EXBR

Mining Concerns Animate Minnesota Swing District
Rick Nolan gets challenger for DFL endorsement

Minnesota Rep. Rick Nolan, center, talks with Mark Froemke, right, and Wayne Fleischhacker, of the AFL-CIO, during a fish fry and fundraiser last fall. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

First-time candidate Leah Phifer doesn’t have many policy differences with Democratic-Farmer-Labor Rep. Rick Nolan — an original co-sponsor of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Act — except on one issue.

Phifer thinks her fellow Democrat has gone too far toward siding with the mining industry. The former FBI counterterrorism analyst is seeking the DFL’s endorsement for Minnesota’s 8th District and kicked off her campaign over the weekend.

Judgment Days for Judicial Nominees
Several factors will affect schedule for Senate confirmation of judges

The Republican president and Senate have a chance to reshape the judicial branch, but several factors will determine how things stack up . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Senators face a lengthy list of President Donald Trump’s judicial picks, but consideration of the nominees could be affected by three significant factors: an extensive backlog of vacancies, Republican leaders’ willingness to continue altering chamber traditions, and the Democrats’ lack of motivation to aid GOP efforts to remake the judiciary.

There are 121 vacancies at the U.S. District Court level and an additional 21 vacancies on federal appeals courts, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Opinion: The Women in Washington Staying for the Fight
Collins, Feinstein and Pelosi want to keep fighting for their causes

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is among the women in Congress planning to stick around and keep fighting for their causes. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Bob Corker’s leaving the Senate, and who can blame him? At a certain point, life’s just too short to get called “Liddle Bob” on Twitter by anyone, especially by the president of the United States.

But even as Corker announced that he’d retire at the end of his term, two of the Tennessee Republican’s female colleagues decided last week they’re not going anywhere, at least not if they can help it. Both women said while they had considered leaving Washington, the job in the Capitol was too important to walk away from.

On Climate Issues, House GOP Warms Gradually
As more Republicans sign on, the Climate Solutions Caucus is gaining steam

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo has joined 20 Republican colleagues on a resolution that calls conservation a “conservative principle.” (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

BY ELVINA NAWAGUNA

When a Republican congressman in July tried to strip the 2018 defense spending bill of its requirement to plan for global warming and rising sea level threats, a group of House GOP lawmakers joined Democrats to kill the effort.

With One Now in the White House, Celebrities Crowd the Political Stage
It doesn’t end with Kid Rock; actors, a former Olympian and one of the ”sexiest men alive” plan to run

Kid Rock may have been among the first celebrities to emerge as a potential candidate in 2018, but he wasn’t the last. (Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

That led to chatter that Peyton Manning, the legendary NFL and University of Tennessee quarterback, could take the Republican senator’s Tennessee seat. But with Manning quickly quashing speculation he would make the race, Kid Rock was back on top.

“We will be scheduling a press conference in the next 6 weeks or so to address this issue amongst others, and if I decide to throw my hat in the ring for US Senate, believe me …  it’s game on mthrfkers,” his campaign website states.

Old Friends Kildee, Michael Moore Talk Flint on Broadway
Michigan Democrat was a guest on filmmaker’s Broadway show, ‘The Terms of My Surrender’

Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee, right, with filmmaker Michael Moore backstage at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre on Sunday. The two have known each other since high school. (Courtesy Kildee’s office)

Two old friends from Flint, Michigan — Rep. Dan Kildee and filmmaker Michael Moore — have talked about the water crisis in their hometown before.

On Sunday, the two had that conversation before an audience on Broadway.

Word on the Hill: Schneider Rides the Bus
McCain’s award, Conaway’s life in D.C., McSally on sexism

Illinois Rep. Brad Schneider is getting on a commuter bus around 8 a.m. Tuesday to meet with constituents. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., is taking his town hall on the road today.

He will use his “Commuter Town Hall” on the PACE bus in his suburban Chicago district to meet constituents during their work commutes.

Trump, McConnell All Smiles, All the Time
President, majority leader say they are on the same page, despite tension

President Donald Trump, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., say their relationship is A-OK. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Speaker Paul D. Ryan is ready to cancel Christmas recess to get a tax bill done, but President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled the effort could slip into next year.

Trump on Monday called his relationship with McConnell “very good” amid reports of tension between the two leaders. During a remarkable and rowdy midday joint press conference in the Rose Garden, Trump declared he and McConnell “are probably now … closer than ever before.

Florida Republican Who Once Claimed Alien Abduction Announces House Bid
Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera is joining the GOP primary for Ros-Lehtinen’s open seat

Former Doral, Florida, city councilwoman Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera once claimed aliens took her up in their spacecraft controlled by quartz stones. Now she's running for Florida's open 27th District seat in 2018.(bettinaforcongress.com)

Either Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera has been watching too much Syfy Channel or she’s really just that special. We’ll probably never know for sure.

No matter, the 59-year-old Republican, who once recalled in an interview a visit from three blond-haired aliens who took her aboard their spacecraft, is running for Florida’s 27th District seat being vacated by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Trump on McConnell: We’re ‘Closer Than Ever Before’

Shortly after a lunch together at the White House on Monday, President Donald Trump said he and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are “closer now than ever.”