Nebraska

Number of Pregnant Women Abusing Opioids Skyrockets
Vermont and West Virginia most affected

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., speaks during a Senate Democrats' news conference on the impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act on the opioid epidemic on Tuesday, May 16, 2017. His home state is one of the worst affected in the CDC's findings. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The number of women giving birth with opioid use disorder quadrupled between 1999 and 2014, a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

The increase underscores the severity of the country’s opioid epidemic as a legislative package aimed at helping states curb addiction rates idles in the Senate. Newborns exposed to drugs while in the womb can suffer severe complications, including withdrawal, preterm birth and death.

Photos of the Week: Senate Summer Session Commences, and Breaks
The week of July 30 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., jokes with Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, as he walks down the Senate steps after the last vote of the week in the Senate on Wednesday. Risch was posing for a photo with interns on the steps. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate was at work this week passing a four-bill spending package, which completes the chamber’s 12 appropriations bills for the year. The House got its first week of summer recess under its belt, and by the end of the week, the Senate joined them. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is allowing for a truncated recess, with senators in their home states next week but expected back on the Hill on Wednesday, Aug. 15. 

Democrats Announce New Red to Blue Female Candidates
Two candidates beat previous DCCC picks

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee named Lucy McBath, who is challenging Rep. Karen Handel, R-Ga., above, to its Red to Blue Program. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on Wednesday added four women to its Red to Blue program for strong challengers, bringing the total number of candidates on the list to 63.  

Some of the new candidates have gained national attention.

Senate Passes Spending Package, Rejects Trump’s Proposed Cuts
Chamber has now passed seven of the 12 annual spending bills

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., has shepherded a largely bipartisan appropriations process, pushing forward a four-package spending measure on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved a $154.2 billion, four-bill fiscal 2019 spending package Wednesday as a continuing bipartisan effort in the chamber pushed it ahead of the House in the appropriations process.

The vote was 92-6. Republicans cast the opposing votes: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Senate Honors Trailblazing Women in Computer Science
Ada Lovelace, Grace Hopper recognized by chamber

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined with his colleague Deb Fischer, R-Neb., to honor the two computer science pioneers. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tucked away amid the back and forth of appropriations debate last week, the Senate honored two female trailblazers in math and computer science, adopting resolutions recognizing Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper.

Sponsored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden and Nebraska Republican Deb Fischer, the measures would designate Oct. 9, 2018, as “National Ada Lovelace Day” and honor the life and legacy of Hopper.

Midwest Lawmakers United Against Tariffs as Trump Unveils Farm Bailout
Administration wants to send $12 billion to farmers affected by trade war with China, EU

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said the White House's $12 billion agriculture bailout was like a pair of "gold crutches" after tariffs cut off farmers’ legs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers from the Midwest are sticking together in their criticism of President Donald Trump for the White House’s bailout proposal for farmers acutely feeling the recoil of a trade war the president himself started.

Across party and ideological lines, senators and House members from Wisconsin, Illinois, Nebraska, Ohio, and elsewhere across the Midwest assailed Trump’s plan to send an additional $12 billion to farmers affected by Chinese and European counter-tariffs on U.S. agriculture.

Do-Nothing Amendments Give Lawmakers Bragging Opportunity About Successes
Provisions have no real-world impact

Rep. Tom O’Halleran, D-Ariz., is among the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents this midterm cycle. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The House adopted amendments on a two-bill spending package last week purporting to redirect sums ranging from $100,000 to study the impact of a mineral found to cause cracking in concrete home foundations, to $36 million for “public safety and justice facility construction” at the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

There’s just one catch: the provisions simply give the illusion of moving money around — with no real-world impact on agency funding priorities. The net financial impact of all 14 such amendments considered during debate on the $58.7 billion Interior-Environment and Financial Services measure — out of 87 total floor amendments on the bill — was precisely zero.

Charlie Palmer Steak, Men’s Wearhouse – When PACs Pick Up Lawmaker Tabs
Report: Congress members and Candidates spend megabucks in predictable places

Charlie Palmer’s, a white-tablecloth steakhouse steps from the Senate office building, was the favorite D.C. dining destination for politicians using money from leadership PACs, according to a watchdog report. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Want to know how to live like a Washington insider? You could do worse than peruse the latest report on improper spending in Congress. 

One takeaway: From dining to hotels to shopping, D.C. politicians do not opt for adventure, at least when someone else is paying the tab. 

Opinion: The Grand Old Patsies
Few Republicans dare to criticize Trump over his behavior toward Putin

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., was among the Republican lawmakers who did not criticize the president directly after the Helsinki summit. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Commenting after President Donald Trump’s performance in Helsinki, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell observed, “I have said a number of times, I’ll say it again: The Russians are not our friends. And I entirely believe the assessment of our intelligence community.”

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander said in a release, “There is no doubt that Russia interfered in our 2016 presidential election.”

In Mop-Up Mode, Trump Says He Accepts That Russia Meddled
President contends he has faith in U.S. intelligence agencies

President Donald Trump waves whilst playing a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort during his first official visit to the United Kingdom on Sunday. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he accepts the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the 2016 American election, but it is unclear if his mea culpa will be enough to assuage frustrated lawmakers.

He told reporters he has “full faith” in America’s intel apparatus a day after he sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials that his country interfered in the 2016 election that Trump won in a major upset. The president also claimed he misspoke in Finland when he said he saw no reason to believe Moscow meddled in the election.