Supreme Court

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

There’s no shortage of things for senators to do while in town this month, Murphy writes. Above, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., arrives at the Capitol for a vote in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

Education Department’s ‘Gainful Employment’ Repeal Carries High Price Tag
Topic could come up when Senate begins debating Education Department spending

Sen. Patty Murray criticized the Education Department proposal as turning its back on students and pushing costs to taxpayers. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Trump administration’s proposal to repeal Obama-era requirements for recipients of federal student aid comes with a price tag of about $5.3 billion over a decade, a figure that is already giving critics ammunition as the Senate prepares to turn to Education Department appropriations this week.

The administration’s proposed rulemaking would rescind 2014 regulations requiring colleges and universities to ensure graduates have low debt-to-income ratios or risk losing access to loans and grants that help students afford to attend their programs. The proposal will be open for a 30-day comment period once it’s published in the Federal Register on Tuesday before the department can turn to drafting a final rule.

Democratic Poll Shows Close Race for Pete Sessions’ Seat in Texas
GOP congressman faces Democrat Colin Allred in Dallas-area district

GOP Rep. Pete Sessions is facing Democrat Colin Allred in November. (Bill Clark/Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Pete Sessions’ re-election race is looking increasingly competitive, with Democrat Colin Allred polling close to the longtime Republican lawmaker, according to a new internal Democratic survey.

The Dallas-area 32nd District is traditionally GOP territory. But this year’s race is considered competitive, in part because the 32nd is one of three Republican-held districts in the Lone Star State that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016. Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race a Toss-up

Trump Excludes Chicago Officials From Windy City Crime Discussion
President says city has been “an absolute and total disaster”

President Donald Trump, here on the Hill in June, met with governors and state officials Thursday to discuss a prison policy overhaul. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump declared Chicago “an absolute and total disaster” and vowed to discuss crime in the Midwestern hub with governors and other state officials he hosted Thursday at his New Jersey golf resort to talk about a prison policy overhaul.

There was one catch: He did not invite any Chicago or Illinois officials.

Pot Business Expected to Boom, Lighting Up Pressure on Lawmakers
More that a dozen states expected to expand legalization by 2025, report says

Secret Service block pro-marijuana protesters from carrying their 51-foot inflated marijuana joint down Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With marijuana legalization measures expected to pass in 13 more states by 2025, the legal pot market would reach more than $30 billion, according to an industry report released Thursday. 

The trend is bound to increase pressure on lawmakers to stake positions on one of the country’s most rapidly evolving social issues — the legalization of pot and cannabis — according to the report from New Frontier Data, a nonpartisan market research firm. 

Border Apprehensions Down Two Months Running
Trump administration officials say the dip is directly tied to Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative

A Border Patrol agent Nicole Ballistrea watches over the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014. Since then, border apprehensions have plummeted. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

For the second month in a row, the number of individuals caught trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the southwest border declined, drawing praise from administration officials who say it is directly tied to President Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance initiative.

In the month of July, border apprehensions declined by 7 percent, according to data released by Customs and Border Protection on Wednesday. In July, a total of 31,303 individuals were apprehended compared to 34,095 in June and 40,333 in May.

Legal Fight Over DACA Amps Up Pressure on Reluctant Congress
As another court ruling unfolds in Texas, clamor for legislative solution only grows

Dreamers protest outside of the Capitol calling for passage of the Dream Act as Congress works to find a way to end the government shutdown on Sunday evening, Jan. 21, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congress could face more pressure to protect “Dreamers” because of court decisions about the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows people who were brought to the United States as undocumented children to live and work here temporarily.

Still, even with the additional pressure from the court rulings, lawmakers are unlikely to pass any legislation in the months preceding the November midterm elections.

When Getting ‘Trumped’ Means Extra Dessert
Jim Warlick’s latest project is Presidential Scoops

Ice cream cones sit on the counter at Presidential Scoops as an employee scoops ice cream at the store in Washington. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When John F. Kennedy ate ice cream, he was on a boat, in a polo shirt, with his mouth open wider than the cone.

It’s executive moments like those that inspire Jim Warlick. The political history buff and JFK fanatic has branched out into frozen treats with Presidential Scoops, just a block from the White House.

General Election Matchups Take Shape in Michigan
Democrat Rashida Tlaib set to become first Muslim woman in Congress

Former state Rep. Gretchen Driskell easily won the Democratic nomination for Michigan’s 7th District on Tuesday night, setting up a rematch against GOP Rep. Tim Walberg. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats are targeting five House seats in Michigan, and the general election matchups started to take shape Tuesday night. 

Voters in two safe Democratic open seats also went to the polls to pick their nominees Tuesday, one of whom, former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, is set to become the first Muslim woman to serve in Congress. 

Why West Hollywood Hates Trump’s Walk of Fame Star
Local city council voted Monday to call for the star’s removal

President Donald Trump walks from the West Wing to Marine One on his way to Joint Base Andrews Friday, July 20, 2018. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The West Hollywood city council stirred up renewed controversy Monday over President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The star, installed nearly a decade before Trump’s presidential run, has become a target of animus against the president among his detractors in the famously liberal enclave.