Vermont

Grassley Will Step into Tax Storm, Finance Gavel in Hand
Iowa Republican was a key player on big-ticket measures during his previous tenure as Finance chairman

Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, conducts a Senate Judiciary Committee markup in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is expected to be the next chairman of the Finance Committee, putting the Iowa Republican at the center of the storm in the 116th Congress on what could be divisive debates over tax, trade and health care policy.

Grassley cited a sense of “optimism” fueled by the “pro-growth” policies of a Republican president and Congress. “Looking ahead. ... I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” he said in a statement released Friday. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

Suicide Nooses in Cells Prompt ICE Query From Elizabeth Warren, Democrats
Letters come after DHS inspector general found makeshift nooses in detention cells

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is leading a letter to the private companies that run ICE detention facilities. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A group of Senate Democrats want the private prison industry to explain whether it is complying with federal standards for housing at ICE immigration detention centers.

Led by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the senators have written to CoreCivic and GEO group about their housing practices following reports from the inspector general at the Homeland Security Department.

Democrats Start the Party as Jennifer Wexton Flips Virginia Seat
As the results rolled in, Democrats in Dulles snapped pictures of the TV screen

Jennifer Wexton delivers her victory speech on election night after defeating Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-Va., for Virginia's 10th district seat on Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

DULLES, Va. — Hundreds of energetic Democrats spilled into the ballroom where Jennifer Wexton is holding her election night party in Virginia’s 10th District.

It turned into a victory celebration even faster than many had hoped. CNN declared it a win for Wexton well before 8 p.m., projecting she would unseat Rep. Barbara Comstock in one of the first red-to-blue flips of the night as Democrats aim to take back the House.

Trump Honors Pittsburgh Dead — and Knocks ‘Far-Left Media’ — at Florida Rally
President makes first of two final midterm-week visits to battleground state

President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally in Erie, Pa., on Oct. 10. He was in Florida on Wednesday night and will return Saturday to the Sunshine State. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images file photo)

Updated 8:34 p.m. | President Donald Trump led off a midterm campaign rally in Florida on Wednesday by blaming the “far-left media” for exploiting the Pittsburgh synagogue mass shooting to hurt him and Republicans as the elections near.

“They did everything in their power to … push people apart,” he told the crowd in Fort Myers. “It was fake and it was make-believe. … The far-left media has spread lies and misinformation about the Trump administration.”

Claire McCaskill Defines ‘Crazy Democrats’ for Fox News
Vulnerable senator stiff-arms Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren as election nears

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill distanced herself from Senate colleagues Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders  in a Fox News interview Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One week before the midterm elections, Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has tried to distance herself from the most liberal elements of her party, including high-profile progressive Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

McCaskill refrained from grouping Sanders or Warren in with the “crazy Democrats” her campaign distanced her from in a radio ad last week. But, in an interview with Fox News on Monday, she invoked their names when asked if any of her colleagues were “crazy Democrats.”

What’s That Sound? The Monster in the Budget
No one wants to address it, but rising health care costs are draining federal revenues and pumping up deficits

The U.S. Capitol building is seen behind two ambulances in June. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all the talk about health care this election season, politicians of both parties are ignoring a giant sucking sound.

The cost of health care continues to soar, vacuuming up a growing share of the nation’s economic output and putting an ever-larger strain on both family incomes and government budgets. Since Medicare and Medicaid were created in 1965, the federal commitment to health care spending has grown from about 3 cents of every taxpayer dollar to nearly 34 cents, not counting interest payments on U.S. debt. And that share is set to keep rising in the coming years as the population ages.

Election Forecasters Briefly Forget That Independents Exist
Data company dipping toe in predictions makes revealing gaffe, snubs Angus King

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, speaks to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, in January 2018. A new study released by a data company forgot to include King, the clear frontrunner. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:30 p.m. | A new breakaway study shows that in the Maine Senate race, 30-year-old Republican challenger Eric Brakey has surged 20 points to capture a commanding 54 percent lead.

The only problem? The global data and marketing company behind the study apparently included just Democrats and Republicans, snubbing incumbent Sen. Angus King, an independent and the clear frontrunner in the race.

Bernie Sanders Blasts Donald Trump for Weakness in ‘Taking on the Dictator of Saudi Arabia’
Vermont senator campaigning for Democrats in Nevada on Thursday

Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke at a Nevada Democrats' rally on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Bernie Sanders has added a direct assault on President Donald Trump over his handling of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to the top of his campaign stump speech.

“He’s a tough guy when it comes to presenting a budget that cuts nutrition programs for low-income pregnant women — really tough guy. But, ain’t so tough taking on the dictator of Saudi Arabia who has his dissidents murdered in cold blood,” Sanders said Thursday evening.

Trump Blames Media for ‘Anger’ as Bomb Found Addressed to Joe Biden
President erases Wednesday calls for unity with a single tweet

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Nevada Democrats' early vote rally at the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas on Oct. 20, the first day of early voting in Nevada. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As federal authorities inspect a possible explosive device addressed to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., President Donald Trump is blaming the media for fomenting political tribalism.

Trump twice read prepared statements Wednesday condemning a list of pipe bombs sent to some of his political foes, mostly current and former Democratic politicians and officials the president often sharply criticizes at campaign rallies and on Twitter.

What a Green Wave Can’t Hide — It’s Still the Economy, Stupid
Strong economic numbers may be giving Republicans a late boost

Supporters cheer before President Donald Trump takes the stage Monday at a rally in Houston. Republicans, with their economic track record, have given voters a clear choice in this election, Winston writes. (Loren Elliott/Getty Images)

OPINION — We’re down to the wire. Less than two weeks out from the election, this is when you begin to hear politicians and their consultants talk about campaign mechanics — mega ad buys, turnout operations, phone banks and ballot security — that will “get their candidate over the finish line.”

This year, Democrats are also bragging about their fundraising prowess, a “green wave” so to speak that gives them a winning advantage, they argue, over Republicans. Perhaps they should remember powerful fundraisers like Hillary Clinton and the 15 other Republican presidential candidates who outraised and outspent Donald Trump by a country mile and lost.