nationwide

Committees Tackle Politically Powerful Issue of Opioids Legislation
Senate HELP panel advanced bipartisan package Tuesday

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, chairs the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, which will consider over 60 bills to address the opioids crisis at a Wednesday markup. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House heads into a marathon opioid markup Wednesday, a day after the Senate health committee approved bipartisan legislation of its own addressing the crisis. Both chambers are eager to advance bills to combat the crisis under an aggressive timeline, with an eye toward demonstrating action before the midterms on an issue that affects voters representing most demographics and districts.

“Even though this epidemic is worse in some parts of the country than others, find me a congressional district where this isn’t an issue,” said Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford. “Absolutely, they do not want to go into an election and have their constituents mad at them.”

Here’s What Tonight’s Arizona 8th Special Election Means for 2018
Race to replace Rep. Trent Franks in the 8th District is Tuesday

Voters in Arizona’s 8th District will choose between Republican Debbie Lesko and Democrat Hiral Tipirneni on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The special election in Arizona’s 8th District will set the stage for a hotly contested Senate race and a handful of competitive House races in the Grand Canyon State. And both parties are watching for indications of what’s to come in November.

More than 150,000 people have already voted in the contest to replace Republican Rep. Trent Franks, who resigned in December amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Democrats are hopeful they can make the race close even though President Donald Trump carried the suburban Phoenix-based district by 21 points in 2016. And Republicans know analysts will be looking at the outcome for signs of a potential blue wave.

Texas Congressional Map Comes Under Supreme Court Scrutiny
Voter rights advocates worry the court could hand states a shield

Texas’ 35th District, represented by Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett, is at the center of a gerrymandering case before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a case that could not only require Texas to redraw its congressional districts, but give states a way to defend against claims of gerrymandering.

This is the third case the justices will hear this term about how states draw legislative maps to gain a political advantage. Cases from Wisconsin and Maryland focus on whether those maps can be too partisan. The Texas case is a more traditional challenge to how state lawmakers draw the lines using voter data.

Arizona’s Special Election Heads to Home Stretch
Both parties watching whether 8th District race will be close

Arizona Republican Debbie Lesko has benefited from significant outside spending in the 8th District special election. (Courtesy Debbie Lesko for Congress)

Rep. Trent Franks resigned in December amid allegations that he sexually harassed female staffers. Next week, no matter which party wins the race to replace the Arizona Republican, a woman will be elected to succeed him.

The April 24 special election in the 8th District pits former GOP state Sen. Debbie Lesko against Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, a cancer research advocate and former emergency room physician. The two could also meet again in November since both intend to file to run for a full term.

It’s Trump’s Party Now
As the GOP remakes itself in the president’s image, defectors can’t win

President Donald Trump gestures during his State of the Union address in January as Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul D. Ryan look on. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

It was once Paul D. Ryan’s party, built on the union of upright Middle American values and America’s competitive advantage in the world.

Now it’s Donald Trump’s — the nationalist, me-first team, willing to compromise on character, foreign policy and free-market economics if it brings a win.

Senators Again Push Steamboat Exemption Despite Safety Warnings
Ship has taken on outsize significance on Capitol Hill

A group of senators wants to exempt the Delta Queen, a wooden steamboat, to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite safety concerns. (Al Behrman/AP file photo)

A group of senators have quietly inserted into a Coast Guard authorization bill a provision that would allow an old wooden steamboat to operate as an overnight cruise ship despite repeated official warnings that doing so would create a floating fire trap.

The Senate fell four votes short Wednesday of moving forward with the authorization measure. But the issue is not expected to die there.

Young Kim Launches First TV Ad in California’s 39th District
Kim is the first Republican in the crowded race to go on the airwaves

Former California Republican Assemblywoman Young Kim is running for the open 39th District seat. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Congressional hopeful Young Kim is the first Republican to go on the airwaves in the crowded race for California’s 39th District, launching a television ad Thursday. 

The spot, shared first with Roll Call, highlights the former assemblywoman’s ties to the man she is hoping to replace — retiring GOP Rep. Ed Royce. Kim worked for the congressman for two decades 

NRCC Chairman Urges Members to Keep Talking Taxes
Republicans view the tax overhaul as a salient campaign issue

NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers wants House Republicans to keep talking about the tax overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers had a message for House Republicans on Tuesday morning: keep talking about the tax overhaul.

The Ohio Republican presented attendees at a GOP conference meeting with polling that showed voters have not heard from them lately about the tax overhaul, according to a source with knowledge of the discussion. Stivers “implored them to continue to sell it,” the source said.

Democratic Divide Flares in Pennsylvania’s 7th District
Race to replace Charlie Dent became more competitive after new map

Greg Edwards, center, speaks at a forum with Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania’s 7th District. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — At a recent Democratic candidate forum here in Pennsylvania’s 7th District, five hopefuls raised their hands to show their support for abortion rights. One candidate kept his hand down.

North Hampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said after the event that he supports abortion under certain circumstances, but described himself as “a pro-life Democrat like Sen. Bob Casey.”

Opinion: How Much Longer Can the Trump Coalition Hold?
New study confirms demographic trends remain tough for Republicans

While demographic trends favor Democrats, white voters without college degrees — a key part of President Donald Trump’s base — will remain crucial to both parties’ electoral chances, Fortier writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, establishment Republicans, citing unfavorable demographic trends, called for the GOP to improve its performance with growing ethnic minorities. Donald Trump, seemingly poking his finger in the eye of this establishment, pursued the opposite course, attracting more support from white voters without college degrees whose ranks were shrinking but becoming more Republican.

Demographic trends remain tough for Republicans, and a new study released Monday by a coalition of think tanks confirms this. The GOP would benefit from boosting support among new immigrant groups and doubling down on the white working class. But going forward, the Trump strategy of increasing support among non college whites over expanding its vote share among immigrant groups has advantages in both the popular vote and the electoral college, and will likely be at least a part of future GOP election game plans.