Stephanie Akin

Pot Advocates Protest Jeff Sessions’ AG Nomination
D.C. group says Alabama senator could roll back progress on legalization

A small group of marijuana advocates protested Sen. Jeff Sessions’ potential confirmation as attorney general at the Capitol on Monday, saying it could roll back years of state-based progress toward legalization.

“We have a slogan, ‘Smoke Sessions,’” said Adam Eidinger, co-founder of the DCMJ advocacy group. “We don’t want him.”

Can Congressional Republicans and Trump Stay Friends?
Trump and the Hill GOP make nice, but who knows how long it will last

House Republicans about to unanimously nominate Speaker Paul D. Ryan for another term as their standard-bearer recently got a not-so-subtle signal of who’d really united their party:

Red “Make America Great Again” hats were waiting on every seat.

Trump Cabinet Picks Incite Liberal Backlash
Democrats, civil liberties groups sound alarm on choices of top advisers

President-elect Donald Trump’s picks for three key Cabinet positions incited a chorus of denunciations from Democrats and liberal groups Friday.

After announcing former Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon would be a top adviser earlier this week, Friday’s selections further confounded conjectures that Trump would return to his moderate roots as he assembled his Cabinet.

Sessions Pick Could Blow Smoke at Marijuana Legalization Efforts
Trump’s AG nominee said in April, ‘Good people don't smoke marijuana‘

Jeff Sessions’ selection as attorney general, announced Friday, could be a setback to the burgeoning movement to legalize marijuana.

The Alabama Republican, who declared at an April Senate hearing that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” is one of Congress’s staunchest opponents of legalization.

Youngest Son of Rep. John Conyers Missing in Houston
Reports: FBI, Secret Service, private search group working to find missing 21-year-old

The youngest son of Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers Jr. was reported missing Wednesday night in Houston, hours after he failed to show up at a scheduled meeting with his girlfriend, according to the congressman’s staff and media reports.

Carl Conyers, 21, a student at the University of Houston, was last seen by a roommate on Tuesday, Fox News and Houston’s CBS affiliate KHOU 11 News reported Thursday.

Trump Won the Election. Now Comes the Hard Part
Convincing Congress to support scattershot policies may prove difficult

Now that Donald Trump has proved the Washington establishment wrong by winning the presidential election, his next hurdle will be getting the Congress he railed against to go along with the often scattershot policy proposals that buoyed his victory.

The Republicans who will control both chambers of Congress after Tuesday night’s sweep share party loyalty with the president-elect, an advantage that will almost certainly mean swift action on Trump’s promised conservative Supreme Court nominee. But the clarity ends there.

Nevada Judge Dismisses Trump Claim Over Early Voting
Few problems have been reported at the polls, despite weeks of competing forecasts of voter intimidation, fraud

A Nevada judge on Tuesday denied a request from the Donald Trump campaign to set aside ballots it contested, concluding the first of what could be a raft of legal challenges concerning problems at the polls.

With conservative and liberal groups launching extensive efforts to monitor the election, there were scattered reports and complaints about voter irregularities throughout the day Tuesday, though none appeared to support Trump's claim that the election was "rigged."

House Members Have Mixed Record on Higher Office
Thirteen House members and the delegate from Puerto Rico made bids for bigger things

Thirteen House members — and one non-voting delegate from Puerto Rico — gave up their posts to run for statewide office this year, with varying success.

Three of those races, the Maryland, Indiana and Louisiana Senate campaigns, pitted colleagues in the House against each other. While the majority were vying for Senate seats, Democrats John Carney, of Delaware and Pedro Pierluisi, or Puerto Rico, made bids for governor. Here is a round-up of their positions as polls opened on Tuesday.

Trump Notches Slight Lead in Three Tiny Towns that Voted First
Clinton wins two New Hampshire towns with midnight voting, but Trump pulls ahead in third

Election Day was over almost as soon as it started in three tiny New Hampshire towns that voted around midnight Tuesday, with Republican nominee Donald Trump claiming a very early lead.

The towns, each with populations fewer than 100, were the first in the country to finish tallying their votes, thanks to a state law that allows small towns to open polls at the strike of midnight and close them as soon as everyone has voted. Clinton won in two of them, but Trump pulled ahead in the third, giving him a total of 32 votes to Clinton's 25. according to news reports.

