california

Agriculture Secretary Says He’ll Push for More Wildfire Funding
Lawmakers dismayed at proposed U.S. Forest Service cuts

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has told lawmakers  concerned about proposed U.S. Forest Service cuts that he would push for more funding for wildfires. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has assured House appropriators that he would press the White House for more funding and flexibility to address wildfires across the nation as lawmakers from both parties expressed dismay at proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Forest Service.

President Donald Trump’s proposal for fiscal 2018 released on Tuesday suggests cutting the Forest Service’s budget to $5.2 billion from the $5.6 billion allocated in the fiscal 2017 omnibus. Trump’s budget would direct $2.5 billion of that toward the Forest Service’s wildland fire management budget, compared to the $3.2 billion in the omnibus.

Photos of the Week: Congress Scurries to Memorial Day Recess
The week of May 22 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Eric Ueland, Republican staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, hands out copies of President Donald Trump's fiscal 2018 budget in the Dirksen Building on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Word on the Hill: JFK and Memorial Day Weekend
Logistics for Saturday’s parade and spottings this week

The Kennedy Stamps. (©2017 USPS)

Happy Memorial Day weekend, which is also President John F. Kennedy’s Centennial weekend.

Kennedy was born 100 years ago Monday. To celebrate, the United States Postal Service released a commemorative “forever” stamp to honor the late president.

Congressmen Might Join Protesters Outside Turkish Embassy
And they might need some bail money

Reps. Ted Poe, R-Texas, left, and Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., right, shown here talking to then-Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., proposed recessing from the House Foreign Affairs markup to protest at the Turkish Embassy.  (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressmen encouraged protesters who were attacked by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s security detail in Washington last week to keep on protesting, and said they might join them.

“Do it again, keep protesting and stay out there because no foreign tyrant has the right or the ability to drive them away,” Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, said at a House Foreign Affairs markup on Thursday. “You might find Mr. Meeks out there with them and myself as well.”

Political Gerrymandering: Is There a Math Test for That?
Supreme Court may consider whether practice is unconstitutional

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled in a North Carolina racial gerrymandering case and may take on a Wisconsin case this fall that involves partisan gerrymanders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Racial gerrymanders have been undone many times, most recently when the Supreme Court ruled against a pair of North Carolina congressional districts this week. But another case from that same state, heading into federal court next month, has a shot at eventually persuading the justices to do what they’ve never done before: strike down an election map as an unconstitutionally partisan gerrymander.

The high court ruled three decades ago that it may be unconstitutional to draw political boundaries so that one party was sure to win a disproportionate number of elections, but it’s never come up with a means for deciding when such mapmaking has become too extreme.

Foster Youth Rub Shoulders With Lawmakers, Bring Change
More than 100 come to the Hill for annual congressional shadow day

California Rep. Karen Bass talks with Doniesha Thomas from Los Angeles on the Rayburn subway on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Michael Rogalski spent five years living in foster care. Rep. Karen Bass has been trying to improve the system longer than he has been alive.

So when Rogalski, 27, arrived at Bass’s office Wednesday morning — among more than 100 former foster youth to shadow members of Congress that day — he told her he just wanted to watch and learn.

Word on the Hill: National Wine Day
Dusty Baker on the Hill and Dana Rohrabacher in a sling

Celebrate National Wine Day before the weekend. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may be pleasantly surprised to hear about a very special, perhaps unknown, holiday. Today is National Wine Day.

It’s nearly Friday, which means it’s almost recess, so pick up a bottle of wine on your way home from work to celebrate.

Why the Freedom Caucus May Vote for a Debt Ceiling Increase
Contingencies: Debt prioritization and August deadline

OMB Director Mick Mulvaney takes a break during testimony before a House Budget Committee hearing in Longworth Building titled "The President's FY2018 Budget" on May 24, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House Freedom Caucus is looking for a debt ceiling increase by August and it’s willing to lend votes to pass one — with some caveats.

According to a source familiar with the group’s plans, the Freedom Caucus could soon take an official position saying they will provide votes for a debt ceiling increase conditional on two things — that the measure includes structural changes designed to give Treasury borrowing authority for specific obligations, known as debt prioritization, and that a vote occurs before Congress leaves for the August recess.

Blue Beats Red in Congressional Soccer Game
Democrats win, 5-3, with second-half outburst

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen scored a goal and had two assists for the Democrats in Tuesday’s rainy Congressional Soccer Game. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

On a rainy Tuesday evening in Washington, Democrats won the Congressional Soccer Game but Republicans won the cheering section.

The men and women in blue, with four members of Congress on their team, took home the trophy at the fifth annual Capitol Soccer Classic’s congressional game, 5-3.

19 House Races Shift Toward Democrats
List of competitive seats grows amid shifts against president’s party

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s race for re-election has switched from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The midterm elections are still nearly a year and a half away, and the political dynamics could yet change, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that history and the current environment are merging together for a potentially great set of elections for Democrats in November 2018. 

The president’s party has lost House seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, and it’s lost an average of 33 seats in those 18 elections. Democrats need to gain 24 seats in order to take back the majority.