At the Races: I Will Survive - The Dan Lipinski Story
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns


This week … general election matchups were set in Illinois, Mississippi got a new senator and California primary fields took shape.

To the Moon and Beyond! — Mission to Mars Funding in Omnibus
Goal is to put an astronaut on the red planet during Trump’s time in the White House

NASA for years has been planning long-range space exploration to the moon and Mars. Back in 2006, NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, Associate Administrator Scott Horowitz, and Constellation Program Manager Jeffrey Hanley discussed the Constellation Program, the space agency’s plan for robotic and human exploration of the moon and Mars. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is hoping to land a U.S. astronaut on Mars during his tenure in the White House, and Congress is prepared to continue to back up that mission.

The fiscal 2018 spending bill would provide $1.35 billion in funding for the Orion Spacecraft at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The program, which received the same level of funding for fiscal 2017, is aimed at building a vehicle for deep-space travel, including the moon and Mars.

McConnell: Omnibus Not ‘Perfect’ But Contains Victories

The Senate leaders spoke on the floor Thursday morning about the omnibus spending package introduced Wednesday night and already passed by the House.

Waiting for an Omnibus to Arrive
Lawmakers show off their acumen for theater on the floor

The Capitol is wrapped up in trying to pass the omnibus this week, the long-delayed conclusion to the fiscal 2018 spending process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Welcome to Political Theater, Roll Call’s newsletter and podcast on the spectacle of politics and how it fits, or doesn’t, into the nation’s culture. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

The slow-rolling public health disaster that is the opioid epidemic is finally getting Washington’s attention. Earlier this week, President Donald Trump trekked to New Hampshire to tout his plan to address the crisis and the omnibus spending bill slogging through Congress puts some real money into plans to help those in need. 

House Passes $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Spending Bill, Starting Process to Avert Shutdown
Massive measure was released the night before the vote, so members didn’t have time to read it

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., walks through Statuary Hall on his way to his office after the House voted to proceed with the omnibus funding bill Thursday morning. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House on Thursday passed a $1.3 trillion fiscal 2018 omnibus appropriations bill, starting the process for averting a government shutdown and ending government funding by stopgap. 

The vote was 256-167. The bill includes funding boosts for defense that Republicans sought, as well as for domestic programs on the nondefense side of the ledger that Democrats sought. 

Will the Chambers Flip? Redditors Want to Know

Outside Groups See Validation of 2018 Strategy in Lipinski-Newman Race
Allies of both Newman and Lipinski celebrated this week’s close result

First-time candidate Marie Newman, center, narrowly lost a primary to Rep. Dan Lipinski. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Outside groups that spent on either side of Tuesday’s close Democratic primary in Illinois’ 3rd District are feeling energized by the results as they look ahead to the midterms and beyond.

Seven-term Rep. Daniel Lipinski narrowly defeated first-time candidate Marie Newman on Tuesday in a race that only looked competitive in the final months of the campaign. He finished with 51 percent of the vote to Newman’s 49 percent

Flake and Booker’s Snowball Duel