educ

Trump Rescinds Obama-Era Guidance on Transgender Students
Move affects pending SCOTUS case on transgender bathroom use

Under the previous guidelines by the Obama administration, public schools were told to allow transgender students to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identities. (Sara D. Davis/Getty Images file photo)

The Trump administration on Wednesday withdrew Obama-era guidance directing public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom that matches their gender identity, a move that changes a pending Supreme Court case on the contentious social issue.

A letter from the administration to the Supreme Court on Wednesday included a memo from the Education and Justice departments formally withdrawing the guidance.

New Jersey Republican Couldn’t Escape Trump at Town Hall
Lance is the first Republican in a Clinton district to hold a town hall

New Jersey Rep. Leonard Lance holds a town hall meeting at the Raritan Valley Community College in Branchburg, N.J., on Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

BRANCHBURG, N.J. — The soft-spoken Leonard Lance, a moderate Republican from affluent New Jersey, is an unlikely politician to attract national media to his backyard. 

But as one of just a handful of GOP congressmen — and the only Republican in New Jersey — holding a town hall during the Presidents Day recess, Lance is a rare breed. He’s the first Republican representing a district Hillary Clinton won to hold a town hall since President Donald Trump took office.

House Democrats Look Beyond DNC Chairman Race
They have no say in the election but hold high hopes for the winner

Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison is the only member of Congress running for the Democratic National Committee chairmanship. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congressional Democrats have little sway over who the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee will be. But the eventual winner — to be elected by DNC members this weekend in Atlanta — may play an important role in shaping the direction of a party that desperately needs help articulating its message and organizing ahead of the 2018 midterms.

“Right about now, they do nothing with the Congress. So anything would be an improvement,” Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell, a former DNC member, said of the committee last week, outside the House chamber. 

Tennessee, Texas Stand Out for Strengthened Hill Sway
In Roll Call’s Clout Index for this Congress, California delegation’s longtime hold on top spot is threatened

Party affiliation and longevity have helped propel members of the Tennessee delegation such as Sen. Bob Corker into positions that convey authority and power, Hawkings writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No state in this decade has seen a more meaningful boost than Tennessee in institutionalized congressional influence.

Only eight states, all with much bigger delegations because they’re much more populous, have more overt sway at the Capitol this year. That is one of several notable findings from the new Roll Call Clout Index, which the newspaper uses to take a quantifiable measurement of every state’s potential for power at the start of each new Congress.  

Health Coverage Questions Persist for Republicans
Chances of House GOP blueprint passing the Senate remain unclear

Speaker Paul D. Ryan told reporters the House GOP health care measure will be introduced after the Presidents Day recess but it might face opposition from Republicans in the Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As Republican lawmakers face questions from constituents and colleagues about their plans to repeal and replace the 2010 health care law, there are few answers available, starting with what kind of legislation can pass the Senate. 

Republicans do not need Democratic support to undo much of the law, since they will move the legislation through the budget reconciliation process that only requires majority support in the Senate. But with only 52 Republican senators, the GOP plan will have to get support from both their conservatives and moderates, and it’s not clear what can get everyone onboard.

One Thing Congress Agrees On: Vaccines Work
They said lawmakers should support the use of vaccines

From left, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., at a HELP hearing. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are stressing the need to highlight benefits of vaccines amid reports of local outbreaks of infectious diseases.

“The science is clear: FDA-licensed vaccines are proven to be safe and effective, and save the lives both of those who receive them and vulnerable individuals around them,” the lawmakers wrote in a Tuesday letter sent to their colleagues. “As Members of Congress, we have a critical role to play in supporting the availability and use of vaccines to protect Americans from deadly diseases.”

Robbing the Poor to Pay Paul Ryan’s Pals
Speaker may have powerful ally for assault on Medicaid

Speaker Paul D. Ryan Ryan has another shot at Medicaid with longtime ally Tom Price running the Department of Health and Human Services, Jonathan Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan wants you to know that he cares about the poor. He wants you to know that his deeply held Catholic convictions drive him to seek opportunity for those in poverty, particularly people of color.

He speaks in the compassionate tones of someone who means to help not harm, and I believe that these are his real values, even if I often don’t agree with his policy prescriptions.

Capitol Hill Staff Is Sleepier Than Last Year, So Far
Survey shows staffers are working longer hours in the 115th Congress

Late nights are part of working on Capitol Hill, especially in the 115th Congress.

Rep. Reed Surprises Sit-In Participants
New York Republican has two-hour discussion at district office

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised constituents who were requesting a town hall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Tom Reed, R-N.Y., surprised people staging a sit-in at a district office when he dropped by Thursday after a meeting with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in Washington.

Six people from Ithaca Catholic Workers began the sit-in on Tuesday to highlight that Reed not holding a town hall since May 2, 2016. Reed arrived around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Kamala Harris Aims for Influence as a Check on Trump
Even as a freshman, Calif. Democrat has started Senate career with a bang

California Sen. Kamala Harris has been sharply critical of President Donald Trump’s recent actions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Donald Trump received less than a third of the votes cast for president by California voters, and that’s something the state’s new senator, Kamala Harris, is well aware of.

Harris, the former state attorney general, had already spoken up on the Senate floor against the nominations of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos by the time she gave her more traditional “maiden speech” Thursday. The freshman Democrat started by recounting how her mother, an Indian immigrant, chose to marry her Jamaican father in the U.S. instead of returning to India for an arranged marriage.