Elizabeth Esty

Word on the Hill: Franken’s ‘SNL’ Friends on Franken vs. Trump
Stabenow makes rounds, Cruz award, Johnson shows flexibility, Biden’s book and Scalia event

Dana Carvey, left, Kevin Nealon, second from left, and Sen. Al Franken, right, mock the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings (with Phil Hartman, center, and Chris Farley) on “Saturday Night Live” in 1991. (NBC Universal)

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., could give President Donald Trump a run for his money. Or at least fellow “Saturday Night Live” alums Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey think so.

“Will Al Franken run for president?” Nealon asks Carvey on his Twitter video series “Hiking With Kevin.”

House Sends Veterans' Appeals Bill to Trump's Desk
Measure aims to pare down backlog appeals for disability benefits

House Veterans Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., right, seen here earlier this year with Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., left, and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., applauded passage of the veterans' measure Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House during a pro forma session Friday cleared a bipartisan bill aimed at paring down a massive backlog of appeals for veterans’ disability benefits.

Passage of the measure brings to three the number of major veterans’ bills that now await President Donald Trump’s signature. In addition to the appeals bill, Congress before leaving for the August recess cleared a $2.1 billion funding patch for a private medical care access program, and the “Forever GI Bill,” which extends education benefits to future veterans for an entire lifetime instead of the current 15-year window.

Photos of the Week: Protests and Selfies on the Hill as House Hands Senate Health Care
The week of May 1 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., photographs protesters on the East Front of the Capitol on Thursday after the House passed the Republicans' bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House has headed out on recess — they’re scheduled to return May 16 — after a busy week passing both an omnibus spending bill and a repeal and replace plan for the 2010 health care law. 

The Senate also passed the omnibus this week but debate remains on the health care plan. 

Democrats Identify Vulnerable Members for 2018
DCCC names 19 incumbents to Frontline Program

New Hampshire Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, chairwoman of the DCCC’s Frontline Program, is herself a Frontline member heading into 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Monday is naming 19 members to the Frontline Program for its most vulnerable incumbents in 2018.

The initial Frontline roster, obtained first by Roll Call, is about half freshman members. Eight members won in districts President Donald Trump carried last fall. And all of them, save for one, are National Republican Congressional Committee initial targets.

NRCC Goes After Blue-Collar Districts in 2018
GOP campaign arm releases list of 36 initial targets

Rep. Tim Walz speaks with guests during a campaign event in Duluth for fellow Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan last fall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee’s initial list of offensive targets for 2018 includes 36 Democrat-held districts, many in blue-collar areas of the country.

If Democrats are targeting the well-educated suburbs (see New Jersey’s 11th District, for example), where Donald Trump either barely won or underperformed, Republicans are going after many rural districts where Hillary Clinton underperformed the congressional ticket. 

New Democrats Want a Piece of the Policy Pie
Coalition arranges task forces around top issues

Washington Rep. Derek Kilmer hopes the task forces gives the New Democrats a chance to help hone policy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Republicans are in control of Congress, but the House’s New Democrat Coalition does not plan to sit by and let the GOP generate all the policy ideas on issues like taxes, infrastructure and cybersecurity. 

In continuing with their effort to be leaders on policy issues and find potential areas of bipartisan compromise, the New Democrats are launching new task forces designed to generate policy solutions for issues on the GOP’s congressional agenda, as well as policy areas that may not get as much traction in a Republican-controlled Congress, Rep. Derek Kilmer, the coalition’s vice chairman of policy, told Roll Call.

Pro-Gun Control Democrats Prep for Trump, GOP Congress
Democrats pushing to address gun violence remain hopeful

Connecticut lawmakers, from left, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Sen. Christopher S. Murphy and Rep. Elizabeth Esty, have been pushing Congress to address gun violence. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats pressing for legislation to address gun violence are reassessing their strategy after a year in which they staged high-visibility demonstrations in the House and Senate to demand action.

With Republicans in control of both chambers and the White House next year, Democrats and advocates predict they will have to pivot and block measures that expand gun owners’ rights. 

Word on the Hill: Sanders’ Book
A former speaker celebrates his birthday today

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will be promoting his new book. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In” by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former presidential hopeful, came out this week.

The hardcover version is currently selling on Amazon.com for $16.20.

Tuesday Trivia: Congressional Campaign Edition
How well do you know who's running for Congress?

State Sen. Jamie Raskin is the Democratic nominee in Maryland's 8th Congressional District (Courtesy Jamie Raskin Facebook page)

For this recess trivia, we're going all congressional campaigns.

In the Republican primary in Kansas' 1st Congressional District on Tuesday, Roger Marshall, the candidate challenging three-term Rep. Tim Huelskamp, uses the slogan “the conservative who delivers” to describe himself. That’s because Marshall has worked as….  

Gun Violence Takes Center Stage at Democratic Convention
Activists sense a sea change in momentum around the issue

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, seen here with her husband Mark Kelly, will address the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/ Roll Call)

PHILADELPHIA — Every couple of minutes, it seems to Daniel Hernandez, someone stops him to ask about gun violence.  

Hernandez is a former intern for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He helped save the Arizona Democrat's life after she was shot in the head at a constituent event in 2011.