senate

Ratings Change: Flake More Vulnerable in Arizona
Ongoing feud with Trump complicates GOP senator’s re-election bid

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake is drawing heat from both sides as he seeks a second term next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The acrimony between President Donald Trump and Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, which is already making the senator’s re-election bid more challenging, should only intensify during the president’s rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night. 

Flake is known as a Trump opponent, which could make him vulnerable in the primary. The feud appeared to start in a private meeting a year ago, but has since escalated. Earlier this summer, Flake published a book, titled “Conscience of a Conservative,” publicly criticizing the Republican Party for the rise of Trump. 

Word on the Hill: Government Gets Eclipsed
Financial planning, and #GardnerFarmTour

Now that the eclipse has passed, staffers need other fun things to do over recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Life on Capitol Hill came to a standstill Monday afternoon as staffers streamed out of their offices to get a look at the partial solar eclipse.

Check out the scene outside the Capitol and learn how lawmakers watched the eclipse back home in their districts.

Trump Costs Prompt Secret Service Plea to Congress
‘The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law’

A Secret Service agent wipes down one of the presidential limousines at the U.S. Capitol before the start of the Inauguration parade on Jan. 20, the day Donald Trump was sworn in as president. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Secret Service, anticipating the demands of protecting President Donald Trump and his family, wants Congress to again lift pay caps so it can reimburse its agents for overtime work during fiscal 2018.

Whether the agency will need additional appropriations remains to be decided. But the service, part of the Homeland Security Department, estimates about 1,100 employees will work overtime hours that would exceed the statutory pay caps in place during calendar year 2017, Director Randolph “Tex” Alles said in a statement Monday.

On Afghanistan, Trump Bets On Generals He Once Criticized
President says ‘my original instinct was to pull out’

U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson (right) shakes hands with troops ahead of a handover ceremony at Leatherneck Camp in Lashkar Gah in the Afghan province of Helmand on April 29, 2017. (Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images)

Candidate Donald Trump often said he knew more when it came to the country’s foes than America’s top military leaders. But by siding with retired and current four-star generals on Afghanistan, Trump placed a big bet on a group he once believed had been “reduced to rubble.”

Trump announced Monday night at Joint Base Fort Myer Hamilton Hall in Arlington, Va., he will keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan despite his long-held disdain for the operation there. The president’s decision came after a months-long review by his national security team, and reports indicate he will raise the American military presence there to around 12,000.

Lawmakers Watch Eclipse From Back Home
With Congress on recess, members watched the show with friends, family, and constituents

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas,  watches Monday’s eclipse from San Antonio, where he was visiting the Chamber of Commerce. (Sen. Ted Cruz via Twitter)

Unlike President Donald Trump, many lawmakers listened to the warnings and wore solar eclipse glasses to look at the sun on Monday.

The president briefly looked skyward before putting on his protective glasses when he and first lady Melania Trump joined millions of Americans to view the solar eclipse.

McConnell, Mnuchin Unequivocal About Avoiding Default on the Debt
Majority leader and Treasury secretary say debt limit will be increased on time

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin expressed confidence the debt limit would be increased. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared without hesitation Monday that Congress will raise the debt limit come September.

“There is zero chance — no chance — we won’t raise the debt ceiling. No chance. America is not going to default, and we’ll get the job done in conjunction with the secretary of the Treasury,” the Kentucky Republican said, appearing alongside Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Beefing Up Afghan Troop Level Would Be Major Shift for Trump
In 2012, he called conflict ‘complete waste,’ adding, ‘Time to come home!’

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Melissa Fusco gives candy to an Afghan boy on the streets in Logar Province in Afghanistan in 2009. President Donald Trump will address the nation Monday night on his plan for U.S. military operations there. (Courtesy Spc. Richard Jones/Wikimedia Commons)

President Donald Trump is expected to announce Monday night that he is sending thousands more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, breaking with his yearslong disdain for the nearly 16-year-old conflict there.

As a candidate, Trump rarely talked about the Afghanistan War and stability operation other than to disparage it. He used it as an example of why his nationalistic approach would be better than any of his Republican or Democratic foes, arguing the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had wasted billions of dollars there for little strategic gain.

Hoeven’s Father and Stepmother Die Two Days Apart
Senior Hoeven was politically active in North Dakota

Sen. John Hoeven's, R-N.D., father died Saturday at age 87. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven’s father, John Hoeven, died Saturday, two days after the death of his wife Raziye, the senator’s stepmother.

Hoeven was a banker and community supporter and died at the age of 87, the Minot Daily News reported. The funeral will be on August 29 at the Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Minot. 

Congress Set for Horse-Trading Over Must-Pass Bills in September
“Clean” debt limit increase will likely require Democrats’ support

North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker said a clean debt ceiling increase appears unlikely to pass without “more more increased spending and must-pass legislation to attract the necessary votes.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress’ September agenda is packed with several must-pass bills that Republicans and Democrats are likely to look to as leverage for extracting concessions on other priorities.

With a short legislative calendar next month — only 12 days when both chambers are scheduled to be in session (the Senate has a few extra days on its timetable) — some measures could be packaged together, creating even more leverage and risk. 

Opinion: Career Advice for Restless Capitol Hill GOP Staffers
Stay put — Congress will be the center of action for rest of Trump’s term

Now is not the time for Republican staffers on Capitol Hill to contemplate working in the Trump White House, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This column is written for every Republican staffer on Capitol Hill who — even now — is debating whether to join the Trump administration. It is also directed at those who have already followed their dreams of striding along the corridors of power and entered the White House.

My advice to you sounds like the dialogue in a disaster movie: “Don’t do it. Run. Get out now. It’s the only escape.”