Illinois

Pentagon Leaders Say Soft Power Central to ISIS Strategy
Mattis, Dunford pitch appropriators on supplemental funding proposal

Defense Secretary James Mattis says soft power is key to defeating terrorists abroad. ( Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Pentagon leaders on Wednesday stressed the importance of diplomacy in the fight against the Islamic State but sidestepped questions from Senate appropriators about the Trump administration’s proposed 29 percent cut to the State Department and other foreign operations accounts in fiscal 2018.

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford pitched lawmakers on the military’s $30 billion request for supplemental funding for fiscal 2017, as well as the planned $54 billion boost to defense accounts proposed for next year, arguing that military readiness has been depleted after 16 years of war.

Nuclear Option Looms as Supreme Court Hearings Wrap Up
Senators ready to blame opposing party for any upending of Senate rules

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch testifies on the second day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

With Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings wrapping up, senators will soon confront whether his nomination will upend Senate rules.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet said  whether he would move to change Senate rules that currently require 60 votes to end debate on Gorsuch’s nomination. If eight members of the Democratic caucus do not join the 52 Republicans to move the nomination forward, McConnell could move to change the rules, lowering the threshold to a simple majority.

Vulnerable Senate Democrats Stand Firm in Opposing GOP Health Care Plan
Senators in tight races are making a moral argument against the bill

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin III talks with constituents during a town hall meeting in Martinsburg, W.Va., last week. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Senate Democrats up for re-election in Republican-leaning states are united in opposition to the GOP health care plan.

For them, overhauling the health care system is not just about policy. It’s a matter of right and wrong.

Bennet Faces Colorado Blitz on Supreme Court Nominee
Colorado Democrat could help GOP move Neil Gorsuch’s nomination

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet introduced Judge Neil Gorsuch at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Michael Bennet is facing pressure to support his home state’s Supreme Court nominee not just from Republicans, but also from one of Colorado’s most popular figures, Denver Broncos great John Elway.

Shortly before the Colorado Democrat was set to introduce Judge Neil Gorsuch at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Monday, the appellate judge’s publicity team released a letter that the revered former quarterback and current Broncos’ general manager sent to the committee in favor of Gorsuch’s nomination. 

Word on the Hill: Gorsuch on Snapchat
Albright, spottings, and grad school

Monday's snapchat filter from the NRSC. (Photo courtesy of the NRSC)

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has decided to have some fun with Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination hearings.

The NRSC launched a Snapchat filter series in support of Gorsuch, and a new filter will be unveiled each day that you can use if you’re in the area. The committee asks that you send your photographs with the filter to ‘TheNRSC’ on Snapchat.

Gorsuch: Judges Aren’t ‘Politicians in Robes’
SCOTUS nominee tries to ease concerns about his legal philosophy

Judge Neil Gorsuch takes his seat for the first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings on Monday for his Supreme Court nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Judge Neil Gorsuch used family details to introduce himself to the country Monday on the opening day of his Supreme Court confirmation hearing, and sought to ease Democrats’ concerns about his legal philosophy.

In his opening statement, Gorsuch spoke of starting off married life with his wife, Louise, in a small apartment. The federal appeals court judge shared his favorite memories of his teenage daughters, such as bathing chickens for the county fair. The Colorado native mentioned his father’s lessons that kindness is a great virtue and there are few experiences closer to God than wading in a trout stream.

Trump Defense Boost Would Mean Big Gains for Some States
Democrats likely to hold line for parity with nondefense programs

Brian Schatz, whose state of Hawaii is the No. 3 recipient of per-capita defense spending, says there must be parity in domestic spending to go with any boost to national security programs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A request from the Trump administration for a double-digit increase in defense spending could be largely decided by lawmakers whose states are far from equal players when it comes to the benefits of a bigger military budget.

That’s long been the case, as geographic, historic and strategic differences across the country result in more of an economic boost in certain states. But the differences are even more starkly displayed in a new Pew Charitable Trusts analysis that shows the funding split across all 50 states and the District of Columbia on a per-capita basis.

‘What Does It Mean?’ West Virginians Weigh GOP Health Care Plan
Voters at town hall meeting wanted to know more about the overhaul

Stephanie Frederickson, right, and Diane Hughes, who spoke about their experience with medical coverage under the 2010 health care law, listen to Sen. Joe Manchin during a town hall meeting in Martinsburg, W.Va. on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Diane Hughes took the microphone, looked down at the paper in front of her and said, “I’m nervous and I don’t like politics, but here it goes.”

Hughes was among the West Virginia residents gathered at the Robert C. Byrd Health Science Center here on Thursday for a town hall meeting on the Republican plan to overhaul the 2010 health care law. The meeting’s organizers had asked her to share her story, and she admitted she was initially reluctant to do so.

Members See Green
How they’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney at a previous St. Patrick’s Day celebration. (Photo courtesy of Maloney’s office)

It’s St. Patrick’s Day and plenty of members of Congress are celebrating their heritage.

On Thursday, many showed up at the office by wearing Irish flag ties, green blazers, dresses, and accessories.

Funeral Announced for Rep. Bobby Rush’s Wife
Carolyn Rush passed away on Monday

Services for the wife of Rep. Bobby Rush's, D-Ill., center, wife will take place next week in Chicago. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Funeral services were announced Wednesday for Carolyn Rush, wife of Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby L. Rush.

The congressman announced on Monday that his wife had passed away at 68 of congestive heart failure.