Charlie Dent

New Pennsylvania Map, New Pennsylvania House Ratings
Six races shift in Democrats’ direction, two in GOP’s favor

Under the new lines, Pennsylvania Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s district shifted from one carried narrowly by President Donald Trump to one carried narrowly by Hillary Clinton. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If you’ve been wondering what political handicapping is like in a redistricting cycle — or it’s been long enough for you to forget — the Pennsylvania Supreme Court offered a good reminder.

With newly drawn districts, misplaced incumbents and new district numbers, confusion is inevitable. But the bottom line for Pennsylvania is that Democrats had a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the old map and they have a half-dozen takeover opportunities with the new map, although they have a distinctly better chance at gaining those seats.

Spotlight on House After Senate Failure to Pass DACA Fix
White House puts pressure on House Republicans to advance conservative bill

Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said the House will only take up an immigration bill if it has President Donald Trump’s support. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate’s failure to advance immigration legislation last week took some pressure off House Republican leaders whose members wanted to ensure their chamber would offer a conservative counterproposal rather than just accept whatever the Senate produced.

But the White House — blamed by Democrats for killing a bipartisan Senate measure they believe could have cleared a 60-vote threshold without administration interference — is trying to keep the heat on the House.

Democrats See Blue in Pennsylvania With New Map
GOP legislators are expected to challenge new boundaries

Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan A. Costello’s district is now more Democratic, under the new congressional map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court released a new congressional map Monday, potentially bolstering Democratic opportunities in the Keystone State. 

Republicans are expected to launch a challenge to stop the new lines from taking effect. In the meantime, as candidates and incumbents digest the new boundaries, Democrats see better chances for victory in some of their top targets. 

House Budget Being Drafted Despite Nearly Insurmountable Obstacles
Topline spending levels, no path to reconciliation among reasons lawmakers to oppose

House Budget Chairman Steve Womack is writing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution despite major obstacles to passing it. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Obstacles to House Republicans passing a fiscal 2019 budget resolution appear insurmountable and have some members questioning why the Budget Committee is even planning to write one. 

Exactly half of the 22 Republicans on the Budget panel — more than enough to block a partisan budget resolution — voted against last week’s budget deal that set fiscal 2019 topline spending levels of $647 billion for defense and $597 billion for nondefense. Under the agreement, House and Senate leaders committed to those topline numbers if their chambers decide to advance fiscal 2019 budget resolutions.

House Appropriators Ready to Carve Up Budget Deal
Side deal among leaders would divide spending, and could divide members

House Appropriations member Steve Womack, who is also Budget chairman, said he and his fellow appropriators never like to have their work spelled out for them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A side agreement among congressional leaders to allocate some of the new nondefense funding to opioid abuse prevention, infrastructure and several other priorities is complicating the plan to write a fiscal 2018 omnibus.

Even if that weren’t the case, appropriators say they don’t like being micromanaged.

Pelosi Withholding Support for Budget Deal, Wants Immigration Commitment
‘Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan … this package does not have my support’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says she will not support a budget deal without a commitment to a floor debate on immigration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday there is a budget agreement that reflects Democratic priorities but that she and her caucus cannot support it without a commitment from Speaker Paul D. Ryan to hold an open floor debate on immigration. 

“This morning, we took a measure of our Caucus because the package does nothing to advance bipartisan legislation to protect Dreamers in the House,” the California Democrat said in a statement. “Without a commitment from Speaker Ryan comparable to the commitment from Leader McConnell, this package does not have my support.”

Supreme Court Denies Request to Halt Pennsylvania Redistricting
Current map was thrown out on partisan gerrymandering grounds

Supreme Court justices have denied a Republican request to halt a redrawing of congressional districts in Pennsylvania. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania state lawmakers to halt a redrawing of congressional districts for the 2018 primary and general elections. The state’s Supreme Court had thrown out the current map last month, ruling that it was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander.

The decision means Pennsylvania will have a new congressional map for the upcoming midterm elections. The primaries are scheduled for May 15.

2018 Republican Agenda Not What Lawmakers Envisioned
Plan for the year ahead coming out of GOP retreat is leaner than Republicans had hoped

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., right, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrive for a news conference at the media center during the House and Senate Republican retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The 2018 Republican legislative agenda is on a diet.

As House and Senate GOP lawmakers huddled at a West Virginia resort Wednesday through Friday for their annual retreat, they discussed a handful of legislative items they would like to tackle this year, including defense, infrastructure, workforce development and the budget process.

The Appropriator in Winter: Frelinghuysen’s Last Stand
With re-election out of the way, Approps chairman seeks productive final year

House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen, left, talks with Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart at a hearing last June. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen is giving up the throne of what used to be the most sought-after seat at the Capitol after just one year.

The House Appropriations chairman is going out amid a blizzard of Republican infighting; lackluster presidential approval dragging down many of his “blue state” GOP colleagues; the increasing polarization of the electorate; and greater influence of Southern and Western conservatives at the expense of Northeastern moderates like himself.

Photos of the Week: A Government Shutdown, Several Protests and a January Barbecue
The week of Jan. 27 as captured by Roll Call’s photographers

Protesters cross Constiution Avenue in Washington on Saturday as they arrive for the Women’s March one year after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It’s not yet March, but the week of Jan. 22 came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

Action on Capitol Hill throughout the previous weekend and on Monday saw a government shutdown, multiple protests, long lines to get to work at Hill office buildings and more.