Iowa

In Iowa, Heartland Democrats Ask ‘What About the Economy, Stupid?’
But candidates are divided on how populist their messages need to be

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan talks with Heather Ryan (no relation), a Democratic candidate in Iowa’s 3rd District, during a steak fry in Des Moines on Sept. 30. (Charlie Neibergall/AP File Photo)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Democrats in the Midwest know that the way to win back voters in states like Iowa is to talk about the economy, but they’re debating how exactly to do it.

As a state that can make or break presidential campaignsand one that had regularly sent liberal Democrats to Washington, Iowa now serves as a test of whether Democrats can win back white voters who have swung toward the Republican Party over the last decade.

Photos of the Week: House in While Senate's Out, Congressional Football and a Wharf
The week of Oct. 10 as captured by Roll Call's photographers

Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., holds up bunny ear fingers behind a a technician testing the microphones before the start of the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Thursday. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

The House was the only chamber in session this week in Washington. The lawmakers headed out of town Thursday for their own recess. The Senate returns next week. 

The congressional football team played a game against Capitol police officers this week while D.C. leaders christened a new wharf in town. 

McConnell: Democratic ‘Blue Slips’ Won’t Block Trump Judges
Says objections home-state Democrats will only indicate dissent

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made his most pointed comments yet about judicial nominations. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear that Senate Republicans intend to get President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed no matter what obstacles the Democrats throw their way.

The Kentucky Republican has now confirmed he plans to move forward on judicial nominees even if home-state Democratic senators don’t return their so-called “blue slips” to the Judiciary Committee.

Democratic Young Guns Take Different Approach to Rebuilding Party
In trip to early voting Iowa, Bustos rebuilds from the bottom, while Ryan and Moulton want to topple the top

Democratic Reps. Cheri Bustos of Illinois, center, and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, left, get instructions before working the grill during the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry in Des Moines on Sept. 30. (Charlie Neibergall/AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa — Before the Polk County Democratic Party’s steak fry, Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos was trying to give potential candidates the secret sauce for Democrats to win in rural areas.

Grassley to Corker and Trump: ‘Cool It’
Trump ups the ante on Tuesday, saying ‘Liddle’ Bob Corker’ was set up by the New York Times

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker traded Twitter barbs with President Donald Trump over the weekend. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. Charles E. Grassley told both retiring Sen. Bob Corker and President Donald Trump to ease up on their feud.

Grassley said he didn’t see how the conflict between the two Republicans was productive, “And I think it would help if the president would be the first to cool it,” the Iowa Republican told The Associated Press, which attempted to contact all 52 Republican senators for their take on the war of words.

Senators Debate When Nominee’s Religion Is Fair Game
Democrats’ questioning of appeals court pick stirs discussion

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, second from left, have stirred controversy over their recent questioning of an appellate nominee. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A Senate Judiciary Committee vote on a controversial appeals court pick Thursday prompted a discussion about when it is appropriate to ask questions about a nominee’s religion — and even a suggestion to hold a public hearing on the issue.

The topic arose because of questions Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois asked last month during a confirmation hearing for Amy Barrett, a University of Notre Dame law professor and a Roman Catholic who is nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.

Key Republican Lawmakers Open to Considering Bump Stock Ban
Las Vegas shooter had 12 rifles outfitted with device that effectively made them fully automatic

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn indicated Wednesday he would consider looking into a ban on rifle bump stocks. (Bill Clark/Roll Call File Photo)

Some members of congressional Republican leadership have expressed a willingness to explore legislation banning bump stocks, the attachment that the Las Vegas shooter used to effectively make semiautomatic rifles fire at the rate of automatic ones.

Investigators in Las Vegas found that 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, who killed at least 59 people and injured more than 520 in a mass shooting there late Sunday night, had 12 rifles fitted with bump stocks in the 32nd-floor hotel room from which he fired upon a crowd outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

At Equifax Hearings, Senators Complain of Deja Vu
It’s ‘long past time’ Congress set standards for data security, Grassley says

Richard Smith, CEO of Equifax, center, prepares to testify during a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday. Smith will testify Thursday before the House Financial Services Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Senate Judiciary Committee members voiced exasperation about holding another hearing on whether consumers’ personal information is secure as Richard Smith, the former CEO of Equifax, made his third congressional appearance in two days to explain a security breach that allowed hackers to gain access to personal data — names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and some driver’s license information — on more than 145 million consumers. 

Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa said Wednesday that it is “long past time” that Congress set standards for data security, adding that he was “committed to getting a good bill ... over the finish line.”

Lawmakers Push Trump to Release JFK Assassination Files
Bipartisan group introduce resolutions ahead of October deadline

Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Patrick J. Leahy want files on the Kennedy assassination released. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senior lawmakers are calling on President Donald Trump to allow the release of remaining government records on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Resolutions introduced in the House and Senate would call on the president to allow release of documents held by the National Archives and Records Administration, and for the Archives to work to meet a statutory deadline that arrives later in October.

Senate Republican Class of 2014 Looking to Shake Things Up
The group has become more vocal in their desire to change business as usual

Republican members of the Senate class of 2014 were instrumental in delaying the start of the August recess. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Sen. David Perdue keeps a calendar in his office to remind him how many working days the Senate has left this year.

But with just 43 legislative days remaining and a packed agenda ahead, it’s not a countdown he particularly enjoys. To make matters worse, that number counts most Fridays as in-session days, though the chamber almost always wraps up its weekly work Thursday.