rhode island

Ratings Changes: Duking It Out in Six Gubernatorial Races
State races could have national impact

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has won three statewide elections, including a recall contest, but his race for a third term is likely to get more competitive, Gonzales writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

While most of the national attention is on the fight for Congress and President Donald Trump’s tweets, this year is also huge for gubernatorial races, providing an opportunity for Democrats to bounce back from a couple of disappointing cycles.

Republicans are defending 26 of their 33 governorships this year, while Democrats are defending nine of their 16 governorships. One independent governor in Alaska is up for re-election as well.

Former Coal Lobbyist Confirmed as Pruitt’s Deputy at EPA
Heitkamp and Manchin join Republicans on vote

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt now has a deputy — a former fossil fuel lobbyist — after a Senate confirmation vote Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate has confirmed former fossil fuel lobbyist Andrew Wheeler as deputy EPA administrator, providing a second-in-command for Administrator Scott Pruitt as he struggles amid alleged ethical failings.

Wheeler was confirmed Thursday with a 53-45 vote. Some Democrats hoped Pruitt’s difficulties would give them the votes to block the confirmation, but their efforts were not enough. Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia joined Republicans in voting for Wheeler. Both are running for re-election this year in states won by President Donald Trump.

Dems Question Scott Pruitt Death Threats; Barrasso Rejects Hearing
EPA chief's security concerns questioned

Senate Democrats question whether EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is embellishing death threats to justify heightened security details and want to question him in a hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso of Wyoming said he will not hold oversight hearings to examine alleged ethical lapses by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, including on exorbitant spending on security.

Two top Democrats on the committee, ranking member Thomas R. Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, on Tuesday demanded such hearings, saying they have confidential documents that contradict public statements made by Pruitt, EPA spokespersons and President Donald Trump regarding the administrator’s security spending.

Cochran’s Scheduler Opened His First Office and Will Close His Last
Doris Wagley reflects on her 45 years working for the Mississippi Republican

Scheduler Doris Wagley is clearing out the Dirksen Building office of her longtime boss, Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran’, who resigned April 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Few people could claim seniority over former Sen. Thad Cochran. Doris Wagley, who was his scheduler since before he was sworn in to the House in 1973, is one of them.

“I showed up at 9 o’clock. He was there, but he didn’t take his oath in the House until 12 noon. So he started talking about me having three-hour seniority over him,” Wagley said.

Hundreds of Former Staffers Urge Senate to Act on Sexual Harassment
Senate leadership to receive letter following recess

Congress Too wants to keep the momentum to address sexual harassment strong on Capitol Hill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Over 600 former staffers have signed a letter urging Senate leadership to consider legislation that would address sexual harassment on Capitol Hill. That number continued to grow Friday morning.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, Rules Committee Chairman Richard Shelby and ranking member Amy Klobuchar will receive the letter early next week, coinciding with the Senate’s return.

Trump’s Idea for Military to Secure Border Is Complicated
President could face congressional and legal stumbling blocks

President Donald Trump speaks during a joint news conference Tuesday with Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid, Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite in the East Room of the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Updated 9:14 p.m. | President Donald Trump said Tuesday he would use the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, a complicated plan that could require him to declare a national emergency to avoid running afoul of a federal law that prohibits the military from acting as a police force.

Top Democrats: Diverting Pentagon Dollars to Build the Wall Would Be Illegal
Request opinion from Defense Secretary Mattis

Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said Monday that President Donald Trump's administration lacks authority to divert Defense Department money for the wall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s top Democrats overseeing the Pentagon said Monday that President Donald Trump has no authority to divert defense funds to pay for construction of a wall along the border with Mexico, and that administration officials might put themselves in legal jeopardy if they were to do so.

Democratic Sens. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Jack Reed of Rhode Island outlined their analysis in a letter to Defense Secretary James Mattis. The senators requested that Mattis respond as to whether or not the Pentagon agrees.

Whitehouse: EPA’s Pruitt Took Security Detail to Rose Bowl, Disneyland
New information raises more questions about Trump administration officials’ spending of taxpayer money

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wants to know why “significant agency resources are being devoted to administrator [Scott] Pruitt’s ’round-the-clock security, even when he is traveling on non-official business.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has used EPA-funded security for personal trips, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse wrote in a letter to the agency’s inspector general.

Pruitt took his security detail with him to his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma; a family vacation at Disneyland in California; and the 2018 Rose Bowl game, Whitehouse wrote in the letter obtained by CNN.

Blue and Purple States Set to Lose Clout Under Trump Census Move
Allocation of congressional seats would be affected for a decade

Protesters rally on March 13 outside the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown hotel where President Donald Trump was staying. California has more undocumented immigrants than any other state, and even a small undercount of its population could cost it a House seat. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

Assertions of bald political skullduggery on one side, and protecting voting rights on the other, are obscuring a core consequence of the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question on the next census.

Posing such a query will likely reshuffle the allocation of congressional seats for the coming decade.

Democrats Notching Key Legislative Victories Ahead of Elections
Members hope achievements can drive support among voters in rural states

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, is one of several moderate Democrats in the chamber who have notched key legislative victories under President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Moderate Senate Democrats on the ballot in 2018 are racking up a number of key legislative victories in advance of what is expected to be a bitter midterm election cycle.

The successes, on bills ranging from veterans’ issues to bank regulation and tax credits for so-called clean coal technology, are the kind that can drive support among voters in the rural states that many of these members call home.