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Russell Berman

Russell Berman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers political news. He was previously a congressional reporter for The Hill and a Washington correspondent for The New York Sun.
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The Beginning of the End of the Debt Ceiling

September 8, 2017 When Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in January 2011 after sweeping then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi out of the majority, one of the first things they did was to take a hostage. The nation’s statutory debt limit, they decided, would no longer automatically be increased when Congress passed a...

Harvey Quiets Threats of an Imminent Government Shutdown

September 5, 2017 Republicans have spent most of 2017 fighting among themselves. Conservatives have jousted with moderates. Both factions have tangled with party leaders. And President Trump has bickered with just about all of them. September was shaping up to be the nastiest brawl of all. With the end of the fiscal year...

Congress Prepares to Open Its Wallet for Texas

August 29, 2017 The flood waters in Houston have yet to recede, and it might take days or weeks to assess the full damage wrought by Hurricane Harvey. But Texas lawmakers are already sure of one thing: They’re going to need more money from Congress. Calls for the House and Senate to approve...

Is a Government Shutdown Inevitable?

August 24, 2017 Republican leaders don’t want a government shutdown. Democrats don’t either, at least not officially. And yet come this fall, or perhaps just in time for Christmas, federal agencies might once again send their nonessential employees home and national parks and museums might close their doors—all because of President Trump’s insistence...

Does the US Military Need a Space Corps?

August 8, 2017 The U.S. military hasn’t added a new uniformed service in 70 years, when the Air Force was created in the aftermath of World War II. If Congress gets its way, that will soon change. In a bipartisan vote last month, the House of Representatives approved legislation that would direct the...

Does the U.S. Military Need a Space Corps?

August 8, 2017 The U.S. military hasn’t added a new uniformed service in 70 years, when the Air Force was created in the aftermath of World War II. If Congress gets its way, that will soon change. In a bipartisan vote last month, the House of Representatives approved legislation that would direct the...

The Senate Finally Gives Trump His Administration

August 4, 2017 And just like that, Donald Trump finally has the semblance of a presidential administration. In the span of a few minutes on Thursday afternoon, the Senate confirmed dozens of the president’s stalled nominees to key posts in several departments. The departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and Commerce got...

How VA Reform Turned into a Fight Over Privatization

July 17, 2017 In 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs was mired in a scandal. An inspector general’s report had found “systemic” manipulation by government officials to hide lengthy and growing wait times at its medical centers. Veterans were waiting months for appointments, and dozens may have died because they could not get...

What We Know About Trump's 'Tapes' Tease

June 12, 2017 It’s the biggest mystery in Washington—or the biggest tease. Is there a taping system at the White House, did it catch the conversations between President Trump and his ex-FBI director, James Comey, and if the answers to those questions are yes, will the president make the tapes public? The Secret...

Devin Nunes Dives Back into the Russia Investigation

June 2, 2017 It was less than two months ago that Representative Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, temporarily recused himself from leading the panel’s Russia investigation amid allegations that he disclosed classified information in what his Democratic critics called an attempt to substantiate President Trump’s false claim that his predecessor...