The Washington Post

How the Boston bombings will impact political Washington

Boston's week-long nightmare ended Friday evening.  But, for political Washington the reverberations of what happened in the Hub have only just begun.


Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

Start with the Sunday talk shows, which were dominated by talk of Boston and its aftermath. Disagreements have already begun to emerge between Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Democrats like Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) over whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be treated as an enemy combatant. (Graham says he should, Feinstein disagrees.)

Then consider the fallout that the bombings have already had on efforts to reform the country's immigration system -- with the likes of Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dan Coats (R-Ind.) urging Congress to slow down in the wake of Boston. (Graham, for what it's worth, said Sunday that the bombings in Boston are an argument to speed up the reform of immigration laws.)

And then there are the inevitable Congressional hearings regarding Boston that will be convened. House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said Friday that "in the coming weeks the Homeland Security Committee will begin to ask how this happened, and how we can prevent it from happening again.” His committee likely won't be the only one trying to answer some of those questions.

Even putting aside the specifics of how Washington will react to Boston, the fact that a) Tsarnaev is still alive and reportedly answering questions and b) we still have no clear reason why this was done means that the story will continue to dominate the headlines. (That goes double when you consider that the immigration reform bill won't likely make it to the Senate floor until late May or early June.)

The first major act of terrorism in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001 is something that will reverberate in official Washington for weeks, months and, likely, years to come. Given that we are in a lacuna between guns and immigration over this next month to six weeks, we'll likely hear lots (and lots) more about Boston between now and early June.

DSCC outraises NRSC in March: The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised $5.2 million in March, ending the month with $8.4 million on the bank. By comparison, the National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $3.2 million and banked about $5.3 million.

Over the course of the first quarter of the year, the DSCC outpaced its GOP counterpart by nearly $7 million. The Democratic committee, however, did not reveal how much debt it was carrying. The committee owed about $15 million at the end of February. The NRSC, meanwhile, will report $9.5 million in debt in its latest report.

Debbie Dingell not running for Senate, clearing way for Peters: Debbie Dingell,  Democratic activist and the wife of Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) announced Saturday that she will not run for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.). Her decision clears the way for Rep. Gary Peters (D), who is considering a run and now has the clear inside track to the nomination  "I think it is critical that Democrats unite behind one candidate for what will be a difficult and expensive race, and it's one of the reasons I have concluded that now is not the time for me to run for the United States Senate," Debbie Dingell said.

Fixbits: 

"We don’t know if we’ll ever be able to question" suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Sunday. That's because officials are unsure he will be able to talk again. Meanwhile, federal prosecutors were preparing to file charges against Tsarnaev.

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) leads fellow Democratic Rep. Stephen Lynch 44 percent to 34 percent in a new poll of the special Democratic Senate primary. More than one in five likely Democratic votes are undecided. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe endorsed Markey. The election is eight days away.

House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said he thinks one of Boston Marathon bombing suspects received training during an extended trip to the Chechen region of Russia in 2012.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) slammed the FBI.

The ACLU objects to to federal officials’ decision to delay reading Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights.

Family members of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., mass shooting slammed senators who didn't support new gun control measures for "cowardice."

The immigration bill is sprinkled with pet projects.

City Councilman Eric Garcetti leads City Controller Wendy Greuel by ten points in a new poll, a month out from the Los Angeles mayoral runoff election. Meanwhile, Greuel launched her first attack ad of the runoff campaign.

What's the most significant lesson Jon Huntsman took away from his failed 2012 campaign? “Timing is important,” he says.

The Koch Brothers are turning their focus to newspapers.

Must-reads: 

"Maryland’s Gov. O’Malley ponders: What next?" -- John Wagner, Washington Post

"Law school dean regrets ‘censorship’ of Chief Justice Roberts visit" -- Robert Barnes, Washington Post

"Boehner Faces Competing Immigration Paths" -- Jonahan Strong, Roll Call

"Rewinding History, Bush Museum Lets You Decide" -- Peter Baker, New York Times

 

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