Debbie Stabenow

Health groups reveal ads pushing Democrats to back drug bill
The groups will build on an ad push supporting the House bill earlier this year by the group Protect Our Care

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., left, and Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., attend a rally in the Capitol Building to call on the Senate to vote on House Democrats’ prescription drugs and health care package on in May 2019. Several left-leaning health care groups are launching a seven-figure advertising campaign that builds on a previous effort by the group Protect our Care pushing for the passage of the pricing bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A left-leaning health care group is doubling its seven-figure advertising push for the passage of House Democrats’ drug pricing bill in an effort to counter industry and conservative opposition to the proposal, according to information shared exclusively with CQ Roll Call.

The effort, which will be paired with additional spending from other left-leaning health groups, comes as Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California announced the House will vote next week on legislation that would allow Medicare to negotiate prices for up to 250 prescription drugs a year.

‘America, we’ve got a problem’: Isakson’s farewell warning

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., shakes hands with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., after what is likely his last speech on the Senate floor. (Screenshot via Senate Recording Studio)

States in the Midwest with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Rust Belt states helped decide the presidency, and have numerous competitive races for House, Senate

Republican Sen. Joni Ernst’s reelection is one of several that make Iowa at battleground state in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

Moneyball, meet politics: Could VAR settle arguments about candidate strength?
Vote Above Replacement puts Klobuchar atop presidential field, Collins way above other senators

Maine Republican Susan Collins, center, outranks the entire Senate on Inside Elections’ Vote Above Replacement statistic, while Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, right, ranks highest among Democratic presidential contenders. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In the era of data and metrics and models in political analysis, at least one question still remains: How do we quantify the strength of individual candidates?

Arguing over whether a candidate or incumbent is good or bad is an age-old tradition in the political media and among party operatives. Typically, candidate strength is measured by fundraising or the margin of a win or loss. But that can fail to account for the particular election cycle or the possibility that any candidate running on a particular party’s line in a particular year or state would do just as well.

The 10 most vulnerable senators in 2020: Republicans play defense
2 GOP senators must win in states that went for Hillary Clinton in ’16

Alabama Democrat Doug Jones is the most vulnerable senator seeking reelection in 2020, but the top 10 list is dominated by Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Although most competitive Senate races in 2020 involve Republicans defending their seats, it’s a Democratic senator who tops the list of the most vulnerable incumbents in the chamber one year out from Election Day.

Alabama’s Doug Jones is running for a full Senate term after winning a special election in 2017, and he faces the difficult task of overcoming the partisan dynamics of a deeply Republican state. Michigan Sen. Gary Peters is the other Democrat running in a state that President Donald Trump won in 2016, but he is further down the list, since Trump won the Wolverine State by a much smaller margin.

Awkward pauses, THC and a geography lesson: Congressional Hits and Misses
Week of Oct. 21, 2019

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., at podium, speaks during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center outside the Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense, deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Wednesday, October 23, 2019. The Republican members were calling for access to the deposition. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans pulled a high school prank, Delaware Democratic Sen. Thomas R. Carper gave a geography lesson and no one could remember how basic floor procedure worked.

All that plus Sen. John Cornyn learned the basics of marijuana plants, lawmakers forgot each others’ home states, and Democratic D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton challenged Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to a World Series wager.

Senate Democrats prepare marathon floor session on gun violence
Late night is expected as 22 senators are prepared to call for legislation

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., will lead nearly two dozen senators in a marathon of floor speeches on gun violence Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Nearly two dozen Senate Democrats plan to make it a late night on Tuesday, speaking out on the Senate floor about the impact of gun violence and legislative proposals Congress could explore.

The speeches are expected to begin around 5:30 p.m. and run late. Connecticut Democrat Christopher S. Murphy is leading the effort, spurred by mass shootings in Texas and Ohio during the August recess and the lack of clear response from the White House on what, if any, gun control measures they could agree to.

Despite pressure, still no gun legislation position from White House
Meanwhile, Democrats on Capitol Hill intend to keep up pressure

Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley were among the participants at a news conference in the Capitol to call on the Senate to vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House and Senate Democrats intend to keep pressuring President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky to support bipartisan efforts to close what they see as loopholes in background checks for gun purchases.

But a meeting Monday between White House officials and leaders of the U.S. Conference of Mayors left little room for optimism.

3 ways Democrats couldn’t escape Congress in Wednesday’s debate
Seven of the 10 candidates on stage have congressional experience

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand both touted their accomplishments in the Senate during Wednesday night’s debate. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The 10 Democrats on Wednesday’s debate stage were vying for the White House, but with seven of them having congressional experience, much of the evening came back to the legislative branch.

Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Michael Bennet all currently serve in the Senate. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is a four-term member of the House, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee previously served eight nonconsecutive terms in the House. Former Vice President Joe Biden spent 36 years in the Senate — plenty of time to accumulate a record that was the source of frequent attacks Wednesday night.

Finance advances drug price measure with tepid GOP support
Only six of the panel’s 15 Republicans voted to advance the measure

Senate Finance Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, pushed back against criticism that the measure represented “price controls” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate Finance Committee on Thursday approved, 19-9, a draft bill meant to reduce the cost of drugs in Medicare and Medicaid.

Only six of the panel’s 15 Republicans voted to advance the measure, joining all 13 Democrats. The most controversial amendments to the measure were rejected on mostly party-line votes.