Senate

GOP Leadership Silent on Bannon’s Departure
Many House and Senate Republicans ignore White House chaos

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, right, often avoid addressing controversy surrounding the presidency of Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost two hours after news broke Friday that President Donald Trump decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  — at least at that moment — had another topic on his mind.

He retweeted a message that the chief executive sent out Friday morning, before Bannon’s ouster was reported, about elevating the country’s Cyber Command. McCarthy called it “the right move.”

Trump Is Quickly Running Out of GOP Factions to Alienate
Republican strategist: ‘He’s basically crossing out all of his allies’

President Donald Trump’s ouster of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is seen by some as his first major slight to his conservative base. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is running out of Republican Party factions to offend and alienate after firing Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist who was a bridge to the president’s conservative base.

Along with Friday’s blow to his base, a defensive and sometimes erratic Trump in the past few weeks alone has attacked once-supportive business leaders, GOP lawmakers and voters eager to distance themselves from far-right and white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’s also lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a key player in any effort to push forward his legislative agenda.

Middle Schoolers Teach Sen. Kennedy ‘It’s a Lot Harder to Be a Kid Today’
Freshman Louisiana Republican senator substitute teaches eighth grade class

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., teaches eighth-grade students about wetlands. (Sen. John Kennedy’s office)

If lawmakers thinking legislating is hard, try being a teacher — or a kid.

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., spent some time over August recess learning that lesson from his pre-voting age constituents.

Opinion: Corker Silent on Trump Renomination
Republicans may end up pushing him toward the exit

Sen. Bob Corker’s office had nothing to say when asked if the Tennessee Republican will support President Donald Trump’s renomination in 2020, Allen writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senator Bob Corker said Thursday he doesn’t think President Donald Trump has demonstrated “stability,” “competence,” or understanding of “the character of this nation.”

Normally, that would be a stunningly personal attack for a senator of one party to launch against a president of the other party. But Corker and Trump are both — at least in name — Republicans.

White House: Steve Bannon Is Out
President’s chief strategist increasingly a lightning rod for criticism

Steve Bannon is out as  chief strategist to President Donald Trump. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. The former Breitbart executive infused his campaign and presidency with nationalist rhetoric and policies.

“White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve’s last day,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “We are grateful for his service and wish him the best.”

For Bobby Scott, a District Carved in Calm
Virginia Democrat takes business-as-usual approach, absent political rhetoric

Virginia Rep. Robert C. Scott speaks to attendees at a town hall in Norfolk on Monday. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call)

NORFOLK, Va. — At a recent town hall here in Virginia’s second most populous city, Rep. Robert C. Scott patiently took questions from more than two dozen residents waiting in line. The queue stretched to the very back of a high school auditorium with some standing for the entire portion of the two-hour public meeting.

Absent was the rancor that has dominated town halls across the country this year — mostly those held by congressional Republicans facing angry crowds, upset over changes the GOP wants to make to the 2010 health care law and expressing steadfast opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

Murphy Walks Across Connecticut to Packed Town Halls
Health care, not Charlottesville, was the dominant topic, senator says

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy greets a crowd at the finish line in Danbury, Ct. (Courtesy Murphy's Twitter page)

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy completed his 110-mile August recess walk across his home state Thursday. It’s the same summer trek the Democratic lawmaker did last year though some of the topics he discussed this time around with constituents along the way were different. 

“When I was talking to apolitical people, which represent the majority of Connecticut, they were talking about kitchen-table issues,” Murphy said.

Word on the Hill: Peters’ Motorcycle Ride
Recess activities for Cárdenas, Ferguson and Hudson

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters toured the Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital in Ontonagon, Mich., on his bike ride. (Courtesy Peters via Twitter)

Motorcycle enthusiast Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., took his annual recess motorcycle tour of the Wolverine State this week.

The senator visited a rural airport to talk about President Donald Trump’s budget cuts to Essential Air Service, a government program enacted to guarantee that small communities maintain commercial airline service. 

Trump Lacks ‘Stability’ and ‘Competence’ for Job, Corker Says
Foreign Relations chairman warns of ‘great peril’ unless Trump changes

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., lambasted President Trump on Thursday. The duo is pictured above in happier times, at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina in July 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker on Thursday lambasted Donald Trump, saying the president is driving the United States toward “great peril” because he lacks the “stability” and “competence” for the country’s highest office.

The Tennessee Republican once appeared on stage at a Trump campaign rally, but it any goodwill he might have built with Trump likely evaporated Thursday. The president, as he did with a Twitter attack earlier in the day on Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., often attacks any critics — and holds grudges.