Texas

Judge who said being transgender is a ‘delusion’ nearing confirmation
Democratic senators and LGBT advocates have voiced concerns over one of Trump’s most controversial nominees

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is seen before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Collins announced she would oppose Matthew Kacsmaryk’s nomination because his “extreme” statements “indicate an alarming bias against the rights of LGBTQ Americans and disregard for Supreme Court precedents.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Democratic senators and LGBT advocates want to stop the confirmation of one of President Donald Trump’s most controversial judicial nominees this week, but the fight underscores just how powerless they are to do so without help from Republicans.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell scheduled floor votes starting Tuesday afternoon for a slate of appointments including Matthew Kacsmaryk to be a judge for the Northern District of Texas. The Kentucky Republican has used a 53-47 majority and streamlined floor rules to quickly confirm 34 judicial nominees this year.

Trump targets Florida electoral haul with Orlando campaign kick-off
Booming and diverse state presents challenge, and is key to re-election bid

Bikers after a Republican rally in Orlando, Fla., last November. For President Donald Trump, any hopes of winning a second term depend on him winning Florida and its 29 electoral votes again. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump will pull out all the stops Tuesday in Orlando, Florida, when he announces his re-election bid in a state he narrowly won in 2016 and needs again as he tries to reconfigure the electoral map that put him in the White House.

But Democrats are already countering his expected message of a strong economy and tough trade tactics, arguing that Trump’s tariffs are hurting middle-class voters and causing battleground states to shed jobs. That’s the message the party and many of its 2020 candidates are pushing in hopes of reversing Hillary Clinton’s 1-point loss in the Sunshine State three years ago. 

Virginia wins uranium mining ban battle in Supreme Court
The opinion highlighted sharp divisions among justices about how they should evaluate lawmaker motivations

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Virginia to prevent mining of the largest deposit of uranium in the United States. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday allowed Virginia to prevent mining of the largest deposit of uranium in the United States, in an opinion that highlighted sharp divisions among the justices about how they should evaluate the motivations of lawmakers.

The case turned on the regulatory line between state and federal authority over the extraction and then further processing of nuclear materials. Six of the justices agreed that a 1954 federal law, known as the Atomic Energy Act, did not preempt a state ban on mining.

Supreme Court decisions could affect makeup of Congress for years
Redistricting, census questions among big-ticket items left on docket

The Supreme Court will issue decisions in the next two weeks that could have lasting effects on congressional representation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court faces decisions during its last two weeks of the term that could influence congressional districts for the next decade and make the justices an even larger topic in the 2020 presidential campaign.

The court left its most consequential and politically contentious opinions for the end of the term, as it tends to do every year. The justices on Monday will release some of the 24 decisions yet to come before the end of June.

All you need is ribs: Isakson barbecue brings hungry senators together
Leadership may have hated it at first, but the lunch is now a big hit

South 40 Smokehouse from Marietta, Ga., serves up brisket, pulled pork and ribs Thursday in the office of Sen. Johnny Isakson for his annual barbecue lunch. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The smell of pulled pork, Texas beef brisket, Saint Louis pork ribs, baked beans, and creamy mac and cheese wafting through the halls of the Russell Senate Office Building can mean only one thing: Johnny Isakson’s annual barbecue lunch.

Every year, for more than a decade, the senior senator from Georgia feeds his colleagues from both sides of the aisle a BBQ lunch prepared by a pitmaster from his home state. Despite being met with initial pushback from party leaders, the get-together has grown into a highly anticipated event.

Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar gets primary challenger
Immigration lawyer Jessica Cisneros interned for Cuellar in 2014

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, one of the more conservative Democrats of Congress, is getting a primary challenge from the left. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Rep. Henry Cueller, one of the more conservative Democrats in Congress, is getting a primary challenger who has support from the progressive group that backed New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her bid for office.

Immigration and human rights lawyer Jessica Cisneros, 26, who was an intern for Cuellar five years ago, announced her primary campaign Thursday to unseat the eight-term incumbent in Texas’ 28th District that stretches along the southern border with Mexico and reaches north into San Antonio.

Democratic lawmakers ‘astonished’ by Trump’s claim that taking foreign ‘dirt’ is routine
Mitt Romney calls it 'unthinkable' to accept information from foreign government to influence elections

President Donald Trump argued accepting intelligence on a political opponent from foreign sources, which is illegal under federal campaign finance laws, is routine by presidential candidates and congressional campaigns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Lawmakers pushed back strenuously on President Donald Trump’s claim during a television interview Wednesday that accepting “dirt” on political opponents from foreign sources is routine.

Democrats responded incredulously to Trump’s statement that he would accept intelligence on a political opponent from another country if offered, and that doing so is common practice in congressional campaigns. 

More men with babies are running for president, but few face questions about parenting
Male candidates with young children and working spouses could challenge traditional assumptions about caregivers

Balancing his family duties while running for president was a key consideration for California Rep. Eric Swalwell before he joined the 2020 race. Above, the California Democrat carries his 2-year-old son, Nelson, into his home in Washington on May 30. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

When a mother with babies or preschoolers runs for office, the question inevitably arises: Who will take care of her kids while she is on the campaign trail?

But in a year when 23 Democrats are vying for their party’s presidential nomination, it’s the men who have children ages 5 or younger — enough to fill a small day care center. They are rarely asked about parenting, however, a review of their television interviews found.

House floor shenanigans punctuate start of spending season
Democrat calls GOP males ‘sex-starved,’ while Republicans use procedural delay tactics

From left, Republicans Justin Amash, Chip Roy and Jim Jordan are seen during a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on Wednesday. Roy was requiring the House to conduct roll call votes on noncontroversial amendments. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congressional proceedings are usually pretty dry, but on Wednesday, House floor watchers might as well have been tuned into a reality TV show given all the shenanigans occurring as lawmakers debated their first spending package for the upcoming fiscal year.

Between a Democratic lawmaker calling her GOP male colleagues “sex-starved” and Republicans using a series of procedural tricks to delay proceedings, there was no shortage of tension to kick off the fiscal 2020 appropriations process.

Democrats spar with State official over arms sales maneuver

Rep. David Cicilline accused a senior State Department official of gas-lighting Congress in his assertions about why the administration needed to subvert Congress on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A senior State Department official on Wednesday appeared to blame Democrats for the administration’s decision last month to declare a state of emergency over Iran to avoid congressional review of billions of dollars of weapon sales to Arab Gulf states.

R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of State for political-military affairs, attributed the emergency order to holds placed in spring 2018 by Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez on $2 billion in proposed precision-guided missile sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Menendez, D-N.J., placed the holds in response to the many civilian casualties in the Yemen civil war, in which the two Gulf nations are fighting against Iranian-backed Houthi insurgents.