DEFENSE UBER

For Bobby Scott, a District Carved in Calm
Virginia Democrat takes business-as-usual approach, absent political rhetoric

Virginia Rep. Robert C. Scott speaks to attendees at a town hall in Norfolk on Monday. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call)

NORFOLK, Va. — At a recent town hall here in Virginia’s second most populous city, Rep. Robert C. Scott patiently took questions from more than two dozen residents waiting in line. The queue stretched to the very back of a high school auditorium with some standing for the entire portion of the two-hour public meeting.

Absent was the rancor that has dominated town halls across the country this year — mostly those held by congressional Republicans facing angry crowds, upset over changes the GOP wants to make to the 2010 health care law and expressing steadfast opposition to Donald Trump’s presidency.

Budget and Appropriations Members Rack Up Travel Time
Boots on the ground or paid vacation?

Staff travel makes up a significant chuck of the amounts spent on travel by the Appropriations and Budget committees. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Members of the Budget and Appropriations committees have spent about $2 million on foreign travel since the start of 2016, including trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Italy and the United Kingdom, according to an analysis of congressional records.

Appropriations Committee members far outpace their colleagues on the Budget Committee in the number of trips and how much they've spent on travel outside the United States. From Jan. 1, 2016 through March 31, 2017, Appropriations Committee members and staff spent $1.9 million on foreign travel and Budget Committee members and staff spent $36,000.

Word on the Hill: Peters’ Motorcycle Ride
Recess activities for Cárdenas, Ferguson and Hudson

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters toured the Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital in Ontonagon, Mich., on his bike ride. (Courtesy Peters via Twitter)

Motorcycle enthusiast Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., took his annual recess motorcycle tour of the Wolverine State this week.

The senator visited a rural airport to talk about President Donald Trump’s budget cuts to Essential Air Service, a government program enacted to guarantee that small communities maintain commercial airline service. 

Trump: Country Being ‘Ripped Apart’ Over Confederate Monuments
President says beauty will be “greatly missed” and can’t be replaced

Police stand in front of protesters as President Donald Trump’s motorcade departs Trump Tower on Wednesday in New York City, amid the continued fallout from his comments on the racial violence in Charlottesville, Va. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump said the history and culture of the United States was being “ripped apart” by the removal of statues and monuments to Confederate leaders across the country.

Trump’s early Thursday tweets came after his earlier remarks that there were “very fine people” on both sides of a protest last weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white nationalists and neo-Nazi groups violently clashed with counter-protesters over the removal of a statute of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Opinion: Saying ‘Not Trump’ Is Not Enough for GOP
Time to embrace Abraham Lincoln again

Controversial comments by President Donald Trump after violence at a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest revealed his true self, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

When Donald Trump is the bad cop, everybody can be the good cop.

Republicans lawmakers looked good by comparison over the weekend after a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest turned violent, just by calling out white supremacists and uttering the words “domestic terrorism” — something the president was never able to do.

Flake and Primary Challenger Diverge on Response to Charlottesville Violence
Flake criticizes Trump’s response, Ward is more supportive

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., criticized President Donald Trump Tuesday for equivocating in his condemnation of white supremacy following violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Two candidates who want to win the 2018 Republican Senate primary in Arizona have responded very differently to President Donald Trump’s comments following violence that broke out before a scheduled alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend.

On the one hand, incumbent Sen. Jeff Flake  has repeatedly launched veiled criticisms at Trump this week for his perceived soft response to the presence of neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville.

DCCC Raises More Than $6 Million in July
Committee’s fundraising outpaces July 2015

New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Luján chairs the DCCC, which said it has received contributions from more than 200,000 first-time donors so far this year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised more than $6 million in July, roughly $2 million more than it did in July 2015.

The campaign arm of House Democrats raked in $6.26 in July, with 40 percent of donations coming from online contributions, according to figures provided exclusively to Roll Call.

Word on the Hill: Volunteers for Tiniest Opioid Victims
Smucker on Israel, and Murphy’s still walking

Ohio Rep. Michael R. Turner, center, is flanked by volunteers at a local hospital. (Courtesy Turner via Premier Health)

Rep. Michael R. Turner, R-Ohio, recently visited volunteers who cuddle with infants going through opiate withdrawal in Dayton. 

The volunteer Infant Cuddle Program at Miami Valley Hospital was launched recently and Turner got to thank the cuddlers last week.

Russia Portfolio Comes in Handy for Senate Staffer
Shaheen aide Naz Durakoglu comes via Atlantic Council, State Dept., House

Naz Durakoglu is a senior foreign policy adviser to New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen. (Screenshot, Middle East Institute)

Naz Durakoglu started her new job working for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in early June, shortly after the New Hampshire Democrat had pushed to add Russia sanctions to an Iran sanctions bill as it moved through the Foreign Relations Committee.

But after Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee said he would move ahead with a bipartisan effort to tighten sanctions against Moscow, Shaheen withdrew her amendments. The timing, though, put Durakoglu, as a senior foreign policy adviser to Shaheen, in the middle of discussions about how to respond to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 election.

Sinema ‘Seriously Considering’ Challenging Flake in Senate
Arizona congresswoman under pressure to make a decision

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., is considering running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is “seriously considering” challenging GOP Sen. Jeff Flake in the Arizona Senate race, she said after a local news outlet reported that she is planning to run.

Flake is considered one of the two more vulnerable GOP incumbents in 2018, and Sinema is also facing pressure to make a decision, with the prospect of a Democratic primary for the race.