Bridget Bowman

New Pro-Obamacare Ad Features Trump Voter
Ad to run in Tennessee, home to key GOP senator

A campaign encouraging lawmakers not to repeal the 2010 health care law will launch two new television ads, one featuring a man who voted for President Donald Trump.

The ads are part of a “six figure” ad buy from the “Save My Care” campaign that will run in Ohio and Tennessee, according to an advance copy of the press release announcing the ads. Tennessee is home to Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, a key player in the Obamacare debate.

Health Coverage Questions Persist for Republicans
Chances of House GOP blueprint passing the Senate remain unclear

As Republican lawmakers face questions from constituents and colleagues about their plans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, there are few answers available, starting with what kind of legislation can pass the Senate. 

Republicans do not need Democratic support to undo much of the law, since they will move the legislation through the budget reconciliation process that only requires majority support in the Senate. But with only 52 Republican senators, the GOP plan will have to get support from both their conservatives and moderates, and it’s not clear what can get everyone onboard.

One Thing Congress Agrees On: Vaccines Work
They said lawmakers should support the use of vaccines

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are stressing the need to highlight benefits of vaccines amid reports of local outbreaks of infectious diseases.

“The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them,” the lawmakers wrote in a Tuesday letter sent to their colleagues. “As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases.”

Congress Caught Unaware by National Guard Report
Mitch McConnell says he will ‘take a look’ at any White House proposal

Congress was caught somewhat flat-footed Friday by reports that the Trump administration is considering calling on the National Guard to round up and deport undocumented immigrants. 

“I hadn’t heard about it,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said when asked about an Associated Press report on a memo drafted by the Department of Homeland Security. The document proposed mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops across 12 states to gather immigrants who were in the country illegally. AP reported that the memo, dated Jan. 25, bore the name of DHS Secretary John Kelly, and had circulated among DHS staff.

Despite Email Flap, Scott Pruitt Confirmed to Head EPA
Court order unsealing records prompted calls to postpone vote

The Senate continued powering through its march on Cabinet confirmations, approving on Friday the nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the EPA, despite questions surrounding the appropriateness of his contacts with the fossil fuel industry.

Senators voted 52-46 to confirm Pruitt.

Senate Democrats Plan All-Nighter Over EPA Nominee
But Scott Pruitt is likely to be confirmed despite objections

Senate Democrats are planning to once again stage a series of overnight speeches on the Senate floor, this time in opposition to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s nomination to head the EPA. 

“We intend to stand our ground,” said Delaware Sen. Thomas R. Carper, the ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee. While Pruitt appears poised for confirmation, Carper said Democrats were not going quietly into the night.

Mulvaney Confirmed as Budget Director
Arizona’s John McCain is only defector in party-line vote

The Senate confirmed Rep. Mick Mulvaney as the new director of the Office of Management and Budget on Thursday morning, allowing the budget process to move forward.

The South Carolina Republican was confirmed by a 51-49 vote, with Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain the only Republican defector. The Arizona senator announced on Wednesday that he could not support Mulvaney’s nomination because of the congressman’s work to cut defense spending. 

Supreme Court Nominee Gorsuch’s Hearings to Begin March 20
The judge will face lawmakers on March 21

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley announced Thursday that the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch will begin March 20.

Grassley's office indicated in a statement that the opening statements will take place on Monday, March 20, and Gorsuch will face the committee the following day. The hearings are expected to last three to four days and include testimony from outside experts.

Senate Democrats Coalesce on Demands for Russia Probe
Minority party hopes public attention forces issue on GOP

Senate Democrats have laid out their demands for independent investigations into potential contact between Russian officials and members of President Donald Trump’s team, and are hopeful public outcry will force the administration and congressional Republicans to comply.

Democrats held what they called an “emergency” caucus meeting Wednesday to discuss former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s resignation following revelations he discussed sanctions with Russia’s  ambassador to the United States before Trump took office. The meeting also followed a New York Times report that a handful of Trump officials had been in contact with Russian intelligence officers leading up to the presidential election.

Why Democrats Didn’t Go to the Mat on Linda McMahon
Former WWE chief breezed to confirmation

President Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees have sparked fierce fights in the Senate, but Democrats declined to go to the mat on one of his picks: former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon. 

The businesswoman and two-time Republican Senate nominee from Connecticut was easily confirmed Tuesday morning to lead the Small Business Administration, with 81 senators voting in her favor. On the surface, that may seem surprising, given that Democrats have decried Trump’s nominees’ exorbitant wealth and their lack of governing experience.

