Bill Nelson

Space Corps Proposal Has Military Brass Going Orbital

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, center, seen here with Gen. David L. Goldfein, right, chief of staff of the Air Force, is opposed to the creation of Space Corps, seeing it as within the purview of her service branch. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It was, to be sure, a bold and audacious move from a relatively unknown member of Congress, who moved forward despite fervent objections from both the Defense Department and the White House and not so much as a full committee hearing or debate.

Alabama Republican Mike D. Rogers nevertheless used his perch atop a House Armed Services subcommittee to slip language into the annual Pentagon policy bill to create an entirely new military service focused on space.

Members of Congress Talk Hurricane Irma

Drama Awaits Senate Debate on Pentagon Policy
No lack of substantive, high-profile issues for defense authorization measure

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., left, and ranking member Jack Reed, D-R.I., will manage a sprawling floor debate on the Pentagon policy bill starting this week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate will take up the massive Pentagon policy bill this week, providing a stage for high-profile debate on simmering national security issues ranging from transgender troops to the growing North Korea nuclear threat.

Senators have already filed hundreds of amendments to the defense bill, among them language to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, establish a North Korea strategy, limit arms sales to U.S. allies, define U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and block the creation of a new military service.

Trump Reaches Out to Centrist Democrats on Taxes
Trump’s team has ‘some optimism’ that Heitkamp will support coming overhaul package

President Donald Trump is making overtures to centrist Democrats like Sens. Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp, who will accompany him on Air Force One on Wednesday to her home state of North Dakota. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump is sending mixed messages to incumbent Senate Democrats up for re-election in red states as he and GOP leaders try to woo bipartisan support for a major tax overhaul package. 

With his public calls for centrist Democrats to support an emerging GOP tax plan, Trump has underscored his desire to cement a legislative victory before the 2018 midterm elections. But Democrats wonder if he is sincere or if he simply intends to attack them, as he did last week by calling out Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Missouri, during a tax speech in her home state. 

Who Won Recess?
Lawmakers make the scene back home

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., appeared on Bill Maher’s show in August to promote his new book, “A Giant in the Senate,” after canceling an earlier scheduled spot in protest. (Courtesy Janet VanHam/HBO).

One lawmaker played teacher but ended up learning from kids. Another gave hugs to those who care for the youngest opioid addicts. Many donned their eclipse glasses and looked skyward.

And one became the Python Hunter of the Everglades.

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.

Democrats Say Bannon’s Ouster Not Enough
Jeffries says ‘things won't change if Grand Wizard remains in Oval Office’

Democrats say the ouster of White House adviser Steve Bannon is a good first step. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Democrats are glad President Donald Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon is gone,  but they say change is needed from the top down.

Democratic members of Congress hammered the president for choosing Bannon, the former Breitbart executive, to plot strategy in the White House in the first place. And they said if the president wants to repair the damage he has done, he should look inward.

White House: Steve Bannon Is Out
President’s chief strategist increasingly a lightning rod for criticism

Steve Bannon is out as  chief strategist to President Donald Trump. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. The former Breitbart executive infused his campaign and presidency with nationalist rhetoric and policies.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

Schumer Outlines Some Democratic Priorities for Health Care
The Democratic leader wants the two parties to work together

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., conducts a news conference in the Capitol to discuss the defeat of the Republicans’ healthcare bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said he hopes Democrats and Republicans can work together to address health care, and he has a few ideas about what they should tackle first.

Senate Republicans failed earlier in the day to garner enough votes for a last-ditch effort to repeal major components of the Affordable Care Act. Their push to fulfill a years-long promise to repeal Obamacare ended — at least for the time being — with a dramatic 49-51 vote around 2 a.m. on Friday. So Democrats, led by Schumer, are saying they want to work with Republicans to fix the Affordable Care Act instead of dismantling it. 

Some Red State Democrats Reject Single-Payer Amendment
Most Democrats voted “present” to protest the GOP strategy

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., voted against a GOP single-payer amendment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Democrats largely protested a GOP effort to put senators on the record on a plan providing universal health care, but a handful running for re-election in Republican-leaning states decided to reject the single-payer system.

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont, introduced an amendment Wednesday night to amend the House-passed health care legislation currently on the floor and replace it with a Democratic bill giving every American health care through Medicare. Daines does not support the Medicare-for-All bill, but he argued that the American people should know Democrats’ position on the issue. Democrats cried foul, saying that Republicans were playing politics.