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Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland speaks at the St. Regis Hotel on April 8, 2014, in Washington. (Michael Bonfigli /The Christian Science Monitor)

What a top Democrat thinks will be 'the big issue' in midterm elections

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who has chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, responds to the predictions that Republicans will pick up House seats this year.

The Monitor Breakfast

Top Washington newsmakers and journalists gather weekly for in-depth conversation. Across four decades, guests have included US presidents, congressional leaders, cabinet officers, and CEOs.

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Top Democrat offers two ways his party can overcome grim election forecast

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, said at a Monitor Breakfast that Democrats can 'change that calculus' forecasting losses in midterm elections.

How Gov. Bobby Jindal thinks health-care reform should work

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has unveiled an alternative to the Affordable Care Act, which he sees as 'a flawed law.' His plan takes a state-focused approach. 

Governor Jindal proposes Republican alternative to Obamacare

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal wants to repeal Obamacare, and now he's put forward a plan to replace it. It features no individual mandate and a voucher-like program for Medicare.

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How Reince Priebus is trying to position the GOP for big wins in November

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, discusses efforts to move his organization away from being a ' 'U-Haul' trailer of cash' for presidential nominees.

Election 2014 could be year of the 'anti-incumbent,' pollsters say

At a time when Congress is 'universally despised,' the climate for Election 2014 could be especially unfavorable for incumbents, more than anti-Democrat or anti-Republican, Celinda Lake of the bipartisan Battleground Poll said March 25.

Voters pessimistic about the economy, positive about pot, new poll says

The Battleground Poll of registered voters, produced by a pollster from each party, found anger at incumbents in Congress, pessimism about the economy, and more openness to legalizing pot.

Republican chairman predicts 'tsunami' victory in November

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, outlined Tuesday how the GOP is expanding its presence in minority communities and emphasizing issues like Obamacare.

Why Rep. Dave Camp rolled out tax reform plan in an election year

GOP Rep. Dave Camp wants his recently unveiled tax reform plan to bring simplicity to a US tax code that is '10 times the size of the Bible with none of the good news.' It won't get traction this election year, but it starts the conversation.

Sen. Bob Corker 'disappointed' in US handling of Syrian humanitarian crisis

At a Monitor Breakfast, Sen. Bob Corker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also expressed concern about the situation in Ukraine.

Skimpy pay raises for federal workers a worry for Obama budget director

Obama's fiscal 2015 budget calls for a 1 percent raise for federal workers. Recent years have been worse, with pay freezes. There's no 'crash' yet in workforce quality, but OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell worries it could happen.

Top GOP taxwriter pushes overhaul of tax code: We can't 'afford to wait'

Top GOP taxwriter Dave Camp aims to simplify the massive US tax code to promote growth. He says he's aware of the political risks, especially in an election year, and is willing to take them.

Union defeat at VW plant: NLRB shouldn't muzzle community leaders, Corker says

At a wide-ranging Monitor Breakfast meeting with reporters, Bob Corker, the ranking senator on the Foreign Relations Committee, also voiced concern over Russia and Ukraine.

CBO chief: Partisan slings and arrows are of no effect on its reports

The White House didn't like the recent Congressional Budget Office report showing that a $10 minimum wage would cost the economy 500,000 jobs. Director Douglas Elmendorf defends both the report and the CBO's work in hyperpartisan times.

Minimum wage hike would cost 500,000 jobs? CBO director defends the estimate. (+video)

A number of economists from the White House and beyond have criticized a CBO report on the effects of potentially boosting the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. But CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf isn’t backing off.

Obama adviser: 'Some optimism' for expecting US economy to strengthen

Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council, hopes Republicans' tactic of contesting each increase of the national debt ceiling is permanently 'off the table.' He also offers cautious hope that the economy will keep improving.

No debt ceiling crisis? Obama economic adviser sees investment boon.

A boost to long-term investment in the US may result, now that Congress appears poised to raise the national debt ceiling without provoking another showdown, says Gene Sperling of Obama's National Economic Council.

Immigration reform: a link between path to citizenship and better economy?

'Economic logic' indicates that a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants would be good for the US economy, Jason Furman, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers, said at a recent Monitor Breakfast. 

Obama adviser: Charges of class warfare are 'hyperventilation' by the rich

The president’s top economist, Jason Furman, at a Monitor-hosted breakfast, also offered an upbeat assessment for the US economy in 2014 and for passage of a debt-ceiling increase.

Robert Gates: US should give Iraq 'wide range of military assistance'

But US military aid for Iraq should be contingent on evidence that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is reaching out to Sunnis, says former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Iraq's government is lately battling attacks from Al Qaeda-linked insurgents. 

AT&T CEO: To reduce income inequality, spur business investment

Top strategy for stimulating the economy is to cut the tax rate for businesses, says AT&T chief Randall Stephenson, who joined Business Roundtable president John Engler at a recent Monitor Breakfast. An invigorated economy would help narrow the rich-poor gap, he adds.

Robert Gates: In Iraq, US achieved its 'minimal objectives'

Meeting with reporters Friday, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the US accomplished what it intended to in Iraq, but thinks it could push the leadership to do a better job governing the Sunnis.

CEOs say 'a growing pie' should be US economic policy goal in 2014

AT&T's Randall Stephenson, chairman of the Business Roundtable, said US economic growth has been 'substandard,' and could be much higher. He called for tax reform and immigration reform to help drive investment.

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Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

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