Treasury Secretary Confirmed Despite Outrage From Democrats
Banker, Hollywood producer Steven Mnuchin approved after long battle

The Senate continued pushing through President Donald Trump’s Cabinet Monday by backing financier Steven Mnuchin to be secretary of the Treasury, despite howls from Democrats who characterized the producer of such Hollywood fare as “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” as a villain who feasted on unfair foreclosures.

Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and executive producer of films like “Keanu” and “Collateral Beauty” was confirmed to be the next Treasury Secretary with a vote of 53-47.

House and Senate Preview: Pouncing on Regulations, Obamacare and Considering the Cabinet
 

Roll Call reporters Lindsey McPherson and Bridget Bowman preview the week ahead in the House and Senate. With Republicans in the House working to further scale back Obama-era regulations through the Congressional Review Act and Senate Democrats continuing their fights against several Trump administration Cabinet appointees, this last week in session before the Presidents Day recess will be a busy one. See the video for more....
Report Shows ‘Untapped Power’ of Constituent Advocacy
Showing the local effects of legislation can better influence lawmakers

Citizens from across the country have jammed the Senate phone lines in recent weeks, making their voices heard on President Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointments. But a new report suggests there are more effective ways to influence legislators.  ...
Chaffetz, Cummings: Kellyanne Conway Appeared to Violate Ethics Law
Office of Government Ethics asked to recommend disciplinary action

The top lawmakers on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said Thursday it appeared White House counselor Kellyanne Conway violated ethics laws when she endorsed Ivanka Trump’s clothing line.

Conway appeared on Fox News on Thursday morning and encouraged viewers to purchase products from the president’s daughter’s retail brand. Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz of Utah and ranking Democrat Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland wrote in a letter to the head of the Office of Government Ethics that Conway appeared to violate federal law that prohibits government employees from using their positions to endorse a product.

Inexperience Weakens Congress and the White House
A younger, less experienced Congress tackles some old and knotty issues

For the first time in U.S. history, we have a president with no government experience. And he’s looking to work with a Congress that has lost members with significant legislative prowess on some issues in recent years.

President Donald Trump’s administration started off with a flurry of executive actions, reportedly without consulting Congress and some members of his own Cabinet. The episodes had one senior lawmaker shaking his head.

Pence Casts Historic Tiebreaking Vote to Confirm DeVos
DeVos was on the brink of being blocked in the Senate

For the first time ever, the vice president was called to Capitol Hill to break a tie on a vote to confirm a member of the Cabinet.

Vice President Mike Pence presided over the Senate for the first time since being sworn in just more than two weeks ago, and cast the tiebreaking vote, 51-50, to confirm Betsy DeVos as the next Education secretary. A vice president had never done so before, according to the Senate Historical Office.

Neil Gorsuch's Dance Card Filling Up
Supreme Court nominee to meet with key Democrats

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ Roll Call

Judge Neil Gorsuch’s Senate dance card is filling up with Democrats who could be key to his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Bipartisan Group Eyes Tax Overhaul for Anti-Poverty Push
Lawmakers renew push for the "Investing in Opportunity Act"

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is hoping its anti-poverty legislation will become law this year as part of a broader push for a tax overhaul.

“We are teed up for success in this Congress,” Sen. Tim Scott said. “The realistic opportunity for tax reform was not last Congress. It’s this Congress.”

McConnell Leaves Door Open on Supreme Court Nuclear Option
McConnell said he wants Trump‘s nominee in place before April

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell left open the possibility of altering Senate rules on Supreme Court nominations to lower the threshold for ending debate, which would gut the minority’s influence over high court confirmations.

“I’m not going to answer that,” the Kentucky Republican said in a Fox News interview Tuesday night when asked if he would invoke the so-called nuclear option, in which the GOP majority would change the rules on its own rather than with a supermajority of senators.

Travel Ban Fuels Slowdown of Trump Nominees
Democrats call on Cabinet picks to take positions on executive order

Senate Democrats are willing to drag out Senate consideration of Cabinet nominees over President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order, and they wasted no time doing so as the week began. 

On Monday afternoon, Democrats objected to a request for committees to meet two hours after the Senate convened, a routine unanimous request that typically sails through with nary a whisper of dissent. Blocking the daily procedure showed Democrats were stepping up their slowdown efforts.