Afghanistan

Democrats Eyeing Maine Natives to Unseat Bruce Poliquin
GOP sophomore starts with incumbency and financial advantage

Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin has twice defeated Democrat Emily Cain, but if he seeks re-election in 2018, he’ll face a new challenger. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bruce Poliquin initially looked like a ripe target last cycle.

A freshman Republican, he was sitting in a longtime Democratic district former President Barack Obama comfortably carried twice. 

At the Races: Trump State Organizers Start Running
Challengers target blue-state lawmakers

Corey Stewart, who last year chaired President Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia and ran for governor unsuccessfully this year, is running for the Senate seat of Democrat Tim Kaine. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Two men who chaired President Donald Trump’s campaigns in states he lost last year are jumping into Senate races there. 

Corey Stewart, former chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign in Virginia, on Thursday became the first Republican to announce a challenge to Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton’s running mate last year.

Ryan Teases August Recess Delay
If Senate delivers health care bill, “we’re going to stay”

Speaker Paul D. Ryan said his chamber may stay after the start of the scheduled August recess to work on health care. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said Thursday that if the Senate delivers a health care bill before the summer is over, he’d be open to joining Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in keeping his chamber in during at least part of the August recess.

The Wisconsin Republican said that if the Senate produced the legislation at the same time members prepare to fly home for a month, “we’re going to stay and finish health care.”

Wagner Gets Two Democratic Challengers
Comes after she passes on run for McCaskill’s Senate seat

Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner faces at least two Democratic challengers with several others considering a run. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Air Force War Hero to Challenge Carter in Texas
‘MJ’ Hegar earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart

Maj. MJ Hegar sits in her Blackhawk helicopter in Afghanistan. (MJ Hegar via Twitter)

Air Force veteran Mary Jennings “MJ” Hegar announced Thursday she would challenge Republican Rep. John Carter in Texas’ deep-red 31st Congressional District.

Hegar told the Texas Tribune that she saw “a threat to our Constitution, our democracy ... and I feel compelled to do something more about it.”

Word on the Hill: Recess Week
Lawmakers show patriotism on Fourth of July

Members were in their districts for the Fourth. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Happy Wednesday and we hope everyone had a safe Fourth of July.

It’s the second recess week of the summer, following Memorial Day recess, and we want to hear about what your bosses are up to.

In the House, Full Speed Ahead on Defense Spending

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, wants to increase defense spending. It might not be that simple. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry says he is “moving forward” to mark up a fiscal 2018 defense authorization bill the week before the Independence Day recess at about $705 billion.

But, the Texas Republican said, talks are ongoing among senior lawmakers and it is “possible” there could be “some adjustment” to that amount.

Opinion: A Don’t-Blame-Us Congress Ducks on Syria
Be bipartisan and authorize a war

Sens. Tim Kaine, D-Va., right, and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., conduct a news conference in the Capitol to introduce an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) against ISIS, al Qaeda, and the Taliban on May 25, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It is, of course, not nearly as important as the struggle in GA-6 that is testing what happens when you inject more than $50 million into a single House race and batter the voters into submission with attack ads.

And the topic could not possibly compete with the learned analyses of Megyn Kelly’s NBC interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones — a TV show that was probably the biggest broadcast since King Edward VIII went on British radio to announce his abdication to marry “the woman I love.”

Former Security Official Launches Bid Against MacArthur
Andy Kim pointed to MacArthur's work on the GOP health care bill

In announcing his campaign against Republic Rep. Tom MacArthur, Andy Kim said, “Nobody voted to send a representative to Washington to gut health care.” (Andy Kim for Congress)

A former White House national security official announced Monday that he is challenging GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur, who was instrumental in negotiating a key amendment to the Republican health care bill.

Democrat Andy Kim is a native of New Jersey’s 3rd District and served as the National Security Council’s director for Iraq during President Barack Obama’s administration. In Afghanistan Kim worked as a diplomat and strategic adviser to Gen. David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen in Afghanistan.

House Gets to Work on Defense Authorization Bill
GOP to push for more dollars for the Pentagon

House Armed Services Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, will begin shepherding the defense authorization bill through that chamber this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The House Armed Services subcommittees will all meet this week to approve their slices of the annual Pentagon policy bill, the first formal step in the months-long negotiations to move the massive measure through Congress and to the president’s desk. The Senate Armed Services panels will follow suit soon. 

Subcommittees of the House Armed Services Committee plan to mark up their portions of the fiscal 2018 defense authorization measure June 21 and 22. Then, on June 28, the full committee will hold its daylong markup. Senate Armed Services plans to hold its mostly closed markups of the bill the last week of June.