Illinois

Word on the Hill: JFK and Memorial Day Weekend
Logistics for Saturday’s parade and spottings this week

The Kennedy Stamps. (©2017 USPS)

Happy Memorial Day weekend, which is also President John F. Kennedy’s Centennial weekend.

Kennedy was born 100 years ago Monday. To celebrate, the United States Postal Service released a commemorative “forever” stamp to honor the late president.

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Annual Capitol Insiders Survey: The Trump Effect
Tensions on the Hill from last year have carried over into 2017

Republicans staffers on Capitol Hill are still not comfortable with President Donald Trump, the latest Capitol Insiders Survey finds. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Last year’s election was humbling for pollsters, and the Capitol Insiders Survey was no exception. The vast majority of congressional staffers surveyed by CQ Roll Call in the days before the election — 91 percent — predicted a Hillary Clinton win. Only 6 percent thought Donald Trump could pull it off.

Still, the results reflect how Trump’s win blindsided the Washington establishment. The majority of Republican aides said consistently during the campaign that they wouldn’t vote for Trump.

Blue Beats Red in Congressional Soccer Game
Democrats win, 5-3, with second-half outburst

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen scored a goal and had two assists for the Democrats in Tuesday’s rainy Congressional Soccer Game. (Bill Clark/ CQ Roll Call)

On a rainy Tuesday evening in Washington, Democrats won the Congressional Soccer Game but Republicans won the cheering section.

The men and women in blue, with four members of Congress on their team, took home the trophy at the fifth annual Capitol Soccer Classic’s congressional game, 5-3.

19 House Races Shift Toward Democrats
List of competitive seats grows amid shifts against president’s party

New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen’s race for re-election has switched from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The midterm elections are still nearly a year and a half away, and the political dynamics could yet change, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact that history and the current environment are merging together for a potentially great set of elections for Democrats in November 2018. 

The president’s party has lost House seats in 18 of the last 20 midterm elections, and it’s lost an average of 33 seats in those 18 elections. Democrats need to gain 24 seats in order to take back the majority. 

GOP Group Launches Health Care Ad Ahead of CBO Score
American Action Network spending additional $2 million to promote bill

California Rep. Jeff Denham is one of the 21 lawmakers whose districts are the targets of a new ad campaign by the American Action Network. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A conservative issue advocacy organization is spending an additional $2 million on a nationwide television ad campaign to promote the Republicans’ health care plan ahead of the release of the Congressional Budget Office score, which is expected Wednesday. 

The American Action Network, which has close ties to House GOP leadership, is debuting the campaign on Tuesday morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” The ad will also air in 21 congressional districts.

Tax Overhaul Challenges Unified Republican Government
Contentious House provisions spark interest in bipartisan Senate plan

Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had planned to pass a tax overhaul by August, a timeline that has slipped amid intraparty divisions. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

BY LINDSEY MCPHERSON AND JOE WILLIAMS

Republican leaders are applying a lesson learned from health care to the tax overhaul debate: build consensus before releasing a bill.

Kihuen’s Soccer Injury Led to Politics
Nevada Democrat recalls moment of career-ending injury before professional tryout

Nevada Rep. Ruben Kihuen learned to play soccer growing up in Mexico. (Courtesy Kihuen’s office)

While Ruben Kihuen was running for the Nevada state Senate in 2010, he held a World Cup watch party and saw his former training partner walking out onto the field.

“When he walked in, I was like, ‘You know what? It was the first Nevadan to play in the World Cup and I’m glad it’s Herculez,’” Kihuen said of professional soccer player turned ESPN analyst Herculez Gomez. “Destiny is destiny. For me, I wasn’t destined to be a professional soccer player.”

Word on the Hill: Sinema and Curbelo Work for the Future
Congressional Soccer Game tonight

Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo will co-chair the Congressional Future Caucus. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Congressional Future Caucus, a bipartisan group for members under 45, has two new co-chairmen: Reps. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla.

The caucus will also have vice chairmen for the first time: Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Mike Gallagher, R-Wis.

Lawmakers Greet Mueller Appointment With Relief
Rank and file smile, although GOP leaders remain reticent

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel by the Justice Department on Wednesday to investigate alleged Russian interference in last year’s election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

By JOE WILLIAMS, LINDSEY McPHERSON and REMA RAHMAN

Even as House and Senate Republicans turned up the heat on the Trump White House for answers about the firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, Democrats got a big win when the Justice Department appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including any connections to the Trump presidential campaign.