Politics

Montana Candidate Gianforte Cited for Misdemeanor Assault
Witnesses say Republican body-slammed and punched journalist

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet at Lions Park on May 23, 2017 in Great Falls, Montana. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated Thursday 1:08 a.m. | Greg Gianforte, the Republican nominee in Thursday’s special election in Montana, was cited for a misdemeanor assault Wednesday evening after allegedly assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs at a campaign event at Gianforte’s headquarters in Bozeman earlier that day.

On the eve of a special election in which many early votes have already been cast, it’s unclear what effect the incident could have on what has been expected to be a close race. Gianforte has been ahead by single digits in most public and private polling. But Montana’s largest newspapers pulled their endorsements of the two-time GOP candidate Wednesday night, and Democratic outside groups lost no time producing digital ads using Jacobs’ audio of the altercation. 

CBO Estimate of Revised House Health Care Bill Changes Little
Senate GOP leaders say the votes still are not there for passage

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Wednesday said there were not 50 votes in the Senate for a health care bill. And that was before the CBO score came in. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

BY KERRY YOUNG AND SANDHYA RAMAN

A House-passed health care bill would reduce federal spending by $119 billion over a decade, compared to a previous estimate of $150 billion over a decade. And it would cause the number of Americans lacking medical insurance to rise by 23 million by 2026, which is 1 million less than under previous iterations of the measure, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

Big Spending in Montana Portends a Close Election
Two flawed candidates battle for at-large district Thursday

Republican congressional candidate Greg Gianforte speaks to supporters during a campaign meet and greet Tuesday in Great Falls, Montana.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Updated 9:48 p.m. | Ahead of Thursday night’s “body-slamming” incident, most bets were on Republican nominee Greg Gianforte, who’s led by single digits in recent public and private polling, winning Montana’s at-large House seat on Thursday.

But that’d still be a dramatic shift from President Donald Trump’s 20-point victory in the state last fall.

Franken Recalls Telling Cruz He was ‘Full of S---’ in New Book
Suggested new punchline for a joke Klobuchar was going to tell about Texas senator

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and David Letterman talk with climate change activists ahead of the People’s Climate March in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a former comedy writer, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is not uncomfortable with insults or swearing, and his new book describes a particularly saucy insult he hurled at Ted Cruz.

Franken’s new book — tongue-in-cheek titled “Al Franken: Giant of the Senate,” has a chapter called “Sophistry” dedicated to the Texas Republican.

Ryan on GOP Health Care Bill: ‘We Will Get Hit For This’
Speaker still feels chances Republicans will hold onto House in 2018 are ‘excellent’

Speaker Paul D. Ryan says Republicans will "get hit" over their health care bill. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is acutely aware that Republicans will be attacked over the health care bill that his chamber passed a few weeks ago, but the Wisconsin Republican felt that inaction was not an option. 

“I’ll accept that we will get hit for this,” Ryan said Wednesday at an Axios’ News Shapers event. “But we’re in leadership. We don’t have a choice. … What are we supposed to do, just sit back and let this thing collapse?”

Pittenger Draws Democratic Challenger in North Carolina
Marine veteran and businessman is first-time candidate in 9th District

North Carolina Rep. Robert Pittenger is a DCCC target in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The road through North Carolina doesn’t look easy for House Democrats, but the party is targeting four seats (all of which President Donald Trump won by at least 9 points) in their effort to expand the 2018 battlefield.

Democrats have talked up their efforts to land veterans and businesspeople in red districts this year. Now they’re getting a candidate that checks both of those boxes in North Carolina’s 9th District. 

‘Compassionate Republican’ Announces Run for Ros-Lehtinen’s Seat
Former Miami-Dade school board member Raquel Regaldo declares herself a moderate

Republican Raquel Regalado said she is the kind of moderate who can win in a district that Hillary Clinton carried in the presidential election last year. (Raquel Regalado via Facebook)

Former Miami Dade School Board member Raquel Regalado announced her candidacy for outgoing Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s seat in Florida's 27th Congressional District in 2018.

Ros-Lehtinen announced she would not seek re-election last month, creating an opening for Democrats to pick up a seat in a district that voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Former State Rep. Joins Crowded Field for Chaffetz’s Seat
Chris Herrod is frequent critic of illegal immigration and ‘political correctness’

Former Utah State Rep.Chris Herrod is the latest challenger to announce his candidacy for the seat of outgoing Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. (Chris Herrod via Facebook)

Former state Rep. Chris Herrod on Tuesday joined the crowded field running for outgoing Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s seat.

