Sean McMinn

Republicans Are 4-0 Defending Seats, but Could Still Be in Trouble
In each of the contested special elections, Democrats performed better than they had in years

Wednesday was a day for Republicans to rest easy. After winning the Georgia and South Carolina special elections Tuesday, the party avoided losing any congressional seats vacated by members who entered President Donald Trump’s administration.

But it’s not all good news for the GOP (or bad news for Democrats). In each of the four races where Republicans were defending seats — Kansas’ 4th, Montana’s at large seat, South Carolina’s 5th and Georgia’s 6th — Democrats did better than they had in any of those districts’ congressional elections since at least 2010.

Where the Cash Is Coming From in Georgia and South Carolina Special Elections
Out-of-state money is buoying Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff’s bid

BY SEAN MCMINN AND RYAN KELLY

Bipartisan love may be on display in Washington, but farther down the coast, a vicious political battle is underway for Georgia’s 6th District.

What the Shooting Suspect Has Said About Republicans in Letters
James T. Hodgkinson had written several notes to the Belleville News-Democrat in 2012

The man suspected of wounding five people at a GOP congressional baseball team practice Wednesday morning had called on voters to remove all Republicans from Congress and further criticized the party and its members in a series of letters to an Illinois newspaper and on Facebook.

After the shooting, the Belleville News-Democrat — the suspect's hometown paper — posted nine letters written by James T. Hodgkinson during the leadup to the 2012 general election. Roll Call has reproduced three of them here — all of them are available on the newspaper's website. Highlighted are Hodgkinson's words toward Republicans.

Say What? Senators' Questions for Comey, a Roll Call Analysis
Trump's attempted influence on FBI investigations topped the list

BY SEAN MCMINN AND RYAN KELLY

Republicans did not shy away from surfacing the issue of the president’s potential obstruction of justice during former FBI Director James B. Comey's appearance on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Lobbyists Don’t Get Business Boom With Trump
Clients have been hiring lobbyists at a reduced rate compared to 2009

BY SEAN MCMINN and KATE ACKLEY

With a unified Republican government in Washington, lobbyists hoped that 2017 would offer a long-awaited opportunity to push big proposals through Congress — but records do not indicate any large uptick in clients during the early months of the Trump administration.

At the White House and in Congress, a Slow Start on Nominations and Confirmations
A detailed look at how Trump compares to past presidents

When it comes to civilian nominations, Donald Trump trails his predecessors on selections made through May of their first year of their presidencies. But on the few picks he has made (through May 16), the Senate hasn’t done much better — confirming only 7 percent of nominations submitted. ...
Many GOP Members of Congress Are Concerned About Comey’s Firing
Two days after the firing, here's what Republicans are saying about the move by Trump

Updated as of 5:14 p.m. on Thursday, May 11

It’s been 48 hours since the news broke that President Donald Trump had fired FBI Director James B. Comey and while his replacement and other next steps remain unclear, one trend is gaining clarity — many GOP lawmakers are not excited about the president's move.

Senate Republicans Became More Bipartisan in the Last Congress — Democrats, Not So Much
Report places Sen. Bernie Sanders as the least bipartisan senator

Senate Democrats, once happy to rail against what they called obstructionist Republicans in the chamber, flipped positions with their friends across the aisle when it came to partisanship in the 114th Congress.

A new report from the Lugar Center and Georgetown University shows that most senators — almost two-thirds of the chamber — acted more bipartisan when it came to cosponsorships on bills during the most recent Congress, compared to the Congress before.

Republicans Are Losing Ground to Democrats Early in the Election Cycle — That’s Completely Normal
Early special election winners often underperform their predecessors

Fueled by a swelling fervor against President Donald Trump, Democrats are putting up tougher-than-expected fights against special election opponents in Republican strongholds — something that’s happened fairly regularly in recent history.

Since Bill Clinton won the White House in 1992, there have been seven House special elections before or during the first 100 days of a president’s term. In each of them, the district stuck with the same party its voters chose during the previous year’s general election. But only once did the winning candidate in the special election get a higher percentage of the vote than their party’s candidate in the preceding November election.

What It Costs to Educate New Members of Congress
Recent House disbursement report includes total for fall orientation, though number could grow

As empty nesters know, getting a freshman prepared for college can be expensive.

The same goes for a freshman in Congress.

