redistricting

House passes HR 1 government overhaul, sending it back to campaign trail
With Senate not planning to take it up, Democrats plan to continue fight into 2020

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., led Democrats' effort to draft the HR 1 government overhaul package as chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force. The House passed the measure Friday on a party-line vote. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

With passage of HR 1, House Democrats’ political money, ethics and voting overhaul, the mammoth proposal now heads exclusively to the 2020 campaign trail, where candidates in both parties say they believe their message will woo voters.

The House passed the measure 234-193 Friday morning. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the bill’s foe in chief, has assured his side he plans to officially ignore it in his chamber, refusing to bring it for a vote even as the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday that he believed his party could win elections against people who support it.

Road ahead: HR 1 vote, Cohen returns, senators seek info on Khashoggi, North Korea
House Democrats to vote on top priority, while Senate Republicans continue to confirm judges

Travelers exit Union Station as the Capitol Dome reflects in the glass door on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House this week will vote on its marquee bill, HR 1, and haul Michael Cohen back in for more questioning, while senators seek information on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the latest North Korea summit.

HR 1, formally titled the For the People Act after Democrats’ 2018 campaign slogan, is a government overhaul package featuring changes to voting, campaign finance and ethics laws

Brett Kavanaugh could decide how redistricting is done
Newest justice will be center of attention when court hears gerrymandering cases next month

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, center, at the State of the Union earlier this month. His views on gerrymandering are a bit of a mystery. (Pool/Doug Mills/The New York Times file photo)

Voters keep voicing their frustration with the politically fraught way that state lawmakers redraw congressional districts every 10 years, and have approved ways to outsource the work with hopes of making fairer maps.

Colorado and Michigan approved ballot measures in November to create independent redistricting commissions to prevent one party from carving up a state in such a way as to entrench itself in office. Missouri approved a plan in which a state demographer and a statistical test will help determine lines. Utah approved the creation of an advisory commission.

Fewer members taking the leap to governor
Don’t expect a chunk of House seats to open up because of people wanting to run

Louisiana Republican Rep. Ralph Abraham is currently the only member running for governor and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last cycle, nine members left Congress to try to become governor and five ended up winning the state’s top job. But this cycle will be a different story. While 38 states elected a governor in 2017 or 2018, just 14 states will elect a governor in the next two years. And fewer opportunities to move up will limit the exodus from the House.

Currently, there’s just one House member running for governor, and he doesn’t have to give up his seat to do it.

House Democrats unveil first major legislative package of voting, campaign finance and ethics overhauls
Committees will soon begin marking up aspects of the package ahead of floor vote on H.R. 1

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., plan to bring a bill to the floor in the coming weeks to overhaul voting and campaign finance laws. Democrats are introducing it as H.R. 1 to signal that it’s their top priority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Automatic voter registration, independent redistricting commissions, super PAC restrictions, forced release of presidential tax returns — these are just a handful of the provisions in a massive government overhaul package House Democrats will formally unveil Friday, according to a summary of the legislation obtained by Roll Call. 

The package is being introduced as H.R. 1 to show that it’s the top priority of the new Democratic majority. Committees with jurisdiction over the measures will hold markups on the legislation before the package is brought to the floor sometime later this month or early in February. 

Court Orders New Maryland Map in Partisan Gerrymandering Case
State officials expected to appeal decision to Supreme Court

Campaign signs outside the Activity Center at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, Md., for early voting on June 18. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A federal court on Wednesday ordered Maryland to adopt a new congressional map for the 2020 elections, ruling that the state’s current map unconstitutionally diminished the value of Republican voters in the 6th District in the western neck of the state.

The three-judge panel’s ruling in the partisan gerrymandering case, which has gone twice to the Supreme Court on preliminary procedural issues, means the Maryland map once again will be before the high court if state officials appeal, as expected. 

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Government Overhaul Like ‘Caffeine’ for Economic Agenda, Dems Say
Minority whip to deliver speech Wednesday outlining campaign finance, voting, ethics, rules overhauls

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will deliver a speech Wednesday calling for Democrats to quickly pass a government overhaul package in January if they are in the majority. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If Democrats win the House majority, Steny Hoyer believes their economic agenda will do better if they first pass a government overhaul package to help restore Americans’ continuously eroding trust in government.

“To regain that trust, our response must be vigorous and innovative,” the minority whip plans to say in a speech Wednesday morning, according to excerpts shared with Roll Call.

This Is Not Your Father’s Bible Belt. Can Dems Make It Theirs?
Republicans have long claimed a monopoly on religion, but that could be changing

Ninth Congressional district Democratic candidate Dan McCready. (Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer via AP)

OPINION — There’s a series of striking images in a televised ad for Dan McCready, who is seeking to represent North Carolina’s reliably conservative 9th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. It puts the candidate’s military record and faith front and center — not entirely surprising for someone vying for voters in a swath of the state that includes an affluent section of Charlotte, as well as parts of rural counties all the way to the Fayetteville area, with its strong military presence.

In the ad, McCready stands with his troops as an announcer states that after 9/11, he “was called to serve his country.” Then the scene shifts, and the narrative continues to describe the Marine Corps veteran as finding another calling when he was baptized “in the waters of the Euphrates River.”

Court Strikes Down North Carolina’s Congressional Map as a Partisan Gerrymander
State’s voters could cast ballots in new districts come November

The North Carolina state Legislature building in Raleigh. The state’s congressional map, drawn by its GOP-controlled Legislature, was ruled Monday to be an illegal partisan gerrymander. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A three-judge panel on Monday struck down North Carolina’s congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, setting up the possibility that this fall’s midterms will be held under new lines.

The panel for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina ruled that the Republican-controlled state legislature redrew the map in 2016 to favor the GOP. That redraw was response to an earlier court decision that invalidated the state’s map as a racial gerrymander.