Massachusetts

Russia Portfolio Comes in Handy for Senate Staffer
Shaheen aide Naz Durakoglu comes via Atlantic Council, State Dept., House

Naz Durakoglu is a senior foreign policy adviser to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Screenshot, Middle East Institute)

Naz Durakoglu started her new job working for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in early June, shortly after the New Hampshire Democrat had pushed to add Russia sanctions to an Iran sanctions bill as it moved through the Foreign Relations Committee.

But after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would move ahead with a bipartisan effort to tighten sanctions against Moscow, Shaheen withdrew her amendments. The timing, though, put Durakoglu, as a senior foreign policy adviser to Shaheen, in the middle of discussions about how to respond to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Opinion: Stuck on the Back Bench? Why Not Run for President
Last House member to win presidency was in 1880 — it was an accident

An engraving of President James A. Garfield’s assassination. Not since Garfield has a sitting House member so much as won an electoral vote in a presidential election. (Engraving from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper)

No sitting House member has won an electoral vote for president since 1880, when Ohio’s James A. Garfield captured the White House — and he didn’t even mean to run for the job.

In fact, the Ohio legislature had just voted to appoint Garfield to a Senate term — for which he would have been seated in March 1881 — when the GOP met in Chicago to pick its nominee for the presidency in the summer of 1880.

Moulton Wants to Change Status Quo by Electing More Vets
Massachusetts Democrat announces new vet endorsements

Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton is a Marine Corps veteran. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Seth Moulton hopes to make two dozen or so endorsements of military veterans challenging Republican House members this cycle.

The Massachusetts Democrat, himself a former Marine who served in Iraq, announced Wednesday he was backing Democratic military vets running for Congress in Minnesota, Kentucky, and West Virginia, joining the eight other endorsements he’s made so far this year.

Lobbyists Push GOP to Repeal Obamacare Fees in Tax Overhaul
Trade group is launching digital ad buys in key states

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch, seen here with Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow wants to look at a possible repeal of the 2010 health care law's taxes as part of a larger tax package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Republican effort to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature health care law may have stalled, but lobbyists are pushing the GOP to continue to target the provisions the industry most despises: the law’s taxes.

House and Senate Republicans hope to push forward on a tax overhaul when Congress returns in September, an item they previously delayed in favor of health care. Repealing the 2010 health care law and its corresponding taxes would have helped simplify the GOP’s upcoming work, but those hopes were deflated when the Senate did not pass a repeal bill last month.

Niki Tsongas Won’t Seek Re-Election in 2018
Her retirement opens up safe Democratic seat in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Rep. Niki Tsongas was first elected in 2007. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Massachusetts Rep. Niki Tsongas announced Wednesday she won’t be seeking a sixth full term in 2018.

“I have learned in life that there is a time for endings and for beginnings. After much thought, I have decided that this is one of those times,” Tsongas said in a statement. 

Opinion: Why HELP Could Be on the Way for Obamacare Recipients
Hopeful signs of bipartisan consensus on fixing health care markets

Senate HELP Committee leaders Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray could help spear bipartisan consensus in Congress for a short-term fix for Americans struggling to afford health insurance, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lamar Alexander had barely announced his plans to hold hearings next month on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on stabilizing the insurance markets for Obamacare when the idea started getting panned.

Keep in mind there are no specific hearings scheduled yet, no witnesses, no bill written, and few parameters of what is on or off the table. Alexander, the committee chairman, has only said that he wants a final product to be “small, bipartisan, and balanced,” but he hasn’t said what that means, other than flexibility for states and short-term triage for the exchanges.

Gillibrand Leads Democrats in Opposing Trump’s Nominees
Parties largely split along partisan lines on president’s pics

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, seen here with Gen. James Mattis in January prior to his confirmation as Defense secretary, has recorded the most votes opposing President Donald Trump’s nominees so far. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

On the last day before the August recess, the Senate confirmed 65 of President Donald Trump’s nominees with a single bipartisan voice vote.

That has been a marked difference from the way Democratic senators have approached Trump’s picks for his team. 

Bipartisan Health Care Work Taking Shape in Senate
Finance, HELP committees plan hearings after recess

Senate Finance Chairman Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, right, and ranking member Ron Wyden of Oregon will preside over health care hearings in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate Finance Committee is set to hold September hearings on proposals for overhauling federal health care policies, including a plan for reauthorizing a program that serves about 5.7 million children, according to Chairman Orrin G. Hatch announced Thursday.

The Finance panel is taking the same approach as the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, which also announced plans for bipartisan work after Republicans failed last week to advance a partisan measure to roll back much of the Democrats’ 2010 health care law. The HELP Committee plans to hold hearings the first week of September, after returning from the August recess.

Why Five Democrats Voted Against Confirming the New FBI Director
Reasons include Trump, ‘Bridgegate’ and warrantless surveillance

Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of five Democrats to oppose confirmation of Christopher Wray as FBI director. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Five Senate Democrats who voted against Christopher Wray’s confirmation as FBI director had all offered reasons why by Wednesday afternoon.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren focused on questions about Wray’s independence from President Donald Trump.

At the Races: Royce Challenger Gives Himself $2 Million Head Start
First woman Marine combat pilot challenges Barr in Kentucky; former Obama ambassador running in Colorado

California insurance executive Andy Thorburn kicked off his challenge to Republican Rep. Ed Royce with a $2 million loan to his campaign. (Andy Thorburn for Congress)

A new Democratic challenger to California Republican Rep. Ed Royce is kicking off his candidacy by pumping $2 million into his campaign and an ad with him being sent to jail.

Insurance executive Andy Thorburn released a video Tuesday announcing he would challenge Royce and that he is willing to use his personal wealth to back up his campaign. Thorburn told the Los Angeles Times that he had deferred running for office because of the difficulty of balancing campaigning and running his business, but the election of President Donald Trump changed that.