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Legislative Agenda Takes Back Seat to Trump’s ‘Beautiful Apartment’
Former Jeb Bush aide: ‘One step forward, one step back’

President Donald Trump opted against selling his legislative agenda in an address to supporters in Phoenix on Tuesday. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump roared, blamed, boasted, omitted and obfuscated Tuesday night at a campaign rally in Phoenix, but there was one thing he decided against doing: selling his stalled legislative agenda.

A night after delivering a measured and somewhat-detailed prime-time address that laid out his new counterterrorism-focused Afghanistan strategy, Trump’s criticism of the news media, his increasingly visible insecurities and his fixation on his political base took over just minutes into his remarks in the Valley of the Sun.

Senate Health Panel Will Hear From Governors, Insurance Leaders

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and ranking member Patty Murray, D-Wash., will hear from a range of policy figures in constructing a bill to stabilize the health insurance markets. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate’s key health care panel announced plans to hear from governors and state insurance commissioners early next month about ways to rein in rising prices for medical insurance purchased directly by consumers.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday set a hearing Sept. 6 with state insurance commissioners and another on Sept. 7 with governors. The committee, which has not yet said who will appear at the hearings, is also expected to announce additional sessions.

Puerto Rico Pressing On in Its Quest for Statehood
Island’s governor swore in its would-be congressional delegation last week

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló arrives for a news conference about the June 11 vote in favor of U.S. statehood at the National Press Club in Washington on June 15. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló recently swore in his dream team for political representation — two senators and five representatives to match the commonwealth’s population.

They are expected to travel to Washington soon and ask lawmakers to be seated as the official congressional delegation for Puerto Rico. 

GOP Leadership Silent on Bannon’s Departure
Many House and Senate Republicans ignore White House chaos

House Speaker Paul Ryan, left, and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, right, often avoid addressing controversy surrounding the presidency of Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Almost two hours after news broke Friday that President Donald Trump decided to part ways with White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy  — at least at that moment — had another topic on his mind.

He retweeted a message that the chief executive sent out Friday morning, before Bannon’s ouster was reported, about elevating the country’s Cyber Command. McCarthy called it “the right move.”

Trump Is Quickly Running Out of GOP Factions to Alienate
Republican strategist: ‘He’s basically crossing out all of his allies’

President Donald Trump’s ouster of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is seen by some as his first major slight to his conservative base. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is running out of Republican Party factions to offend and alienate after firing Steve Bannon, the White House chief strategist who was a bridge to the president’s conservative base.

Along with Friday’s blow to his base, a defensive and sometimes erratic Trump in the past few weeks alone has attacked once-supportive business leaders, GOP lawmakers and voters eager to distance themselves from far-right and white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He’s also lashed out at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a key player in any effort to push forward his legislative agenda.

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.

Murphy Walks Across Connecticut to Packed Town Halls
Health care, not Charlottesville, was the dominant topic, senator says

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy greets a crowd at the finish line in Danbury, Ct. (Courtesy Murphy's Twitter page)

Connecticut Sen. Christopher S. Murphy completed his 110-mile August recess walk across his home state Thursday. It’s the same summer trek the Democratic lawmaker did last year though some of the topics he discussed this time around with constituents along the way were different. 

“When I was talking to apolitical people, which represent the majority of Connecticut, they were talking about kitchen-table issues,” Murphy said.

Pelosi Joins Call for Removal of Confederate Statues From Capitol
Trump says country is being ‘ripped apart’ by removal of ‘beautiful’ monuments

Democrats are calling for the removal from the Capitol of Confederate statues, like this one of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Statuary Hall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Updated 12:32 p.m. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday joined a drumbeat from other Democrats, calling for the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.

“The halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” the California Democrat said in a statement

Opinion: Congress’ Passive Response to North Korea: ‘Not My Table’
Lawmakers need to step up

When dealing with President Donald Trump — especially when problems with North Korea are looming — members of Congress should remember that they are part of a co-equal branch of government, Shapiro writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Just as he did back during Black History Month in February with his startling discovery that Frederick Douglass “is being recognized more and more,” Donald Trump demonstrated in Monday’s White House statement on Charlottesville, Virginia, that he can learn and grow in office.

In 48 short hours, Trump discovered that “racism is evil” and groups like “the KKK, neo-Nazis [and] white supremacists … are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.”