Mary Lynn Jones

Mary Lynn F. Jones is a Washington-based writer. Her work has also appeared in The Chicago Tribune, National
, the Washington Business Journal and Barron's Guide to the Most
Competitive Colleges
. A native Washingtonian, Jones has been a regular
political commentator for WMAL-AM and has made numerous radio and television
appearances, including on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation"
and Fox
News Channel. Mary Lynn received her master's degree in journalism from
Columbia University and her bachelor's degree from Wellesley College.

Recent Articles

Clocked Out

With the House and Senate shut down on Friday for the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan, lawmakers lost yet more time on the expiring congressional calendar. Congress is scheduled to be out from June 28 to July 5 for the July 4 recess (or, in official parlance, the “Independence Day District Work Period”). From the Democratic convention, which takes place the last week in July, to the GOP convention, which ends in early September, most members of Congress (all of the House and one-third of the Senate) will be away from Washington and campaigning for reelection. The target date for adjournment is Oct. 1. With control of Congress potentially up for grabs and a close election between President Bush and Sen. John Kerry, lawmakers will be looking to get out on time. This shrinking legislative window wouldn't be as much of a problem if Congress hadn't been inactive for so much of this year. As House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer noted last month, House members have worked “bankers'...

Secrecy Plan

At her weekly press conference on Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave several instances of the White House being less than forthright recently on important issues. First, there was the prison-abuse scandal; the administration withheld information from Congress until the day it was going to be aired on 60 Minutes II . Pelosi also learned through the media that Ahmad Chalabi was on the Defense Department's payroll up until last month. (And Pelosi should be no stranger to intelligence issues; she sat on the House Intelligence Committee until becoming minority leader about 18 months ago and still receives some intelligence reports because of her leadership position.) Keeping information from Congress and other government agencies is nothing new to this White House, however. Going further back in President Bush's term, many lawmakers -- both Republicans and Democrats -- complained that they learned more from the media than from intelligence briefings on the Hill after the...

Breakin' All the Rules

Democratic Senator Zell Miller says the Senate has become “just one big, bad ongoing joke, held hostage by special interests and so impotent an 18-wheeler truck loaded with Viagra would do no good.” He's proposed abolishing the direct election of senators -- laid out in the 17th Amendment -- and allowing, instead, state legislatures to choose them. California Republican Representative Duncan Hunter, meanwhile, says the chamber “has become mesmerized by cameras” in investigating the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal. What's behind these charges? Miller is a cranky, retiring Georgian who came to the Senate reluctantly in 2000 to fill out the term of the late Republican Paul Coverdell. While Miller's technically a Democrat, he often works with Republicans and is an outspoken supporter of President Bush's re-election. He blames the Senate for holding up Bush's judicial nominees, encouraging partisanship, and allowing spending increases. Hunter's complaint represents the institutional animosity...

Un-American Activities

On Thursday, the same day President Bush trekked to Capitol Hill to rally Republicans (but not to answer any their questions) about the war in Iraq, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke to reporters. She said that while some people think Bush has “great resolve … resolve must be accompanied by judgment and a plan. The emperor has no clothes. When are people going to face the reality and pull the curtain back?” Perhaps anticipating what was likely to happen next, Pelosi noted that Republicans “cannot say that anyone who criticizes their failures is not supportive of the troops.” The war in Iraq can be won, she said, with a “better plan” and a new commander in chief. Those words were too much for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who accused Pelosi of employing “irresponsible, dangerous rhetoric.” He added, “Her party has a responsibility to the troops and to this nation to show unity in a time of war.” Representative Tom Reynolds, who's in charge of increasing GOP numbers in the...

Food Fight

"Gridlock, uncertainty, inaction, backlog, and delay: That is all the Senate is serving up these days,” Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell bemoaned on the Senate floor recently. “Gridlock, uncertainty, inaction, backlog, and delay is all that is on the menu in the Senate these days.” It's a complaint coming from both parties this election year, and it's likely to get worse. With Democrats grumbling that Republicans are shutting them out of the legislative process -- and Republicans griping that Democrats are obstructing the Senate's progress -- the Senate is on the verge of a partisan breakdown. Republicans are considering whether to force the issue of obstructionism on the Senate floor sometime in June. (They forced the issue of judicial nominations in a highly ineffective 39-hour reverse filibuster last fall, which resulted in President Bush making recess appointments of two of the stalled nominees early this year.) Never mind that Republicans are not only in the...