Illinois

Here Are the Democrats Skipping Trump’s Inauguration
More than 65 Democratic House members won’t attend Friday’s swearing-in

Virginia Rep. Gerald E. Connolly is one of the latest Democratic House members to say that he won’t attend Donald Trump’s inauguration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Even before President-elect Donald Trump attacked Georgia Rep. John Lewis on Twitter over the weekend, a handful of Democratic lawmakers had planned to boycott Trump's inauguration on Friday.

But by the end of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday on Monday night, that group had ballooned. As of Wednesday, more than 60 Democrats in the House have now said they will not attend. No Democratic senators have announced similar intentions.

Democrats, Donors Turn Focus to State Legislative Races
Republicans say their foes have tried before but still came up short

Former Attorney General Eric Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which is backed by President Obama, will focus prominently on state legislative races. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Senate map is chock-full of deep red states, the House map skews Republican, and the presidential race doesn’t start for at least two more years. 

If Democrats and their donors want to find ways to win in 2018, they might need to refocus down the ballot — way down the ballot.

Word on the Hill: One Week Out
Women’s March adds new partners

Dr. Ben Carson arrives in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee offices before his confirmation hearing to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday. Confirmation hearings continue into next week (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration is only a week away.

Watch for our list of balls, counter-parties and other things to do around the District that day. And feel free to pass along any events you want to share with our readers — email AlexGangitano@cqrollcall.com

NRCC Names First Female Head of Recruitment
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik will help find 2018 candidates

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik will be the NRCC’s vice chairwoman for recruitment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers has named New York Rep. Elise Stefanik the committee’s vice chairwoman for recruitment for the 2018 election cycle. 

Stefanik is the first woman to lead recruitment efforts for the party, a significant appointment given that the GOP trails Democrats in the number of women in Congress. Democrats have 62 female members in the House, while Republicans have just 21.

Inauguration Balls, Parties and Galas in D.C.
Events surrounding Donald Trump’s big day

Which balls will President-elect Trump and his wife Melania attend?. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Inauguration Day comes once every four years and is the biggest event that Washington, D.C., has to offer.

Surrounding President-elect Donald Trump’s big day — Friday, Jan. 20 — state societies, organizations and nonprofits hold parties, balls and galas to celebrate.

A Heart for Africa
Staff group wants to be part of the conversation on Africa policies

The association's president Diana Konaté is the scheduler for Rep. Bill Foster, D-Ill. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One Capitol Hill staff group attracts members who work in Washington but come from far away. No, not California. Try Africa.

The Congressional African Staff Association is “made up of people who have a heart for Africa,” according to Diana Konaté, the group’s president.

Obamacare Replacement Preoccupies GOP as Budget Votes Near
McHenry: House has enough GOP votes to adopt resolution triggering repeal

A plan to replace the 2010 health care law will emerge after Georgia Rep. Tom Price is confirmed as Health and Human Services secretary, President-elect Donald Trump said Wednesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Congressional Republicans’ struggle to take the first step toward repealing and replacing the health care law using a fiscal 2017 budget resolution intensified Wednesday, as they debated how soon to roll out a replacement and defended their coordination with their incoming president.

President-elect Donald Trump suggested in a press conference Wednesday that the repeal and replacement of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law will occur simultaneously or nearly simultaneously. While that timetable appears to defy what Republicans in the House and Senate have set out to do, top Republicans and their aides insisted that the incoming president and Congress are not at odds and that repeal and replacement will succeed.

House Democrats Still Considering Vice Ranking Member Posts
Caucus discussed the matter Wednesday but deferred a vote

Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos said she believes the Democratic caucus will approve the addition of vice ranking members on committees. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats on Wednesday continued a discussion about adding vice ranking members to committees to give more members an opportunity to serve in leadership roles but deferred a vote on the matter until a later meeting. 

The Democratic caucus will meet again, as early as Thursday, to decide whether to approve the vice ranking member posts as an amendment to the caucus rules, members said.

Sessions Will Follow the Law, But He Won’t Lead on It
Job requires someone who is aware of oppression and discrimination

Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions’s answers on the first day of his attorney general confirmation hearing on Tuesday were “deeply unsatisfying and basically meaningless,” Allen writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

It sounds so good that Jeff Sessions said it over and over again when Democratic senators pressed him on how he would approach the job of attorney general: I will follow the law.

It’s what he said when Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin asked what he would do with “Dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Ditto when Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked him about gay rights and abortion rights. 

Word on the Hill: Sasse Goes Junk Food-Free
‘Wait a minute, I’m under oath’

Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse accepted a challenge from his child. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

You may see Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., binging on chips and candy on Feb. 1.

He tweeted that one of his three kids challenged him to not eat junk food for the rest of January. And, he agreed.