Roll Call Staff

Here’s How Republicans Reacted After Trump (Again) Flip-Flopped on Charlottesville
Many in president’s own party countered his stance

An unprecedented outpouring of congressional Republicans reacted Tuesday as President Donald Trump flipped his position (again) on last weekend’s violent outburst in Charlottesville, Virginia.

First Trump held “both sides” responsible just after protesters demonstrating in support of a General Robert E. Lee statue clashed with counterprotesters. Then a prepared speech Monday had the president condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazi’s and the violence generally. Finally, Tuesday night Trump came back to two-sided rhetoric when he said some members of the far-right organized demonstration were “very fine” people.

John McCain’s Dramatic ‘No’ Vote Derails GOP Health Care Effort
Senate rejects Republicans’ ‘skinny’ repeal bill, 49-51

Updated 3:10 a.m. | In a dramatic early Friday morning vote, the Senate voted down the Republican effort to overhaul the U.S. health insurance system, 49-51, with GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona’s dramatic “no” — to gasps in the chamber — providing the key vote to send the bill to defeat.

Lobbying from top GOP leaders, McCain’s colleague from Arizona Jeff Flake, Vice President Mike Pence and a swath of Republicans were not enough to sway McCain. Pence himself spent more than 20 minutes trying to get McCain to change his mind.

How the ‘Skinny’ Repeal Bill Was Defeated, Play by Play
McCain casts knock-out vote alongside Murkowski and Collins

The Senate went into the wee hours of Friday morning to consider amendments to legislation most Republicans hoped would repeal parts of the 2010 health care law.

The health care effort was attached to a budget process known as reconciliation, which traditionally comes to a conclusion with an all-night vote-a-rama session on the Senate floor, in which members consider dozens of amendments.

At the Races: Wabash College, Swamp Critters and More
Decisions made and delayed in Nevada

As the August recess nears, candidates and maybe-candidates are making decisions that set the stage for both upcoming special elections and the 2018 midterms.

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer announced on Wednesday he’s running for Senate.

Health Care: Four Make or Break Senators We’re Watching
Capito, Collins, Murkowski and Heller

UPDATE 2:28 p.m., July 25 | Sens. Shelly Moore Capito, R-W.Va. and Dean Heller, R-Nev., have both announced they plan to vote to proceed with the health care bill. Their ayes clear the 50 vote threshold required to proceed, but questions about the package as a whole remain with Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough’s Friday ruling that budget reconciliation rules would be violated in the bill’s current state.

With Sen. John McCain en route to cast a critical health care vote just one week after announcing a brain cancer diagnosis, here are four senators to watch and what they’ve said leading up to Tuesday’s vote:

Senate Republicans Getting Closer on Health Care

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday continued to zero in on their goal of getting 50 votes to proceed to legislation to redo the U.S. health care system. 

Sen. John Thune, the No. 3 in GOP leadership, said “folks are coming around” on backing the motion to proceed on health care debate, but the South Dakotan declined to predict victory on today’s vote. If leadership prevails on the vote, the Senate will keep alive efforts to repeal or repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

McCain Returns, Will Likely Lead Defense Policy Debate

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., recently diagnosed with brain cancer, made the surprise announcement Monday he would return to the Capitol for a procedural vote today on health care legislation, as well as anticipated debate on the chamber’s Pentagon policy bill and sanctions legislation.

Over in the House, lawmakers are preparing to take up a so-called security minibus, which includes the Defense appropriations bill. And that chamber is expected to take up a Russia, Iran and North Korea sanctions bills today.

Donald Trump Jr. and Former Trump Campaign Manager to Testify
Appearance before Senate Judiciary Committee next Wednesday

Donald Trump Jr. and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort have agreed to testify privately before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week.

“Both Donald Trump, Jr. and Paul Manafort, through their attorneys, have agreed to negotiate to provide the committee with documents and be interviewed by committee members and staff prior to a public hearing,” according to a statement issued Friday evening by Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein. “Therefore, we will not issue subpoenas for them tonight requiring their presence at Wednesday’s hearing but reserve the right to do so in the future.”

At the Races: Things Might Be Getting Mo Strange in Alabama

Do voters care about floor procedure? Two candidates in a crowded special Senate primary are spending time feuding over the filibuster, so they might find out next month when they, and several others, face off for the GOP nod. 

When Rep. Mo Brooks released the first ad of his Alabama Senate campaign, he made a splash by threatening to filibuster — by reading from the King James Bible — any spending bill that doesn’t fund President Donald Trump’s border wall.

