Bill Shuster

At the Races: Escape Hatch
2018 is here, and more senior Republicans are heading for the exits

The Senate is losing a longtime member — and a songwriter. Utah GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is known for his compositions. His song “Souls Along the Way,” written about the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and Kennedy’s wife, was included on the “Ocean’s Twelve” movie soundtrack. Hatch and Kennedy worked together on major health care legislation, and the pair were good friends. (Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly file photo)

You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get it in your inbox, *subscribe here.*) We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.This week … 2018 has arrived! Three Republicans announced their retirement, two Senate Democrats arrived and Steve Bannon put some conservative candidates in a tight spot.

Hatch Heads for the Exit: Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch ended months of speculation Tuesday by announcing he was retiring after seven terms in the Senate. That opens the door for former presidential nominee/Massachusetts governor/Trump critic/skillful ironer Mitt Romney to run for Hatch’s seat. So is he running? It’s widely believed he will, but Romney has yet to officially say so. He did casually change his location on Twitter from Massachusetts to Utah following Hatch’s announcement. #WeSeeWhatYouDidThere.

Bill Shuster Won’t Run for Re-Election in 2018
Pennsylvania Republican term-limited as Transportation Committee chairman

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster will not seek re-election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 4:30 p.m. | Pennsylvania Rep. Bill Shuster, who is term-limited as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, will not seek a ninth full term in 2018, leaving behind a safe Republican seat. 

“Rather than focusing on a re-election campaign, I thought it wiser to spend my last year as Chairman focusing 100% on working with President Trump and my Republican and Democratic colleagues in both Chambers to pass a much needed infrastructure bill to rebuild America,” the GOP lawmaker said in a statement Tuesday. 

Pulling Out of Politics: How Members Retire From the Hill
Every lawmaker handles announcements a little differently

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen didn’t tell leadership or the NRCC she was leaving before making her announcement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s getting to be that time of year when family moments over holiday recesses inspire lawmakers to think twice about making the weekly slog back to Capitol Hill.

Sixteen current House members have already announced they’re not running for anything next year — short of the 22 members, on average, who have retired each cycle since 1976 without seeking another office. Illinois Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez is expected to make a retirement announcement Tuesday.

Members Prepare to Take On Capitol Police in Football
Capitol Police have won the last three Congressional Football Games

Illinois Rep. Robert J. Dold looks for an open man to pass the ball as former NFL player Ken Harvey blocks the Guards’ Irvin Washington during the 2015 Congressional Football Game for Charity. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Congress has been celebrating the Capitol Police for keeping them safe, especially after two officers took down a gunman in June at the Republicans’ baseball practice.

Members will get another chance at an upcoming charity sporting contest for Capitol Police officers. 

CHIP, FAA Face Deadlines This Week
Even with typical drama absent, funding cliffs still loom

South Dakota Sen. John Thune chairs the Commerce Committee, which approved an FAA authorization bill earlier this year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Congress is spared the usual end-of-the-fiscal-year drama this month, with normal fights over government spending punted until December, but lawmakers still face several deadlines before the Sept. 30 cutoff for fiscal 2017.

With the Republicans’ last-gasp effort to undo the 2010 health care law fizzling, Congress may now try to pass short-term extensions to avoid running aground on the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Federal Aviation Administration and community health centers, authorizations for which expire at the end of the month. 

Panel Rebukes United, Other Airlines Over Passenger Treatment
‘Something is clearly broken’

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz testifies before a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing in the Rayburn Building May 2, 2017. United president Scott Kirby appears at right. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster warned the CEO of United Airlines and other industry executives Tuesday that a hearing into their customers’ experiences wouldn’t be pleasant.

Panel members from both parties followed through, blasting United CEO Oscar Munoz and other representatives of American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines. The hearing came after the release of video showing a passenger being forcibly removed from a United flight in early April so the airline could make room for its employees to fly.

Take Five: Drew Ferguson
Georgia Republican doesn’t want to be a politician

Georgia Rep. Drew Ferguson was a dentist who served as mayor of a small town in Georgia before running for the House. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Drew Ferguson, 50, came to Congress after serving as mayor of West Point, Georgia, for eight years. The Republican freshman talks to HOH about getting into politics, becoming a dentist, and advocating term limits.

Q: What made you want to be a politician?

Trump’s Plan Needs Mechanism to Steer Money to Infrastructure

U.S. Highway 14 in Minnesota. (Doug Kerr/Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

Congressional Republicans have been reluctant to comment on — or even work on — legislation to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pledge to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure over 10 years. 

Lawmakers say they’re waiting for the administration to provide details of a proposal that has raised more questions than it answered. Among the questions is how Trump would entice investors to put more than $150 billion in equity into infrastructure projects.

Becerra, Pompeo Prepare to Leave House
Appointments bring the number of the House down by two

California Democratic Rep. Xavier Becerra  will become his state’s attorney general Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Xavier Becerra is expected to be sworn-in as the next attorney general of California Tuesday after he formally resigns from Congress.

The California Democrat had been handpicked for the position by Gov. Jerry Brown shortly after the November election. The state Senate voted to approve his nomination Monday.

Word on the Hill: March for Life Planning
School Choice Week rally

Last year’s March for Life went ahead as planned despite blizzard warnings issued for the D.C. area. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The annual anti-abortion rally in Washington, the March for Life, is this Friday.

While everyone was preparing for President Donald Trump’s inauguration, march organizers released its list of speakers, which includes counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway, the highest-ranking White House official to ever address the event in person. Also scheduled to speak are Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, and Rep. Christopher H. Smith, R-N.J.