Missouri

Election assistance agency pleads for more money ahead of 2020
“What we are working on is the infrastructure of our democracy”

Senate Rules Chairman Roy Blunt noted Wednesday that budget cuts at the Election Assistance Commission came during the Obama administration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Officials from the Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency responsible for overseeing voting machines used in thousands of jurisdictions across the country and helping states adopt good election administration practices, pleaded with lawmakers for more money to do their jobs ahead of the 2020 elections.

The federal agency is working with a staff and budget that are about half what they were 10 years ago, officials said Wednesday as lawmakers grappled with how to beef up the agency.

FAA Nominee Faces Questions Over Boeing at Confirmation Hearing

Stephen Dickson, nominee to be administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, testifies during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Former Delta Air Lines executive Stephen Dickson told lawmakers he would review the system used by the Federal Aviation Administration to certify the safety of aircraft and over-reliance on automation by pilots if he is confirmed to lead the agency.

“I would never certify an airplane I wouldn’t put my family on,” Dickson told lawmakers at the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, where he appeared Wednesday for his confirmation hearing.

Legal battle heats up as more states test strict abortion bans
Other states are already pursuing and defending laws to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy

Pro-choice protesters shout at pro-life protesters outside of the Supreme Court June 26, 2018. Alabama’s new abortion law, which would essentially ban abortion in most cases, could open the door to restrictions in other states — even though they will all likely be challenged in court. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Advocates are preparing for a legal battle after Alabama passed the strictest abortion bill in the country late Tuesday, part of a growing national push by abortion opponents to test whether the courts will curb constitutional protections for the procedure.

Alabama’s move, which would essentially ban abortion in most cases, could open the door to restrictions in other states — even though they will all likely be challenged in court. Other states are already pursuing and defending laws to ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.

Grasswho? Members raised hundreds of thousands, almost none from small donors
Democrats tout small-dollar contributions as grassroots support, but several raised less than $400 that way

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., received less than $200 in donations too small to require the donor’s name to be disclosed, a metric some tout as an indicator of grassroots support. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have long touted the importance of raising small amounts of money from a large number of donors as a sign of political strength on the campaign trail and in Congress.

But recent campaign finance disclosures show some lawmakers — from both parties — raised next to no money from so-called small donors in the first three months of 2019 for their campaign accounts. The names of contributors giving less than $200 in the aggregate do not have to be included in reports to the Federal Election Commission, but the total received from all those “unitemized” contributions is disclosed.

Oval Office obsessions from a crew with little experience, much ambition
Large Democratic field sends a message that only the presidency matters

When John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson ran for the presidency in 1960, the Democratic field was large but consisted of several power brokers. The same goes for the GOP field in 1968. The large Democratic field for 2020, much like the GOP field in 2016, consists of several candidates short on experience but long on ambition, Rothenberg writes. Above, Kennedy and Johnson with Speaker Sam Rayburn in 1961. (CQ Roll Call file photo).

OPINION — In the 1960 Democratic presidential race, there were a handful of contenders, including Sens. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota and Stuart Symington of Missouri. Others, including Florida Sen. George Smathers and California Gov. Pat Brown, ran as “favorite sons.”

The 1968 Republican presidential field included former Vice President Richard Nixon, and Govs. George Romney of Michigan, Ronald Reagan of California and Nelson Rockefeller of New York. The GOP contest also featured favorite sons, including Govs. Jim Rhodes of Ohio and John Volpe of Massachusetts.

10 images that define the week in Washington
The week of May 6 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. Billy Long, R-Mo., shows off his $45 Trump bills after participating in a press conference on national security outside of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Another week in Washington has come to close. Lawmakers spent the first week of May holding hearings on the fallout of the Mueller report and honoring fallen law enforcement officers. 

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President Donald Trump’s my-way-or-the-highway negotiating style was on full display this week, John T. Bennett writes. But the president is set to end the week with little gained on some big campaign promises.

Elizabeth Warren releases opioid plan ahead of Appalachian campaign stops
Legislation would authorize $100 billion over 10 years to tackle multiple aspects of the epidemic

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has unveiled legislation to address the opioid crisis, which she will address in her capacity as a presidential candidate. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren rolled out Wednesday a revised version of her bill to aggressively ramp up funding to combat the opioid crisis in anticipation of a series of town halls the Democratic presidential contender plans to hold starting this week.

Life expectancy for Americans has dropped for three consecutive years, and drug overdoses are one of the top factors. Warren has been active on the addiction issue — especially speaking out against opioid manufacturers over their role in the crisis and pursuing funding increases to combat the health epidemic.

Jeff Sessions, Doug Jones ring in happy birthday for Richard Shelby

A bipartisan group of senators, and one prominent ex-senator, wished Richard Shelby a happy birthday on Monday. (Jennifer Shutt/CQ Roll Call)

The hallways outside the Senate Appropriations Committee filled with the Happy Birthday song Monday afternoon as dozens of senators and staff gathered to wish Chairman Richard C. Shelby a happy 85th birthday.

The closed-door event included coconut cake, champagne and red napkins that read “Happy Birthday Senator Richard Shelby!”

Mental health clinics wait on Congress
If federal lawmakers don’t renew a promising program before the end of June, it will be up to the states to find the money

Sen. Debbie Stabenow is leading the charge in the Senate to renew a promising mental health program. The clock is ticking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The promise of higher federal Medicaid payments is giving eight states the chance to show that one-stop mental health clinics with 24-hour crisis care could offer patients a better option than the de facto safety net of police departments and emergency rooms.

But the two-year experiment is drawing to a close now, leaving the program with an uncertain future if Congress doesn’t extend it.

Klobuchar finds Attorney General Barr unaware of major election security legislation
Minnesota Democrat presses for Justice Department support for bipartisan plan that's stalled

Attorney General William Barr takes his seat before the start of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the “Department of Justice’s Investigation of Russian Interference with the 2016 Presidential Election.“(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that he was not familiar with the Senate’s bipartisan effort to enhance the security of election systems ahead of 2020.

Barr had not yet returned to the Department of Justice when, last year, the Senate Rules and Administration Committee abruptly cancelled a markup of a bipartisan bill known as the Secure Elections Act.