Education

Meet the Man Behind the Ossoff Campaign — He’s Just Getting Started
Keenan Pontoni’s a rising star in a party desperate for fresh blood

Keenan Pontoni, campaign manager for Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s 6th District, conducts one final tele-town hall session in his Sandy Springs office on the final day of the runoff campaign. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. — Just 45 minutes after polls closed Tuesday in Georgia’s 6th District, Keenan Pontoni knew Jon Ossoff was in trouble.

The Democratic candidate’s advantage in early voting didn’t look like it was going to be enough to make up for Republican turnout on Election Day.

Senate Republicans Raise Questions About Health Care Bill
‘My concern is this doesn’t repeal Obamacare,’ Rand Paul says

Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy talks with reporters Thursday after a meeting in the Capitol on the Senate Republicans’ health care draft. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A few key Senate Republicans are already raising concerns with the discussion draft of a health care bill unveiled Thursday, which could threaten its passage if the measure comes up for a vote next week.

Multiple senators raised concerns with the draft they were briefed on Thursday morning, although many said they needed to review the proposal in full. Senate GOP leaders can only lose two Republican votes on the measure for it to pass with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote as no Democrats are expected to vote for the measure. GOP leaders hope to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote next week.

United Utah Party Sues to Get on Ballot to Replace Chaffetz
Party is led by Jim Bennett, son of late Sen. Bob Bennett.

Jim Bennett could have appeared on the ballot as unaffiliated, but he said, “I’m not unfailliated and I don’t want to run and pretend that I am.” (United Utah Party)

Jim Bennett, the son of former Utah Sen. Bob Bennett, has a new political party, and he wants it on the ballot in the Utah special election to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Bennett is suing the state of Utah to get on the ballot with United Utah Party next to his name, after state officials ruled in May that there wouldn't be time to verify the 2,600 signatures gathered to create the new party before the election.

GOP Might Buck Senate Rules to Pass Health Care Overhaul
Parliamentarian decision still pending on House bill compliance with reconciliation

Senate Budget ranking member Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi preside over the panel that finds itself overlooking many of the questions concerning the reconciliation process. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans appear ready to make a small, but significant change to historic Senate procedure in order to advance their legislation to rework the U.S. health insurance system, a move that could have notable impact on the future of the chamber’s operations.

GOP leaders are sending signals that, if necessary, they plan to invoke a seldom-used rule included in the Congressional Budget Act that would allow Senate Budget Chairman Michael B. Enzi to skirt a decision from the chamber’s parliamentarian, a key gate-keeper for the budget maneuver known as reconciliation that Republicans are using to advance their health insurance measure.

Ivanka Trump, Senators Hope to Push Family Tax Credits
Rubio: ‘Paid family leave is a part of it’

Ivanka Trump walks with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio to a meeting at the Capitol with Republican senators on paid family leave on Tuesday. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

A group of Senate Republicans met with Ivanka Trump on Tuesday to begin constructing a tax credit package that could include family leave and other child care proposals. 

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who touted paid family leave during his 2016 presidential run, said lawmakers and President Donald Trump’s eldest daughter discussed a variety of tax proposals meant to benefit families, particularly those who are low-income.

Balancing the First Amendment and Students’ Safety
Senate panel discusses free speech on college campuses

UNITED STATES — Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., took part in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the issue of free speech on college campuses. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Zachary Wood arrived at Williams College his freshman year, he had high hopes for an academic environment that challenged his views. Now going into his senior year, Wood says he has faced backlash from students and administrators for inviting controversial speakers to campus.

Wood appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, part of a panel discussing free speech on college campuses.

Former Teachers Union President To Challenge Tim Murphy
Says health care vote was ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., ran unopposed last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The former president of a Pennsylvania teacher’s union will challenge Republican Rep. Tim Murphy after he went unchallenged last year.

Mike Crossey is the former president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association and a current Mt. Lebanon commissioner. He considered a run for lieutenant governor in 2014 before ultimately deciding against it.

Senate Democrats Can’t Slow GOP Health Care Bill Once It’s Written
But minority party will try to slow down proceedings until then

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and his Democratic colleagues want to draw attention to the closed-door nature of the GOP health care talks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer had a warning for his Republican colleagues on Monday.

“If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate,” the New York Democrat said.

Democrats Plot Senate Slowdown Over Obamacare Repeal
Schumer, Murray among Democrats planning to highlight GOP process

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer says not to expect business as usual on the floor. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats have decided to muddle the chamber’s work in a bid to highlight the closed-door nature of Republicans’ health care negotiations.

When the Democrats take the floor Monday evening for a series of speeches against the GOP’s efforts to roll back the 2010 health care law, they will also begin objecting to a variety of unanimous consent requests that generally govern more routine Senate floor business.

Staff Departures Undermine GOP Legislative Agenda
A number of key health and tax aides have left Capitol Hill

Eric Ueland, staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, is one of many high-profile staffers leaving Capitol Hill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Key Republican staffers are departing Capitol Hill with the GOP in control of Congress and the White House, raising questions about how the party will advance its ambitious agenda to overhaul the U.S. tax code and health care system.

Senior personnel for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have departed and lobbyists say others are preparing to depart the Senate Finance Committee. A handful of health policy staffers for members on those panels have also left for jobs off Capitol Hill and a key individual on the Senate Budget Committee was recently nominated for a senior post at the State Department.