Florida

Photos of the Week: Puppies, Pence and Press Conferences
The week of Feb. 13 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., speaks with reporters after the Senate policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As a resignation and withdrawn Cabinet nominee rocked the White House this week, Congress was at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue proceeding through consideration of several other Cabinet nominees, debating Obamacare alternatives and much more. 

On the lighter side of this Valentine's Day week, some pets up for adoption stopped by the Capitol to bring love to staffers and members alike.

White House Watch: For Trump, Back to What Worked
 

Fight for the House Centers on Five States
More than one-third of targeted districts reside in a handful of states

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján is tasked with leading House Democrats back to the majority, including picking up handfuls of seats in a few key states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Both parties haven’t wasted any time unveiling their House target lists for next year’s midterm elections, and a few states have emerged as early battlegrounds. 

At the end of January, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee released an ambitious list of 59 Republican-held districts, followed by the National Republican Congressional Committee’s ambitious list of 36 Democratic-held districts just more than a week later.

Trump Comes Out Swinging Against Familiar Foes
Ignoring stumbles, president says administration is a ‘fine-tuned machine’

President Donald Trump focused on familiar targets in his news conference on Thursday. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Thursday handed the Senate a new Labor secretary nominee who has previously been approved by the chamber three times — but he used the next 75 minutes to rouse his base and goad his critics. 

Trump walked into the East Room of the White House and announced that Alexander Acosta, a former assistant attorney general, will be his second pick to run the Labor Department after fast-food mogul Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination on Wednesday.

Word on the Hill: Trailblazer Awards
Astronaut is testifying in the House

Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will receive a Trailblazer Award from the Congressional Black Associates. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

This Black History Month, the Congressional Black Associates will honor five people for their contributions to the community in their annual Trailblazer Awards ceremony.

This year’s awardees are Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., and Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black, and Hill veterans Michael McQuerry, Jaqueline Ellis (posthumously) and Jennifer DeCasper.

LGBT Staff Association Strives for More Diversity
New president Todd Sloves said the association has taken steps for Republicans to be comfortable

Todd Sloves, the new president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, says his group is hoping to diversify its ranks with more women, people of color and Republicans. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Todd Sloves, the new president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, said only in a group like his would adding Republicans be considered part of a diversity effort.

“We are now starting to get into a time when LGBT folks come to work on the Hill — [they] are Republicans, are working for Republicans, and don’t feel like they have to keep that a secret,” said Sloves, 31. “Obviously, it’s a case-by-case basis but I think that’s a sign of the fact that we no longer put out this impression that we are a Democrats-only group.”

Puzder Is First Trump Nominee Spiked by GOP
Votes just weren’t there for fast-food tycoon

Andrew Puzder, left was the first of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees to not get enough Republican votes for confirmation. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The withdrawal of Andrew Puzder’s nomination to be Labor secretary represents a milestone in the nascent Trump administration: the first time congressional Republicans played a significant part in spiking a Donald Trump Cabinet pick. 

The nomination of the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which runs the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s chains, had been plagued by scandal, including revelations he had employed an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper and failed to pay taxes on her, as well as the fallout from a 1987 divorce that brought up allegations of domestic violence against him.

Republicans Identify Vulnerable Members for 2018
NRCC announces initial round of Patriot Program

Minnesota freshman Rep. Jason Lewis is part of the NRCC’s initial Patriot Program. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Republican Congressional Committee has named 10 members to its Patriot Program for incumbents who are expected to face tough re-election races in 2018.

“Our Patriots are a group of battle-tested members who won hard-fought races in 2016 and are ready to win once again,” Rep. Steve Stivers, the NRCC chairman, said in a statement Wednesday. 

Gaetz's Bill to Abolish EPA Gets Little Traction
Environmental activists more concerned about the agency’s nominee for director

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., right, gets a fist bump from freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., after Ryan was re-elected to the top spot in the House. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz’s bill to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency is not getting much traction in either party.

And with the freshman’s bill going against the grain of the respect for the environment in the state, he’s not getting much support from his Florida colleagues in Congress, either, the Palm Beach Post reported.

For the GOP, a Dangerous Gamble on the All-Important Town Hall
Old-school constituent connections work best, but the anger is proving tough to withstand

Police escort California Rep. Tom McClintock through a town-hall audience in Roseville, California, last Saturday. (Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

Consider 10 and 19 as two more figures that help illustrate the risky congressional Republican strategies of passivity, defensiveness and avoidance during the first month of the Trump administration.

Ten is the total number of GOP lawmakers who have town hall meetings scheduled next week, the longest period Congress will be back home since the inauguration.