policy

Vulnerable House Republicans Head Into Midterm Recess With Parting Gifts
Half of GOP incumbents in danger of losing seats got floor votes this month on bills they sponsored

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., who’s facing a tough re-election, has two of his bills on the House floor this week. Other vulnerable Republicans are also getting votes on their bills before they depart for the midterm campaign recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House prepares to wrap up its fall legislative business this week before going on recess for the duration of the midterm campaign season, half of the vulnerable Republican incumbents will be leaving with parting gifts. 

Those gifts come in the form of floor votes on bills they have authored. By the end of the week, 28 of the 57 House Republicans whose seats are considered in play this cycle, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, are set to go home with the chamber having voted this month on at least one of their bills. 

Thursday Could Be Most Consequential Day of Trump’s Tumultuous Tenure
Kavanaugh and accuser face senators as president meets with Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

President Donald Trump speaks at the United Nations on Monday. When he returns to Washington, a big day awaits him on Thursday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — Circumstance, confusion and chaos have collided to ensure Thursday will be one of the most consequential — and perhaps the most by a wide margin — days of the tumultuous Trump presidency.

Washington has rarely seen the kind of spectacle ahead in just a few days, and the inevitable ramifications will trigger ripple waves that will be immediately apparent but not fully known until voters head to the ballot box on Nov. 6. For President Donald Trump, the already high stakes seem to only grow by the day.

Republicans Push Back Against States Seen as Too Pro-Regulation
GOP favors independence by state governments unless they don’t like a state’s decision

Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming and ranking Democrat Tom Carper of Delaware talk before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works hears from acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler in August. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler appeared before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in early August, the energy and environment community was watching.

It was Wheeler’s first appearance since his predecessor, Scott Pruitt, resigned after months of ethical, spending and personnel scandals. Washington was eager to see how Wheeler would right the agency.

Trump on Kavanaugh: ‘I Am With Him All The Way’
President stands by pick despite second accusation of sexual misconduct

President Donald Trump defended his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh while speaking to reporters at a meeting on the global drug problem at the United Nations on Monday. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Monday said he is sticking with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, telling reporters “I am with him all the way.”

“There’s a chance that this could be one of the single most unfair, unjust things to happen to a candidate for anything,” the president said on the sidelines of a United Nations conference in New York hours after another accuser came forward alleging sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.

Kavanaugh Controversy and Violence Against Women Act Collide on Capitol Hill
Not the first time a Supreme Court fight and VAWA have been linked

Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., hold a press conference with Holton-Arms alumnae in support of Christine Blasey Ford in the Hart Senate Office Building on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh upended his confirmation process and brought sexual misconduct back into the spotlight on Capitol Hill. While the Senate Judiciary Committee digs into what happened more than 30 years ago, other lawmakers are working to extend and expand protections for victims under the Violence Against Women Act.

The competing claims from Ford and Kavanaugh have divided both the Senate and the country, with Ford accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers, and Kavanaugh issuing blanket denials and saying he welcomes the chance to “clear my name.” 

How Congress Made CHIP a Budgetary Boondoggle
Lawmakers have routinely used the Children’s Health Insurance Program to fund other priorities

Senator Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., is a lonely voice in opposition to the way CHIP funds are being used. (Meredith Dake-O’Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s getting harder and harder not to think of the nation’s signature health insurance program for children who aren’t quite poor enough to qualify for Medicaid as a “slush fund” to tap for other congressional priorities.

Lawmakers are on the verge of wringing another $7.7 billion in budgetary savings out of the Children’s Health Insurance Program to finance the discretionary portion of the Department of Health and Human Services’ fiscal 2019 budget, among other expenses in the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations conference report. That would bring the CHIP offsets tally to $58.3 billion since the GOP House takeover after the 2010 midterms, according to a review of Labor-HHS-Education spending laws over the past nine years.

Trump Slams McCaskill for Opposing ‘Truly Spectacular’ Kavanaugh
Missouri attorney general is in Senate dogfight with Democratic incumbent

President Donald Trump, here at a rally in Las Vegas on Thursday, was in Missouri the following day to boost Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump hailed Missouri Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley as a “star” Friday night, while lambasting the Democratic incumbent, Claire McCaskill, for opposing his “truly spectacular” Supreme Court nominee. 

The president, as he often does for Republican candidates, attempted to boost Hawley, the state attorney general, by calling him onstage at the rally in Springfield, Missouri, to speak behind the presidential podium with the executive seal. 

Rosenstein Removal Charges Will Only Deepen Trump-DOJ War
But deputy AG calls Times article ‘inaccurate and factually incorrect’

President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he walks across the South Lawn while departing the White House in May. On Friday, the New York Times published a piece alleging Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wanted to tape him and use the 25th amendment to remove him from office. (Sarah Siblinger/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS | Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denies he wanted to record Donald Trump in order to gather enough dirt to remove the president via the 25th amendment. But that’s not likely to be much solace to a president who is at war with his Justice Department.

The New York Times published a story Friday afternoon detailing alleged conversations Rosenstein had in the spring of 2017 about the circus-like operations that defined the West Wing in the early months of the Trump presidency. The deputy AG had only been in the job a few weeks, but was emotional and concerned when talking about his idea of secretly taping Trump with the goal of getting enough to trigger the 25th amendment — which provides a mechanism for the vice president and Cabinet members to begin the removal of a president from the Oval Office.

Despite New Tariffs, China Still Not Budging on Trade Tactics, White House Says
Senior official indicates Canada no closer to joining Mexico trade deal than it was when talks started

U.S. and Chinese flags on a table where military leaders from the two countries met in 2014. Four year later, the economic giants are in the midst of a bitter trade dispute. Depsite President Trump’s tariff's little progress has been made, an official said Friday. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle)

The Trump administration is not aiming to “cleve off” the U.S. economy from China’s, but it intends to continue pressuring the Asian giant even though tough moves like repeated rounds of tariffs have yet to bring the fundamental changes President Donald Trump is demanding.

“Our goal is not to totally divorce our economies from each other,” said a senior official who briefed reporters Friday at the White House about trade matters. “Our goal is for China to stop behaving unfairly.”

Kavanaugh Accuser’s Lawyers Negotiating Terms of Senate Testimony
Reports: Christine Blasey Ford doesn’t want Kavanaugh in room, wants to be questioned by senators

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is ready to return for more testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Christine Blasey Ford likely will not be testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be testifying at all.

Attorneys for Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during their high school years,reportedly had a logistical conversation over the phone with Judiciary Committee staff Thursday night.