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Super PAC Staffs Up for Morrisey in West Virginia GOP Primary
Morrisey led Jenkins in mid-October poll commissioned by 35th PAC

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is running for the GOP Senate nomination. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A super PAC supporting West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in the GOP Senate primary is staffing up for the 2018 contest. 

The hires, shared first with Roll Call, will be announced Wednesday. 

How Many Gas Pipelines Do We Need?
As demand for natural gas rises, so do questions about pipeline capacity

A natural gas pipeline yard is shown beyond a fence in Skokie, Ill., in this 2003 photo. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images file photo)

BY JACKIE TOTH

When coal-fired and nuclear power plants are retired, they’re usually replaced not by new renewable technologies like solar or wind, but with power plants fueled by natural gas.

Opinion: Realizing the Vision of Evidence-Based Policymaking
Congress should act quickly to pass new Ryan-Murray legislation

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Washington Sen. Patty Murray recently introduced legislation that implemented many of the recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Recently, amid the political turmoil over tax reform and other controversial issues, Congress set aside partisan differences to convey an important message to the American public: Better use of evidence in our policymaking process is necessary and possible.

Regardless of their politics, the American people want a government that operates effectively and transparently. The federal government spends billions on programs, yet often lacks the evidence needed to determine whether these programs are working as intended or how they could be improved. Evidence-based policymaking  — making better use of data and rigorous program evaluation to inform government decision-making —holds the key to driving government programs to be more effective.

Trump on Course for Least Diverse Judicial Picks Since Reagan
President’s nominees have been overwhelmingly white and male

Greg Katsas was nominated by President Donald Trump for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He is seen here during his confirmation hearing last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s picks for federal judgeships reflect a strikingly different direction when it comes to diversity on the bench — it is the most white and male group of nominees in recent history.

So far, 91 percent of Trump’s 58 judicial nominees for district and appeals courts are white, a pace that would make his appointees the least diverse since the Reagan administration, according to statistics compiled by the liberal advocacy group Alliance for Justice. Only 19 percent of his picks are women, a pace that would make his appointees the most male since the George H.W. Bush administration.

How Candidates Duck Reporting Campaign Funds
Exploratory committees becoming more common down-ballot

Former Judge Russell Fagg announces his run for Senate in Billings, Montana, on Oct. 14. (Bronte Wittpenn/Billings Gazette file photo)

Presidential candidates have been doing it for years.

They raise money and explore their viability long before they announce they’re running. And that practice is increasingly trickling down to the House and Senate level. 

Small-Business Concerns Threaten GOP Tax Overhaul
Many Republicans worry small-business owners won’t see benefits

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and his committee might consider changes to the GOP tax bill’s small-business provisions to address members’ concerns. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Concerns from rank-and-file Republicans about small-business provisions in the House GOP tax bill are emerging as the biggest threats to the legislation’s passage in the chamber.

The specific concerns vary from the types of small businesses that will benefit from a reduced 25 percent tax rate to the amount of so-called pass-through income that will still be taxed at individual rates.

Murphy Calls Out ‘Fealty to Gun-Makers’ After Texas Massacre
‘None of this is inevitable,’ Connecticut senator says after gunman kills more than 20 during church service

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., talks with reporters in the Capitol after the Senate policy luncheons in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy slammed his colleagues for their “fealty to gun-makers” after the shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday that left 26 people dead.

“None of this is inevitable. I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America,” the Connecticut Democrat said in a statement.

Will 2018 Bring More Women to Congress?
Eleven women are leaving the House, three of whom are running for Senate

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally would add to the number of women leaving the House if she decides to jump into the Arizona Senate race. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Women make up a fifth of Congress. Strategists from both parties would like to see that percentage increase in the 2018 midterms, but that’s no guarantee.

Eleven women have announced they’re leaving the House at the end of this term, including two Democrats and one Republican who are running for Senate. Arizona Rep. Martha McSally could make it a second Republican if she jumps into the open Arizona Senate race. Three female Democrats are among the top 10 most vulnerable senators.

Please Don’t Call It a Push Poll: Transgender Edition
Survey either measures public opinion or it doesn’t

Virginia state House candidate Danica Roem complained about a “push poll” run against her last month. (Courtesy Danica Roem for Delegate/Facebook)

Danica Roem and Bob Marshall are facing off in an unusually high-profile race for the Virginia House of Delegates — Roem, a transgender Democrat, is challenging Marshall, a conservative Republican. The race reached a new level in the final weeks when allegations of a so-called push poll came to light.

My longtime colleague Stuart Rothenberg jokes that there are some columns that need to be written over and over again. The debate over push polls is one of those topics.

Green Energy Industry Says Lower Tax Credit Reneges on Promise
House GOP bill includes provision that removes an inflation adjustment

The House GOP tax bill would remove an inflation adjustment from the renewable energy production tax credit, alarming industry advocates. (Courtesy American Wind Energy Association/Facebook)

Renewable energy advocates are raising alarms that the House Republican tax plan released Thursday would sharply reduce a tax credit that has driven the rapid deployment of wind and solar power over the past two years.

The tax bill includes a provision that would remove an inflation adjustment from the renewable energy production tax credit, likely dropping it from 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour for tax year 2016 to 1.5 cents per kilowatt hour.