House Floor Will be Busy Next Week
Still no plans to delay start of summer recess afterward

The House plans on being plenty busy next week before the beginning of its late summer recess, with late-night votes expected on a “minibus” appropriations package of four spending bills but no word yet on whether it might consider a contentious budget resolution or a package of sanctions on Russia, Iran and possibly North Korea. 

During their Thursday colloquy on the House floor, Minority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., asked Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., to explain the process under which the consolidated “minibus” appropriations bill would be considered.

Sen. John McCain Diagnosed With Brain Tumor
Arizona Republican recently underwent surgery to remove a blood clot

Sen. John McCain has a brain tumor and may undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

The tumor was diagnosed after the Arizona Republican underwent surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix.

CBO: GOP Plan Would Spike Premiums, Cut 32M From Insurance Rolls

A new Senate GOP health care plan would result in 32 million more people without health insurance, according to a Congressional Budget Office analysis released Wednesday. The measure, similar to a 2015 bill passed by the Senate, would save $473 billion over a decade.

According to the analysis from Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeeper, average premiums in the individual marketplace would increased by about 25 percent next year, increasing to 5o percent by 2020 and 100 percent by 2026.

At the Races: Democrats Announce for Wide Swath of Congressional Races

Democrats continued to announce their intentions for several congressional races on Monday, which ranged from tossup match-ups to crowded primary races to nearly hopeless cases in heavily Republican states. 

Angie Craig lost last year’s open-seat race in Minnesota’s 2nd District by less than 2 points. On Monday, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate announced she’d try to unseat last year’s rival, freshman GOP Rep. Jason Lewis.

House Budget Panel Schedules Wednesday Markup of 2018 Resolution

The House Budget Committee has scheduled its markup of the fiscal 2018 budget resolution for Wednesday at 10 a.m. 

Last week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., confirmed the markup would take place in his weekly colloquy on Friday with Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., saying, “The Budget Committee will be marking up in committee next week.”

At the Races: Trump State Organizers Start Running
Challengers target blue-state lawmakers

Two men who chaired President Donald Trump’s campaigns in states he lost last year are jumping into Senate races there. 

Corey Stewart, former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia, on Thursday became the first Republican to announce a challenge to Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate last year.

Ryan Says He’s Working on Update to Capitol Dress Code
Move comes after recent furor over sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday to look “soon” for an update on the dress code inside the Speaker’s Lobby and around the Capitol.

The Wisconsin Republican said he would work with the House sergeant-at-arms to update the code without providing specifics on whether it would address women wearing sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes, which became an issue last week. The current rules date back to the manual for parliamentary procedure that Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1801.

At the Races: A Case of the Mondays
Busy day for annoucements, from North Carolina to California

Minnesota Republican Pete Stauber, a St. Louis County commissioner, announced his candidacy for the state’s 8th District on Monday.

House elections in the northern Gopher State district, represented by Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan, have been among the most competitive and expensive in the country for the last two cycles.

McConnell Signals Openness to Shoring Up Insurance Exchanges

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday if 50 Republican senators don’t agree on a rollback of the 2010 health care law through the budget reconciliation process, there will need to be some sort of bipartisan measure to help the insurance markets.

“If my side is unable to agree on an adequate replacement, then some kind of action with regard to the private health insurance market must occur,” the Kentucky Republican said, according to the Associated Press.

Paul Ryan Defends CBO Role as Referee
Speaker makes comments one day after White House swipe

One day after the White House criticized the Congressional Budget Office as an inaccurate arbiter, amid a heated debate over the effects of the Republicans’ plans to change the health insurance system, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan is defending the nonpartisan office. 

“Yeah, he’s actually a Republican appointee. If I’m not mistaken, Tom Price appointed him,” Ryan said Tuesday morning when asked whether he had full confidence in CBO Director Keith Hall. Price, the secretary of Health and Human Services and a key advocate of GOP efforts to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, was previously the House Budget Committee chairman. 

Return of the Inauguration Crowd Size Matter
Unnamed complainant alleges Park Service mishandled photos

A new Interior Department inspector general report is further muddying the already murky situation surrounding White House claims that the crowd at President Donald Trump’s inauguration was the largest in American history.

The report found “no evidence to substantiate” complaints that National Park Service employees altered records related to crowd-size estimates for Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration. The IG also investigated and found no evidence to support the unnamed complainant’s allegation that a Park Service employee mishandled photos of the event and posted political comments on Facebook.