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Vulnerable House Republicans Head Into Midterm Recess With Parting Gifts
Half of GOP incumbents in danger of losing seats got floor votes this month on bills they sponsored

Rep. Steve Knight, R-Calif., who’s facing a tough re-election, has two of his bills on the House floor this week. Other vulnerable Republicans are also getting votes on their bills before they depart for the midterm campaign recess. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As the House prepares to wrap up its fall legislative business this week before going on recess for the duration of the midterm campaign season, half of the vulnerable Republican incumbents will be leaving with parting gifts. 

Those gifts come in the form of floor votes on bills they have authored. By the end of the week, 28 of the 57 House Republicans whose seats are considered in play this cycle, according to Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, are set to go home with the chamber having voted this month on at least one of their bills. 

Congress’ Hurricane Caucus Keeps On Growing
Sheila Jackson Lee: ‘You’re answering phones. You’re answering questions. You’re giving hugs’

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s district weathered Hurricane Harvey last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the days after a hurricane, a member of Congress is “an information post, a local comforter, a problem solver,” Sheila Jackson Lee said.

The Texas Democrat knows what her colleagues hit by Hurricane Florence are going through. Her district weathered Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

McCaskill to Vote ‘No’ on Kavanaugh
Missouri Democrat is one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she will not support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill announced Wednesday that she will not support Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. 

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Democrat attributed her decision mostly to the nominee’s positions on “dark, anonymous money that is crushing our democracy.”

Scary Moment for Rep. Chris Stewart at Debate
‘Vaccines cause autism!’ man shouts into Utah rep’s microphone

Utah's 2nd District candidates for Congress Shireen Ghorbani and U.S. Rep. Chris Stewart participate in a debate on Monday in St. George, Utah. (Chris Caldwell/The Spectrum via AP, Pool)

Police arrested a man Monday after he walked onstage and interrupted GOP Rep. Chris Stewart of Utah at a debate with Democratic opponent Shireen Ghorbani.

Law enforcement arrested Corbin Cox McMillen and charged him with disorderly conduct and interrupting a political meeting, a Class B misdemeanor, for leaning into Stewart’s microphone during his closing statement and loudly stating a conspiracy theory about a connection between vaccines and autism, according to KUTV in Utah.

New Light on Dark Money Found in Study From Bipartisan Group
Explosion of secret donations to campaigns largely comes from handful of insider groups

Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fl., and Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., hold a news conference to announce efforts to crack down on out-of-control campaign spending. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The explosion of so-called “dark money” in political campaigns can be largely traced to spending from 15 groups, according to a study released Wednesday by a non-partisan watchdog group.

The analysis by Issue One is the first attempt to catalog the influential and secretive spending by labor unions, corporations, mega-donors and other special interest groups flooding the American political system in the years since the landmark 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court ruling. Such a task is notoriously difficult because the organizations behind such spending are not legally required to disclose the sources of their money.

Missouri Senate Candidates Spar Over Tax Returns
Hawley is calling on McCaskill to release her husband’s returns

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is running for a third term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Missouri Republican Senate nominee Josh Hawley is calling on Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill to release her family’s tax returns, after both released their own returns Wednesday. 

Hawley, the state attorney general, released nearly 60 pages of his and his wife’s tax returns since they file jointly. McCaskill released two pages of her own return (she and her husband file their taxes separately), but Hawley said that wasn’t enough.

Campaigns, Parties Can Accept Free Service From Microsoft, FEC Says
Watchdogs warn ruling could open loophole for corporations looking to skirt campaign finance laws, influence lawmakers

Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Federal campaigns and national party committees can accept free security services from the Microsoft Corporation after a recent Federal Election Commission ruling.

But one watchdog group called it an unprecedented opening for corporations looking to influence lawmakers and skirt campaign finance laws.

Tom Carper Seeks to Avoid Castle-Like Upset in Delaware Primary
Longtime senator faces Democratic challenger Kerri Evelyn Harris on Thursday

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., faces a Thursday primary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Thomas R. Carper is the latest longtime Democrat facing a competitive primary, but he insists he won’t be caught by surprise.

Carper is universally known in Delaware, having served in the House and then as governor before arriving in the Senate in 2001.

Trump Signals Intent to Nix Proposed Federal Pay Increase
Congress can weigh in if it feels need to maintain agreed-upon pay hike

President Donald Trump wants to rescind a scheduled pay increase for federal workers, saying he has the authority by citing a national emergency. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump signaled his intent to rescind a scheduled pay increase for federal workers, informing Congress on Thursday that federal law allowed him to do so in the event of a “national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare.”

The move drew a quick response from D.C.-area members and is almost certain to draw howls from the Senate, which included a 1.9 percent pay raise in its Financial Services spending bill. That measure was part of a four-bill, $154 billion package that passed the Senate 92-6 earlier this month.

Trade War Sends Lawmakers on Beer Crawl
Kaine, Warner, Perdue and others visit breweries to talk tariffs

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., spoke on tariffs at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Cartersville, Georgia, earlier this month. (Courtesy Sen. David Perdue’s office)

A number of members of Congress headed out to breweries this summer, but not to quietly enjoy a beer.

While some sampled the product while there, the lawmakers for the most part used the sites as backdrops to criticize the trade war that President Donald Trump launched with his tariffs on aluminum and steel imports.