Why Some House Republicans Could be Taking a Risk on Obamacare Repeal
The 11 GOP members who have the most constituents on Obamacare

As House Republicans rolled out their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act this week, some members of the conference found themselves stuck between their constituents and their colleagues.

Eleven House Republicans, who will be expected by party leadership and the White House to support their party’s replacement plan, represent districts where at least 6 percent of their constituents are enrolled in government insurance exchanges set up by the 2010 health care law, according to a CQ Roll Call analysis of Kaiser Family Health Foundation and Census Bureau data. 

Amid Liberal Protests, More Democrats Holding Town Halls This Presidents Day Recess
Republicans have held more than Democrats in recent years

Updated on Feb. 21, 5:18 p.m. | Despite increased reports of liberal demonstrators disrupting Republican town halls, more lawmakers than usual are planning to meet with their constituents, including Republicans, according to CQ Roll Call data.

Democrats, especially, seem happier than usual to open themselves up this year.

5 Charts Measuring the Effects of Trump’s Immigration Order
President has temporarily suspended intake of all refugees, and nationals of 7 countries

The White House has spent the last few days defending President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily halted the entry of nationals from seven primarily Muslim countries and suspended the intake of all refugees. Roll Call examined how many people this could affect, and how lawmakers are responding. 

Graphic: How Presidents Have Used Executive Orders in Their First 100 Days
Trump is the first since Clinton to sign an executive order on Day One

Updated on Jan. 24 at 6:15 p.m. | President Donald Trump issued his first executive orders Friday and Tuesday.

Executive orders date back to George Washington’s presidency. They’ve been used to bypass Congress when the president believes he has constitutional authority to take action on his own.

Warmer Day? Get Ready for a Longer Inauguration
Inaugural addresses have generally run longer when it’s been warmer outside

Attendees at presidential inaugurations can, generally, expect a speech fit for the weather.

Looking at midday temperature data for the past 52 years — stretching back to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s inaugural address after his election in 1964 — incoming presidents have tended to give shorter speeches when it’s colder outside.

44 Sitting Members of Congress Have Accepted Donations From Trump
Group includes prominent lawmakers from both parties

Much has been said about how Vice President-elect Mike Pence, with his 12 years as a congressman, could be incoming President Donald Trump’s bridge to Congress. But Trump has his own ties to the Hill, in the form of nearly two decades worth of political contributions to sitting members of the House and Senate on both sides of the aisle.

Trump has donated to the campaigns of 44 current members of Congress, according to a Roll Call review of Federal Election Commission electronic records that are available since 1997. Nineteen of those members are in the Senate, and 25 are in the House.

Trump’s Inaugural Parade Is Becoming Its Own Controversy
Some don’t want anything to do with the affair

Back the right horse, and you may get to ride one in the president’s parade. 

Twenty-four of the 34 local groups chosen to perform at Donald Trump’s inaugural parade later this month come from counties the president-elect won, a Roll Call analysis found.

Fact Check: Trump’s Cabinet Selections No Quicker Than Obama’s
At this point in 2008, Obama had filled all his Cabinet positions

After the election in 2008, it took President Barack Obama 45 days to name his choices to fill the Cabinet-level positions in his administration.

Today marks the same length of time for President-elect Donald Trump since his election. He still has two official Cabinet positions — Agriculture secretary and Veterans Affairs secretary — to fill, and two vacancies remaining among the seven Cabinet-level positions.

House Members Squeezed in Last-Minute Spending on Mail Franking, Advertising Before Elections
Restrictions on pre-election constituent communication meant members spent more in a shorter period of time

House lawmakers spent millions of dollars on nonpolitical, constituent communications — on the taxpayers’ dime — in the weeks before a “blackout” deadline before November’s elections, according to a Roll Call analysis of receipts recently published by the chamber’s chief administrative officer.

Members of Congress can send this type of mail, a perk known as “franking” that dates back to the Colonial era, by using their signatures instead of stamps. It’s meant to communicate information about a lawmakers’ legislative duties and constituent services, according to the Committee on House Administration. 

On Lottery Day, These Are the House Offices Nobody Wants
Freshmen members get ready to slog back and forth to the Capitol

After months (if not years) of laborious fundraising and meticulous campaign strategizing, the next big decision for House freshmen comes down to sheer luck of the draw. ...