Abortion

Brennan Fracas Could Rip Through Senate’s Defense Spending Debate
Security clearances, abortion among amendment topics floated

Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner, here with Chairman Richard Burr, says he plans to introduce an amendment to the 2019 defense spending bill that would block the president from revoking security clearances. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate is ready to start voting on amendments to the fiscal 2019 Defense spending bill, possibly including several that could stir spirited debate.

Senators have only agreed so far to vote on two relatively uncontroversial amendments to the the two-bill package that includes both the $675 billion Defense bill and the $179.3 billion Labor-HHS-Education measure. Those first two votes are scheduled for Monday evening.

Longtime Ag Committee Member Boswell’s Funeral Services Set
Iowa livestock farmer who served 16 years in the House suffered complications from a rare form of cancer

Rep. Leonard Boswell, D-Iowa, talks with fairgoers at the Iowa Pork Producers Association pavilion at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2011. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

Funeral services for Leonard Boswell, a livestock farmer and Vietnam veteran who served for 16 years in the House, will be held Saturday in his native Iowa, according to local media reports. 

Boswell died August 17 at a Des Moines hospital after suffering complications from a rare form of cancer, according to media reports. He was 84. 

Road Ahead: Appropriations on Senate Floor, Russia Talk Away From It
Senators to vote on spending for four cabinet departments

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, left, actually had better attendance last week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the Senate back to legislating, more attention will be on lawmaker attendance than it was during last week’s abbreviated session.

At the high-water mark, only 90 senators  were present for votes during the two-day workweek, with most of the absentees being members of the GOP. That led a reporter to quip to Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York that his Democrats actually had the majority.

Liberals Spar over Trump’s ‘Hate Wall’ in House Primary Debate
Race between Pressley and Capuano has been tagged as the next potential Democratic Party shakeup

Rep. Michael Capuano, center, and Boston city counselor Ayanna Pressley squared off in their final debate for the Massachusetts 7th District seat before next month’s Democratic primary. (WGBH)

Boston city counselor Ayanna Pressley accused Rep. Michael Capuano on Wednesday of hewing too close to the right on issues including criminal justice, police protests and funding for a proposed border wall Wednesday in the final debate of one of Massachusetts’ most closely watched House primaries.

Both candidates are left-leaning liberals who have acknowledged that they often agree. But they have taken on more aggressive stances as the clock ticks down in a race that has attracted national attention as the next to potentially shake up the Democratic Party.

Education Funding, Eaten Up by Pell Grants, Once Again on Menu
Senate hasn’t debated education appropriations for 11 years. Since then, a lot has changed

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos isn’t seeing eye to eye with Senate appropriators on education priorities. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While military and health care costs have received plenty of airtime in recent years, the federal education budget hasn’t gotten a thorough vetting on the Senate floor since 2007. That will change if the Senate takes up later this week a massive $856.9 billion spending bill for the departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and a smattering of smaller agencies.

In the 11-year stretch since the full Senate last debated education appropriations, the Great Recession came and went, exploding the number of students either finding themselves out of work or in need of retraining.

Democrats Continue Camera Shy Ways With Brett Kavanaugh
Senate courtesy meetings continue, but with nary a photo op

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh arrives to meet with Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., in the Hart Senate Office Building on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic senators have, at least from Republican states, started meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, but they are mostly avoiding the press when doing so. 

With senators back in town, meetings with President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court resumed Wednesday, with a pair of Democrats on the agenda.

Kavanaugh Makes Strategic Stops on His Senate Tour as Chamber Returns
Heitkamp, Donnelly and other swing votes are on his schedule

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., are among those expected to meet with Trump’s Supreme Court pick. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will ramp up his behind-the-scenes preparation over the next three weeks for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, starting with more one-on-one meetings Wednesday with senators whose votes could prove pivotal.

Kavanaugh, who is more used to asking questions from the dais as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit for the past 12 years, has been going through mock hearings that last several hours with questions from people assigned to the role of different senators, a White House official said.

Kim Schrier Secures Democratic Nod in Hotly Contested Washington Race
8th District, a longtime Republican bastion, is a top target for Democrats

Dino Rossi is the Republican nominee in Washington's 8th congressional district (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo).

Democratic pediatrician Kim Schrier secured the second-place spot to take on Republican Dino Rossi in Washington’s 8th District, which could be one of the most competitive races in the country. 

Schrier declared victory Wednesday morning, more than a week after the primary in Washington. The combination of a crowded Democratic field and mail-in ballots left the race in limbo as ballots were still being counted a week after the election. 

McMorris Rodgers Narrowly Secures Top Spot in Washington Primary
Democrat Lisa Brown was close behind in second place

Washington GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers is a Democratic target. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers narrowly secured the top spot in her primary in Washington on Tuesday, which could embolden Democrats looking to unseat the only woman in GOP leadership.

Under Washington’s top-two primary system, all candidates run on the same ballot and the two with the most votes, regardless of party, advance to November. 

Margaret Heckler, Through the Years With Bikes, Bread and Cake
Former congresswoman, HHS secretary, ambassador to Ireland dies at 87

Rep. Margaret M. Heckler, R-Mass. and Rep. Robert C. Eckhardt, D-Texas, ride bikes in front of Capitol Hill. (Mickey Senko/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Margaret M. Heckler, a Massachusetts Republican who went on to become Health and Human Services secretary and later ambassador to Ireland, died Monday at the age of 87, but not before leaving behind some indelibly light-hearted images from her Capitol Hill days using some pedal power — with various foodstuffs. 

Heckler, born on June 21, 1931, was first elected to Congress in 1966, and did it in dramatic fashion before even getting to the general election. She defeated Massachusetts Rep. Joseph W. Martin Jr., the former speaker of the House, in a  Republican primary.