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In Iowa, Heartland Democrats Ask ‘What About the Economy, Stupid?’
But candidates are divided on how populist their messages need to be

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan talks with Heather Ryan (no relation), a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 3rd District, during a steak fry in Des Moines on Sept. 30. (Charlie Neibergall/AP File Photo)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrats in the Midwest know that the way to win back voters in states like Iowa is to talk about the economy, but they’re debating how exactly to do it.

As a state that can make or break presidential campaignsand one that had regularly sent liberal Democrats to Washington, Iowa now serves as a test of whether Democrats can win back white voters who have swung toward the Republican Party over the last decade.

McConnell Seeks Exception to Rules for School
Kentucky Republican wants to keep federal funding for home-state college

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s amendment would provide flexibility on default rates to schools in economically depressed regions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is asking the Education Department to skirt its rules and make an exception to provide federal dollars to a college in his home state — even though a high percentage of its graduates defaulted on their students loans for the last three years.

McConnell’s move is part of a larger debate about the criteria to determine whether a college should receive federal funding or be cut off. Currently, the Education Department uses data on what is known as the cohort default rate — or how many of a college’s graduates default on their loans — to decide whether the school is a good investment for taxpayer money.

GOP Tax Messaging Heavy on Business Benefits
‘It all leads to the same end,’ speaker said of trickle-down effect of tax legislation

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Rep. Andy Harris speak to employees at Dixon Valve & Coupling Company about the GOP’s still developing tax legislation. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)

CHESTERTOWN, Md. – “Cutting taxes is great for the businesses to make businesses more money. But how is that going to lower my taxes, or make sure it comes down to me?” That was the question a 20-year-old Dixon Valve & Coupling employee posed to Speaker Paul D. Ryan on Thursday.

Visiting the company’s headquarters to promote the GOP’s still developing tax legislation, Ryan told the employee that he plans to lower taxes on individuals so they take home more of their paychecks. Then he quickly pivoted back to his primary message.

Trump Open to Bigger Tax Bill for Richest Americans in Pursuit of Dems
President: ‘The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan’

President Donald Trump expressed a willingness to raise tax rates on the wealthiest Americans Wednesday. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Updated at 6:19 p.m. | Eager to garner Democratic support for a still-emerging tax overhaul package, President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed a willingness to send larger tax bills to the wealthiest Americans.

During a meeting with lawmakers from both parties, Trump pledged that he wants lawmakers to craft a bill focused on slashing middle-class tax rates and doing things to create jobs — code for a dramatic corporate tax rate cut.

GOP Rep. Pete Sessions Gets Another Democratic Challenger
Lillian Salerno worked for the Obama administration

Salerno entered the Democratic primary in the race against GOP Rep. Pete Sessions. (Photo courtesy of Salerno’s campaign)

Lillian Salerno announced Tuesday that she is jumping into the field of Democrats hoping to take on Texas GOP Rep. Pete Sessions, as Sessions emphasizes that he is definitely running for re-election.

Democrats are targeting the district that includes northern Dallas, which Hillary Clinton narrowly won in November. In 2016, Sessions did not have a Democratic opponent. But Salerno, who worked in the Obama administration, is joining an already crowded field of Democrats who will face off in a March 6 primary.

Analysis: Why Won't Trump Discuss Troop Numbers?

President Donald Trump has delegated much of the troop deployment details on Afghanistan to Defense Secretary James Mattis and the Pentagon. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a speech to the nation on Aug. 21, President Donald Trump issued a clarion call on Afghanistan, effectively asking Americans to indefinitely extend their longest war at untold additional cost in lives and money. But he declined to say how many of America’s sons and daughters he plans to deploy there.

Trump did not quantify the military deployment even though it has been widely reported that he has already authorized the Pentagon to augment its nearly 8,500 strong force in Afghanistan with almost 4,000 additional service members. The first of the extra troops could arrive within days or weeks, and those numbers could grow depending on conditions in Afghanistan, officials have said.

Hurd Gets Two More Democratic Challengers
Ally of Castro brothers and San Antonio teacher get into the race against Texas Republican incumbent

Texas Republican Rep. Will Hurd R-Texas, faces one of the toughest re-election campaigns among all incumbents next year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Rep. Will Hurd received two more potential Democratic challengers in what will be the most-watched race in the state and likely the nation next year.

Former federal prosecutor Jay Hulings from San Antonio, an ally of Rep. Joaquin Castro and his brother former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, announced his campaign on Sunday.

‘Iron Stache’ Wants to Ask a Question at Ryan’s Town Hall
Paul Ryan challenger Randy Bryce says it isn't really a town hall because questions are being screened

Wisconsin ironworker Randy Bryce said he submitted an application and questions for CNN’s town hall with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, who Bryce is running against. (Randy Bryce for Congress via YouTube)

Randy Bryce, the ironworker known as “Iron Stache” who is challenging House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st District, is trying to get in on Ryan’s town hall meeting next week.

Bryce said Monday he submitted questions for the CNN-hosted town hall that Ryan will hold on August 21 in Racine, Wisconsin. He took the opportunity to criticize the event, as well, saying that because CNN would be deciding who would attend and whose questions would be asked, it was “Definitely by definition NOT a public town hall.”

Opinion: Congress’ Passive Response to North Korea: ‘Not My Table’
Lawmakers need to step up

When dealing with President Donald Trump — especially when problems with North Korea are looming — members of Congress should remember that they are part of a co-equal branch of government, Shapiro writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Just as he did back during Black History Month in February with his startling discovery that Frederick Douglass “is being recognized more and more,” Donald Trump demonstrated in Monday’s White House statement on Charlottesville, Virginia, that he can learn and grow in office.

In 48 short hours, Trump discovered that “racism is evil” and groups like “the KKK, neo-Nazis [and] white supremacists … are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”

Millennials and Gen Xers Eclipse Boomers in the Voting Booth — but Will It Matter?
But population shift has yet to impact elections, researchers say

Millennials and Gen Xers have overtaken older generations as the largest voting bloc, the Pew Research Center reports. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

American politics are on the cusp of a revolution. And it has nothing to do with President Donald Trump.

That’s because younger generations — who are generally more liberal and reluctant to identify with either political party — are overtaking their older counterparts for the first time since the baby boomers began to dominate every aspect of American life in the last half of the 20th century, researchers say.