Carlos Curbelo

Tom Steyer launches presidential run, but also pledges $50 million to outside groups
Billionaire makes corporate influence and climate change central themes in campaign

Billionaire activist Tom Steyer speaks to supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, in January. (Steve Pope/Getty Images file photo)

Billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer jumped into the presidential race Tuesday, but he still plans to spend millions through outside groups that influenced 2018 elections for House and Senate and could do so again in 2020.

Steyer said he is resigning from groups he founded and financed, NextGen America and Need to Impeach, but is still committing $50 million to both. That could give him a unique position as a late entrant in a field of two dozen candidates as he tries to build support in states where the organizations he funds are airing ads and organizing activists.

Eyeing hotter future, industry lays carbon tax groundwork
Business bigwigs head to the Hill this week to push climate legislation

Advocates for fighting global warming will get a boost from corporate firms advocating for a carbon tax. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Representatives from credit card firm Capital One, tech giant Microsoft, home-goods maker Johnson & Johnson and dozens of other companies are coming to Capitol Hill this week to do something unusual: Call for a new tax.

Officials from more than 75 companies will press Congress on Wednesday to pass climate legislation, including a “meaningful” national price on carbon emissions, according to Ceres, a sustainable investment group behind the effort.

A place for the GOP to mull life after Trump
The Niskanen Center promotes the “free-market welfare state”

Republicans are at odds over whether President Donald Trump has changed the party forever. Above, Trump waves as he walks with Speaker Nancy Pelosi after a luncheon at the Capitol in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Jerry Taylor, a former climate-change skeptic, was chatting recently about the future of the Republican Party when he sat up in his chair inside the sixth-floor offices of the center-right think tank he runs and extended his hand to two portraits flanking him, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt, two giants of the Republican Party. “Our ideas are not so alien to the GOP,” he insisted.

Perhaps, but the ideas that he and his think tank, the Niskanen Center, are promoting — which they describe as the “free-market welfare state” — are still having a hard time finding a home in the party of Donald Trump.

Democrats to reintroduce Dream Act on March 12 with TPS and DED protections
Roybal-Allard, Velázquez, Clarke to roll out measure with party leaders

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., will on March 12 reintroduce the Dream Act, a bill to provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The legislation will have some changes from prior versions. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on March 12 will reintroduce the Dream Act with new language providing protections for Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure recipients. 

California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard will reintroduce the measure — which provides permanent legal protections and a path to citizenship for so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children — as the Dream and Promise Act of 2019, according to her office. 

Key House votes in 2018: CQ Vote Studies
These 12 measures were the weightiest and most controversial of the year

Al Green, a Texas Democrat, offered an impeachment resolution highlighting Trump’s “bigoted statements.” The vote put some in his party in a tight spot. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The oldest of CQ’s annual studies, Key Votes is a selection of the major votes for both House and Senate for the past year. Editors choose the single vote on each issue that best presents a member’s stance or that determined the year’s legislative outcome. Charts of how each member voted on this list can be found at CQ.com.

Passage of a bill that would reauthorize for six years, through 2023, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which governs electronic surveillance of foreign terrorism suspects. Passed 256-164 (R 191-45; D 65-119) on Jan. 11, 2018.

Party unity on congressional votes takes a dive: CQ Vote Studies
Decline more dramatic in the Senate

Of the top six Democrats who broke from their party in 2018, four are no longer in Congress, including Heidi Heitkamp, right. Senators eyeing the presidency, meanwhile, are sticking to their party like glue. Elizabeth Warren had a perfect unity score. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After Democrats and Republicans reached record highs sticking together by party on congressional votes in 2017, those numbers nose-dived in 2018 as lawmakers worked across the aisle on high-profile legislation, including a rewrite of the Dodd-Frank financial law, a package dealing with the opioid crisis, spending bills and an overhaul of the country’s criminal justice laws.

CQ’s annual vote study shows that in the House the total number of party unity votes — defined as those with each party’s majority on opposing sides — fell from 76 percent of the total votes taken in the House in 2017, a record, to 59 percent in 2018. That latter figure is the lowest since 2010, the most recent year of unified Democratic control of Congress. Election years typically have fewer votes and 2018 was no exception — the total number of votes taken in the House, 498, was the lowest since 2002.

Republicans from moderate districts bucking their party on background checks
Five Republicans have co-sponsored gun safety legislation hitting the floor on Wednesday

Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick has signed onto legislation to expand background checks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Wednesday’s House vote on legislation expanding background checks for gun sales is a top priority for a handful of Republicans from more moderate districts.

But while they’re largely in line with public opinion on the issue — and with the chamber’s new Democratic majority — they’re at odds with other Republicans in Congress.

Initial 2020 House race ratings are here
Republicans are on the offense but also running against history

Reps. Max Rose of New York, second from left, and Joe Cunnigham of South Carolina, second from right, here with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy at the State of the Union, are among 31 Democrats holding seats the president carried in 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After losing a net of 40 House seats in last year’s midterms, Republicans have plenty of offensive opportunities in 2020. But winning back the majority will not be easy.

On paper, the path back to 218 may look simple for Team GOP because it winds through favorable territory. There are 31 Democrats who currently represent districts that President Donald Trump carried in 2016, and Republicans need to gain 18 or 19 seats to regain House control (depending on the outcome in North Carolina’s 9th District).

Next up for Carlos Curbelo: millennials
Florida Republican joins nonprofit that grew out of the last big government shutdown

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo is urging younger lawmakers to work across the aisle. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Rep. Carlos Curbelo, the Florida Republican who lost his seat in November to Democrat Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, has landed a new gig.

Curbelo announced Thursday that he will join the advisory board of the Millennial Action Project, a nonprofit founded during the 2013 government shutdown to urge younger lawmakers to work across the aisle and to bring civility to the governing process, including on such divisive issues as climate change and immigration.

Former Reps. Mia Love, Luis Gutiérrez join CNN as commentators
Meanwhile, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Lamar Smith head to K Street

Former Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, is now a CNN political commentator. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Reps. Mia Love and Luis Gutiérrez have wasted no time finding new gigs after leaving Congress last week.

Love, a Utah Republican and the only black female Republican in the last Congress, and Gutiérrez, a longtime Chicago-based Democrat, have joined CNN as political commentators.