Indiana

Health Care Politics Serve as Senate Bill Text Prelude
Wednesday’s campaign fodder a preview of Thursday’s discussion draft

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing to release a draft bill to rework the U.S. health insurance system he has assembled in secret. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate procedural wonks huddled Wednesday with the parliamentarian’s office, making their case for whether Republican legislation to rework the health insurance system complies with the chamber’s rules, even as Washington braced for the release of the draft GOP measure. 

Over the next week, though, the debate will play out on both the procedural and political fields.

By the Numbers: Richmond, DeSantis, Others Pad Their Baseball Resumes
Both sides had standout performers at the Congressional Baseball Game

Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric L. Richmond pitches during the 56th annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington on Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When the usually lighthearted run-up to the annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game was marred by a horrific shooting at the Republican practice session last week, Capitol Hill came together for an emotional night of bipartisanship and baseball. But one thing it did not do was make the players go easy on one another.

“I did tell [Republican manager Texas Rep. Joe L. Barton] that I love him before the game, and I love him after the game, but during the game, we’re going to play to win,” Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle, the Democratic manager, quipped at a pre-game press conference. With the coveted Roll Call Trophy on the line, that was exactly what they did, defeating the Republican squad, 11-2. Despite the lopsided score, though, there were standout individual performances on both sides.

Embattled AG Sessions Gets Vote of Confidence from Pence
VP: Trump administration trying to ‘make this country safe again’

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, center, is seen with Vice President Mike Pence, second from left, and senators in the Capitol’s Old Senate Chamber in February. On Wednesday, Pence said he and President Trump are “proud” to have the former Alabama senator as attorney general. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday gave a vote of confidence to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is engulfed in the Russia controversy hovering over the Trump presidency.

The VP hailed Sessions as a “law and order attorney general,” and said he and Trump are “proud to have him on our side.”

11 Things I Think I Think After the Special Elections
Lessons from the Georgia and South Carolina races

Jon Ossoff supporters at the Georgia Democrat’s election night watch party are stunned as CNN calls the state’s 6th District race for Republican Karen Handel on Tuesday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

One of the best parts about covering elections is that there is a final result. What seems like an endless stream of campaigning and ads and analysis finally comes to an end every time with vote tallies to digest until the next round.

President Donald Trump and the Republicans continue to play with electoral fire, but the GOP pulled off two more special election victories; this time in Georgia’s 6th District and South Carolina’s 5th District. As with the previous results in Kansas and Montana, there are enough tidbits in each result to formulate whatever conclusion helps you sleep better at night.

McHenry, Scalise’s Deputy, Steps Up to Run GOP Whip Operation
A temporary but open-ended promotion

Megan Bel Miller, chief of staff for the personal office of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., takes a selfie with Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., during a blood drive in the foyer of Rayburn Building on June 20, 2017. The drive was held to honor those injured in last week's shooting at the Republican team practice in Alexandria. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

As members flew back to town for the first time since the baseball practice shooting, the House’s No. 3 Republican remained absent indefinitely, and his leadership post was already being occupied temporarily.

The trauma to the Capitol from the grievous wounding of Steve Scalise, who’s set to remain hospitalized into the July Fourth recess and may not return to work before Labor Day, was not reaching in any visible way into the workings of his majority whip operation.

Senators Look for Path on New War Authorization
Current authorization dates to 9/11 attacks

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he would only pursue a new war authorization if it had bipartisan consensus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senators on Tuesday gamely struggled to see if there was a way to set aside longstanding partisan differences over a new authorization for use of military force amid expanding military campaigns in Syria and Iraq, and under a new president who has delegated significant tactical authority to his commanders.

The Trump administration is waging its anti-ISIS campaign under the authority of the 2001 AUMF, which Congress passed shortly after the September 11 attacks. Sixteen years later, experts on both sides of the aisle increasingly agree the authorization (PL 107-40) has been stretched beyond almost all legal recognition to justify the occasional air strike on Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria and even far-flung groups like Al-Shabab in East Africa.

Senate Democrats Can’t Slow GOP Health Care Bill Once It’s Written
But minority party will try to slow down proceedings until then

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and his Democratic colleagues want to draw attention to the closed-door nature of the GOP health care talks. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer had a warning for his Republican colleagues on Monday.

“If Republicans won’t relent and debate their health care bill in the open for the American people to see, then they shouldn’t expect business as usual in the Senate,” the New York Democrat said.

Why House Members Aren’t Rushing to Announce for Senate
Here’s a hint: It’s about raising campaign cash

Indiana Rep. Luke Messer is expected to run for Senate but has yet to make an official announcement. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

It’s no secret that a handful of House members are mulling bids for the Senate next year, with several of them all but running their 2018 races already.

Most are in no rush to officially announce their Senate campaigns. Sixteen months is a long time to face the barrage of attacks that comes with running statewide. And in an uncertain political environment, candidates may be taking longer to test the waters. 

Democrats Decry ‘Legislative Malpractice’ on Health Care
GOP cites seven-year repeal effort as justification for current process

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is throwing Republicans’ prior statements about health care back at them. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senate Democrats on Tuesday continued to assail how Republican leaders are crafting legislation to overhaul the U.S. health care system, calling it “legislative malpractice,” and are using GOP leaders’ own statements from years past to make their point.  

While Republican members routinely criticize the manner in which Democrats passed the 2010 health care law on a strictly party-line vote, there are stark differences between that process and the current one.

Relievers Could Be Key in Congressional Baseball Game
Meehan, Aguilar enter game a year older

Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Meehan celebrates after the Republicans’ 8-7 victory in the 55th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park last year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a rule, once politicians get involved in the annual Congressional Baseball Game, they keep coming back for more.

And two veteran relief pitchers, Pennsylvania Republican Patrick Meehan and California Democrat Pete Aguilar, continue to get better every year.