Politics

Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal on Health Care

By Roll Call Staff
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Heard on the Hill

Cups Could Be No More

By Alex Gangitano
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On Climate Issues, House GOP Warms Gradually

By Elvina Nawaguna
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Capitol Ink | Meeting of the Minds

By Robert Matson
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Trump Keeps Adding to the Congressional To-Do List

By John T. Bennett, D.A. Banks, Thomas McKinless
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Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., is taking his town hall on the road today.

He will use his “Commuter Town Hall” on the PACE bus in his suburban Chicago district to meet constituents during their work commutes.

He will board in Waukegan at 8:02 a.m., and the bus is scheduled to arrive in Grayslake at 8:33 a.m. The congressman plans on staying in Grayslake for about 20 minutes before taking the 8:55 a.m. bus back to Waukegan.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was honored with this year’s Liberty Medal in Philadelphia on Monday night. Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. presented it to the six-term senator at a ceremony at the National Constitution Center.

Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, posted a video on Facebook showing constituents what a typical day in Washington looks like for him. He started with a 1.2-mile walk from his D.C. house to the Capitol at 7 a.m. The day featured talking to constituents, meetings with interest groups, two series of votes, and a telephone town hall meeting.

George Bush said it the best. He was president, he had really long days, and really short years. The same thing applies here,” Conaway said. Watch the whole video.

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., the first woman to fly a fighter jet in combat and the first to command a fighter squadron in combat, wrote about facing sexism and hostility throughout her career, in a piece for the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan.

“The answer isn’t to shy away from the challenge. It’s to focus your energy on overthrowing the barriers and proving them wrong.” she writes. Check it out.

Library Resources Workshop: Design Inspiration From the Archives,” hosted by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., and the D.C. Public Library. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Newseum (555 Pennsylvania Ave. NW). Registration has ended.

TecNation 2017,” hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, will feature discussions on how technology is changing our daily lives, businesses and economy to create A Connected Life. 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Chamber headquarters (1615 H St. NW). Register here.

Matt Schumacher is the new digital director for the House Democratic Caucus. He was previously deputy press secretary and digital director for the House Energy and Commerce Democrats.

Hunter Lipscombwas named the new chief of staff to Rep. Steven M. Palazzo, R-Miss. He previously served as Palazzo’s deputy chief of staff and was most recently director of government affairs at the Mississippi Development Authority.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., 46.

Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., 56.

Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, 70.

Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., 59.

Have any tips, announcements or Hill happenings? Send them to AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com.

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Embattled California Rep. Duncan Hunter spent more in the most recent fundraising quarter on legal fees than he raised.

According to Hunter’s October quarterly fundraising records filed with the Federal Election Commission, Hunter spent roughly $134,000 on legal fees.

Hunter raised about $91,440 in the third quarter, according to his FEC filing.

Rob Pyers, research director for the nonpartisan California Target Book, tweeted that more than 87 percent of Hunter’s campaign contributions this year have gone to legal fees. Hunter has raised roughly $409,000 this year and spent more than $357,000 on legal fees.

Over 87% of the contributions he's taken in this year have gone to pay his legal fees.https://t.co/eS78ufETIx

Peyers also tweeted that Hunter had the worst fundraising quarter this year.

Amid mounting legal woes, #CA50's @Rep_Hunter has worst quarter of the yr, banking $91,446 & ending w/$504,456 COHhttps://t.co/WvwopJBBg8 https://t.co/tyeNTZ30Kc

#CA50 @Rep_Hunter

Hunter is currently under a criminal investigation by the Justice Department for using campaign money for personal expenses.

He is accused of using campaign cash to pay for school uniforms, tuition for his children, jewelry, groceries, and perhaps most infamously flying his family’s pet rabbit across the country.

Hunter currently has two major Democratic challengers for re-election — retired Navy SEAL Josh Butner and Ammar Campa-Najjar, a former Department of Labor official in the Obama administration.

Both Campa-Najjar and Butner raised more than Hunter in the last fundraising quarter.

Campa-Najjar raised $170,000, and Butner, who received a cash infusion after an endorsement by Rep. Seth Moulton’s Serve America Victory Fund, raised more than $175,000.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates California’s 50th District Likely Republican.

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Either Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera has been watching too much Syfy Channel or she’s really just that special. We’ll probably never know for sure.

No matter, the 59-year-old Republican, who once recalled in an interview a visit from three blond-haired aliens who took her aboard their spacecraft, is running for Florida’s 27th District seat being vacated by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

“I went in. There were some round seats that were there, and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship — not like airplanes,” Rodriguez Aguilera said in a 2009 television spot, the Miami Herald reported.

Though Rodriguez Aguilera’s extraterrestrial tale is suspect, her political credentials and pedigree are not.

