Adam Isacson

Still trying to understand Latin America, my own country, and why so few consequences are intended. These views are not necessarily my employer’s.

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U.S. Politics

Here’s a Better Way to Spend $5.7 Billion at the Border

I wrote this yesterday while watching the House-Senate Conference Committee meet to discuss a border spending package that might keep the government open after February 15 (and avoid a disastrous presidential “national emergency” declaration to build a border wall). The gist: border security isn’t “solved,” but what’s needed now is adjustments, not a sweeping, pharaonic […]

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Elements of the House Democrats’ border security proposal

In advance of the February 15 shutdown deadline, as an alternative to Trump’s border wall, here’s what the House Democrats are proposing. This is as summarized by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) in today’s House-Senate conference committee meeting: Ports of entry: 1,000 additional CBP officers; imaging technology; southbound scans Border Patrol stations infrastructure repair / improvement […]

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Congress Page Revived

I’ve just updated a resource that I created two years ago and—I hate to admit—failed to update much over the past year. But it works again now, so give it a spin sometime, it’s pretty cool. It’s a database-driven little web app called “Narrow Down Congress” (narrowdown.org). It does one thing: classify members of the […]

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What would happen if Trump declares a national emergency?

I’ve edited this post to reflect that I got it wrong and we’re screwed: a joint resolution requires the President’s signature, or for Congress to override his veto, which is unlikely. This is the result of a 1983 Supreme Court decision. My updates are indicated with italics and strikethroughs. President Trump keeps hinting that, perhaps within the next few days, he may declare a “state of emergency” at the border and order U.S. military personnel to build a wall. This would allow him to build a wall despite the deadlocked debate […]

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Gigantic 116th Congress spreadsheet

Below, here as a Google Sheet, and here as an Excel file, is a very detailed spreadsheet of all U.S. representatives and senators who were sworn in today. I made it by mashing up the data I found useful from the unitedstates/congress-legislators database on GitHub and the freshly updated spreadsheet of member and demographic data […]

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What a “partial” government shutdown would affect

I just went through the outstanding appropriations bills and came up with this incomplete list of agencies that would be affected if parts of the U.S. federal government “shut down” at midnight tonight. President Trump insists that he won’t sign a 2019 budget bill—not even a stopgap to keep the government open for a few […]

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My pessimistic (or perhaps realistic) House spreadsheet

I hesitate to share this because it reveals how unhinged the midterm elections have made me. But here’s a spreadsheet of 70 House districts that could conceivably go either way in tomorrow’s vote. To win a majority of the House of Representatives, Democrats will have to carry 33 of these 70. Nearly half. That is, […]

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