Florida

Celebrating the Inauguration
Many began planning before November, while for others, it was more recent

Singer Katy Perry at President Barack Obama's second inauguration in 2013. What celebrities will be in D.C. this year? (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Long before the election results were in, state societies and organizations in Washington were planning their ways to celebrate the inauguration.

And with inauguration 2017 drawing people from around the country — and the world — groups are putting on events that bring them all together.

HealthCare.Gov Enrollment Tops 8.8 Million

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell testifies during a House Ways and Means Committee hearing in Longworth on the HHS Fiscal Year 2017 budget request, February 10, 2016. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

More than 8.8 million Americans signed up for 2017 insurance coverage through HealthCare.gov as of Jan. 14, 2017, about 100,000 more than over a similar time frame last year.

The enrollment snapshot provided Wednesday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the final one of President Barack Obama’s administration. The numbers do not include people in the 12 state-based marketplaces that use their own websites. About 2.8 million people in these states were enrolled as of Dec. 24.

John Rutherford Continues Recuperation
In the House, new Intelligence Committee members announced

Florida Republican Rep. John Rutherford has been dealing with a health scare. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

As Washington continues to prepare for the inauguration, one member looks to fully recover from a health scare, while others are settling into new roles on a key committee.

Florida Rep. John Rutherford is expected to be released from the hospital in “the next several days” after the freshman congressman suffered an “acute digestive flare up,” according to his chief of staff, Kelly Simpson.

Obama and Trump: Two Presidents, Same God
Mixing politics and religion is a longtime tradition

If some faith leaders see the hand of God in Donald Trump’s victory last November, how do they explain President Barack Obama’s two previous, more decisive wins? Mary C. Curtis asks. (Win McNamee/Getty Images file photo)

If Franklin Graham did not actually endorse Donald Trump’s bid for the presidency, he stepped right up to the line — the one separating church and state. Graham was absolutely giddy post-election, when he gave credit to a force greater than the electorate. The evangelist and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse credited the “God factor” for Trump’s poll-defying win.

You might be seeing a lot of Graham, starting at Friday’s inauguration where he is one of the faith leaders invited to offer a prayer for America’s new president. It marks a resurgence of a familiar name when it comes to mingling politics and religion, and a continuation of a tradition in a country that doesn’t have an official faith but celebrates a National Day of Prayer and seems most comfortable with leaders who praise a higher power.

Disability Rights Advocates Concerned After DeVos’ Hearing
Came after cagey responses on integrated education

Disability rights advocates were concerned about DeVos' lack of understanding of law that governs education for students with disabilities (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Disability rights advocates raised concerns after Education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing that she might not be committed to enforcing educational access for students with disabilities.

During the hearing for President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the Department of Education, Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., asked about whether schools that received federal money should have to comply with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act.

The House Version of ‘Law and Order’
A sentencing, some commutations and other House news

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson speaks with New York Rep. Louise M. Slaughter during a press conference by House Democrats in November 2014. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Rep. Bennie Thompson’s chief of staff was sentenced Tuesday to four months in prison for failing to file income tax returns.

Issac Lanier Avant was also ordered to pay $149,962 to the IRS for failing to file tax returns from 2009 to 2013 after he had assumed the role of Democratic director for the House Homeland Security Committee, earning more than $165,000, the Justice Department said in a statement.

House Freshmen to Watch
115th Congress provides a platform for ambitious new members

Kihuen, left, comes to Congress with a record of success in Nevada, and the blessing of former Sen. Harry Reid. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Not all freshmen are created equal.

While there is always a learning curve for new members of the House, some of the newly elected come to the institution with an enhanced profile. This could be because they are former statewide officeholders, or perhaps scored a big one for the team by knocking off a longtime incumbent. Maybe they are natural leaders or their ambitions are such that they are already looking at other federal offices. 

Trump vs. Lewis: A Question of Character
The difference between being a character — and having it

Georgia Rep. John Lewis stands on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., on Feb. 14, 2015. Lewis was beaten by police on the bridge on "Bloody Sunday," March 7, 1965, during an attempted march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When we think of Rep. John Lewis on a bus, it is as a teenage “Freedom Rider,” putting his own life at risk in order to form a more perfect union. When we think of Donald Trump on a bus, it is as a boorish billionaire, musing about sexually assaulting women.

When we think of Lewis and racial politics, it is in the context of waking America’s conscience to the civil, voting and housing rights denied to citizens because of the color of their skin. When we think of Trump and racial politics, it is in the context of denying housing to citizens based on the color of their skin, fomenting white nationalism and seeking ways to discriminate against Muslims without running afoul of the First Amendment.

Confirmation Hearings Bring Out the Senate Angst
McConnell said to expect votes on Cabinet nominations Friday

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will return on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

By BRIDGET BOWMAN and JASON DICKCQ Roll Call

The Senate eased into inauguration week with a pair of confirmation hearings, with committees taking up the cases for, or against, Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke to be Interior secretary and Betsy DeVos to be Education secretary.

Democrats Use CBO Report to Message Against Obamacare Repeal
Number of House Democrats skipping Trump’s inauguration continues to grow

Pelosi, right, and other Democrats are using a new CBO report to message against Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats gained a useful messaging tool Tuesday in their efforts to thwart the GOP’s plan to dismantle the 2010 health care law, as the Congressional Budget Office released a report saying up to 32 million people would lose their insurance under a previous Republican proposal.

The CBO also estimated that marketplace premiums would nearly double under the GOP repeal legislation President Barack Obama vetoed last year. Republicans are using that prior budget reconciliation bill as a model for legislation they are drafting. Speaker Paul D. Ryan has said the new legislation will include some pieces of replacement policy as well.