Speaker Ryan

That congressional intern? He might play in the NFL
NFL player’s association continues off-season externship program for sixth year

NFL safety Michael Thomas, seen here during his Capitol Hill externship in 2018, returned in 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Internships can put you in some tight spaces, even if you’re a lineman.

Now in its sixth year, the NFL Players Association’s externship program gives football pros a chance to explore other careers during the off season — including in the basement recesses of Capitol Hill.

Expect offshore drilling to play role in next week’s Interior secretary confirmation
The increased focus all but assures the plan will be part of Bernhardt’s confirmation next Thursday

The Atlantic Ocean is seen adjacent to President Donald Trump's beachfront Mar-a-Lago resort, the day after Florida received an exemption from the Trump Administration's newly announced ocean drilling plan on Jan. 11, 2018, in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Democrats are pressuring acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to release the department’s updated plan for opening the Atlantic Ocean to offshore drilling, foreshadowing an increased focus on a proposal opposed by lawmakers of both parties.

In a letter sent Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, of New York, and 16 other Democratic senators asked Bernhardt to release details about the department’s draft five-year oil and gas leasing program for the Outer Continental Shelf, including which states will be included in the next version of the proposal.

Cory Booker explains why he is a reluctant filibuster warrior
The Democratic presidential hopeful might prefer to use budget reconciliation

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Presidential candidate and Sen. Cory Booker may have inched toward supporting elimination of the legislative filibuster, but the New Jersey Democrat shouldn’t expect the questions to stop.

In an interview for Wednesday’s episode of the “Pod Save America” podcast, Booker expanded on his long-held reservations about changing the Senate rules allowing contentious legislation to advance without needing 60 votes to get past procedural hurdles.

Utah bill would give primary voters less say on who appears on special election ballots
Measure is latest development in yearslong struggle over party nomination process

Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, right, with his wife, Sue, and Speaker Paul D. Ryan at his mock swearing-in ceremony in November 2017. Curtis won his special election after successfully petitioning to get on the GOP primary ballot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Utah voters would have fewer opportunities to weigh in on candidates to fill certain congressional seats under legislation that quietly passed the state Legislature this week. 

The bill, which has yet to be signed by the governor and has so far received little attention from local media, would change the process by which candidates appear on primary ballots in special elections to replace House members who resign in the middle of their terms. For those elections, only candidates nominated by delegates from either party would be able to run. Candidates would not be able to make the ballot by petitioning voters. 

Medicare for All and Green New Deal spur Red Scare tactics
Warnings of socialism on the rise again in Congress

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., embodies and supports many of the positions causing Republicans to decry socialism. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly every day the 116th Congress is in session, on average, a Republican member takes to the House or Senate floor and says Democrats are veering toward socialism, warning that their progressive colleagues would lead America down some disastrous path akin to Nicolás Maduro’s Venezuela.

The Democrats’ “Green New Deal” approach to climate change, the “Medicare-for-All” retort to Republicans undercutting Obama’s 2010 health care law, presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the most visible new member of the House, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, have all been painted as examples of a naive and dangerous socialist onslaught that must be repelled.

Trump’s latest self-inflicted wound: Medicare cuts
Attacking Medicare is about as popular as a national program to confiscate kittens

The president is devoted to his MAGA-hatted true believers, but his phantom budget may have cost him more than a few supporters in Rust Belt states, Shapiro writes. Above, people wave their caps at a Trump rally in Michigan in 2018. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Donald Trump’s political problems are almost all rooted in his personality.

The nonstop lying and boasting that have led to a credibility canyon seemingly flow from the president’s fragile ego. His vicious temperament when crossed produces the torrent of below-the-belt Twitter attacks. His apparent inability to trust anyone beyond his immediate family has produced outrages like Jared Kushner’s dubious security clearance. And Trump’s own tough-guy fantasies are probably connected to his hero worship of Vladimir Putin and his avuncular affection for the murderous Kim Jong Un.

Another Trump judicial nominee backs away from college writings
Kenneth Lee’s testimony came hours before Senate confirmation of Neomi Rao, who had also backed away from college articles

Neomi Rao, nominee to be U.S. circuit judge for the District of Columbia Circuit, takes her seat for her confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Another of President Donald Trump’s appeals court picks distanced himself from college writings Wednesday, including articles about AIDS, LGBT rights, affirmative action and sexual harassment that raised concerns from Democrats.

“When you’re 18 or 19 you think you know everything, even though you really don’t,” Kenneth Lee, a nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, told the Senate Judiciary Committee. “When you’re young you think being snarky is being witty, as you get older I think you realize it frankly comes off as insensitive or tone deaf. I’ve learned that.”

‘To be clear’: Paul Ryan cleans up after remarks about Trump and 2020
Former GOP speaker said Monday that a Democrat could win if race is about Trump’s ‘personality’

Former Speaker Paul Ryan clarified comments he made about how President Donald Trump's “personality” shouldn’t be the focus of the 2020 race. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Speaker Paul D. Ryan tried on Wednesday to clarify comments he made at a speech earlier this week in which he suggested that some Democratic presidential candidates could defeat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election if the race was dominated by Trump’s “personality.”

The Wisconsin Republican, who retired in January, sent out a follow-up tweet Wednesday saying that the U.S. is “clearly better off” with Trump in the Oval Office and that his “record of accomplishment” will carry him to victory in 2020.

Can Republicans make up any ground in New England in 2020?
Only real pickup opportunities for party are in Maine and New Hampshire

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, right, is the only New England Republican left in Congress. Republicans could pick up another seat by defeating New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The prospects for a Republican rebirth in New England in 2020 are dim.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the only New England Republican left in Congress, is likely facing her most competitive re-election next year.

A group that wants to topple Mitch McConnell joins efforts to recruit Amy McGrath
Former Marine fighter pilot is seen as rising Democratic star despite unsuccessful 2018 House bid

Amy McGrath,who lost a 2018 challenge to Rep. Andy Barr, is being recruited by a group that wants her to try to topple Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

An advocacy group devoted to toppling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is joining Democrats’ efforts to recruit Amy McGrath to run for his Kentucky Senate seat. 

The left-leaning Ditch Mitch Fund said in a press release Tuesday that it had collected donations from 50 states and the District of Columbia in the 24 hours since The (Louisville) Courier-Journal first reported that the group had created a draftamy.com website to encourage McGrath to enter the race.  McGrath is a retired Marine fighter pilot who is seen as a rising star in the party in spite of her unsuccessful bid last cycle against Republican Rep. Andy Barr in Kentucky’s 6th District.