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Democratic domination continues in Congressional Baseball Game
Lawmakers take a break from border funding, debate buzz to compete on the field

Rep. Denver Riggleman, R-Va., rolls over on his head as he field a ground ball during the 58th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on Wednesday. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Ask any dad and he will tell you: Defense wins championships. But when Republicans ask themselves what went wrong Wednesday night, they might point to a sloppy defensive effort that resulted in four errors and their third straight loss to the Democrats.

The 14-7 win at the Congressional Baseball Game was the Democrats’ eighth in nine years, behind another complete game effort from MVP Cedric Richmond and solid hitting from the lineup.

Senate panel approves health cost bill but plans changes
Sanders, Warren vote ‘no’ by proxy as they head to Democratic presidential debates

Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander takes his seat for a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing this month. The panel on Wednesday approved a bill meant to lower health care costs. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday approved, 20-3, legislation meant to lower health care costs, although senators suggested that more changes are likely before the floor debate next month.

Chairman Lamar Alexander of Tennessee hopes to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote in mid-to-late July, which will likely set up a flurry of lobbying and debate among lawmakers over changes to it.

Unorthodox Senate deal clears path for Thursday NDAA vote
Democrats had threatened to filibuster the defense bill unless the Iran amendment received a vote on Friday

From left, Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Roy Blunt, R-Mo., James Inhofe, R-Okla., and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, conduct a news conference in the Capitol after the Senate Policy luncheons on Tuesday, June 25, 2019. As part of a compromise on the NDAA, McConnell said Wednesday he would allow a vote on language blocking President Donald Trump from launching a war against Iran without congressional approval. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate leaders struck an unusual deal Wednesday afternoon to hold a vote on language that would block President Donald Trump from launching a war against Iran without congressional approval, paving the way for a final vote on the massive Pentagon policy measure on Thursday.

But the vote on the Iran amendment will happen on Friday, to accommodate Senate Democrats participating in presidential debates this week, a GOP aide said. If the chamber adopts the language, which has the support of at least two Republican senators, it would then be retroactively included in the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill.

Senate approves border bill; Pelosi and Trump talk compromise

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and other Democratic leaders are weighing their next move on a border supplemental aid package. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 10:35 p.m. | With the Senate’s passage of its version of a border supplemental funding bill Wednesday, and its rejection of the House measure, negotiations between the White House, Senate and House leaders will now attempt to nail down a compromise before Congress leaves for the July Fourth recess.

Several disagreements lie at the heart of Senate and House differences on the two bills. The Senate bill rejected some of the tight restrictions the House included in its measure on the care of migrant children in government custody. The Senate also added in more money than the House for border enforcement agencies and for more immigration judges.

Oregon’s GOP senators are still missing after stopping carbon bill
Republicans stayed away from the chamber to avoid action on emissions measure

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown authorized state police to round up the missing Republicans. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. — Seemingly outnumbered on a polarizing climate change bill, Republican members of the Oregon Senate fled the state last week to deny Democrats the chance to pass it.

But even after Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney conceded there weren't enough Democratic votes to pass the measure, the 11 Republican members of the chamber remained away from the state capital in Salem on Wednesday.

Appeals court move potentially an ‘ominous’ sign for Obamacare
The law could face strong headwinds in its latest test in the federal courts

Affordable Care Act supporters wave signs outside the Supreme Court after the court upheld Obamacare. A federal appeals court decision to question whether the House and Democratic-led states can defend the law could prove a troublesome sign for the landmark legislation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A federal appeals court has questioned whether the House and Democrat-led states can defend the 2010 health care law in a legal fight that threatens the landmark legislation — a sign the law could face strong headwinds in its latest test in the federal courts.

The House and states had jumped to intervene in the lawsuit after a federal judge in Texas ruled the entire law should fall without the so-called individual mandate, including popular provisions preventing insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more because of pre-existing conditions.

House Democrats lose procedural vote to GOP minority for first time in months
Approval of Republican motion to recommit on Financial Services spending bill added a last-minute Iran amendment

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the members of his caucus who voted for the GOP motion to recommit felt they had to support the Iran language. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Democratic majority on Wednesday lost a procedural vote to the Republican minority for the first time in four months, as 37 Democrats joined Republicans in adding a last-minute Iran amendment to the Financial Services spending bill.

The amendment was approved through a Republican motion to recommit, or MTR — a procedural tool of the minority used primarily for messaging.

Senate NDAA sets a plutonium target experts deem a ‘fantasy’
CBO: Proposal by Senate to surge production of key building blocks for new nuclear arms would cost about $17 billion over a decade

The entrance to Technical Area 18 of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which houses several tons of highly enriched uranium and plutonium in Los Alamos, New Mexico. New programs proposed by the Senate to surge production of key building blocks for new nuclear arms would add a total of about $17 billion over a decade. (Neil Jacobs/Getty Images)

The Senate is poised to approve legislation Thursday that would codify a plan to spend billions of dollars to surge production of key building blocks for new nuclear arms.

The hawkish Senate’s coming move to set a new and more solid requirement for building plutonium cores for atomic weapons is buried deep inside its $750 billion fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill.

Field notes from a North Carolina runoff and a reparations hearing
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 79

The GOP primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District has become somewhat of a proxy war between House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows, left, and Jim Jordan, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There is always a special congressional election somewhere. For the purposes of this particular Political Theater podcast, it is the upcoming Republican primary runoff in North Carolina’s 3rd District.

This is the seat that became vacant when longtime GOP Rep. Walter B. Jones died earlier this year. The April 30 GOP primary ended with two candidates heading to a July 9 runoff: state Rep. Greg Murphy and political newcomer Joan Perry. (The winner will face Democrat Allen Thomas, the former mayor of Greenville, in a Sept. 10 special general election to serve out the remainder of the 116th Congress.)

House Ethics Committee names working group to combat outside work conflicts
The bipartisan group will oversee lawmakers, officers and employees who serve in positions outside federal government

Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., will lead the working group with Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas. (CQ Roll Call)

A bipartisan working group has been formed by the House Ethics Committee to examine what types of service or positions outside of Congress could result in conflicts of interest and to craft proposed regulations for the committee’s consideration that govern those pursuits.

Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., and Rep. Van Taylor, R-Texas, will comprise the group that will focus on creating regulations that oversee lawmakers, officers and employees who work or serve in positions outside of the federal government.