Executive Branch

Senate Human Rights Caucus Lauds Mike Pence for Pressuring Aung San Suu Kyi
Vice president reportedly called for pardoning of Reuters journalists

Sens. Thom Tillis, left, and Chris Coons, heads of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, are praising Vice President Mike Pence for pressuring Aung San Suu Kyi to release two Reuters journalists. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence is getting bipartisan backing for pressing Aung San Suu Kyi over the imprisonment of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar.

Pence met with the state counsellor of the country, also known as Burma, in connection with his trip to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit, which has taken him countries across Asia, as well as Australia.

Trump Says He’s Giving Mueller Questions a Personal Touch
‘I’ve answered them very easily,’ the president says

Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump implied Friday that he — and not his legal team — will be personally answering written questions from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

“I’ve answered them very easily. I’m working on them,” he told reporters during a bill-signing event in the Oval Office.

Trump Campaign Tests Out Nickname Game for 2020
NRSC, outside groups leaned into tactic to vanquish Heitkamp, Donnelly in midterms

Expect a batch of new nicknames for President Donald Trump's political opponents as the 2020 campaign heats up. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump’s campaign team is experimenting in its laboratory with potential nicknames for his potential opponents in the 2020 presidential election.

The president’s trademark campaign tactic from 2016 — the birth year of “Crooked” Hillary Clinton, “Little” Marco Rubio, and “Lyin’” Ted Cruz — became so ubiquitous in his speeches and campaign literature that it spawned an exhaustive Wikipedia list of everyone whose name Trump has manipulated for political gain.

Grassley Will Step into Tax Storm, Finance Gavel in Hand
Iowa Republican was a key player on big-ticket measures during his previous tenure as Finance chairman

Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, conducts a Senate Judiciary Committee markup in October. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley is expected to be the next chairman of the Finance Committee, putting the Iowa Republican at the center of the storm in the 116th Congress on what could be divisive debates over tax, trade and health care policy.

Grassley cited a sense of “optimism” fueled by the “pro-growth” policies of a Republican president and Congress. “Looking ahead. ... I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” he said in a statement released Friday. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

The Survivors: Three Republicans in Clinton Districts Hang On
A combination of individual brands and attacks on Democratic challengers helped them win

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., won re-election last week as his fellow Republicans in the suburbs lost. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Republicans in districts Hillary Clinton won in 2016 were largely washed away in the Democratic wave last week — but three managed to hang on.

GOP Reps. John Katko of New York, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and David Valadao all won their races on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press (though Valadao’s margin has narrowed with votes still being counted).

6 House Races, 1 Senate Race Still Uncalled as Mia Love Pulls Closer
Utah Republican trailed by 3 percent on election night, but is now only 873 votes down to Democratic challenger

Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, walks down the House steps after final votes of the week in the Capitol on March 8, 2018. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Officials have yet to determine the winners in one Senate contest and six House races — a week and a half after the midterm elections.

As the Florida Senate race between Sen. Bill Nelson and his GOP challenger, Gov. Rick Scott, heads to a manual recount, a federal judge called the state’s election processes “the laughing stock of the world.”

There’s Some WTF in This Lame Duck Session of Congress
Appointed, maybe and not-yet, maybe-never members dot the Capitol

Members-elect from the 116th Congress pose for the freshman class photo on the East Front of the Capitol on November 14, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Every lame duck session of Congress is special in its own way, and the current one, operating alongside the orientation session for newly elected members of Congress, has its share of oddities and weirdness. 

Speaker Paul D. Ryan swore in new members of the House on Tuesday, those who won special elections to fill out unexpired terms, Joseph D. Morelle, D-N.Y., and Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa. Oh, and also an “appointed” member, Republican Kevin Hern of Oklahoma.  

Grassley Gave McConnell Judges. Now He Wants His Criminal Justice Bill
‘I look at this in a very personal way,’ Grassley said

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has helped confirm a record number of judges. All he wants from Mitch McConnell now is a little “reciprocity.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley is leaning on his track record of processing judicial nominations to get a floor vote on a bipartisan bill he spearheaded to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system.

In an unusual personal plea, the 85-year-old Iowa Republican on Thursday said he wanted “reciprocity” from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “what I’ve done in our unified effort on judges” during President Donald Trump’s administration.

At the Races: The Wave Is Still Coming
Our weekly newsletter on congressional campaigns

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Welcome to At the Races! We want to hear what you think. Email us at attheraces@cqrollcall.com with your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé, Bridget Bowman and Stephanie Akin

Mitch McConnell Upbeat About Path Forward for Border Funding After Meeting With Trump
Senate majority leader was among Republicans huddling with the president on Thursday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell met with President Donald Trump about border security funding on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Returning from a meeting with President Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was optimistic about a deal on finishing off remaining spending bills without a shutdown showdown over building a wall at the border with Mexico.

“We had a good discussion about funding the government and the other sort of end-of-year items, and we’re optimistic we’re going to be able to get that done, get the farm bill done and move on toward the conclusion of the session,” McConnell said.