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GOP Gets a Second Shot at Governance Test
But as shutdown showdown looms, no signs of change in party factionalization

President Donald Trump and Congress soon face a partial government shutdown if they can’t work something out. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The tax overhaul can wait, and it’s going to have to.

For the Republican government that so phenomenally flopped its first big attempt at policymaking, a much more basic test of governance looms in the next month — and another failure seems hardly a politically acceptable option.

GOP Struggles to Salvage Health Care Reform
Meadows trying to get 30 to 40 members to switch from ‘no’ to ‘yes’

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, is interviewed in Rayburn Building after he and other members of the HFC met at the White House with President Trump, March 23, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans struggled to work out a deal to salvage the troubled health care reform legislation ahead of a House Republican Conference meeting Thursday evening.

Negotiations over how to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law were moving along two parallel tracks: conservatives in the Freedom Caucus were dealing with President Donald Trump and his staff, and moderates in the Tuesday Group were talking to Speaker Paul D. Ryan and his leadership team.

Appreciation | Jimmy Breslin and the Art of Describing Washington
Book by New York newspaperman is an invaluable portrayal of Capitol Hill

Jimmy Breslin found his muse in the late Massachusetts Democrat Tip O’Neill, above, whom he portrayed in his book “How the Good Guys Finally Won” as a consummate professional. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Jimmy Breslin will always be remembered as a New York newspaperman. But he also made an indelible contribution to documenting the Watergate scandal and in doing so, breathed life into some of Capitol Hill’s most influential characters. 

The hard-boiled columnist, who died March 19 at the age of 88, brought the full force of his observational skills to his 1975 book “How the Good Guys Finally Won.” Breslin made a career out of focusing on big stories through the perspective of working stiffs, so it’s no surprise he latched on to two methodical House Democrats who took on President Richard Nixon, fresh off a landslide 1972 re-election victory and whose team seemed to be brushing off the Watergate break-in.

Rising Waters at Home Cause Republicans to Buck Party in D.C.
Moderate Republicans are out front on climate change threat

New York Rep. John J. Faso is one of several GOP freshmen concerned about climate change. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Whipping out his iPhone, New York Rep. John J. Faso scrolled through text messages from his wife until he found the photo he sought. 

“There’s my wife’s car in the driveway,” he said, pointing to a lump covered in snow. “So there was no climate change that we were worried about in the last couple of days.”

What It Costs to Educate New Members of Congress
Recent House disbursement report includes total for fall orientation, though number could grow

Newly elected Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis arrives at the Capitol Hill Hotel in November 2016 — the day freshman members checked in for orientation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As empty nesters know, getting a freshman prepared for college can be expensive.

The same goes for a freshman in Congress.

Liberals Put Political Money in Spotlight of Gorsuch Fight
Senate Democrats urged to probe nominee’s views on campaign finance law

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, seen here meeting with Judge Neil Gorsuch last month, is facing pressure from liberals and conservatives ahead of the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation hearings. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers and liberal interest groups are intensifying their pressure on senators to probe Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s views on campaign finance law during his confirmation hearings next week.

“He does not come into this with the benefit of the doubt in his favor,” said Rhode Island Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Judiciary Committee member. The panel is scheduled to begin the Colorado judge’s hearings at 11 a.m. Monday.

Democrats Warn of Showdown Over Trump’s Border Wall
Senate Democratic leaders say there’s no plan for construction or getting Mexico to pay for it

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is warning of a funding standoff over building President Donald Trump's wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats are warning Republicans of a shutdown showdown if President Donald Trump insists on including funding for a wall along the Mexican border in April’s government funding bill.

“We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President Trump’s Administration,” the Senate Democratic leadership team, along with Appropriations ranking Democrat Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, wrote in a letter to be circulated Monday.

Senators Cranky About Appropriations Process
Little appetite for another continuing resolution

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham had spoken against punting on appropriations bills last fall with a continuing resolution. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“I will never vote for a CR again.”

That was all the normally talkative Sen. Lindsey Graham cared to say when asked about the prospect of completing his State-Foreign Operations appropriations bill this year, or, as has become custom, funding that part of the government through another continuing resolution. The South Carolina Republican wants to create a new account to help countries in Eastern Europe battle Russian propaganda, something that wouldn’t happen if spending is just put on auto-pilot through a CR. 

Take Five: Luther Strange
Newest senator is staying with another tall guy in D.C.

Alabama’s Luther Strange was appointed to fill out the term of former Sen. Jeff Sessions, now the attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman Republican Sen. Luther Strange of Alabama, who replaced Attorney General Jeff Sessions, talks about his height, first impressions of the Senate, and when his dog will join him in D.C.

Q: How do you feel about being the tallest senator in modern history? [Editor’s note: Strange is 6 feet 9 inches tall]

Why Was David Perdue at Trump’s Table?
First-term GOP senator shares president’s business background

Georgia Republican Sen. David Perdue was one of the earliest and most vocal advocates for President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY NIELS LESNIEWSKI AND JOHN T. BENNETT, CQ ROLL CALL

Looking around the lunch table with President Donald Trump and Republican congressional leaders Wednesday, there was one face you might not have expected to see at the table.