Rob Portman

Looking for Clues From a 2005 Special Election in Ohio
Instead of comparing Democratic enthusiasm to tea party, go further back in time

Democrat Paul Hackett narrowly lost a special election in a heavily Republican district in Ohio in 2005. (Mike Simons/Getty Images file photo)

Are Democrats in the early stages of their own tea party movement? It’s one of the biggest outstanding questions at this point in the cycle. But as we collectively look at the past for prologue, I don’t understand why our memories only go back eight years.

There was a time, not too long ago, when Democrats were out of the White House and in the minority in both chambers of Congress, and a demoralizing presidential election loss helped jump-start a movement back to the majority.

Senators Have Serious Issues With House GOP Health Care Bill
Portman, Capito among those voicing concerns over Medicaid provisions

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Rob Portman discussed Medicaid expansion during a meeting on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican senators are increasingly talking about the prospect of needing to amend the House’s health care law replacement bill.

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune said it was entirely possible the Senate would amend the GOP health care bill through the budget reconciliation process on the floor.

GOP Senators Threaten Obamacare Repeal Effort
Four senators voiced concerns, which would be enough to block the GOP bill

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, raised concerns about addressing the Medicaid expansion. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BY BRIDGET BOWMAN AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ ROLL CALL

Four Republican senators have raised concerns about a House GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  And that could threaten the fate of the plan in the Senate.

Analysis: How Rank-and-File Republicans Overruled Trump on Sessions Recusal
Leaders provided cover, but other GOP members forced AG to stand down

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley had some discreet advice for his former Senate colleague, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

On “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump told winning contestants, “You’re hired.” But it was congressional Republican lawmakers who overruled the new president and told Attorney General Jeff Sessions, “You’re relieved.” 

As pressure mounted on Sessions over his campaign-season meetings with Russia’s ambassador to Washington, Sergey Kislyak, the president expressed his “total” confidence in the former Alabama senator. Republican leaders provided Sessions cover. But Trump’s view was not enough to keep Sessions involved in any Justice Department investigation involving Trump’s campaign and its contacts with Russian officials.

Sessions Recuses Himself From Russia Investigation
AG’s move follows Republican recusal calls, Democrats say he should resign

Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes questions during a news conference on Thursday after he announced he would recuse himself from investigations into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian entities. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Updated 5:03 p.m. | Attorney General Jeff Sessions will recuse himself from any investigation into ties between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, he said Thursday.

The attorney general had been dogged all day by calls from some Republicans to step aside from any inquiry — and from Democrats for him to resign — following reports that he had met with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. last year, despite saying he had not in his confirmation hearings.

A NewDEAL for Democrats — and the Nation
The way to win elections and drive the policy agenda

Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, center, writes that Democratic messaging should start with policies implemented by pro-growth progressives across the country. (Photo courtesy Sittenfeld for Cincinnati)

November’s election ripped off the Band-Aid covering a long-worsening wound for Democrats. Control of the White House made it easier for members of our party to brush off dramatic down-ballot losses the past six years. Now it is clearer to everyone that the picture is bleak.

Fewer states are positioned to counter the agenda of a Trump administration and a Republican Congress, and we are in desperate need of new Democratic voices to rise up the political ranks and lead our party at all levels of government.

Word on the Hill: Look Back on the Obama Years
Taste of Japan and new BBQ burgers

The Smithsonian Channel will air a documentary about former President Barack Obama next month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Miss him yet? A documentary about former President Barack Obama is coming out soon. 

A special private screening of “The Obama Years: The Power of Words” takes place this evening at 7:15 p.m. at the National Museum of American History.

Republicans Distance Themselves From Trump’s Putin Comments
Comes after Trump compares U.S. to Russian ‘killers’

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., criticized President Donald Trump's remarks about Russia without mentioning his name. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican lawmakers are trying to distance themselves from President Donald Trump’s recent comments about Russia and the United States.

During an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Trump said he respected Russian President Vladimir Putin. When O’Reilly asserted, “But [Putin] is a killer,” Trump responded, “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country’s so innocent?”

Congress Threatens Legislation to Keep Russia Sanctions
John McCain, Adam Schiff and Rob Portman in no mood to make nice

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is in no mood for talk about warmer relations with Russia. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle pushed back hard at hints that President Donald Trump would lift economic sanctions against Russia.

Appearing alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Trump said it was “very early to be talking about” lifting sanctions on Russia, a point echoed by May. But the reports of the White House drafting executive actions to do that haven’t gone away, and Trump didn’t do much to dispel them himself as he prepares for a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

Tax Overhaul, Regulatory Rollbacks Fuel K Street Lobbyists
Lobbying expenditures expected to increase in 2017

Lobbyists say the top policy matters for this year include dismantling the 2010 health care law and the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Debates over health care, tax policy and government spending fueled the biggest spenders on K Street in 2016, as groups now ramp up their lobbying on rolling back regulations from the Obama era and on a major tax overhaul during the Trump administration.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its affiliated Institute for Legal Reform spent more than $100 million last year seeking to influence numerous policy debates on trade, taxes, health care, labor and environmental regulations, according to lobbying disclosures filed by Monday night with Congress. It was an uptick from the chamber’s 2015 spending of $85 million and is a reflection that the group, unlike most on K Street, includes its political and grass-roots work on federal lobbying reports.