Marijuana Legalization Could Get a Boost in a Democratic Senate
Advocates hope for better reception to sweeping pot bill, now stalled

The momentum toward marijuana legalization — already accelerated this year by a raft of state ballot measures — could get an even bigger boost if Democrats win control of the Senate.

That’s partly because the controlling party will choose the chairman of the committee that determines whether a sweeping marijuana proposal advances or dies.

Elise Stefanik's Cautious Dance With Trump
House's youngest woman and other GOP candidates walking political tightrope

Elise Stefanik appears to be coasting through her re-election bid in New York's 21st District and toward a bright future in the Republican Party.

But that’s not what reporters who chased the freshman congresswoman after a recent debate in upstate New York wanted to talk about. They wanted to ask her why she still supports Donald Trump.

Congress and a Tax Overhaul: Lots of Talk, Little Action
Donald Trump's tax return controversy could prompt action — or not

Is 2017 the year when a tax overhaul finally happens?

Don’t bet on it.

As Funding Government Stalled, Fundraising for Congress Soared
Perpetual brinksmanship, perpetual campaigning the new normal

As members of Congress postured and blamed each other for a budget impasse that threatened to shut down the government, the Charlie Palmer Steak restaurant was a happening place for backroom fundraising.

In separate dining rooms that were just steps from each other, three members of Congress — two House Democrats from safe districts and a Republican senator in a competitive race — entertained contributors who’d paid as much as $2,500 for lunch.

Congress Turning a New Leaf on Marijuana
Burgeoning business in states with legal sales sparks momentum for reform

Just two years ago, pot lobbyist Michael Collins was a pariah on Capitol Hill.

Marijuana reform was too much of a risk. 

How Trump's Latest Hire Could Cause Problems
New national field director was fired by Chris Christie over Bridgegate

Donald Trump on Friday continued his string of controversial campaign hires, reportedly snatching up a New Jersey political operative who was a central figure in the Bridgegate scandal that later derailed Chris Christie's presidential campaign.

Bill Stepien will serve as the Trump campaign's national field director,  NBC News reported. He was hired by the campaign's new CEO, Steve Bannon, according to The Daily Beast.

Poll: Debbie Wasserman Shultz Has Double-Digit Lead in Florida
A bright spot for embattled former DNC chairwoman

At last, some good news for Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In spite of the most challenging summer of the Florida congresswoman's career, she still commands a 10-point lead over opponent Tim Canova in next week's Democratic primary, according to a poll released by the South Florida Sun Sentinel/Florida Atlantic University.

Civil Rights Group Asks for International Election Monitors in November
Group cites weakening of Voting Rights Act, Trump rhetoric

A coalition of civil rights groups, concerned about the "weakening of the Voting Rights Act" and Donald Trump's call to supporters to challenge voters at the polls, has requested international election monitors to increase efforts to observe the U.S. elections in November. 

In a letter released Tuesday, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights asked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe to consider beefing up its efforts to monitor the U.S. elections in November, and to target states that have recently imposed restrictive voting rights laws.

Arizona House Candidate Drops Out, Vows to Ensure Front-Runner's Defeat
Statehouse Speaker David Gowan says he wants to consolidate against Sheriff Paul Babeu

Arizona's statehouse speaker suspended his congressional campaign Thursday, saying that his departure would consolidate the crowded GOP primary field. 

But David Gowan's announcement was not a call to unity: He said he wanted to ensure the defeat of front-runner Paul Babeu, a county sheriff and border security hawk who Gowan said had no chance of winning the general election, according to several media reports.

McConnell Says GOP Chances of Keeping Senate 'Very Dicey'
Senate majority leader reaffirms Trump endorsement

Mitch McConnell said Thursday that his party's chance of maintaining control of the Senate in 2016 are "very dicey" and he could not be sure of his status as the majority leader next year.

McConnell did not specifically mention Republican nominee Donald Trump's drag on down-ballot races at the meeting with a Louisville-area civic group in his home state, according to The Associated Press, but he chided Trump's campaign tactics and said he hopes Trump "settles down and follows the script."

Rubio's Lead in Florida Evaporates as GOP Struggles to Overcome Trump Slump
Poll: Pennsylvania race is also too close to call