Herrod framed himself as “not shy about giving my opinion, especially against political correctness” in an interview with KNRS’s Rod Arquette Show, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Pence’s Battleground Stops, PAC Raise Eyebrows Amid Trump Scandals
VP’s office calls talk ‘ludicrous’ — but others see ‘too many coincidences’

Vice President Mike Pence leaves a meeting in the Capitol Visitor Center last Thursday. Two days later, he stopped in two presidential battleground states, Pennsylvania and Ohio, en route to his native Indiana. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Vice President Mike Pence has quietly spent his weekends visiting key battleground states, raising eyebrows in political circles about just what the ambitious politician is up to as scandals threaten Donald Trump’s presidency.

Last weekend provides a glaring — and fascinating — example. The former Indiana congressman and governor returned to the Hoosier State to deliver the commencement address at Notre Dame. But his route back home included stops in two perennial presidential battlegrounds: Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Special Counsel in Russia Probe Gets Separate Funding Path
Cost of Mueller’s work not a part of the regular appropriations process

The funds for special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s Russia investigation come from the Treasury Department. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former FBI Director Robert S. Mueller started as special counsel to oversee the bureau’s investigation of alleged Russian efforts to impact the 2016 presidential election, but the cost of his work won’t be part of the regular appropriations process.

The funds for Mueller and his team come from a Treasury Department account for permanent, indefinite appropriations, said Lee Lofthus, the assistant attorney general for administration and a budget expert at the Justice Department.

Michael Flynn Gets Another Chance From Intelligence Committee
Panel seems ready to hold him in contempt of Congress

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., want to give Michael Flynn one more chance to cooperate with their probe. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Intelligence Committee is giving former national security adviser Michael Flynn another chance to produce documents about his interactions with Russian officials, even as the panel’s leaders are sending signals that they are unafraid to hold him in contempt of Congress.

The committee leadership has now sent a letter questioning the claim by Flynn and his lawyers that he can use the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination to avoid producing documents subpoenaed by the panel.

Rep. Lamar Smith Out of Touch With Science, Challenger Says
Aerospace engineer — a veteran — is taking on Science committee chairman

Lamar Smith chairs the House Science Space and Technology Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

GOP Rep. Lamar Smith, the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is getting a Democratic challenger who says Smith is out of touch with science and his constituents.

Joseph Kopser announced Tuesday that he is taking on Smith, who is running for re-election for a 17th term in Congress in the solidly Republican central Texas district. Kopser, a combat veteran who served in Iraq and earned a Bronze Star, is one of a slew of candidates in science and technology fields running for elected office as political outsiders.

Trey Gowdy’s Path to Oversight Gavel Gets Smoother
Steering Committee will pick next Oversight chairman after break

Rep. Trey Gowdy wants the chairmanship of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and after Rep. Jason Chaffetz leaves Congress, he has a good chance to get it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Trey Gowdy’s bid to be the next chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee keeps getting easier as a key potential rival says he won’t run and predicted the South Carolina Republican is likely to wield the gavel, even as the deadline to make a bid draws near.

Any serious bid to challenge Gowdy will need to get under way soon, as Speaker Paul D. Ryan is giving members interested in the post until June 1 to let the House Republican Steering Committee know, according to a Ryan spokeswoman. The Steering Committee is on track to vote on the next chairman the week following the Memorial Day recess.

Health Care Backlash Prompts MacArthur to Resign as Co-Chair of Tuesday Group
‘Clearly, our group is divided’

Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-N.J., walks through Statuary Hall on his way to the House floor in the Capitol for the votes on repeal and replace of Obamacare on Thursday, May 4, 2017. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Trump Budget Request Rolls Out to a Quarreling Congress
Selling deep cuts aimed at poor and middle class could be rough going

Eric Ueland, Republican Staff Director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 Budget in the Dirksen Building on May 23, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The ambitious fiscal blueprint now heads to a bitterly divided Congress, which has the authority to adopt or reject the White House spending plans. Trump’s budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, will visit the Capitol this week to try to sell the $4.1 trillion outline to top budget writers in the House and Senate.

Those hearings will officially kick off the fiscal 2018 budget and appropriations cycle in Congress, a process that has been on hold for months as lawmakers waited for Trump’s full budget proposal and as they finished up last year’s spending work.