Fox on the Hill

July 25, 2016Newsletters

Congressman Mark Takai of Hawaii

Congressman Mark Takai (D-HI) died on Wednesday, July 20. The Iraq War veteran and freshman congressman passed away after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Prior to serving in Congress, Takai, 49, served in the Hawaii State House of Representatives for 20 years and was a member of the National Guard.

2016 Election

Recent polling shows a tight race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, with most polls showing either a slight advantage for one of the candidates or a statistical tie. Neither candidate is polling above 45 percent of likely voters. With the GOP Convention over and the Democratic Convention gearing up, we expect to see the race continue to be close. Donald Trump is currently polling around 80-85 percent among Republicans and needs to get his support above 90 percent among registered Republicans. Similarly, Hillary Clinton needs to bring in Bernie Sanders’ supporters in order to poll above the margin of error.


Hillary Clinton announced Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia as her Vice Presidential candidate. Kaine has served in the Senate since 2012 and previously served as Governor of Virginia from 2006-10. He was reportedly one of Obama’s leading choices for Vice President in 2008. The choice of Kaine has been balked at by progressive Democrats who do not view him as representative of their views. Those who welcome Kaine see him as a stable candidate with experience courting moderates in a swing state. He is expected to give an advantage to Clinton in the race for Virginia’s electoral votes.


Last week, the GOP convention wrapped up and after a long haul to becoming the nominee, Donald Trump “humbly and gratefully” accepted the Republican nomination for President. Trump delivered the longest acceptance speech since 1972. He described the United States as a country facing crisis and said he is committed to being the “law and order” candidate who will restore America to “the respect we deserve.”

The GOP Convention did not go off as smoothly as party leaders might have hoped. The first day erupted in chaos after a coalition demanded a roll call vote to reopen the rules for nominating the party’s presidential candidate. The group claimed to have a majority of delegates from 11 states (above the requirement necessary), but after several hours of delay, only six states were determined to have met the criteria.

Former presidential candidate Ted Cruz delivered the keynote address at the end of the third night. He offered a strong endorsement of conservative ideology without calling for support of Donald Trump as President. The speech has been interpreted as a call for conservatives to abandon the 2016 Presidential race and focus efforts on retaking control of the Republican Party in 2020.

The Republican Party platform, which some are calling the most socially conservative in history, was adopted. There was early criticism from some delegates that Trump supporters had too great an influence on the platform’s development. However, many are now concerned that it will challenge Trump’s personal views on gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose.

Speeches by Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were considered the highlights of the convention. The younger Trump spoke of his father’s commitment to his roots in Queens, NY, and his everlasting commitment to not being a man who merely sits behind his desk. Ivanka spoke of her father’s commitment to being a “fighter” for women and defended him against critics who view his past remarks about women as sexist. Ivanka also called for reducing the wage gap between women and men as well as paid parental leave.


With Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) vacating his seat to run for Senate, the race has begun for his replacement as Ranking Member on the House Budget Committee. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) has emerged as a leader in the race, being the next in line based on committee seniority. Yarmuth has pitched his colleagues that the committee does more messaging than budgeting and contends that his background in media would allow the Democrats to draw a stark contrast between the priorities of Republicans and Democrats on the committee. Yarmuth founded an alternative weekly newspaper prior to being elected to Congress.


The coal industry has faced tightening regulations under the Obama Administration. Donald Trump ally Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) has said that a Trump Presidency would “stop the bleeding” that is occurring in the coal industry. Cramer did not go so far as to commit that a Trump Presidency would reboot the coal industry to its full potential, but instead vowed that a Trump Presidency would slow down the industry’s rapid decline.

Health Care

The platform adopted by the GOP declared that the Affordable Care Act must be repealed and replaced. However, Trump has shown only limited interest in making the repeal of the ACA a key focus of his campaign, but has committed to replacing it with a system that is affordable for all and provides quality care.

Tax Reform

The impeachment of Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen was adopted as a goal of the GOP platform. However, House Ways and Means Chair Kevin Brady (R-TX) said that his focus is on overhauling the tax code rather than impeaching Koskinen. Brady also said that Trump’s tax proposal of a corporate tax rate of 15 percent is not too low. The tax plan released by the House GOP in June called for a corporate tax rate of cut from 35 percent to 20 percent.


The GOP’s adopted platform commits to improving broadband capabilities nationwide and protecting online privacy. However, the ideas were not well received by the tech community, which sees the party’s platform on stricter immigration policies and Trump’s lack of commitment to tech advancement as overshadowing elements.


Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, have different views on trade. Pence is a supporter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and says “free trade means jobs,” while Trump has said that global commerce is a zero-sum arena for foreigners to take advantage of Americans. Trump’s views on trade have caused a division between him and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which also takes the position that trade agreements are beneficial to job growth.

If you have questions about the topics above, please contact Teddy Eynon, Patrick Anderson or Ana Schwab.

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