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Deciphering Washington’s language and procedure so you can focus on what matters.

Deciphering Washington’s language and procedure so you can focus on what matters.
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Deciphering Washington’s language and procedure so you can focus on what matters.






202: How the GOP wants to change Medicaid

Senate Republicans unveiled a health care plan that includes deep cuts in Medicaid. We explain what those changes are and how they will be felt by many of the 70 million Americans who rely on Medicaid for their healthcare.


200: Thousands of women are running for office. Guess why!

There are a lot of Dicks in office. But after the 2016 election, we're seeing thousands of women sign up to run for office - more than ever before. Clare Bresnahan runs a non-profit called She Should Run that helps women prepare for the unique challenges of being a woman candidate. She talks about how to tackle rampant sexism, double standards, and obsession over eyebrows.


195: Three moments that shaped how presidents and Congress wage war

Before David Barron was a federal judge, he was a lawyer helping President Obama wage war. He sheds light on the uneasy relationship between Presidents and Congress when it comes to military might, and reflects on his own role in a controversial drone strike.


194: Drain the swamp! Is that even possible?

So how is Donald Trump is doing on his six promises to clean up corruption and limit special interests in Washington? And — maybe more importantly — what would happen if you really did pull the plug on the swamp of Washington? Our guests for this episode are Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post and Lee Drutman of New America.


193: Politicians Playing Politics with Our Bridges and Roads

America’s crumbling and obsolete infrastructure is a $2 trillion problem. Everyone agrees it needs a fix. So why can’t politicians make it happen? It’s a failure of leadership, says Harvard’s Rosabeth Moss Kanter. She explains why, and we visit the Brent Spence Bridge between Ohio and Kentucky, a poster child for American political dysfunction over our roads and bridges.


189: What's the difference between Trump and Obama's immigration rules?

Since the election of Donald Trump, immigrants and their lawyers have been preparing for the worst. In part 2 of our series on the role some local police play in the enforcement of federal immigration laws, we spend time with the immigrant community in Frederick County Maryland, one place that’s been helping the feds since 2008. Minor offenders who were allowed to remain under the Obama administration are getting their papers together, avoiding the police and getting ready to be deported...


188: Joking while Muslim in Trump's America

Negin Farsad is fighting stereotypes one joke at a time. A self-described social justice comedian, Farsad jokes about Islamophobia, race and bigotry - trying to make people laugh and talk about identity. “People can conceptually hate another group of people…people can conceptually hate Muslims” she tells Jimmy. “But when someone is put in front of their face its hard to hold onto that bigotry..” Negin says that the election of Donald Trump has made her work so much harder. She says she has...


Episode 187: Whose job is it to enforce immigration law?

In the first of two episodes, we visit Frederick County Maryland where local law officers are working hand-in-hand with federal immigration officers to detain and deport undocumented immigrants in the community. Now President Trump wants to give them more authority and that makes the sheriff very happy.


186: The skinny on Trump's skinny budget

The President came out with his version of the budget - which he called a "skinny budget" - last week, and everyone's either freaking out or really happy. But this week we ask: what is a skinny budget, and does it really matter?


185: A Warning Against Hyperpartisanship From 1796

The warnings George Washington made in his farewell address — about hyperpartisanship, excessive debt, and foreign wars — have incredible resonance today, says John Avlon, the author of “Washington’s Farewell.” He speaks with Jimmy about what we can learn from the address and how its message was once appropriated by Nazis, in 1939. Plus: John reveals that President Washington had bad credit.


184: Obamacare Trumpcare Healthcare 101

What’s the individual mandate? Who’s in a high-risk pool? How do tax credits work in health care? With the debate over the future of health care in America raging, we go back to basics and explain some important concepts with the help of Sarah Kliff from Vox. Also in this episode, Jimmy reveals his age — and Sarah reveals which health care option tripped her up last year.


183: Trump is at odds with the courts. Has a president ever defied them?

President Donald Trump recently gave the federal courts the proverbial middle finger, lashing out on Twitter at a “so-called judge” who had ruled against him and promising “see you in court” after losing an appeal. Has this happened before or is this the new normal? This week: Donald Trump’s apparent disdain for the federal judiciary and whether there’s a precedent in history.


182: I'm a reformed lobbyist. Ask me anything

You asked and we answered. This week: what’s the difference between lobbying and bribery, a real example of a lobbyist buying their agenda into law (or failing to), and the best reform for the lobbying industry. Plus, Jimmy’s former salary.


181: How cops can legally take your car, home, or cash

When Tien Nguyen stopped at a rest area in Kansas, he didn't expect to have his car searched by the highway patrol - and when they took $40,000 he had in cash and sent him on his way, he was furious. But he was astounded when he learned that it was all completely legal. It's a practice called civil asset forfeiture, and in this week's episode, we hear about how Tie has to go to court to get his money back. We also talk to his lawyer, who wants the system changed completely, and we hear...


180: What the hell is a trade war?

Everything you’ve always wanted to know about trade, trade deficits, tariffs, trade wars, courtesy of Felix Salmon of Slate Money. Plus, Felix explains which is better — a strong dollar or a weak one.


179: A user's guide to 'alternative facts,' aka lies

Imagine being lied to, repeatedly, for days on end, and what that does to your brain. Well, you may not have to imagine it—it seems like more and more “alternative facts” are coming out of Washington every day. In this episode, author Maria Konnikova tells us how repeated lies affect our brain, and Paul Singer of USA Today tells us how to deal with it.


178: Hey Tea Party, meet your lefty cousins

After this election, some on the left are feeling pretty powerless - but Angel Padilla isn't. He got together with 30 other former congressional staffers to put together a concrete guide on how to resist President Trump's policies, and they borrowed all their knowledge from an unlikely source--The Tea Party. It's called Indivisible, and in this episode, Jimmy gets to the bottom of how it might work.


Bonus: When Trump said, 'America first,' what did you hear?

In his inaugural address, President Donald J. Trump said America will be first. But what did people actually hear when he said that? DecodeDC was at the National Mall to ask inaugural attendees.


177: What really happens at the inaugural

The Constitution requires only one thing for a person to become President of the United States--reciting an oath. But the inauguration has become a sort of spectacle that requires months and months of detailed planning. On the latest episode we go behind the scenes to understand what it takes to pull off the peaceful transition of power.


176: What should Trump do to resolve his conflicts of interest?

Every day, there are more and more questions about conflicts of interest and president-elect Donald Trump--questions about how Trump will handle his businesses interests, the role of his family and the investments of his Cabinet nominees. To sort out the ethical issues facing the Trump White House, we sat down with Richard Painter, who teaches law at the University of Minnesota and worked in the White House as President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer from 2005-2007.


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