Collin C Peterson

Lowey faces her first primary challenge in three decades
Powerful chairwoman to face 32-year-old newcomer in Democratic contest

House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey, an 82-year-old incumbent who was first elected in 1988, speaks to reporters in July 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The year was 1988. Def Leppard topped the charts and stonewashed jeans were all the rage. It was also the last time powerful House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey faced a primary challenge.

That’s all changed now with the decision by Mondaire Jones, a former Obama administration Justice Department staffer and attorney for Westchester County’s Law Department, to challenge Lowey in next June’s primary. The 32-year-old political novice plans to take on the New York Democratic incumbent over her positions on issues ranging from climate change to student debt forgiveness to oversight of the Trump administration.

House orders Pentagon to say if it weaponized ticks and released them
The order requires the agency to say if it experimented with insects for use as a biological weapon between 1950 and 1975

A Close Up Of An Adult Female Deer Tick, Dog Tick, And A Lone Star Tick on book print. The House vote to require the Pentagon inspector general to tell Congress whether the department experimented with weaponizing disease-carrying insects and whether they were released into the public realm — either accidentally or on purpose. (Getty Images)

The House quietly voted last week to require the Pentagon inspector general to tell Congress whether the department experimented with weaponizing disease-carrying insects and whether they were released into the public realm — either accidentally or on purpose.

The unusual proposal took the form of an amendment that was adopted by voice vote July 11 during House debate on the fiscal 2020 defense authorization bill, which lawmakers passed the following day.

Ross Perot, a consistent and colorful presence at the Capitol
Billionaire political, business iconoclast is dead at 89

Ross Perot speaks against NAFTA with Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., behind him in the House Triangle on Nov. 8, 1993. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Ross Perot, the iconoclastic Texas billionaire who died on Tuesday at age 89, was well known for roiling presidential politics in the 1990s. But he was also a consistent and colorful presence on Capitol Hill, advocating for a variety of causes, including veterans affairs, deficits and trade policy.

“NAFTA is like a bad-tasting dog food,” Perot said on the Capitol grounds on Nov. 8, 1993, rattling off just one of the pithy, and head-scratching, Lone Star-fried aphorisms that came to help define the man. His enmity for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which he predicted would give way to a “giant-sucking sound” of jobs to Mexico, would be right at home in today’s political debates on trade, particularly as Congress considers NAFTA’s successor, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

House Democrats lose procedural vote to GOP minority for first time in months
Approval of Republican motion to recommit on Financial Services spending bill added a last-minute Iran amendment

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the members of his caucus who voted for the GOP motion to recommit felt they had to support the Iran language. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Democratic majority on Wednesday lost a procedural vote to the Republican minority for the first time in four months, as 37 Democrats joined Republicans in adding a last-minute Iran amendment to the Financial Services spending bill.

The amendment was approved through a Republican motion to recommit, or MTR — a procedural tool of the minority used primarily for messaging.

Some vulnerable Democrats stick to the middle — though not all of them
On votes, Matt Cartwright is a notable exception among Democrats in Trump districts

Pennsylvania Rep. Matt Cartwright has the highest party unity score among House Democrats from districts that backed President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Thirty-one Democrats in the House face a daunting challenge next year. They must win re-election in districts that President Donald Trump won in 2016. For many, the 2016 results were close. But in eight of the districts, Trump won in a romp, by more than 9 points.

It would make sense for those Democrats to stake out moderate territory to distinguish themselves from their party’s vocal liberal wing. Most of them are, with one notable exception.

On DREAM Act, 9 Democrats defect on rule vote, even as caucus shows more unity
Relatively rare for members of the majority to buck leadership in voting against a rule

Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., was one of nine Democrats voting against the rule for the DREAM Act on Tuesday, a high-water mark for the year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House votes on rules to begin debate on legislation are typically party-line tests. But when nine Democrats voted Tuesday against the rule for an immigration bill, it was a high-water mark for Democratic defections this year.

Still, Democrats are more unified on such votes than the House majority party has been in all but two years of the last decade. 

The sportsmen of Congress will name their next Top Gun
They’re looking sharp on the range, fresh off a legislative win

Rep. Collin C. Peterson loads his gun at 2004’s competition in Glenn Dale, Maryland. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican and Democratic lawmakers will hit the gun range today for a (friendly?) sharpshooting competition to determine yearlong bragging rights over who is the best at blasting objects out of the sky.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus’s annual clay shoot (formerly known as the Congressional Shootout) is a chance for lawmakers to kick back in an atmosphere of loud bangs, where gun smoke permeates the air and the scent of rotten eggs tickles the nostrils.

Democrats close but still short votes needed to pass $15 minimum wage
Proponents of bill to double existing minimum wage over five years confident they’ll get there

House Education and Labor Chairman Robert C. Scott, D-Va., is confident he can convince enough uncommitted Democrats to support his bill to incrementally increase the federal minimum wage to $15 over five years for it to pass the chamber. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Proponents of a $15 minimum wage are bullish about the prospects of the House passing a bill to incrementally double the current $7.25 federal standard over five years, despite Democrats seemingly being short the votes to do so.

“We’re working to make sure that we have consensus, but we’re going to pass that bill with enough Democratic votes to make sure that it passes out of the House,” House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer told reporters during House Democrats’ retreat in Leesburg, Virginia, earlier this month. 

No letup in congressional fundraising after ‘green wave’ election
Retirement-watch Republicans and no-corporate-PAC Democrats both stepped up

California Rep. Josh Harder, a freshman Democrat, raised the most money of all the Democrats the NRCC is targeting in 2020. (D.A. Banks/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The race for the White House is already dominating headlines, but new campaign finance disclosures show donors in both parties are also opening their wallets to renew the fight to control the House in 2020.

Presidential campaign years tend to boost fundraising for down-ballot candidates, and early fundraising reports show 2020 is no exception.

Here are the 8 Republicans who broke with their party on Obamacare lawsuit
Democrats sought to put GOP colleagues on record with symbolic vote

Freshman Minnesota GOP Rep. Pete Stauber broke with his party on a vote related to the Obamacare lawsuit. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic congressional campaigns have already made health care an early focus of their 2020 messaging, and House Democrats bolstered that effort Wednesday with a symbolic vote that sought to once again put Republicans on record on the issue.

Eight Republicans sided with Democrats on the nonbinding resolution, which the House adopted, 240-186. The measure condemned the Trump administration’s support for invalidating the 2010 health care law in its entirety. The Department of Justice, in a new filing last week, backed a Texas judge’s decision to strike down the law.