She was a city councilwoman in Doral, Florida, from 2012 to 2014 and the city’s first economic developer.

Her daughter, a former Republican National Committee Hispanic outreach director, is married to Vice President Mike Pence’s deputy chief of staff, Jarrod Agen.

Rodriguez Aguilera is a longshot to fill Ros-Lehtinen's seat. She has raised a shade under $5,000, according to her FEC report.

That’s roughly 2 percent of the funds hauled in by GOP primary front-runner and Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Lean Democratic, even though Ros-Lehtinen, its current representative, is a Republican.

Ros-Lehtinen’s is one of a handful of open House seats Republicans are worried they could lose in 2018.

So far, 23 House Republicans have announced they are either retiring, resigning, or running for another office.

Hillary Clinton carried Ros-Lehtinen’s district — which is three-quarters Hispanic — by nearly 20 points over President Donald Trump.

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The Democratic senator from a state ravaged by opioid abuse wants President Donald Trump to pull back the nomination of Rep. Tom Marino to be the nation’s drug czar.

Citing reporting from the Washington Post, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III said in a letter to Trump that he had concerns that Marino, a Republican from Pennsylvania, could be too favorable to the opioid industry if he were to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The Post reported that Marino spearheaded legislation that has made it more difficult for the Drug Enforcement Administration to go after distributors.

“Congressman Marino no longer has my trust or that of the public that he will aggressively pursue the fight against opioid abuse,” Manchin wrote. “Congressman Marino led the effort in Congress to move through a bill that has made it significantly harder for the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to enforce our nation’s anti-drug diversion laws. For years, wholesale drug distributors were sending millions of pills into small communities — far more than was reasonably medically necessary.”

The Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, which was signed into law in 2016, passed the Senate and House without objection. The Justice Department said the law has effectively tied the hands of investigators by making enforcement more difficult when it comes to the wholesalers.

While no senator objected to passage of the legislation, Marino’s efforts were crucial, according to an investigation conducted by the Post and the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”

“His advocacy for this legislation demonstrates that Congressman Marino either does not fully understand the scope and devastation of this epidemic or ties to industry overrode those concerns. Either option leaves him unfit to serve as the head of the ONDCP,” Manchin wrote in the letter to Trump. “I am grateful for the work that you have been doing to raise awareness and to promote solutions to address this deadly epidemic.”

The DEA, which is under the Justice Department, has a more enforcement and interdiction oriented approach to drug use than the ONDCP, which is under the Executive Office of the President. During the Obama administration, ONDCP became more focused on treatment.

In a separate effort, Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri is planning a move to repeal the 2016 law.

“Media reports indicate that this law has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities,” McCaskill said in a statement. “I’ll be introducing legislation that repeals this law and continue my work investigating the role pharmaceutical distributors played in fueling this public health crisis.”

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., followed suit with legislation in the House.

“This crisis demands immediate action. The Opioid Immediate Suspension Order Act will help restore one of the most effective tools the Department of Justice had in stemming the most egregious distribution abuses,” he said in a statement.

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Democratic House candidate Hans Keirstead outraised his Democratic opponents and slightly trailed Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, who he is hoping to unseat.

Keirstead, a stem-cell scientist, raised $330,937.24 in total receipts, according to his October quarterly filing with the Federal Election Commission.

Comparatively, Harley Rouda, another Democrat competing the race, brought in $282,272.61 in total receipts, including a loan to himself of $175,000, according to his October quarterly filing.

In the previous quarter, Keirstead’s first, he raised $138,504.29 and Rouda raised $104,077.96, making this the second consecutive quarter Keirstead outpaced Rouda.

Still, both candidates trail Rohrabacher, who raised $347,639.81 in that third quarter.

Rohrabacher also holds a significant advantage over the two in cash on hand, holding $600,000 on hand. Keirstead has $302,033.69 and Rouda has $372,577.59.

Rohrabacher has been in office since 1989 and is a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan.

Rohrabacher has faced criticisms for his meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and saying Russia was not involved in the leaking of emails from the Democratic National Committee.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is targeting Rohrabacher after he won with only 58 percent of the vote in 2016 and his district broke for Hillary Clinton.

Both Keirstead and Rouda were listed as candidates to watch by the New Democrat Coalition’s political action committee.

Keirstead was also endorsed by 314 Action, which is dedicated to electing scientists to Congress.

“Democrats and Republicans agree that Dr. Hans Keirstead is the Democratic primary frontrunner and the strongest candidate to take Dana Rohrabacher in 2018,” Keirstead campaign manager Kyle Quinn-Quesada said in a statement.

In California’s primary system, the top two finishers face each other in the general election regardless of political party.

Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates the race Tilt Republican.

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Politics

Trump to Keep Iran Deal Intact — for Now

By John T. Bennett
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