Newly in Charge Democrats Will Keep the Focus on Their Agenda – and Trump

By Chris Adams

Democrats will control the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019-2020, while Republicans still hold the Senate.

It’s a recipe for stalemate. But certainly not one for boredom.

In a session with the National Press Foundation on the Washington agenda, three top reporters offered their insights on the congressional agenda as well as their tips for how journalists can best cover it.

From The Washington Post, Seung Min Kim (bio, Twitter) covers the White House through the lens of its relationship with Congress. “The next two years might not be the most productive,” she said.

Since Democrats will control the House, there will also be the temptation to turn too much attention to investigating the president – rather than accomplishing anything legislatively. In the first two years of the Trump administration, Democrats didn’t talk too much about investigations and impeachment. But legal filings in late 2018 have Democrats talking more openly about it.

Another factor in covering Congress will be the presidential ambitions of about half the Democratic caucus.

“The hard part for Senate Democrats running for president will be finding ways to break through,” said Ben Weyl (bio, Twitter), a congressional editor for Politico. That’s going to make life difficult for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, the Democrat from New York who will need to corral all the egos in his caucus now dreaming of White House glory.

What might happen as far as governance or legislation? Kate Ackley (bio, Twitter) of CQ Roll Call said there could be some kind of privacy legislation, given the ongoing rash of data breaches. Prescription drug prices might also be ripe for some kind of bipartisan legislation.

“But the business community is not expecting this to be a particularly productive period,” she said.

The discussion was moderated by Catalina Camia (Twitter), editor and vice president of CQ .

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