ESSENTIAL #1: “WALTER JONES WAS THE REAL MAVERICK” DAVID GRAHAM, THE ATLANTIC
From the article: He was a Republican and a staunch conservative, but he often worked with Democrats, and won their affection. He supported the Iraq War in 2003, but was troubled by the human cost. He was one of President Donald Trump’s most outspoken critics within the GOP, and his death after a long illness leaves an unfillable hole in Congress.
That sounds a lot like a certain senator from Arizona who died recently, but it’s not John McCain—it’s Representative Walter Jones of North Carolina. Jones died Sunday, on his 76th birthday. (Jones’s illness had kept him from Congress since September, though he was easily reelected in November.) Although the late Arizona senator became identified with bucking his party, Jones, far more than McCain, epitomized the “maverick” sobriquet. It’s folly to value heterodoxy for its own sake, but Jones’s ability to make friends and allies across the aisle and to buck his own leaders was a clear, rare demonstration of political courage. Jones was the kind of independent-minded, bipartisan-curious politician whom Americans often say they want but seldom actually elect.
ESSENTIAL #2: “TRUMP CRITICIZED BIPARTISAN BORDER DEAL, BUT PREDICTS THERE WON’T BE ANOTHER GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN” ERICA WERNER, SEAN SULLIVAN, DAMIAN PALETTA AND JOHN WAGNER, THE WASHINGTON POST
From the article: “The bipartisan agreement announced late Monday by the top four leaders of Congress’ spending committees includes $1.375 billion for 55 miles of new fences along the border, short of the $5.7 billion Trump had sought for more than 200 miles of walls. It retreats from Democrats’ demands for stringent new limits on the ability of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to detain undocumented immigrants.”
ESSENTIAL #3: “MCCONNELL TO SET UP VOTE ON OCASIO-CORTEZ’S ‘GREEN NEW DEAL’” JORDAIN CARNEY, TIMOTHY CAMA AND MIRANDA GREEN, THE HILL
From the article: “McConnell told reporters after a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus that he has ‘great interest’ in the plan, which would spell an end for coal, a key economic driver in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, while promising new jobs for out-of-work miners and other workers.
‘We’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal,’ McConnell said.”
ESSENTIAL #4: “‘THIS IS MY SPACE:’ KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND’S UNABASHEDLY FEMINIST CAMPAIGN” LISA LERER AND SHANE GOLDMACHER, THE NEW YORK TIMES
From the article: “At a moment when women are ascendant in Democratic politics and polls show a record gender gap between the parties, Ms. Gillibrand and her advisers see an opportunity to ride a wave of women’s political energy right into the White House. While multiple women are serious contenders for president for the first time in American history, Ms. Gillibrand is the only one who is making running as a woman, for women, the central theme of her candidacy.”