for yourself: