Orrin G Hatch

A Visit to the Balkans Casts Light on the Divisions in America
Balkan-like partisanship in the U.S. set to get more intense, experts say

The “Warrior on a Horse” statue in downtown Skopje, Macedonia. American politics has increasingly taken on a Balkan flavor with party affiliation coming in the way of finding policy solutions. (Boris Grdanoski/AP file photo)

SKOPJE, Macedonia — A statue depicting an ancient soldier, thrusting a sword skyward, on horseback, rises in the main square here. Across the Macedonian capital’s famed Stone Bridge is another, of Philip II, urging on his son.

But locals are quick to provide visitors to the Balkan nation this advice: Whatever you do, “do not” refer to the equine-mounted fighter as Alexander the Great. The statue is known simply as “Warrior on a Horse.” For now, at least.

When Things Get Heated in the Hearing Room
Strzok shouting match is hardly the first time emotions have erupted in the paneled recesses of the Capitol

Posters depicting the men who have pleaded guilty in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe are displayed alongside Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., as he gives his opening statement Thursday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

FBI agent Peter Strzok felt the heat at Thursday’s House Oversight and Judiciary hearing, as tempers flared and points of order flew.  

Chairman Trey Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, brought the interrogative theatrics. “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok,” the South Carolina Republican told the witness, who was removed from the bureau’s Russia probe last year over politically charged texts.

Kavanaugh’s Health Care Positions Hint at Future Abortion Views
Trump’s pick said 2010 health care law was a substantial burden on religious employers

Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in June. President Donald Trump’s latest nominee to the court has the support of anti-abortion groups and could play a key role in attempts to overturn Roe v. Wade. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The prior positions on health care cases by Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, hint at his potential future positions if confirmed to the court.

Kavanaugh, a conservative judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, has the support of anti-abortion groups and could play a key role in attempts to limit or overturn the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade case, as a number of abortion cases make their way through the lower courts. Roe v. Wade upheld the constitutional right to an abortion, with the court finding that a right to privacy extended to a woman’s right to an abortion.

Photos of the Week: Summer Arrives in Earnest on Capitol Hill
The week of June 25 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., takes a shot as the Democratic team captain Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., looks on from the golf cart during the First Tee’s Congressional Challenge annual golf tournament at the Columbia Country Club golf course Monday. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

Congress has left town for the 4th of July recess week. As the jet fumes fade, the heat is up in the swamp with temperatures expected in the high 90s. We hope your air conditioner is functioning properly.

Before lawmakers left, the Senate passed several appropriations bills, but the process could slow as the chamber’s focus will presumably shift toward a possible Supreme Court nominee. (President Donald Trump is reportedly considering names now.)

The IRS Tax Collector Cometh
Trump pick to lead agency closer to confirmation

Charles Rettig is President Donald Trump's nominee to be Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the IRS, longtime tax lawyer Charles Rettig, breezed through his confirmation hearing Thursday with the Senate Finance Committee.

Senators on both sides mostly questioned Rettig about his views on tax administration issues, including the agency’s work to implement the new tax law. Rettig, who is currently with the Beverly Hills-based firm Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, PC, largely escaped the sort of grilling that many of Trump’s nominees for high-level posts have faced in the past.

Senate Judiciary Advances Music Bill Plugged by Smokey Robinson
Motown icon had urged the committee to pay musicians for oldies

Recording artist Smokey Robinson, left, urges lawmakers in May to compensate musicians for older works. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved by voice vote Thursday a proposal endorsed by a Motown legend. The measure would extend federal protections to songs recorded before 1972. It would also streamline the music licensing process and help streaming music companies head off copyright infringement lawsuits.

Chairman Charles E. Grassley said after the committee markup that he hoped to work out differences of an offset for the music licensing bill and other issues before Senate floor action on the measure. The Iowa Republican said he would work with other supporters to “get it scheduled” on the floor.

At the Races: Checkmate for the King of Queens
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

Welcome to At the Races! You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter by subscribing here. We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. —Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman

Mitt Romney: Future Force in the Senate or Just Another Freshman?
GOP senators expect Romney to enter the Senate with influence

Romney won the GOP primary on Tuesday for the Utah Senate race, and is favored to win the general election in November. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It is not every day that voters have the chance to elect a freshman senator with an outsize national profile like that of Mitt Romney.

In fact, you might have to go back to the year 2000, when first lady Hillary Clinton was first running for Senate in New York.

Romney, Thorn in Trump’s Side, Wins GOP Senate Nod in Utah
Some Republicans already envision him creating a new ‘power center’ in chamber

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, shown here in 2012, is poised for a political comeback after winning the GOP primary for Senate in Utah. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is poised for a political comeback, winning Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary in Utah.

With 56 percent of precincts reporting, Romney led state Rep. Mike Kennedy, 76 percent to 24 percent, when The Associated Press called the race. Kennedy had narrowly defeated Romney at the GOP convention in April.

Waters Urges More Protests Like Sanders at Restaurant, Others Plead for Civility
White House press secretary was asked to leave Virginia restaurant after protesters chanted DHS director out of another

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., urged supporters to protest Trump administration officials in public and refuse them service at restaurants and other local businesses. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

At least one Democratic lawmaker is encouraging her supporters to rise up in spontaneous protest and refuse service to members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet, the way press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was ousted from a Lexington, Virginia, restaurant last week.

But other Democrats decried the episode, urging their constituents not to discriminate against patrons, even if they disagree with their politics.